Friday, April 25, 2014

Five Favorite Test Prep Tools {Five for Friday}

Testing season is upon us. I don't give my test until May 27, but we've already started preparing. I thought I'd link up with Doodble Bugs Teaching to share 5 of my favorite test prep tools. 

Task cards are my favorite way to review. There are so many ways to change up the way you use them and it gets everyone involved!

I have found this workbook to be a very help tool. It has some great example questions that seem to really align with what our SOL test looks like. The lessons in this book are leveled, so each skill has three different lessons with varying abilities. 

White boards make anything better!! 

Have you heard about this great site called Starrmatica? It is a paid site, but it has some great practice. My school just purchased a license that runs all the way through next July and I'm so excited about getting to use this in the classroom. It's nice for the kids to be able to hear and experience the material in a new, fun way. 

Right now I am mainly using the site during after school tutoring. 

Some days there are no other ways around it. I have to stand in front of the class and discuss multiple choice questions. Boring. People are falling asleep. A few weeks ago I wrote about how using these answer cards made it a little more interactive for the kids. I decided it was time to jazz up the cards a little bit too. You can click here or on the picture above to download a set. They will be free until Monday morning!! 

What are some of your favorite test prep materials? 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ultimate Pencil Swap {Tried it Tuesday}

Pencils were ruining my day. I started the morning out grumpy because no one had a pencil, so we were searching the floor, my desk, and book bags to come up with enough pencils to start the day. 

In the past I have tried the sharp and not sharp cups, spoons taped to the end of pencils, and even lead pencils without any success. 

About a month ago I was browsing office depot and saw these pencils. I've used the Staedtler pens, so I knew they would be high quality. I picked up a pack, but they were a little pricey and I didn't want them walking out my door. That's when the Ultimate Pencil Swap idea was born. 

I sharped those amazing pencils, put polka dot flags on them, and put them in a cup on my desk. 

In order to use one of my pencils I have to keep something of yours at my desk until the pencil is returned. Simple enough. It freaked them out at first. I really think they believed I was going to keep their stuff! It made not having a pencil fun as we joked about snacks I might eat or odd things kids swapped out. 

Now that we've been doing the swap about a month I don't even deal with pencils. It is the student's responsibility to swap and they know just what to do. It makes for one happy teacher. 

The best part: I still have the 9 original pencils I started with. First. Time. Ever. In the history of my teaching career have I kept 9 pencils that long!! 

I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper

How do you deal with the no pencil syndrome? 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Cherry Blossom Festival, Egg Hunting, and Sundaes...Rwar {Five for Friday}

Happy Easter Weekend friends! I've been so excited to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching this week so I could share some pictures from my recent trip and very busy week! 

Confession: I didn't work last Friday. My mom and I took off on Thursday night and met up with my sister in Charlottesville. We went to DC on Friday to spend the weekend enjoying the Cherry Blossom Festival. 

We had a blast!! The trees were gorgeous and the weather was just perfect!! I finally got to go in the Container Store. It was instant love!! I could've looked forever. 

One of my favorite new things we tried in DC were food trucks. (You gotta remember that I live waaayy out in the country..hehe) 

Here I am ordering a milkshake from the cutest food truck at the Truckeroo Festival. Don't you just want to drive that thing everywhere? It just makes me happy!! 

While I was ordering my sister (and best blog reader) was secretly snapping pictures of me at the food truck so I could use them for my blog. She wins the best sister ever award!! 

Now, back from vacation and on to school. We kicked off the week with a little egg hunting courtesy of Collaboration Cuties.

We spent Tuesday and Wednesday working in stations to practice our context clues skills. I had managed to accumulate some fantastic resources that I was glad we were able to use.

We had our Spring Party on Thursday afternoon. We had ice cream sundaes on the playground and it was fantastic!! I think we might have asked for a few too many toppings, but we have plans to have another sundae afternoon as it gets closer to test time. 

And I had to throw in a little bonus - this t-shirt one of my students wore this week. 

I hope you have a blessed weekend!! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Favorite iPhone Photo Editing Apps {Tried it Tuesday}

I love taking pictures and I'm finding more and more often I'm taking them with my phone rather than my DSLR. I've been playing around for a while with some photo editing apps and I thought I'd link up with Holly to share some of my faves.

First up, Camera Awesome my Smugmug. This one has to be the all time easiest for a quick fix to make your pictures look fantastic. 



The picture says it! AND just in case you need a little something funny to brighten your day read the screen while the app is processing your photo....

The app also has some more advanced editing features, but I find that the awesomize button usually does it for me! 

Next up, is my go to when I want to add something quick and cute to a pic before posting it on Instagram or sending it to a friend - A Beautiful Mess

I love all the cute doodles and writing you can add to customize your pics! 

Finally, I've just started playing with Rhonna Designs and I'm really liking it so far. 

The stickers in this app are a little more polished and a lot of them have the chalk look, which I love. 

What are your must have photo apps? 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Back from Spring Break {Five for Friday}

Hi blogging friends! I've managed to make it through the week after Spring Break, so I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some things we've been into. 

Nothing like fresh "rerasers" from my sister to start out a Monday.

Everyone got one as a little welcome back from Spring Break gift. Those little green leaves lasted all of 30 minutes...oh the joys of 4th graders! haha

How did I ever teach without a document camera?? 

Got this baby all set up the Friday before break and I've used it every day this week!!

We continued with our nonfiction shark study on Monday.

We did some visualizing work with the shapes of sharks teeth.
 Side note: no matter how many times I tried I couldn't get this picture to turn sideways.

Do you recognize this product? I want to find the author so I can give 'em a shout out!! This fabulous games is from The Classroom Game Nook - download it now!! 

The pdf I have saved doesn't have any information about the author of this and I'd love to check out other products by this same seller. I've been using the Con-TEXT Clues cards in small groups and the kids are going wild over them. They keep pretend texting and sending me answers. We are loving it! 

The last 9 weeks of school are hard core around here. We are doing some major test prep, so I always use the window in my door for some inspirational/motivational quotes. Kid President has won me over this year, so he had to be the first quote! 

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