The End of the Year CRAM...

So yesterday our Sunshine Committee (I'm one of the peeps who run it) set up a happy hour celebratory gathering to drink unwind and gossip get to know each other better.  While I was there, one teacher raises her glass of chardonnay, "Here's to 28."

I furrowed my brow and said, "28 what?"

"28 days of school left!" she smiles.

"WHAT?!?  REALLY!!??"

After we clinked our glasses, my mind hasn't stopped.  I have 7 chapters of Social Studies to get through in 28 days!!!  I mean, Social Studies in my state isn't tested so we haven't taught in a few months *ashamed cringe*

This is my potential solution... I have reviews I have made from previous years (I teach Florida History so it doesn't change much - even when we get a new book).  It's basically rephrased questions from the test but in open-ended format whereas the test is multiple choice.  Bad I know... Honestly, I feel like if they can remember the basics, they can Google the rest like everyone else in the world...

Minus our 2 days off for Memorial Day and 3 field trips, we can take a test every 3 days... EEK... Open-book tests too.  Isn't reference and research an important skill to practice??  Any advice?

What do you have to CRAM in at the end of the year?  How do you solve your dilemma?


Earth Day Freebie (and almost at 100 followers!)

Happy Sunday All!

Since Earth Day is today, I decided to give away this Primary Writing Activity :)  Spread the word!  (and help me add a few more followers so I can reach 100 ;)

Find this in my TPT or TN shops :)

Thanks!  And Enjoy!


Function Tables and Area & Perimeter

Happy Tuesday!

So we have two days of testing done *phew* Two more to go.  Math is tomorrow and Thursday and we've really been freshening up on our skills.  I completed two games (and tried them out on my beta group, i.e. my kids).

   "Mrs. Siegel, this is a fun game!" Elan smiles, snatching up a card and racing back to his seat.
   "Really? OK?" I shrugged.  "Glad you are enjoying math today."

This is the same kid who asked me at carpool if I could email him two of the area figures so he could figure them out at home...  Good thing the iPhone is so handy...

I don't know if it was the fact that the kids could get up and move around, work with a friend, or the actual math, but I don't care LOL.  They liked the game and reviewed at the same time.  Mission accomplished.

Here are two of my beauties working together.  I did a quick assessment by putting up one advanced area figure.  Those who got it, were paired with those who didn't.  By the end, everyone was able to do the work.  So here's how it went... I handed each pair a record sheet and one card.  On the card was a complex figure.  They were to determine the area and bring it to me (it's easier to just sit and have the kids come to me in these activities - plus, they get to move around).  If it was correct, they got a check, placed their card on the table, and picked up another card.  If it was wrong, I circled it and they went back to work on it until it was correct.  Once they completed all of the area problems, they got a treat.  Then they were to work on finding the perimeter.  They had a TON of practice today...

Also, on Friday, I had the kids do the same type of activity as above with Function Tables.  Boy, I don't know about you, but so many of my kids confuse patterns with function tables 8-0.  So I posted an infamous problem from one of our review tests.   
So many of my kids put 30!?!  What a good distractor!  After I posted this problem, we did the first function card and I had each student whisper the answer into my ear so I could get an idea of who knew and who didn't.  Once I had that info, I formed pairs and the activity commenced.  Again, lots of practice.  Hopefully it will sink in.  We shall see...



Freebie for 4th grade math teachers

So state testing is next week (FCAT in my neck of the woods) and my school is having a pep-rally on Friday. For this fun-filled event, each grade is to come up with a game (testing related) for the kids.

We use Go Math and decided to make one of my "Match Ups" games for the event. "Match Ups" are card games used to play games like concentration or Go Fish. We divided the work between the three of us. There are three Big Ideas and we each made 20 math questions and answers for the skills. On Friday, each student will get a question card and an answer card to a different question. They are to solve their question and search for the person with their answer. The person with their answer will have the question card that matches their answer card. (picture this as kids are running around a soccer field lol).

Well, I wanted to share this game with all my bloggy friends ;).

It was a collaborative effort, therefore I'm not sure how much was actually copied from the textbook. With that in mind, I'm not going to post it on my blog but rather, would send it to anyone who would like a copy.

If you think you'd like a free copy of the game, comment and leave your email address. I'll send you the three documents. Also, feel free to spread the word on your blogs to your friends.


I've been tagged AND I got my FIRST Blog Award (Thanks Stacey)

Thank you Stacey from 3rd Grade Times for the Lovely Blog Award :)  You made my day!

Also, Marcia at Learning in Bliss has caught me in a game of tag. Yay!  I LOVE games lol. Will you play along too?  YOUR questions are a little bit down the page so keep scrolling.

My ten questions:

1. What is your favorite holiday project for your classroom?

Since many of my students in the public school in which I work are jewish, we don't do any "holiday" projects.  However, we do get into Earth Day.  One part of the project will be to teach the class about one of our National Parks (I will likely post about this in a week or two)

2. Which do you prefer reading/writing or math/science?

Hard question... I've done both through "swapping" classes.  But I've always loved math (even though I'm known as the Writing Guru at my school)

3. What is your favorite piece of technology for your classroom?

LOVE my Smart Board (although I like Promethean better...)

4. What was the last thing that happened in class that made you cry?

OMG!  I was reading Ruby Bridges and I teared up.  The kids were laughing at me... 

5. Who is your favorite children's author?

I LOVE reading the Jerry Spinelli "Back to School Pack".  If only I could find more time in the day for my read-aloud...

6. What is last song you listened to on your iPod or radio?

Right now, I'm listening to The Hunger Games audio book.  As for song, I'm sure is was something 80s.

7. If you could go any where on a trip, where would you go?

*Sigh* I want to go to Fiji or a tropical island somewhere far away.

8. Which do you prefer winter or summer?

WHAT?!? Summer LOL

9. What is your most memorable teaching experience?

I was nominated for Teacher of the Year and did a really cool lesson with roller coasters.  (I need to do this activity again now that I teach science).  I was being observed by administrators from within our region and that activity afforded me the title of Regional Teacher of the Year.

10. Why did you decide to start your blog?

A friend and colleague from school is a blogger (Mor over at A Teacher's Treasure) and she got me interested in it.  I have many ideas to share and love to find new and innovative ways to spice up my classroom activities.  Blogging, I think, has made me a better teacher.

I've tagged the following lovely blogs that I stalk *hehehe*:

Tanya V. at A Class Act
Mor Zrihen at A Teacher's Treasure
Kristen at Ladybug's Teacher Files
Kelly Hall at Fabulous in Fourth!
Mrs. Cupcake at A Cupcake for the Teacher
Shannon Sousa at Tickled to Teach
Sam at A Teacher's Looking Glass
Heather at Loose Shoelaces
The Clutter-Free Classroom
Jessica at dandelions and dragonflies

The rules? Answer the "tagger's" questions, make up ten questions of your own, and tag ten more people.  Remember, here Are The rules: 

*Post these rules* 
*Answer the 10 questions that the "tagger" posted for you* 
*Create 10 questions of your own to ask the people that you're about to tag* 
*Tag 10 people and link them with your post (and let them know they've been tagged!)*

My ten questions for you:
1. What's the last book you read aloud to your class?
2. Which field trip have you enjoyed most and why?
3. Which subject do you enjoy teaching most?
4. What computer program(s) do you think is most effective for student achievement?
5. What could you NOT teach without?
6. What is the most memorable gift a student has given you?
7. Which do you prefer, having students write down their homework or posting the homework on a website?
8. How often do you email/call parents?
9. How do you run literacy centers?
10. Why did you begin blogging?
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