Thursday, April 25, 2013

Elevator Up or Down...and Teachers' kids

 I never was a "teacher's kid," so I can't help but wonder how that feels sometimes to my own children.  The "other kids" think it's awesome.  My own children have been informed on many occasions, "You get to stay after school with your mom??"  "That's so cool!"  Although my children would assure them it wasn't all that great, I'm not so positive they were believed.  Just recently my daughter, who was helping me carry a load to my office, and  got on the elevator with me (the cool, but creepy elevator that the teachers get to ride, but not students), a young child commented on how privileged my daughter was for getting to ride that elevator!!  When the doors closed, my daughter said, "Ummm...does she know this elevator only goes up ONE floor, it gets stuck all the time, and it's S-L-O-W-E-R than Christmas?"   :-)  
I guess not! 
This led to my next dinner conversation with my kiddos:  I asked them to share all the PROS and CONS of being a teacher's kid.  I challenge you to have this conversation with your kids if you have any.  It's quite enlightening!  WHO KNEW?  Sharing some of my favorite responses:

PROS:  1.) You have to torture yourself and get up early with us. (*This was positive???)
2.)  When I'm not feeling well, it's nice that you're so close. (Awwww)  3.)  You have the same schedule as us.  4.) If I don't understand something at school, you're pretty good at re-teaching it to me. (*This was ONLY relevant for the child NOT in high school!)   5.) You love snow days as much as we do!  (GUILTY!)  

CONS:  1.) There is NO hiding...grades, homework, behavior...You know TOO much. (*I thought this should go on the PROS list, but this was THEIR list!)  2.) You sometimes think we are your teaching assistants..."Want to help me cut this out?"  "Want to help me grade papers?" (loving their impressions of me doing this)  3.) There are no shortcuts when it comes to school won't let us out the door unless it looks like it could hang on a bulletin board.  (I told them they'd thank me one day for this!)  4.) How many times have we had to stay after school in your classroom until you got finished working?  (Ouch!)  

The list went on and on, and we had some great laughs about it all as they recalled specific incidents, events, and embarrassing moments.  Despite the CONS list, I did get them to admit it wasn't SO TERRIBLE being a teacher's kid, and the creepy, ever so 
S-L-O-W elevator WAS kind of fun (and SCARY)!
In honor of the creepy, old elevator, I have created some games that are great for review, centers, or paired practice.  Kids will enjoy working through the skill cards, and climbing up and down the unpredictable elevator until they get to the top floor for a win.  So far, I have an elevator game for each of the following topics:   multiplication, money, rounding, simplifying fractions, shapes, time, and place value. PLEASE BE SURE TO TRY OUT THE FREE FACTS TO 20 Elevator Game!   There are MORE TO COME soon!  I'd LOVE to hear what YOUR children think the pros and cons are of being a teacher's kid!  If you don't have kids, ask another teacher's kids.  BE ONE OF THE FIRST FIVE TO SHARE YOUR COMMENTS (and email address) and I'll be happy to send you one of the Elevator games for FREE.  Just let me know which one you want! 

Bananas for my honest children and YES, the elevator, which has helped me with BIG LOADS on many occasions.   

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

TEST Prep Help

Oooooo it's April!  You know what that means?  I wasn't necessarily referring to the countdown until summer vacation, either.  I was talking about that "T" word...TESTING time!  So, what do you do to prepare your students for testing?  I blogged last year about our S.P.O.R.T day, which was a huge success!  Our third grade team will be at it again this year wearing their SPORTY gear and reviewing in a fun, relaxing way, using games, hands on activities, and athletic events!  Here's a link to that post from last year in case you missed it!

I've also added a new pinterest board this year called TEST PREP!  Be sure to investigate it, AND leave me your pinterest information if you're interested in becoming a collaborator on that board!  :-)

So what do researchers say about getting students ready for testing?   TIPS FOR TESTING:
1.) Discuss the test with your students.  Think about it...we as adults usually don't like surprises and neither do students.  Discuss the format, time frame, and why they're taking the test.
2.) Practice with your students.  If your state provides practice or sample materials, get them out and use them.  The format will be very similar to the actual test and will not seem so foreign on test taking days.
3.)Teach test taking strategies.  I found a FREE pdf file that does a nice job explaining some strategies you should expose students to when taking tests.  *This requires some pre-planning and NOT waiting until the last minute to teach them. Teach them throughout the year for the best success.
4.)  Review content with your students.  This can be done in a variety of ways and will take some time.  Reviewing content should occur gradually and not all in a couple of settings.  That can be too overwhelming!

SO...teacher're in the trenches WITH the students.  What kinds of activities, resources, tips, or HELP can you share with the rest of us as we all travel down the "T" path this month?  We'd love to know what has worked for you!  LINK UP with 2 of your favorite resources.  It can be a blog post, website, product (ONE FREE and ONE PAID  OR BOTH FREE!) Share your best Test Prep strategies with us!



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