Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Testing on the Horizon

It is the time of the school year when testing starts lurking in the future.  You are stressed, the day is drawing nearer and it seems that everything you have taught your students throughout the year has jumped right from their brains.  Rest assure that they will do fine.  Here are a few tips to help review before the big day:

1. Review Testing Skills
- covering answers to see if you can answer first
- highlight important words
- highlight the answer in the text
- showing all of your work
- read the questions first

2. Review Types of Questions
- Check out online sample questions and review with your students.  This gives them the chance to ask questions.

3. Give Out "Smart" Pencils
- I like to give students a smart pencil at this time of the year.  The students study with their smart pencil.  They tell the answers to the smart pencil so that on testing day the pencil knows the answers too!

4. Stock Up On Snacks!

5. Plan Fun Learning Activities
- Do something fun after testing to engage your students.  (Play learning games, set up economy store, write reader's theaters, have students design math games.)

Getting Ready For Testing

This is the time of the year that I find myself reviewing the year and beginning to think how I will change things and make them better for the next year.  Testing season is quickly approaching and I worry if I gave my students every tool they need in order to be successful.  I want to be able to know that I have taught everything by this time of year and know who mastered each standard.  I created a guide for each grade K-6 to use to help assist with long-range planning and reflection.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Rocks and Minerals Labs

A great way to manage your rocks and minerals unit is to group your students.  This will help make your experiments a little more manageable and allow you the opportunity to have great discussions with your groups.  But what to do with your other groups?

How about:
1. Finding great rocks and minerals webpages for them to explore.
2. Create Rocks and Minerals choice boards.
3. Play Vocabulary and Review Games.

The experiments are what will help the students remember the skills.  Let them explore and ask questions. Create lab guides to help guide their thinking as they work through the scientific process.

Book Review - Baby Mouse for President

What a great way to kick off you democracy unit or student council elections! Baby Mouse for President by Jennifer L. Holm  is a winner with humor, wit, and great graphics. I'm sure your class will run to the library to check out the rest of the series! An excellent read for your students who need a little motivation.