Let the Games Begin!

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  We had a BLAST today, y’all!

**PSA: We had a field trip yesterday, so we started our review today.**


Excuse how dark this picture is…but we turned off the lights, played music, and let the kids just take in the scenery.  So yeah…not great lighting for snapping pictures. #notetoself  It was so much fun to watch their faces as they walked into the room.


We started by using the cards from the Game Show Review Week pack I posted this weekend.  In order to keep them from looking at each others’ answers, I had them put their hands on their head to signal they were ready to answer the question.  All other team members were required to look at the sentence and silently answer it, too. And I have to say…they did really well!


It was very tense at times… #lookatthatfocus


Then came the games.  Turns out…it’s much harder to get a cotton ball off of your nose when it’s pasted on with Vaseline than you might think.


But moving M&Ms with a straw isn’t as hard.  They plowed through that one SUPER fast. #maybetheyreexperts


They didn’t seem to have much trouble with this one.  They were just bummed that I didn’t buy them their own personal M&Ms.  But they lived.  Scouts honor.


They are also MUCH better at slinging ping pong balls out of tissue boxes tied around their waists than I am, that’s for sure!


Even the crowd was quite pleased (and maybe a little nervous at times…) with watching our last game of the day. #bewareofflyingpingpongballs

To say I’m exhausted after today would be an understatement.  My feet hurt.  I’m mentally drained.  But it was oh so worth it.

I’m ready for Day 2.  :)

So I leave you with the BEST picture of the day.  THIS is what I saw today.  THIS is what made our day awesome.  THIS is why I have decided to just say “NO” to traditional test prep with boring worksheets.  THIS is test prep for us.  😉


Until next time…


Game Show Test Prep

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to have some fun with test prep!  No boring worksheets.  No monotony of same thing, different day.  Nope.  Not having it.
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So…I created something that kids are SURE to LOVE!!  GAME SHOW WEEK!!

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We are calling it “STAAR of the Show” in our room.  It’s a BIG secret right now as to what we will be doing next week, so if you see any of my students, don’t tell them!!  Haha.

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This is just the first set that reviews revising and editing.  I will be creating another set for the week before STAAR that includes writing and some mixed skill review.

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There are over 150…yes…ONE HUNDRED FIFTY cards to help students practice their skills in teams and battle it out to earn the most points.

Who WOULDN’T have fun with Minute to Win It games, table games, task cards, and Deal or No Deal?!?! I’m so excited!!

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My student teacher and I have been busy prepping our room for the fun times to come.

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This is going to be awesome.  I’ll check back in soon to let you know how it’s going!!

Interested in getting in on the fun? Just click here to grab a set for yourself! I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Until next time…



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.

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!

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.

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…


The Day Before the STAAR Test

The day before the test.  The day when you go over everything in your head and wonder if you did enough.  The day you want to hammer in last minute strategies.  The day…to have some fun!

You heard me right.  Fun.  That’s what we will be doing tomorrow.  Tuesday is the day of our Math STAAR Test, the state of Texas assessment.  Rather than cramming, we are going to have an egg hunt.  Only our egg hunt will be a little different than Easter egg hunts.


I took all the questions from last year’s released test, cut them apart, and put them into eggs.  I numbered the eggs 1 – 48.  I also created a sheet for students to show their work as they answer the questions.  Students will NOT take the eggs with them after they have completed them.  They will just put the questions back into the eggs and continue on to the next one that they see.


This is a fun way to do some review without it seeming so monotonous.  We have spent the last two weeks reviewing everything we learned over the entire year, so this is something a little more interesting.  It also gets them outside and moving!  Of course, I’ve told them that there will be rewards for questions answered correctly…I just haven’t quite decided what that reward will be.  😉

I’ll do some blogging tomorrow night to let you know how it went.  I’ve done this several times, and the kids always enjoy it.

After we come back inside, we will play a game that is similar to $100,000 Pyramid with vocabulary words.  I know this will be a winner, too!

What do YOU do the day before the big test?  I’d love to know!  I’m always looking for fun ways to help my kiddos enjoy reviewing.  Let me know in the comments!  :)


Why, hello there!

It’s been awhile since I’ve sat down to blog much.  It has been crazy chaotic getting students ready for state assessments and creating resources that are fun and engaging to keep them motivated.

As most of you who follow me know, I teach writing and math this year.  Weird combination, I know.  But…it works.  We have been told that next year we will all be self-contained, so I’ll be back to teaching all subjects.  My blog may change a bit due to that, but probably for the better.  I’ll just have to categorize my posts into subjects.

So…our writing test is over (whew!), and our Reading and Math are in two weeks.  We are dropping writing for these next couple of weeks in order to get some serious math prep done.  I have very mixed feelings about it, seeing as writing is my absolute FAVORITE thing to teach, but we will pick up where we left off and do some book publishing at the end of April and pretty much all of May.  That’s always a great way to end the year!

Many of you used my 2 week lesson plans for writing test prep, and hopefully you found it useful and thorough.  I planned on posting my math lesson plans, too, but I left them at school in my haste to leave before the storm hit this afternoon.  :/  I’ll try to get them posted tomorrow.

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At the beginning of March, our school had a PLC meeting to showcase things that teachers are doing in their classrooms that are beneficial to learning.  I was chosen to discuss “challenging student behaviors.”  I was asked to speak about a few things I do in my classroom to help minimize disruptions and keep students on task.  Teachers were put into groups and rotated through our stations.  We had a blast!

