This is NOT a Test

I know I missed my usual "Let's Talk Tuesday" but I cannot hold this inside.

Student Testing.

More like the FREQUENCY of it.




And this year with our transition into Common Core, testing has been quite frequent.

Take a deep breath.

Testing has not been a new concept, and in theory data can help you to customize learning for your students. But sometimes it I feel like it is doing more harm than good; by making learning extremely exhausting for students and teachers.

Anyone preparing for End- of-Year Teacher Evals, Portfolios or Exit Procedures?

Oh My.

This is our pilot year with our new teachers framework and Common Core Standards. In hindsight, I am pretty excited about a universal plan for learning. But getting there is gonna be tough cookies.

So as a requirement of the new evaluation procedures for teachers, we are measured as a teacher based on how our students perform on tests created to trick  students "extend student thinking and ability to apply learning in a performance based format". 

I am a Comprehensive Special Education Teacher, so I created Student Learning Goals (SLO's) to address foundational skills my students struggle with, specifically basic addition/multiplication fluency. We worked on multiple strategies and skills for students to show growth on these skills without resorting to using a calculator. I am  in know way negating any accommodations they may have; showing growth with the calculator has improved student confidence and motivation, and addresses goals of students striving toward solving multi-digit addition/subtraction problems with and without regrouping.

Sorry for my tangent. I can be pretty annoying passionate sometimes.

Anyway we tested on that last week. And got them scored and we completed our personal growth bar graphs.

YES!! We are finished.

NOT.

I was told we had one more district test, with a short window. It was about 11 questions, with a few BCR's (Performance Tasks), but I was able to start and finish it with 3rd grade today, ready to tackle it with 4th tomorrow. Easy Peasy.

WRONG.

I found out at dismissal that we somehow missed a test. A 60 question EOY. With both 4th and 3rd. 

WHAT!!!

First of all, there is a month and a half remaining, so why are we taking an EOY so early? Students have a month of learning left. Some material I haven't covered completely/at all.

Did I mention it has 60 questions? Because it does.

And here is the kicker. The deadline is Friday. But my classes won't be here Friday due to the Special Olympics.

So tomorrow is the ONLY day I have.

60  frickin questions! And my kiddos get verbatim reading.

I may just die.




When does student learning get to happen!!!!

Does anyone else get the Testing Overkill Blues?

My Bloggin' Self

Hello! Hello!

So, I have not been my usual bloggy self. 

I looked to my right to see I was BARELY here during April.

Not joining in on my favorite link parties.

I can explain it in one word.

END-OF-YEAR-ITIS.

I am trying not to get it but, with the change of weather it's been coming for me.


And it is bringing along it's entourage : EOY Testing, EOY Lazies, EOY Student Behaviors...and Spring Allergies.

I know that doesn't go but...meh.

You get it.

But I had to come on an tell you about a few things I am excited about....


You Ready?


A New LOOK!!


I am the most impatient person on the planet. 

So when I signed up with Megan and was wait listed..AHHH!

I did not think I would survive.

But after months of blog stalking her designs.....

Hitting refresh.....

and emailing MILLION of pre-design questions.....

I am next !!!




I am the most excited person on the planet!

#SLANT


Like the nerd that I am, I love getting mail. Of all kinds, except bills. 

Haha.

So I signed up with Jameson over at Lesson With Coffee for her S.L.A.N.T box linky. Read about it here.



I spoke with my match-up who is suppose to send my package tomorrow. Yay! Stay tuned I will be blogging ALL ABOUT IT. 


And I already signed up for May. Head on over! Deadline is May 3rd.

The Final One


Lastly, Tuesday I will be done-zo with ALL my observations for the year! Woo Hoo!!

Not that it will change my teaching style, but I will not be stressed about all the additional teacher evaluation meeting and paperwork. One less thing to do.

One less. Haha, I totally thought about that commercial that HAS NOTHING to do with anything right now.


Anywho, this post was inspired by my bloggy buddies:

Deidre from A Burst of First 




What Sunday Funday things would you like to share? 

Check out their blogs and link up!!!




Sidenote: Deidre just got a blog update that is super cute from the fabulous Megan....who is doing my blog!!!



