Monday, April 30, 2012

A Stolen Idea...Or Two...

Another great day in Room 224!  We were back on our "regular" schedule...meaning, we are back to balanced literacy, writing, and Texas History...minus the test prep!  The one thing that I have been strongly lacking in is Texas History. ::hangs head in shame::

Now, I love history, especially that of our great state...but, it is not my focus most of the year.  I just cannot cover it the way I want AND prepare the kids for testing.  I'm not going to out anyone, but I am not the only teacher in Texas that feels that way.  (Yes, I'm a follower...) :-).

So, today we hit Texas History HARD.  We started with some vocabulary that my quarters learned at the beginning of the year.  We created this really cool foldable that lists different levels of government, their definition, and the names of the actual leaders!  This was fun!

Pretty cool, huh??  We compared the different positions in government to our classroom, school, district, and region.  But, the quarters still had difficulty comprehending the, time to "teach on the fly"!  I pulled out the construction paper and used an idea I have seen on Pinterest!!! ( I just looovvveee that site!)  I don't remember WHO came up with the idea, though!

I didn't have a lot of construction paper, so we used what we had left over! (In case you can't tell by the black and manilla!)  They had the chance to see how our neighborhood is part of our city, county, state, country, continent, and planet.  Pretty neat!

Now, before we moved on to our read aloud, I wanted to have my quarters complete an activity related to "empathy".  This idea is completely stolen borrowed from Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade !!! She has some of the coolest ideas!

I created a "new student".  His name is Horace Smith.  (I tried to figure out the weirdest name offense to any Horaces out there!)
All I had was GREEN paper!!!!!

Anyway, I asked students to welcome him to our class and talk to him like he was real.  We discussed what to do in the classroom, what our routine is, etc.  Then I gave him qualities...his lights are off and he can't wash his clothes.  His water isn't working because his mom is out of work.  These are actual things that many of my quarters have experienced at one time or another.  They are also things that they have teased others about!  And, just like Farley's classroom, the negative (even cruel) comments started coming!!  Now, many of them have said mean things to each other throughout the year.  There have also been some teasing incidents that my team teacher and I have shut down.  So this lesson had meaning...

I actually had one student say, "Horace, you need to get more popular clothes 'cause you look bad."  Then, she looked at me and said, "Well, I'm just trying to help him!"  And she was pretty condescending about it.  I was really flabbergasted!!!  They said he smelled and had holes in his pants.  Just. Plain. Mean. 

We have an issue with the "Cheese Touch" game from Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  Except our quarters take it even further...they add another quarter's name to it, i.e. the "Tammy Touch".  UUGGGHHH!!!  We have battled this all year.  This lesson really hit home!

As the quarters said ugly things, I crumpled Horace into a ball.  I then went on to explain (like Farley) that every ugly comment hurt Horace and crumpled up the way he felt.  Silence.  Literal...silence.  I could tell how they "got it".  Then, we began to say nice things to Horace.  We straightened him back out.
Then...we had to discuss how he was still "wrinkled".  We talked about the "Cheese Touch" game and how that wrinkles the person you are teasing.  And once you say those hateful words, it is impossible to make someone "flat" again.  Horace will never be the same.  Powerful.

Well, we were actually able to connect this lesson to our book, The Hunger Games.  (If you're new to my blog, please see my reasons for reading it HERE .)  We talked about empathy and how the Capitol has "wrinkled" the Districts.  We also talked about how empathy led Katniss to volunteer for her sister, Primrose AND how it helped her to make a connection with Rue from District 11.

I love when we can make LOTS of connections with just one idea!!!

"Compassion is the capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin...the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy for you." Frederick Beuchner

Friday, April 27, 2012

Yipee Yoo Hoo!!

What a great day! My quarters were so relaxed today!!  It was our last "fun day" for a couple of weeks.  Monday we go back to our regular schedule (minus the test prep...Yipee Yoo Hoo!!)  But, for the day, I let them have some free time.  Not all of them, mind you...I had a few that still had work to finish!!  ::shrugging shoulders::

One of the things they did was use my normal teaching materials to play school.  I LOVE watching them do this!  I was so surprised!  A couple of them used an old chart tablet to make some anchor charts!!!  (They got it...they really got it!!)  I just HAD to take some pictures!

