April 16, 2016

Five for Friday: Keeping up the pace after testing ends

I bumped into a past teacher friend at Target the other day. We talked about life in general, teaching these days in our crazy county, and how the school I used to teach at is changing. She is such a wonderful teacher and great person and I loved bumping into her. During our conversation she said something that really got me thinking, she said "testing is over but your over here getting even more creative". I guess I never really thought about it like that but testing is indeed over (we finished like 3 weeks ago #PRAISETHELORD) and I am still going a mile a minute. Why?

Well, I don't do "chill" very well. I have never been one of those teachers that can put on a video for the kids and just sit back and grade all the time. I need structure and teaching to make my job enjoyable.

I know what is in store for my babies next year. As a previous fourth grade teacher, I know what is expected for my students next year. I have the benefit of that vertical alignment piece- of knowing the strengths, weaknesses, and struggles. So why not prep them now?

Lastly, I guess it boils down to the fact that I just really love what I do. I love teaching and planning, and creating engaging lessons that leave the kids even smarter than the day before!

Here is a peek at my week after testing is over!


Here is a before and after snapshot of our learning all about Service Dogs (specifically K-9 unit) this week. One of our adorable resources was an informational text "Aero and Officer Mike" which was full of facts on K-9 police dogs and officers. My mind immediately jumped to the super cute picture book "Officer Buckle and Gloria". A quick search of NEWSELA and ReadWorks and I was loaded with articles for small group as well. Throughout our reading and discussions, the students added or moved their sticky notes to New learning, misconceptions, or questions. 


Dog's Life 

We also read this adorable book. If you do not own it- it is a must buy FOR SURE! It's loaded with facts, but also cute pictures, jokes, and stories. It tied back in what we were learning about service dogs in such a wonderful way! 

Once in a while, a spark of creativity hits you. An idea blossoms in your head that is so much better than anything you had planned! This was one of those times. While taking silly filtered snaps, I saw the police officer filter and just about died! How perfect is that?! So the next day, I took photos of all of my kiddos and printed them out. They created their own K-9 partner and put both together with their writing about the benefits of police dogs.  #perfect


Finally caved and bought this gross game! What a perfect way to introduce "juicy" writing and elaboration! It's sort of mean, but I am still laughing over the videos and photos of their faces. Someone of them looked at me with looks that screamed disgust, betrayal, and shock! LOVE IT! And honestly, as gross as it is, so did they! They haven't stopped asking when we can play again! It definitely got them thinking about their word choice. They still need lots of work before next year's writing test, but it's a good start for now! 

We finished our week off with a special visitor! When I called the police department, they were wonderfully helpful and agreed to send in a K-9 team to speak with our students. Officer Bo was amazing with the kids, and they LOVED every second of it! We got to see commands, learn more from an actual partner, and check out Officer Bo and Mac and their police car! An amazing way to end the week!