I Tried It, so Let's Talk About It: Smelly Spots

So I was doing my usual blog stalking browsing and I ran across an idea that my 6th grade self would have loved- Smelly Spots.

Smelly Spots? First of all, if you if you try to "google" this precious gem, BEWARE.

You will get some pretty weird/ew gross results.

Yeah....

I will spare you the details.

Anyway.....

I happened to stumble upon this idea from a pretty cool blogger, SPRINKLE TEACHING MAGIC. Visit her blog here.

Actually, she has a You Tube Channel and blog, and I forgot EXACTLY what posting lead me to her and why. Meh, but you can check out her You Tube Channel here.

She is hilarious.

Anyways, I was thinking during my Spring Break last week about things I can do to motivate my students for the remainder of the year. Students are showing signs of the End Of Year itch....

And to add icing on the "We Want Summer Now" cake, our district extended our year due to Snowmaggedon 2014.


Introducing Smelly Spots!
SOo..One of my students struggles with behavior. But surprisingly, off of a vacation, she had an awesome day :-)I called her over and talked her up pretty good about how wonderful her behavior was...i told her how she earned all her daily behavior points and I wanted to do something EXTRA SPECIAL.I asked her if she'd ever heard of a smelly spot. 


You should have seen the quizzical look I got.

I reached in my desk, and pulled out lip smackers of various flavors: Watermelon, Kiwi, Cotton Candy, Blah blah. I told her to pick her favorite.

Student: KIWI!!

Me: Excellent Choice...let me see your hand!

* Student gave me her hand and I stamped it on.

Me: That is was an EXCELLENT DAY smells like.

Student : * Cheesing from ear to ear.


I kept preparing them for dismissal as I, one by one, called them over. 

There Their looks of anticipation were so stinkin' cute.

Eventually, they all were walking around sniffing each others hands.It was hilarious!!

I managed to stop giggling to rally them for a group photo.



Okay so, I know what your thinking.

Yes, I had a little too much fun with Photoshop. 

And YES, I literally "lol'ed" as I put disguises on their faces.


Smelly Spots are officially my favorite new incentive.



Have you ever tried Smelly Spots? If you are looking for anything new for the almost summer "home stretch", I highly recommend them.

BTW: Lip Smackers were like 8 bucks at Target, so it is fun and teacher budget friendly!



Have you tried anything new lately? Blog it and Link up here!


Coming SOON to a tpt store near you!!


Hello All!!!


I just wanted to pop in and show you guys how 
have been spending some of my spring break.....


Yaaayyyy!!!
I am very excited to be creating these and 
I CANNOT wait to make them available in my tpt store!

WOOP! WOOP! * humpday camel voice*


Are you excited about anything you are working on?

Leave me some love and let me know.


Now, back to my super awesome Spring Break!!


Five for...Frunday? + another Sunday Funday Link-up!

Blogger Buddies: Where have YOU been the last two F4F link-ups?

Me: ........ ..

*Accio EXCUSE!!*

 #HarryPotterNerd.

Seriously, all I can come up with is, I was extremely busy. 
With the end of the year vastly approaching, it felt like ALL my deadlines have come up at once.

And I was so overjoyed.



Now that the week is over I am so READY to celebrate two of my favorite linky addictions. 

"Hold on ti-eat, it's gonna be a "BUMPAY RIE-DE*"
- Jamaican Shrunken head.


*as a courtesy, I left out the shrunken head pic from the movie...he looks super gross!*

#HarryPotterNerd

Focus Emerald!!!

Like I was going to say....

I am linking up with Mrs. Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for 

And I am also linking up with Molly and Deidre for their 


Here the 5 things I am most excited about.....
(Some have happened and some WILL happen in the near future!)



Observation Three


Have you EVER felt like this? 

I have...PLENTY...in the past.

This week I had my 3rd observation.

::PAUSE::

Backstory: I am not a "new new" teacher, but I am new to the district AND to Elementary Special Education. 

SO it was my 3rd observation with this district.

::UNPAUSE::

Anyway, I usually get nervous when extra people want to invade my teaching bubble. 

FYI: my class = my bubble. 

But, I have been pretty successful thus far with getting my observations over and done..