The little things are soooo cool!  Another one of my students copied poem information from her poetry folder.

One thing I found interesting.  Some of my girls were writing names on the board for talking. (Yes, I know...they have obviously remembered that talking results in a warning by putting your name on the board...)  My girl is an ELL.  I was stunned when I saw what she wrote: you see what I see?  What she meant was "people in trouble" ( I do NOT write that on the board...hahaha!!).  But, what she thought and heard was "people introuble".  Wow.  I never realized, though I should have, that ELLs sometimes hear things in a much different way!  She's a fourth grader, so seeing this took me by surprise!  It's common with primary kiddos.  This will definitely be on my mind when I reflect and plan for next year!

On another note, we received an email from our district on information that was released by TEA.  We will get raw scores at the end of May.  I don't understand exactly how we will read them...I think we will only find out how many questions there were and how many each student missed.  Now, the good thing is that I will see what I need to work on to be a better teacher.  Here's the kicker...we won't get the final scores until January of 2013!!! Yes, you read that right...2013!!  These kids will be half way through their 5th grade year!!!  Geezy sneezy!!

I do have one concern that I'm not sure how to address.  My homeroom has 13 ELLs.  My partner's homeroom has 14.  Now, she is a former bilingual teacher, so of course her class is listed as ESL.  I teach language arts, I am certified to teach ESL, but on my roster, my class isn't listed as ESL (the individual students are, though).  Make sense?? (nah, not to me either.)  Anyhoo...when those scores come back and, IF they are not too hot, anyone looking at my scores will think I have a standard classroom that didn't do as well as the others.  What should I do about that?  It never bothered me not to have my roster listed as ESL because I knew, my team knew, and admin knew that my kids were ELL.  But, when I think about future job opportunities, I wonder how this will affect me.  Selfish, I know. Not extremely important in the scheme of things...I'm not planning on moving any time soon.  Just curious...

Have a fabulous weekend!! 

"You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it."--Oprah Winfrey

That's ME!!!!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Moving On...

Well...the STAAR has burned out.

Burned out my students, burned me out, burned out my friends.

Burned, burned, burned.

However, I will fix that with a new haircut, some new clothes, lunch (and maybe dinner), and a few couple of glasses of Moscato with a friend I haven't talked to in 10 years or seen in 14!!! I'm driving to meet her on Saturday.  She was one of my closest, dearest friends for many, many years.  She was in my wedding  22 years ago.  But life took her one way and me the other.  The best part...and I know this sounds cruel...but she is NOT a teacher.  So I will not talk about school, curriculum, testing, students, etc. for one whole day!!! (My husband is thinking, "What the feathers???? I have to listen to it all the time and I'm not a teacher!"  Too bad, kemo sabe!)

Sometimes I am a "immediate gratification" chick.  I admit it.  I love my Kindle for that reason.  But the waiting for the test scores is craaaazzzyyyy.  We may not find out until next school year.  "What?!", you may ask.  I thought the same thing!! How do I fix what I "broke" this year if the new school year is already upon me when I find out my scores???!!! ::: rant, rant, rant::

My quarters worked hard...and as usual, I'm second guessing every single decision I made when it comes to teaching.  I know, I know...I can't change a thing.  But, ya know, I can't let things go sometimes...just ask my husband!!!

It is time to move on...

My quarters are soooo ready for some fun.  And, of course, they will get it.  Our campus has so many activities going on this time of year.  We have our field trip, a party day...need I say more?  But today, we just relaxed, read, and wrote.  They actually did really well "out of the routine."  They talked A LOT.  But, what should I expect?  They are kids for crying out loud!  (I did have to take two Motrin, though.)  One of my major talkers sweet boys didn't wear his glasses today.  I asked where they were and he told me they were in his locker.   I asked him why and he said, "The STAAR test is over and I don't need them anymore."  He had the evil grin sweetest, biggest smile.  In my best teacher's voice I said, " Go. Get. Them. NOW."  I can only imagine the next few weeks.

