Summer Writing Workshops

Whew!  Testing is OOOOOOVER!  Now…the waiting game…  😉

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to summer.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my job…but I love my family even more, and spending the summer with them is priceless, something I look forward to every year.

Speaking of summer, what are your plans?  Are you able to totally turn off school?  I try, but it still nags at me every once in awhile.

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I wanted to personally encourage you to check out Gretchen Bernabei this summer if you’ve never had the opportunity to go to one of her trainings.  She is amazing!  (No, I don’t get paid for advertising–this is just how I feel!)  If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused or even confident in your abilities to teach writing, I recommend her workshops.  She will share so many things that make you go, “Oh!  That’s good!”  She truly makes writing make sense…to both teachers and students…of all age levels.  She is the mastermind behind everything…well, almost everything ;)…that I do in my classroom involving writing.

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And you know what else?  I’ll be at the San Antonio and Austin workshops!  She has asked me again to set up my table with some student work and to be there to answer questions from teachers about how I use her resources in my classroom.  I did this back in January and had a great time!  I know these workshops will be just as productive and engaging as the last!

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The dates are:

  • San Antonio-June 25 & 26
  • Austin-July 28 & 29

You can register through her website here.  You can even purchase your ticket now and pay later, but hurry–the workshops fill up fast!

So go ask your principal if you can attend.  It will be money well-spent!!  I promise!!

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Egg Hunt Wrap-Up

Today we had our test prep egg hunt. Well, not so much a “hunt” as a find an egg on the ground that isn’t hidden. Haha. We had such a great time. In fact, my kids told me the day went by REALLY fast today. That’s good news!

I put the eggs out as soon as I got to school this morning. This time of year (in the mornings, anyway) is usually very sticky here in Texas. My hair and makeup looked hideous wonderful by about 5 minutes in. 😉

My students grabbed a clipboard and their response papers and we headed outside, excitement hardly contained. I told them the rules beforehand, so they knew what to expect.

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They got right to it! Determination took over them as they worked. The promise of amazing prizes had everything NOTHING to do with it. Yeah, right!

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I gave them released test questions from the STAAR test from last year, and they really surprised me…in a good way. Many of them really tried hard and worked out the problems just like they will tomorrow.

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After an hour, we went back inside. I didn’t want to burn them out the day before the test. We went over the questions quickly and called it a day. A productive day, at that!

Good luck to all of you who are testing this week. From one teacher (and mom) to another…thank you for everything you do to make a difference. 😉

See you on the other side…

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Five For Friday

Happy Friday!  We made it another week…woo hoo!  Today I’m linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her weekly linky: Five For Friday.

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It’s been awhile since I linked up, but I’ve had lots going on lately and thought I’d join in the fun.

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We tried letting the 2 year old help with baking a cake…

Yeah, that didn’t go so well…

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So he had to watch the hubs and I do it instead.

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 He was so excited…and didn’t quite understand that it wasn’t ready to eat as soon as it was mixed.

He waited patiently impatiently while it was in the oven.

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When it was ready, he wanted to help.

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I should have taken a picture of his face when it finally came out.  Priceless!

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I’ve been a little mischievous lately…

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Bad grammar just makes my skin crawl.  Anyone else have this syndrome?

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My in-laws came down (a couple of weeks ago) bearing gifts for the little man.

Have I mentioned he LOVES Disney Cars and Planes?

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He was SO excited that Pappy brought him some new ones he didn’t already have.

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It’s hard to see, but he had the BIGGEST smile on his face!

Oh…and Pappy brought the Texas Rangers batting helmet, too!

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My husband has a few harmonicas around.

Apparently he has played them some in his past…

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You have to click on the link to see the video.  Little man decided to give it a try.

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This afternoon was absolutely gorgeous.  So why not spend some time playing outside?

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My mom got him into collecting rocks from the backyard and putting them into his “buckets.”

And he decided to take them everywhere today.  Even on the slide.

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Today was the first time he went down his slide over and over and over again.

He’s a little timid when it comes to slides, so this was a big step!  :)

Obviously, my world often revolves around my little guy.  I love him so much!

Nothing “teachery” for my FFF today…except maybe my OCD grammar problems…

What did you do this week?  Go link up with Doodle Bug Teaching!

Or if you don’t have a blog, just hop on over and check it out!  :)

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April Currently

I’m linking up again with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her April CURRENTLY.

Oh, the joys of state testing.  Anyone else feel extreme fatigue?  I know I do!

