Archives for March 2014

STAAR Writing Prompt Study

OK, I need to take just a small bit of your time to brag on my kiddos tonight.  Nothing big to most people, but it was a HUGE step in the right direction in my eyes!

Today our students had to participate in a Writing Prompt Study from the state. I didn’t really know what to expect, and like all standardized tests we give, we aren’t allowed to look at what they are doing.  The only thing we ARE allowed to do is read the writing prompt to them.  Other than that…NOTHING!

So…I have no idea how they actually did, but I do know one thing.  Nobody freaked out.  Everyone wrote SOMETHING.  And best of all…NOBODY raised their hand and asked, “Do I HAVE to plan my paper?” or “What are these blank pages for?”  THAT, my friends, is accomplishment!  I think this is the first year that ALL of the students wrote a plan and didn’t ask questions about it.

Did they all write on topic?  I will probably never know, but I’m just so darn proud of the fact that they were able to come up with ways to organize their papers and NOT stress about it.  We have done so much work preparing for the “real deal,” and I hope this success continues!  We still have 3 weeks to upgrade our writing and try out new text structures.

I know I say this all the time, but I feel like I owe everything my students know to Gretchen Bernabei.  This is the first year that I have used her resources consistently, and it has paid off BIG TIME for my students.  Her resources WORK.  Not just for my kids, but for kids of all ages.  You know…she actually teaches middle school…but the methods she uses work for ANY age.  If you haven’t looked into her stuff, DO IT NOW!  It’s never too late to try something new!

I have lots of her resources already posted on my Writer’s Workshop page.  I’ve even had teachers email me about how to use those resources.  I’ve had hour-long conversations with teachers over the phone.  I stand by her work 100%.  I’m here to help in any way that I can.  REALLY!

This whole experience today makes me confident that my students will ROCK their test in April.  It makes me excited to see what else they can learn in these next few weeks, knowing that they have already overcome a huge part of that battle.  I can’t wait to see them in action again.

Are your students ready?  Are you as pumped as I am?  What do you plan to do during the time you have left?  I’d LOVE to hear your ideas!  I might just need to do the same things!


March Currently

I’m linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her March Currently!  I always forget about this link-up until I feel it’s too late, so I’m excited to actually be on time for this one!  😉

March Currently

Since there seems to be nothing worth watching on TV on the weekends these days, we have been indulging in Cheers episodes.

I am SOOOO loving that Spring Break is coming in 5 school days.  We were the “lucky” ones from our district chosen to do a Writing Prompt Study (aka: pilot test) for the state, so we will be doing that on Monday.  I’m getting my official observation on Thursday, so wish me luck!  I don’t know how smart that decision was being that the kiddos are usually pretty checked out by then…

We have seen these new 2014 Disney Planes Easter basket stuffers on eBay, but we can’t seem to find them in stores.  REALLY wish I could find them.

Ah, the joys of potty training…or NOT!  The little man seems to think he needs to go potty anywhere BUT the potty.  *sigh*  BOYS!!!

Ever since we moved into our new home in late October, I can’t seem to get to sleep before 10:30.  My old bedtime was around 9:00.  Many nights I find myself looking at the clock at 11:00 or 11:30, so it would be nice to get to bed early and get some much needed rest.

The last one with ???????? is one for you to figure out.  If you read the rest of my Currently, you can figure it out relatively easily.  *Hint: If you combine a couple of them together, you’ll get it.   What do you think it is?  Leave a comment below.  I might just pick a winner or two and give away my Editing & Revising task cards from my TpT store…wink wink.  :)

Happy 1st day of March, y’all!