Most of my quarters finished their free verse poems today!! They were so gooooood!!!  Over the last couple of weeks, they wrote poems about many things.  They chose what they wanted to write about.  One day, we had a "classroom tools" write.  We played "I Spy" and wrote a poem about that.  They wrote about family, friends, food, name it.  Today, I let them choose their favorite piece and take it to final copy.  Here are a few samples:

A lot of them liked their "stuff at school" one the best...I don't know why.  But, for having two classes of 21 with 13 ELLs in each class, I'm liking what they've got going on. (Well, there's the STAAR...back on topic, back on topic....)

I found this great quote...I only wish the people who concocted these crazy tests for kids "got it"!!

"But the person who scored well on an SAT will not necessarily be the best doctor or the best lawyer or the best businessman. These tests do not measure character, leadership, creativity, perseverance."--William Julius Wilson

Preaching to the choir!!! 



Monday, April 23, 2012


Well, today is the day before our big state assessment, the STAAR.  Last week, I strayed from the norm and did not do any test prep passages.  Today, we did do one paired passage to remind quarters of the strategies they should use to work through their assessment.

Tomorrow, the quarters will take the STAAR Math exam.  I don't teach Math, so I'm feeling no stress.  I think my partner teacher and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that we have done what we could and what will be, will be.  My quarters take the STAAR Reading exam on Wednesday.

It was sad leaving my room this afternoon.  But that is only because I had to take down all of my anchor charts and my parts-of-speech word wall .  My room looks so bare and uninviting!
Preparing charts for their trash can funeral!
We usually begin each class with vocabulary builder work.  However, since we've done as much as we can, quarters created "reminder" posters for their lockers  using our STAAR reminder chart that we put up back in March.

They hung these inside their lockers (no STAAR things to "help" them when they walk down the hall to the restroom...haha).  I could insert a smart comment but I'd better quarters had a good time adding their flair!  We all know...if you do it, say it, color it, invest in just might remember it!

My team teacher and I created and signed the poster below.  I believe we can hang these on the outside of their lockers (but I will check with our AP before we hang them in the morning).  Please excuse the lighting...

We printed them on many different colors of paper.  They are not fancy, by any means, but we want the quarters to know we believe in them.  I have put up the outline under my "Free Printables" tab, just in case someone is interested!

I'm just excited that, on Thursday, I get to return to the ART of teaching!  6 more weeks to go!!

“I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” -Abraham Lincoln

I hope my quarters think this way and realize that tomorrow is their "chance"!

I now wipe my hands clean of the Texas STAAR!

::slaps hands together like a casino guy::

Well...until next year...


Friday, April 20, 2012

A Wonderful Ending...

We had a great week!  Whether it makes a difference on the STAAR test or not, I will truly never know.  But my quarters seemed to be engaged, so it was worth it, to me!

On Thursday, we reviewed sequencing.  Quarters used the chapter we were reading in The Hunger Games to sequence the events.  There are three words/key vocabulary I wanted them to review and remember:  organize, order, sequence.  We put the three words into a "sing-song" type rhythm and counted to three on our fingers.  As they said each word, I had them hold up a finger.  While I know this seems rudimentary, most of my quarters are ELL.  Movement and memory seem to make connections for them.  I wanted them to associate  (#1) with organize, (#2) with order, (#3) with sequence.  We repeated this several times.  I encouraged them to remember that if they see the words organize, order, or sequence in a STAAR question, they are being asked to put things in 1, 2, 3 order.  I really think they may have "gotten" it...finally after months of discussion!

Today, we had a special guest.  I was so lucky to have my daughter come to my school!  She is an education student in college and will graduate in December.  She wants to teach K-4.  She needed 5 more hours of volunteer time for a class she is enrolled in this semester.  So, I rounded up some classrooms for her to visit and help out in.  She also helped in my room.  She had an assignment to complete on "cause and effect" and  had to tape herself teaching it!  I got to watch her in action!!  I was very proud!!

