Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Testing Time!

Before I left on maternity leave, I was teaching a 6/7 combined class.  My mind is no longer on school, but from time to time, ideas come to mind.... and it gets me thinkin'.

If I were teaching right now, I would be preparing for Provincial Testing. And by preparing, I don't mean creating practice booklets or overheads or reviewing everything we have learned in the past year. Rather, I would be trying to brainstorms how to create a "non-testing" environment. Thinking about unique ways to make this test FUN.

I have taught grade 3 and 6 many times. Each time I have tried to create a classroom that reflects more of  a party, than a testing gallery. For example, a few years ago, my teaching partner Christine (the "C" in K&C), sent home a parent note explaining the testing, as well as a daily pot luck signup sheet. Each parent (if they wanted to) filled out a form as to what they wanted to make or purchase (healthy choices). Each day, Christine and I set up a smorgasbord of healthy treats for our kiddos. When the students finished on section of the test, we would take a break, put on music and have a little reception. The kids would relax and chat and decompress.

 In addition to the buffet of food, we would also put little gifts/treats/notes on the students desks each morning. Every day, they would walk in and smile..... They couldn't wait to see what was awaiting them and couldn't wait to see what food was ready for them at the back of the room.

I follow a teacher named Sarah Young on Instagram-- Her blog is called "A Rocky Top Teacher".
Her class completed their state testing last week. I just adore the way she welcomed her kiddos into her room each day.

Even the staff and other classes in the school wrote motivational messages to the students taking the test. 


After the 3 days of testing, I always try to have a "We Survived Testing Celebration" day!
One year I put together "A Minute to Win It", post-testing.

I recently read this article on CNN about US parents pulling their kids from testing. Which is why I am blogging about this, today.

It's no different here in Ontario, Canada.

You see, I think WAAAAAAY too much pressure is put on kids, teachers, administration and parents when it comes to testing. We all do better, when we aren't pressured or are working in a calm atmosphere. If a teacher does his or her job all year long, then in my opinion, there is no need to slam the students with practice booklets and daily test discussion.

I ask my students to try their absolute best. I make sure that every day they walk inside my classroom during "testing time" they are greeted with excitement, rather than anxiety.

Some kids rock the test, while others bomb it.
It's truly one snapshot of one day.
 All I ask of my kiddos is their best. That's all any one can ask for :)

Happy Testing.
No Stressing.


Saturday, 9 May 2015

Mother"s Day

Here is what we did for mother's day in my classroom. You might have seen it before but I really like how they turned out.  

Mother's Day Purse 

This year I found animal printed craft paper to make a mother's day purse. Our local Michael's Craft store had 40 pack sheet booklets and it was worth every cent.  The students chose prints that felt and looked like actual purses. 

Step one: I made a template of the outline of the purse. The students traced the outline on the craft paper and cut the shape out. 

Step Two:  Using pipe cleaners and beads the students stringed beads to make the purse handle. A great fine motor activity for small fingers and hands. You could choose to have them create patterns and use this as a math assessment. 

Step Three:  Fold down the top flap and make a nice straight crease, then fold up the bottom half of the purse to fit just under the top flap. See picture. 

Step Four:  Have the students write their own message on the inside of the purse. We went with "Happy Mother's Day!  I love your "purse"onality!

Step Five:  Place a velcro fastener for the purse latch. 

Step Six: The final touch is to add to the purse something for mom. I have done a package of tea in the past, and this year I also approached our local Shopper's Drug Mart for a donation and the cosmetics counter graciously donated facial masks that we added to the purse. 

Finished Product!  Beautiful purse for all the beautiful mother's of our class.

Have a great Mother's Day weekend. 

Here is a special Mother's Day message to my TPT partner and incredible friend on her first Mother's Day.



Sunday, 3 May 2015

Teacher Appreciation Sale!

I once read this portion of an article from NPR about teaching and the profession:
"Teaching, once a revered profession, has of late been much maligned. Teachers are accused of laziness and greed. They're blamed for low test scores, and a general decline in the nation's educational standing. Most people believe their work day is short and their vacations are long"....
Within the article was this poem. I am sure many of you have read it before, but from time to time we need to be reminded of what teacher's really do day to day.
To all of the teacher's out there..... know that you are appreciated! You make a difference.
A poem by: Taylor Mali

    The dinner guests were sitting around the table
discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain
the problem with education. He argued:
"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided
his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests that it's true
what they say about teachers: "Those who
Those who can't ... teach."

To corroborate, he said to another guest: "You're a
teacher, Susan," he said. "Be honest. What do you

Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness,
replied, "You want to know what I make?"

I make kids work harder than they ever thought they
could. I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal
of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the
student did not do his or her very best."

"I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence."

"I can make parents tremble in fear when I call home"

"You want to know what I make?"

"I make kids wonder."

"I make them question."

"I make them criticize."

"I make them apologize and mean it."

"I make them write."

"I make them read, read, read."

"I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely
beautiful, and definitely beautiful over and over and
over again, until they will never misspell either one
of those words again."

"I make them show all their work in math and hide it
all on their final drafts in English."

"I make them understand that if you have the brains,
then follow your heart...and if someone ever tries to
judge you by what you make, you pay them no

"You want to know what I make?"

"I make a difference."

"And you? What do you make?"