BTW, I DO appreciate the feedback.

My school has awesome leadership.

Which is a 180 degree different from my VERY first 
gig back in 2010....

 but I digress.

I was slightly nervous at first for observation 3.

Why?

1. This unit has been pretty hard on them.

(I LOVE FRACTIONS!!- says no 3rd grade student EVER.)

PLUS......
2. We have been testing. AND TESTING!!!
3. I go a new students and...
4. There is one student who....
 I am not quite sure what is happening with her.

Moving on.....

I was determined this week would be awesome so...
 I did NO DOG AND PONY SHOW lesson!!

As teachers YOU know what that is.

We were completely ourselves and in our element.

And......And!!! 
My kiddos SURPRISED ME with how much they remembered
 and their High-level responses.

What!!!!

So I asked them harder questions. 

And got detailed responses. 

It.was.awesome.

*Fast forward to end of day*

I wanted to get my post reflection out of the way,
 so I requested it electronically.

I got this email:

Translation: You nailed Observation # 3.







Chick Adoptions

I snagged a cute little Spring activity from Christi at Mrs. Fultz Corner, titled Chick Adoptions.


With this activity, students can take care of a baby chick plush or peep and it includes coordinating activities, such as word problems, writing prompts and the chicken life cycle.

I am not selling it so if you need more info, check out Christi's post here.

My kids loved it!!!
We had an Peep Hunt in our classroom and we completed adoption certificates. Students named their Peep,drew a picture and signed the certificate.

IN CURSIVE!!!

FYI: I am not their writing teacher so they were 
so proud of my swooning over their cursive handwriting.



Kite Day

I am at a lost for words to describe Kite Day.

I have 8 third graders. Then my co-teacher was out, so the 4th grade crew (9 students) stopped by.

Plus 3 classes of at least 25- 3rd graders each (75 students).

Where two of those classes had substitutes (-_-)

Then I turned my head and a few 2nd grade classes were out there.

IT WAS INSANE.

But the kids were having a blast!


We stayed out for about an hour or so...

I do not know where the other teachers were, but I am protective of my bunch so I was in on the action.

I think I fixed about 10 kite casualties. 


And of course one of my kiddos did not

" keep away from the trees"

And he got his kite stuck.

I tried, but I could not get it down.

Then he made this face:


Thank God I had an extra kite.





Baltimore Museum of Industry


This week we had a visit from the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

3rd grade rotated from class to class to participate 
in some pretty cool activities.


Assembly Lines: They created an assembly line similar 
to what Mr. Ford's company developing to 
maximize car distribution.



The Marble Challenge: Similar to roller coaster design, 
they created tubes to bring various size marbles through 
straight and looped designs.

* OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.*



Go the Distance: Who could create a car that would go the farthest? My rotation group had a team with a car that went 17 feet!! It was a group of girls so our 3rd grade fellas were not happy-lol.





The Hogwarts Express and Diagon Alley

I will own my nerdiness on this one.....
Universal is building Diagon Alley!!!!


And...AND!!!!

What is awesome is that is in a different park than their Hogsmeade, so park goers will have the option to take the Hogwarts Express between the two locations.

I cannot stand the excitement!!!

It opens sometime this summer!!

I cannot wait...

So much that  signed up for updates.


Nerd right? lol.

This was the reason for the Harry Potter references earlier.

OBVIOUSLY.




I know I said 5, but this also 

MUST be said.....





For the next week, I will be relaxing and 
taking some much needed "me" time.

And I have no excuse to not link up next week/ or pop online
(in some fashion) to tell you ALL about it!


How was your week last week? What are you looking forward to?

Link up and share your thoughts, plans and blessings!

Let's Talk Tuesday: Do You GO NOODLE?

I have OFFICIALLY gone NOODLES!!


Just kidding....

But I have found a new resource to use in my classroom.



It has been a buzzin' on the teacher bloggosphere. SO my wheels started turning.....

I wondered if my kids would like it.

WHAT KID WOULDN'T?!


Hey, I have even fell in love with it.


"What is Go Noodle?," 

....says the teacher that has been hiding under a rock.

THIS (look down) is GO NOODLE!!!