As a class, we read another chapter of our book.  We focused on how to infer.  The quarters did an awesome job inferring and predicting.  They were able to connect prior learning and knew that schema + evidence = inference.  It was a great week of review!!

We also had time to continue working on our research magazines, in which students chose a person, place, or thing to research and write about.  I have a few that are not finished, but most of them only have one page to go.  Here are some pics of one that is almost complete:

They are not perfect...but...
They are non-fiction...
They have many text features...
They are informative...
They are researched....
They are creative....
They are unique....
And the students will remember them!

" the diary we all carry about us"--Oscar Wilde

Hopefully, the lessons they reviewed this week will be part of the "diary" they carry in their memories...for testing and beyond!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Getting Our Fun On...

I just wanted to follow up on the activities I am doing with my quarters to review skills for the STAAR Reading exam next week.  As I've noted in previous posts, I have strayed a little from the test-prep norm to hold student interest as the days to the "test" tick down.

Each day, we read a chapter from The Hunger Games.  I can honestly say, my quarters are totally engaged.  We are having awesome conversations (better than I ever expected) about the text.  A quarter even mentioned how the book tells us so much more than the movie!  Yay!!!

On Monday, we reviewed  character traits using the FAST paper found here  and here .  Quarters talked about Katniss Everdeen.  They wrote about her feelings, actions, sayings, and thoughts in the text so far.  I asked them several question stems and assigned them "thinking" questions for homework.  Their answers were in paragraph form and a few of them did really well.

On Tuesday, we reviewed summarization.  This time, in addition to our plot anchor chart (found here ), quarters used the "Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then" to write their summary of the what has been read so far.  Since they work in collaborative groups, I was able to notice who really "got" it and who needed a little more support.  Again, they were assigned questions for homework.  When I read the answers aloud this morning, they were REALLY good.  A lot of quarters thought about what was happening, how they felt, and what they could say about the story.

Today, we reviewed main idea and details.  This was FUN!  We read our chapter and quarters built a "table" to represent the main idea.  The legs were the details.  Now, this is not a unique idea.  I have seen it on a blog, or Pinterest, ...I'm not sure where!!! I thought it was wonderful!!  If you know where the idea came from, please let me know! 

My quarters were sooooo proud of their work!!  When we were done, we came back together to discuss/compare our tables to what we might actually see on the STAAR test.  We completed an anchor chart to remind us!
I hope that if they see a bubble map on the STAAR test, they will remember this chart and their tables and make the connection.  I think they just might!!!

On another note, we have worked on poetry and finishing up our portfolios for writing.  Our district uses Lucy Calkins (sp???) as a curriculum resource.  While I've found it difficult, throughout the year, to teach her way, I have tried.  I haven't been a big fan, unfortunately.  It's the one thing I feel I struggle through.  That being said, I have found her poetry unit VERY helpful.  As I work with it, my quarters have really began to embrace poetry, especially free verse, and some of them even do poems at home, on their own, without being assigned!!! WOW!! 

Here is an anchor chart we use to remind us that "looking with a poet's eyes" means using visual language!

I'm very excited to finish this week, make some "goodies" for them this weekend, play games and review with a passage or two on Monday.  I just know that I have enjoyed "teaching" this week!

Here is a quote that is spot on!!

"Teach me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."--Chinese Proverb



Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Word About Freedom...

I want to say, first, thank you to those who left comments about my last post.  I find it encouraging that other professionals in my field see what I see in meeting student needs.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

I would like to make a personal post about my freedom as an educator.  I am lucky to work on a campus where I am supported in my lesson choices by administration.  I feel that I am free to teach the way I want to, as long as I meet state and district standards and expectations.  (Believe it or not, there is freedom in that!)