Another short post, but this one is always fun.  I enjoy reading others on her linky, too.  If you click the link above you can see what other teachers are up to.  It’s always interesting to see how much we are alike….and different!

Have I ever said how much I LOVE Ranger baseball?  If there is a game being played, it’s on at our house.  My husband and I have both had the opportunity to go to a World Series game when they were in it.  So. Stinkin’. Awesome.  I could talk baseball all day. (Except that the team is all different this year, so I’m having to learn them all and their positions again.)

I’m currently loving the fact that one day of STAAR Writing is over.  Once tomorrow is over, we can focus more on Reading and Math.

I have a Manske roll downstairs that I really want.  But more than that, I don’t want to walk another step today.  If you don’t know what a Manske roll is, find out here.  Best. Sweet rolls. EVER.  As in…you can taste the butter in the sauce!  I’m sure there’s an entire day’s worth of calories in one half of one of those bad boys…but man, they’re good!!!

My bed is calling my name.  I need more sleep.  Enough said.

I, like many of you, set my alarm much earlier than I actually get up.  It drives my husband crazy.  But…I usually get to school around 7:00.  The kids get to the room at 7:30.  They get to leave at 3:00, but teachers have to stay until 4:00 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.  Wednesday is our long day…5:00.  Mandatory. Then on Fridays we can go home after our kids are gone.  Always changing!

What are you up to this month?  Link up and let us know!

 

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Your Opinion, Please!

Good afternoon! Apparently I just can’t stay away from blogging for long periods of time. I might have a blogging problem. 😉

I just wanted to drop in quickly to get some feedback from my followers. If you have time, I would like you to respond to a couple of questions.

1. What products do you wish you had to promote learning in your classroom–as in a downloadable product?

2. What could you use to help prepare your kiddos for their upcoming tests? Task cards? Quizzes? PowerPoint presentations? Worksheets? Daily skill review? Bell work? And what subject?

I’m done creating writing task cards–for now–and would like to create some products that would help you and/or your students in these upcoming weeks to help them need up their skills. Leave me a comment with your wishes, and if I can help you out, I’ll get you yours for free. 😉

How does that sound?

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It Will Be OK: The Final Days of Writing Test Prep

I don’t know about you, but these last few days have absolutely FLOWN by! My days are slipping away incredibly fast. Is there a way to just stop the clock…even for just a little bit? If only…

So…I just wanted to drop in to say…it will be ok! Breathe. Relax. It will be ok.

I know we are all cramming as much as we can into little minds that are probably overwhelmed already. Our little minions are required to know SO much…maybe even more than we think they should be held accountable for, but that’s life, right?

For this reason, I have decided to slow it down a little. Last week, my kiddos were getting frustrated that they weren’t able to actually finish a piece of writing until Friday, so this week I chose to give them only 2 prompts for the week, rather than 4. I want to be sure that they can get from plan to final copy without getting “writing hiccups.”

Do your kids ever pull new tricks out of their hats right before the test that make you cringe? Oh, say…start writing half a page or forgetting their purpose for writing? Yeah…mine, too. I just want to pull my hair out when that happens, but I also know that they are just getting nervous and that…it will be ok.

I’m planning to do a gallery walk on Friday. I’m going to post well-written papers, both narrative and expository, around the room for students to read and write down their noticings. I think this will be a great wrap-up from the week. Instead of cramming even more, I’ll ease up a bit and do lots of discussing.

Our principal has been a great supporter of our efforts in writing, too. Each morning this week, I have chosen one student to read an awesome paper during announcements for the whole school to hear. The students are ecstatic to be chosen, and it shows the rest of the campus how hard we have been working. It’s a win-win!

On Monday, I’m going to give the students their very first piece of writing to look at. This is always fun. It shows them how incredibly far they have come this year. Kids don’t always realize how much they learn, so this visual really hits home with them. In fact, some of them even tell me that “it’s not [their] paper.” When I show them their name at the top, it’s indisputable. Some of them are embarrassed. Others are in awe of what their writing looks like now. Whatever the case, it’s so fun to watch. 😉

We will end our time (after a little review) with drawing pictures. Pictures, you say? Yes, pictures. I have the students draw a line down the middle of a piece of white paper. On one side, we will draw a picture of the test grader BEFORE he/she grades our paper. The other side will be their face AFTER he/she reads our paper. The “before” side is always funny–steam coming out of the ears, eyes rolling in the back of the head, foaming at the mouth–you name it. The “after” side is always a face with a huge smile.

How will you end the last couple of days? Are your kids tired? Are YOU tired? Just remember…IT WILL BE OK!!

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