One of my favorite things I have incorporated into my classroom (that I stole from Pinterest, of course) is scratch-off tickets.  My kids will do almost ANYTHING for one! I use them for any positive behavior I want to reinforce…staying quiet, being prepared for class, answering questions, asking questions, etc.

I’ve always liked it when I can take something back with me to use immediately after learning about it, so I decided to give the last 2 minutes or so of each of my presentations to allow teachers to make their own scratch-off tickets.  I copied several, laminated them, and cut them out.  I set out different colors of paint on the table for teachers to paint over the rewards they chose, and let them take the tickets with them.

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And now on to my Monday Made It.


I’m linking up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics again.  If you have never taken the opportunity to head over and check out her monthly linky, I highly suggest that you do.  There are so many neat posts about all kinds of things!



I’ve already posted several of these, but I’ve been hard at work making task cards with QR codes for my students.  They have really enjoyed being able to incorporate technology into their learning.  The funny thing is…they are doing the EXACT same skills, but it’s just more fun because they get to use iPads to check their answers.  And they loved getting into groups to discuss their answers and rules they had learned.

I just finished up a set of new task cards…this time…yep, they are MATH!  😉  You can grab a set in my TpT store if you are interested.  They cover Category 1 of the STAAR Math TEKS, but I know they align to CCSS, too.



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If you are interested, you can grab a set from my TpT store.  **Also, the first 2 people to comment on how you would use them in your classroom will snag a set for free!



I’ve been busy creating posters to go along with my math lessons.  I’m sure you’ve seen these before, but I thought I’d share anyway.  One of them comes from a TpT freebie from Catnip’s Word Walls.  SUPER cute transformation posters!  I printed them small and put them onto one poster, but they are a great visual to my students.

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Gallon King: To help students with capacity

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These pictures aren’t great quality, but you get the idea!

Obviously, everything for my MMI is related to test prep.  :(  This is NOT my favorite time of year, but…as they say…this, too, shall pass!  Thank goodness for that!

This post was pretty long, so thanks for hanging in there with me!  If you are a first time visitor, take a look around my blog…I promise most of my posts aren’t this drab.  It’s just THAT time of year.  We’re all pooped and ready for summer test prep time to be O-V-E-R!

Don’t forget to hop on over to Tara’s blog to find more Monday Made It fabulous ideas!!



Test Prep Rewind: 2 Weeks of STAAR Writing Review

It’s done.  Our two weeks of test prep are over.  It went by so quickly that I hardly even remember it!  I took some pictures of my kiddos as they worked this week.

They thoroughly enjoyed the task cards I made.  And the best part of it was the conversations I heard as I walked around, listening in on what they had to say.  It’s always nice to hear them discussing the reasons why they choose their answer AND why the other answers are wrong.  To me, that speaks volumes to the amount that they actually know.  They were able to explain and justify all of their answers.  Here are some pics of them with their task cards this week.

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Any time I can use QR codes, I do it.  My kids LOVE using their iPads to check their work.  Even though they are doing the EXACT SAME THING as they do on a worksheet, they think it’s “so much fun!!!”  Silly kids!  😉

On Friday, I was limited to only about an hour and a half for each of my two groups (for math AND writing) due to interruptions in our schedule, so I had to change my plans.  We went ahead and drew our pictures of the STAAR graders.  One the left side of their pictures, they drew how they looked after reading countless boring, unorganized, repetitive, and unfocused papers–BEFORE they read their papers.  On the right side they drew how the STAAR grader looked after reading their AH-mazing papers!  They crack me up.

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You have to click on the pictures to make them bigger to REALLY see what they drew.  Some of them are hilarious!  😉  They had a great time, and our time together was full of smiles and laughs.  What a great way to end the week!

Tomorrow, we will do our gallery walk.  I’m going to print several of the writing samples that I have here on my blog for them to look at and discuss.  Before we do that, we will take a look at the narrative and expository STAAR writing rubrics and talk about what makes a 3 or 4 point paper.  Why waste time on the 1 and 2, right?  They will see that they are ALL capable of writing a 3 or 4 once our discussion is over.  I need them to KNOW that they can do it.  Confidence is key going into this test.  I don’t want nervous kids–I want kids that know that they can ROCK that test!

As an added bonus, I will have them write down which score they think the papers should receive.  I’m using papers that should probably score a 3 or 4.  No matter how much you look at the rubric, it’s all still subjective.  That’s why they have 2 graders look at them, and they may or may not agree with each other on the scores.  Funny how that works, huh?!

Here are some links to some papers I will be using tomorrow:

Narrative Writing Samples: A Positive Note Home, Please, Blog post with 3 narrative samples (open in Word).

Expository Writing Samples: Go Meet Your Teacher Night, Football, Summer, Dance Season, Winter, Fantastic Friends, Multi-Tool Knife

You are welcome to use these if you are going to do a gallery walk, but I would suggest using your own students’ writing to make it more personal.  However–I know how it is to have to look back through a bunch of papers to try to find some worth posting!  That’s one reason I’m glad I have a blog.  It helps me keep track of things like that and makes it so much easier to go back and print things.

If you don’t like those, I have several posts that link to both narrative and expository writing samples.  You can search for them at the top right side of your screen.

What are your plans (those of you who are from Texas) for the last day before THE test?  What else do I need to do?  Do you have a cute/creative way to pump them up?  I would LOVE to know!

If I don’t hear from you before Tuesday, GOOD LUCK!!  May the odds be ever in your favor!  😉