Sunday, April 28, 2013

Testing Anxiety

Our state testing begins this week!  This is the first time my kiddos have to take the CBTs (curriculum-based tests) so they're a little anxious about them.  I'm always anxious no matter how experienced my students are just because I know they are prepared, but that doesn't always show up in the results.  What will be nice is this year I'll be able to see the unofficial scores after the kids finish.  Previously, we would get the reports in the fall even though we'd have a whole new group of kids by that time and the scores wouldn't be something we could do anything about anymore.

In order to decrease their anxiety, we've talked a lot about the tests, practiced how to use the computers, and focused on things they could do to be prepared, such as get at least 8 hours of sleep, eat a nutritious breakfast, get to school on time, and try their best.  My school is even doing a little activity the two weeks that we're testing.  The kids fill out a slip every day that asks them if they did the things previously mentioned for that day and they kids earn points.  At the end, the kids will get some kind of reward for trying their best.  We'll see how it works, but it's a good way to get them to think about their effort and preparedness.

I also want them to feel my support over the next two weeks, so I spent my Sunday creating little treats for them to have on their testing days.  Thankfully we only have 4 in 3rd grade (2 days LA, 2 days math).  They'll get some Smarties, Starbursts, Blow Pops, and a little Crunch bar.  I downloaded a super cute freebie from Ginger Snaps on TPT that I attached to each treat as you can see in the pictures below.  I just love awesome sellers like her who offer irresistible freebies.  I really wasn't looking forward to creating my own.  You can get them too by clicking HERE.

I hope your testing goes well.  If you're already done, then consider me jealous!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rainforest Fun

I apologize for being away.  It's been really hectic here and I'm in mourning because spring was here for about a week and now it's snowing.  SNOWING!  I couldn't wait to get some of my container plants going, and now each night my bathtub gets filled with pots so that I don't lose them to the cold temperatures and snow.  On the plus side, the bathroom smells wonderful each morning! :) Our cat, Moxie, is also sad because she likes to lay out on our balcony in the sunshine, but there hasn't been much of that either.

Anywho, we've been studying the rainforest in science class and I've got my kiddos doing a doozy of a project.  They each randomly drew a rainforest animal and are giving an oral report in front of the class.  You should have seen some of their faces when I announced this! They are also creating some kind of representation of their animals at home to present during their reports.  I'm really excited to see what they come up with.  I'll post pictures when they're all finished.

I actually had to do the same project when I was in third grade and I was assigned the three-toed sloth.  I sucked at art and could not figure out how to make a 3D replica of a sloth so I sketched a large picture on paper, cut it out, stapled it to another paper, and stuffed it with Kleenex!  Oh lordy, how awful it was! :)  The awfulness of it will forever be etched into my memory because I was so disappointed with myself.  Hopefully my kiddos will have a different experience.  I'm doing everything I can to help them feel prepared because I know how scary it can be to speak in front of the class.  If anyone's interested in my letter to parents, rubric, or research organizer, let me know and I'll share!

While we're learning about the rainforest, I wanted the kids to make a flip book of its layers.  I envisioned it in my mind and searched TPT for something similar so I wouldn't have to spend my weekend creating one, but alas, that's what I had to do.  I think it turned out really well and we'll be using it in class this week.


You can find it along with an anchor chart and a review worksheet in my TPT shop by clicking HERE.

Cross your fingers that I'll be able to leave my plants outside at night sometime this month!  Hope you all are having better luck with the spring weather.