*jumps into a twisting jig*


I like to call it Brain Break Heaven.

Yeah, that's what it is.

Okay so you start out with a teeny tiny monster goober.

You say monster, I say GOOBER!

Okay so they are ACTUALLY called CHAMPS.

Anyway, your class completes different warm-up, calming or 
just-because-they-are-awesome-and-cool activities...

like Hurdles, or Zumba...and fun little jigs.

or breathing exercises.


OR THE ROBOT!!!



My kiddos melt my heart.

But anyway.....

As they complete tasks, their little Goober grows...
and becomes big and strong...



JUST JOKING!!! She is circa early 90's!!

It grows like this:


And when they finish the levels, they can choose a new Goober.

Here are a few of the "growed up" Champs:


I teach two grades, so I even made it a friendly competition between both classes. So as they are switching I always hear, "Did you guys Go Noodle today?"

Here are my kiddos as they Noodle!



SO STINKIN' CUTE!!!

Now.....

You want to hear the best part?

IT IS FREE!!!


(they have a paid option, but we are enjoying the free version)


I really think my kiddos deserve a little fun after the year we have had, with switching over to Common Core Standards, new testing formats with more BCR's/Performance Tasks, and test after test....

AFTER TEST.

I hope that anyone who is not currently 
"gettin' their noodle on" will do so. 

And if you sign-up and LOVE it, like I know you will....


Okay so BEFORE you leave I have a question....


What other brain break activities are you doing in your classroom? 

Inquiring minds(me)want to know.



Okay, now click the picture (below) to head on over!



FYI: I found this little button on Google! I love it
 and would like to use it on my sidebar...

Does it belong to YOU?

Let me know so I can add in your street cred.


P.S- This is also my 1st time linking with Fourth Grade Flipper....



Go check out this link...LOADS of cool "Tried It's" to try!!!!

So I didn't write an April Currently......April Fools!! Plus, we HAVE to talk!





How'd ya like my lame April Fools joke attempt?

I tried.

Anyways before I get to my CURRENTLY...

Did you see the Series Finale of HIMYM?

Oh My Gahhhhhhh......

*SPOILER ALERT*





You mean to tell me that ALL 9 Seasons have been Ted trying to justify wanting to date Robin? AND the "Mother" (or Tracey, as we have learned) has been dead the WHOLE time.

I called it like two Tuesdays ago but man....

I am not happy about his "Re-Re-Re-Return" <--loyal HIMYM'ers get this reference.

And ...I was just warming up to the Mother. 

AND I was Team Barbin Stinsbozky.

Yeah, I just made that up, but you get it. 

MY POINT: I was not happy with yet another show ending.

(insert comments on Teen Wolf 3b finale)


I can "kinda" get why they did it so I won't dwell.




On to the April Currently.......




Listening
I do not watch it often, but The Mindy Project is HI-LARIOUS!
It does not even matter that I do not know what is going on.

Loving
I will not get into to much detail until Friday. Yup, mums the word.

Thinking
I have so much stuff to do it is not funny. To avoid any stressors, I will be chunking my tasks in a way that I can get them all accomplished... I think I can....I think I can....

I know I can!!!!

Wanting
Our Spring Break is super late compared to some of the bloggers I follow. My last day before break is April 11. Come on 10 days!

Needing
I have a bucket list that I have been checking off for years.
I won't even say how long.

*cough* like 12+ yrs.

Anyway, there are a few things I would like to add:
1. Write a Childrens book
2. Learn to read music
3. Own my own home/renovate
4. Visit Africa
etc..
Hours and Last Day:

Those are the hours that most teachers at my school work. I am new to the school, so do not quote me on the end time. 

Our kiddos learn from 7:45-1:55.

Originally, our last day was June 5th for the kids and June 6th for us but....

Snowmageddon 2.0 happened. 

SO now we have to stay in school until June 11th.


SO LAME.

Anyways, thanks to FARLEY at Oh Boy 4th Grade for making these CURRENTLY's possible. To get involved, which I recommend, head on over to her page. Peruse her "Rule of 3", download the template and then Get Up On the linky.

Easy Peasy.

Comment if you do (did). I cannot wait to read up!!