Our district provides us with many lessons and guides on how to teach material.  As an experienced teacher, I see those guides as most appropriate for new teachers.  Experience allows me the ability to meet expectations while adding my own "twist" to them, if you will.  Now, I happen to like or agree with many of the methods given to us.  I am very willing to try something new...who knows, it may be better than what I've been doing!! 

Sometimes, those of us with experience don't want to stray from what we know works...and, sometimes, that can be a mistake.  You HAVE to try.  New teachers need to know that the material is a guide, not always a MUST DO.  Part of what makes teaching so fulfilling is adding a little of "me" to what is provided.  Be brave...take risks...when you know better, do better.

What I am finding out with my quarters is that, after years of test prep teaching (no one's fault...that's what standardized testing has required us to become!!), they are unable to adjust to the new type of test.  In other words, they are having difficulty generalizing, thinking beyond the text, and putting what they really do know into answers A,B,C, or D.  Previously, they could almost find every answer they needed within the test.  Now, they have to truly infer, predict, compare, determine purpose, etc.

I feel that, with all of the above in mind,  I relax on "strategy" teaching for the next few days and focus on the "art" of teaching.  I hope that I am doing this with my lessons.  We shall see...if anything, I know for a fact, that my quarters are beyond bored with test prep, test prep, test prep.  They know HOW...I need to refocus on the WHAT.  It needs to be relevant and they need to WANT to understand it.  And, right now, The Hunger Games is what they are interested in.

And, if this doesn't help, well...I will have crow for dinner and return to practice, practice, practice...

I rest my case...

Since stepping outside of the "norm" requires some kind of daring ( might not work!), I want to encourage myself with a quote from the great Maya Angelou:

“I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.”--Maya Angelou



Friday, April 13, 2012

Testing Strategies....ppbbtt!!!

I feel like I've been neglecting my blogging duties lately.  Other than my giveaway, I really haven't had much to add...until tonight.  Yay, me!!

We are counting down to the Reading STAAR here in Texas.  There are six more days to cram their little noggins with every bit of information possible.  What's a teacher to do??  Usually, at this time, I am practicing test taking strategies and passages DAILY.  But, to be quite honest, I have finished doing that as of last Wednesday.  My quarters have practiced so much, that I feel they have given up.  So...I decided on a different approach.  I will review strategies the day before the test, but as of this week, I am reviewing the TEKS, or skills, in a completely new way.  We have started reading The Hunger Games.

Yes, you read that right.  I am reading The Hunger Games to my quarters.  Now, I am the one reading it.  Quarters do not have their own copies.  As the reader, I can edit parts that I don't feel are important to the message in the text or are too graphic. Before you question my abilities, hear me out.  (I had this conversation with a parent, and she said she "trusted" me with her child and has confidence in me.)

Right now, this movie is the be-all, end-all for my students.  Many of them have seen it. (I don't necessarily agree with that, but...) And all they talk about are the "killing parts".  I am a firm believer in movies as a support to texts, not in place of them.  Sometimes the message is lost in search of clever movie ideas.  In reading the text, I can discuss, and focus, on the parts of the story that are relevant and important.  For example, the oppression of the poor. I teach in a Title 1 school, so many quarters can relate to the "poor" message.  They didn't "get" that from the movie.  My hope is to have them think of the text and change their conversations. They are so desensitized to violence that they miss the point. This is my chance to talk about the story, not the gore. I am also able to introduce new, unique vocabulary, etc. We will spend the rest of the school year on it.  All parents signed the permission slip and many bought their children copies of the book.  As I told one parent, as an educator, I don't feel that it is my right to censor literature (as in not allowing them to read things they are interested in.)  However, it is the parent's right to do so.  And if that means the child cannot participate in the story, I have alternative materials for them.  They are not ostracized or put out.

Anyway, as we read, we work on all of our skills...context clues, plot, main idea, details, fact/opinion, summary, etc...the possibilities are endless.  Each night, their homework is to write about what we've read (a chapter), but I will ask them a STAAR question stem that they have to answer. (We do this in class, as well.)  This idea has really sent me on a more open learning path with them.  And it holds their interest!!

