Saturday, March 9, 2013

ISTEP is a good time!

This week was ISTEP+, Indiana's standardized test. It can be a stressful time but I try to make it a little less stressful in my class. Of course, our preparation for ISTEP+ begins on Day 1 of school but I found a GREAT idea on TpT for doing some test prepping in a new way. We tried it a few times in recent weeks and the kids blew me away! The discussions I overheard and the answer defenses I observed were exciting to see! I highly recommend giving Laura Candler's Buddy Test Prep activity a try. It definitely took some conversations to a deeper level and I was really impressed and encouraged!

Pinterest ABOUNDS with ideas for test treats. Last year, I went with the "smart cookie" idea.

This year, since we tested for 3 days, I opted for a small treat each day.

Day 1: Andes mints

Day 2: Smarties candy

Day 3: Fruit Roll Ups--Last day!!

Yay! It's over and we survived... well, until Part 2 in April. In the meantime, here is a cute little video to get the kids excited about ISTEP, put together by another Hammond school, Lincoln. Enjoy!

Purdue's "R-Dub" Club

Since 2005, my class has been a participant in the Purdue University Calumet's "R-Dub" Club (Reading and in "dub-ya"! Get it??). We are one of three classes in the entire district to participate and the only class to have participated since the first year! Every spring, athletes from the men and women's basketball teams visit our classroom once a month to introduce a new chapter book. They read a few chapters out loud together and then discuss what was read. Finally, the students have the opportunity to interview the athletes to learn more about them. The students make notes from the interview in their writing journals. After the visit, we spend a couple days in writer's workshop, putting together articles about the athletes. We make the articles into a book and present it to them at the next visit. In January, the featured book was The Mouse and the Motorcycle. In February, it was Frindle. The last two books in March and April will be Stone Fox and Dear Mr. Henshaw. As participants in the program, the students and their families also get to be guests at a home basketball game in the late winter. Here are some photos from a recent visit:

Athletes from the women's basketball team read from the new chapter book as the students follow along in their copies.

The first book we created and presented to the team in February.

Our next visit on March 22nd and we can't wait! We enjoy being a part of this program every year and look forward to many more years in this partnership!

Catching up...

I'm playing Saturday morning catch up--lots to share about what we've been up to the past month. Life has gotten in the way and I haven't been able to post recently. So expect several posts from me today!

First up? Valentine's Day! We did a few things that week to celebrate the holiday. To start, I found a cute idea from Laura Candler on TpT for a cinquain writing activity. The students interviewed each other following her format and created very sweet Valentine's for that person. They turned out pretty cute!

I also remembered finding a cool idea for making Valentine mailboxes on Pinterest and I thought I pinned it but cannot find it. The only idea I actually used from it was having students use empty cereal boxes for them. We then tore pieces of construction paper to create a mosaic look to the boxes. The students took them home, decorated and returned them on party day.

Lastly, I was excited to share my Valentine's for the students with them. I borrowed an adorable idea from The Teacher Wife as part of it. I found the cute V-Day pencils and gift bags at the dollar store and filled a couple little other goodies from Oriental Trading (bought during a free shipping weekend!). They turned out really cute!

It was a week of love in C107!