In writing, quarters are putting their research into "magazine" form.  I love this!!!  They have a written text, but the magazines put the research into perspective and they are able to see the non-fiction/informational side first hand.  This is coinciding with our poetry unit writing, so we have many things going on at once.  (Testing, practicing, and practicing has put us a little behind!!)

Here is a beginning example of their magazines:

As you can see, they use their flipbook to compile information.  They also have their internet printouts, with pictures, available.

They create a table of contents, etc.  (Ignore the spelling error!!!)  As we go along, I will post more pics and final examples.  But this is the path we are taking and the quarters are thrilled!!!!

Since I'm trying something new with my quarters, I think this quote will do:

"Never be afraid to try something new.  Remember, amateurs built the ark; professionals built the Titanic." --Unknown

I LOVE IT!!!!!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

We Have A Winner!

I would like to congratulate my two "giveaway" winners...

The winner of the Teachers Pay Teachers $10 gift certificate is

Entry #12, Bonnie from

Living a Wonderful Life

Congratulations, Bonnie!!! 

The winner of the Amazon $10 gift certificate is 

Entry #9, Emily

Congratulations, Emily!!

I numbered each entry and entered the information into the true random number generator on  I'm still a newbie at all of this, so I couldn't figure out how to copy the results and put them onto my blog!  And, sorry Megan, I did NOT include your, my dear daughter, were exempt! Haha!!

A sincere thank you to everyone that entered!  I appreciate your support and encouragement!

Now...back to the Pottermore watch!!! (I'm kind of obsessed right now!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Excuses, WOW, and a Giveaway...

Now, this has been a holiday weekend of broken promises...I know, I know...

I promised to finish the game of "TAG"...haven't done it.  I'm just a really slow runner and then I forgot I was tagged and I still haven't made it back to base!

I promised to get my game ideas loaded into "Free Printables"...haven't done that either. ::hangs head in shame::

My kidults were home (and I spent some money), I've stalked Pottermore (it STILL hasn't opened! AARRGGGHHH!!!) , I've planted my garden ( of which I am so proud!!), and I've cleaned out the fridge (finally...ick!).


I have reached 100 followers!!! Yay!!!  I'm so excited...nothing else matters at the moment!!! I am so very grateful that at least 100 people/educators find my blog interesting and helpful!  This has been one of the best personal decisions I have made.  Blogging has opened up a whole new world for me.  I have (inter)met so many people! I have learned so much from all of you!  And, this has challenged me to think up new ideas and put them into action for my quarters.  Because I feel accountable to my followers, my teaching should never go stale! a big "thank you", I am giving away TWO small gifts.

One winner will receive a $10 online gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers to use as you wish.  A different winner will receive a $10 gift certificate to Amazon .

Since I do not sell things on Teachers Pay Teachers, I hope this gift will encourage you to buy from all of the wonderful educators who do have things to sell.

Here are the rules:  You must do 2 of the 3 choices below and then comment and tell me which ones you chose.  Be sure to leave your email address as well!

1.  "Like" Confessions on Facebook.
2.  Become a Confessions follower (if you aren't already).
3.  Follow Confessions on Twitter.

Please be sure to link back to this post on your blog, if you have one!  I will use to choose the winners on Thursday at 8 CST.

Again, thank you so much for being a fan!

A quote is in order...(not Potter, because...well...I'm a little miffed Pottermore is still closed)...
We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~ Thornton Wilder



Saturday, April 7, 2012

Feeling Guilty...

Just stopping in to let my friends know that I have not forgotten about being caught in the game of "Tag"!  I plan to catch up tomorrow night. Tonight, I have cooking to do for Easter lunch.  My college kidults are home for the weekend, so we had family day today.  But,  I'm so lucky to have Monday off, too!  That will be a school catch up day...unless...

gets out of beta!!!!!!  As many of you know, I am a total Potterhead.  If you didn't know, well...there it is.  I am a huge Harry Potter/JK Rowling fan.  I started reading the books to my son when he was 7 and he lost interest after a couple of years.  I, however, did not.  I am, indeed, one of the many older Potter fans! I have definitely had withdrawals since the final movie went to Blu-Ray.   When book 7 was published, we fans still had the movies to look forward to.'s Pottermore.  And I am not embarrassed.  We all have our I right?  (Even if I'm not...shhhhhhhh...)

Since I didn't get chosen to be part of beta, I've been looking forward to Pottermore opening to the public.  And, according to the website, it should open for us in early April.  (The e-books are already out!)  However, it is now April 7 (April 8 in Europe, etc.) and still no Pottermore.  I just know it's coming soon! 

So, I sit here, cleaning, and checking the website periodically...because, well, when I hyper-focus, I do it BIG TIME!  Dear Blog Land, you are not forgotten...only temporarily put on hold!!

Here is a quote to sustain me....maybe...

"He that can have patience can have what he will."--Benjamin Franklin

I'm trying!! ::biting my nails::


Thursday, April 5, 2012


I'm so happy it's a four day weekend!!! Driving home today, I actually thought it was Friday! I'm usually kind of bummed that I'm not in school, but lately I've been just fine leaving at a normal time everyday!  I can't really pinpoint a reason; "blah" seems to be my theme.  However, after this weekend, I will be ::squee-cited::!!

I have some really good ideas on games that I can play with my students the week before STAAR Reading.  I'm going to create a few this weekend and post them on "Free Printables".  One of them incorporates the ZAP! game that I stole borrowed from MiMi at  5th grade rocks, 5th grade rules .

I'm so excited about my follower count!  ::doin' a happy bunny hop:: I at 96 and counting!  When I reach 99, I will announce my 100 follower giveaway!  Now, I'm still a newbie at this.  I don't have a TPT or TN store.  But I do have a simple idea or two up my sleeve!

Here's a quote that made me laugh:

I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.-- TheAirForceWife

I know, right???  Stay tuned, my friends!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Party Day!

This has been a tiring week!  And the sad part is, it's been a normal I don't know why I'm so tired.  I come home everyday and take a nap for 45 minutes to an hour.  I think some of it has to do with the fact that I am not working out.  I may not have lost any weight, but I definitely had more energy!  Ugh...and, because of my ankle, I have another excuse not to go!! Yay, me!   I might as well just throw $33 in the trash each month.

**Pity party over**

Today, 3rd and 4th graders took a "mock" STAAR in Language Arts and Math.  I chose to handle mine a different way.  (These were teacher created and not required by the district.)  One of my team members compiled the 4th grade copy.  Instead of giving the test like a "mock" exam, I'm going to break it into pieces over three of four days.

My theory behind this is that my quarters are burnt out! Period.  They just finished the STAAR Writing test.  And now it seems like we are doing nothing but drill, drill, drill.  My ELLs seem to stress out and get anxious.  I understand why 3rd grade did the practice...they haven't tested since the benchmark.  I also understand Math in 4th, to an extent.  It's a good idea, I just don't think it's worth it for my least not in the way intended.  After my quarters finish the test next week, I'm going to disaggregate the data and see where we stand.  Then I'm only going to focus on the areas we need severe help in.

Of course, life has a way of biting me in the a@@,  so I may regret my choice when the STAAR rolls around.  But I guess this is the year to make mistakes...

**Grumpy pants party over**


Monday, April 2, 2012


I am linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade and participating in my first ever "Currently" linky party!


GOSH!!! I am sooooo computer illiterate!!! It took me an HOUR to figure out how to get this done and on my page!!  Then, while I'm doing it, I realize how easy it actually was!  What's funny is that many of my students could probably have loaded this in 5 minutes without having to look through Farley's old posts to see if I could find out the directions!

Thank gawd I have a Rowling quote to go to for this situation:

Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain.  ~J.K. Rowling

Yea! So there, Mr. Currently-picture-text-computer-load-up-thingy!!!  In my day...we used typewriters!!!!!!!  Hahahahahaha!!