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April 29, 2017

Celebrating the End of State Testing

FINALLY! I am more than relieved that the testing sessions are over. Certainly, so are my students! They worked their tails off for 7 days and certainly earned some down time, Our principal had emailed us that we should take some time to reward the kids, so that we did!

Before our state testing we did a kick off. We took the afternoon to pump our kids up. We paired review with active games and the kids LOVED it!! Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of that.

I saw on Instagram this awesome carnival themed test prep from Cooties and Cuties. Read about it on  All About 3rd Grade. I told my grade partner that I would love to do a Carnival Themed Kick Off next year.

So once this message from my principal came about I knew instantly I wanted to do a mini carnival for my kids.

I purchased the giant inflatables from Target (dice, ring toss, and bowling). I hit up Amazon for some water guns, ping pong balls, and photo props. The rest of the games I had in my house, bean bag toss and parachute.

Overall it was a huge hit! I'd love to know if you have done a carnival theme before. Next year I would like to go bigger! Or at least have more than a week to prepare. :)


Giant Bowling

Roll and Run


Photo Booth

I ordered the props off of Amazon.

Ring Toss

April 16, 2017

Upper Elementary Easter Activities

How is it the middle of April already?! This school year is just flying by! Which also means that I was not prepared for Spring activities!

The weather was finally warming up this week and I was just as eager to get outside as my students. So that's what we did! I took my class outside for their writing block and it was so perfect. Not only were some of my students engaged in the writing and working hard, but they were on task while enjoying the weather. This is certainly a reward I would like to use more often with my class.

Click the image to see our writing resource.

Here in PA we had 3.5 days off at the end of winter due to snow, unfortunately that meant my district took away days from our spring break. Disappointing, but I just remind myself we get out early! :) So when Thursday before Easter came up my kids were on me about "What are we doing fun?!" Well that was a great question, mainly because I did not have a plan as of Tuesday LOL!

Here is what I came up with on the cheap.

My students came in to complete a spring word search. Which you can grab for free here.
We had an early dismissal so we cut down our Math and Reading classes to 45 minutes to get in the final project. For math this week we had been working in centers for preparing for our state test. Naturally, I thought this was fun already (lol) but my students appeared to disagree. ;) So I had them plan an egg hunt using Jennifer Findley's free activity. 

They worked in small groups and this served as their exit slip into their math centers. They were definitely having a fun time with it, and it was nice to have them doing all the planning for a change! I think next year I'd like them to plan the egg hunt and the next day we would actually do one.  But that idea is a whole year away. 
Planning an Easter egg hunt
After Math and Reading we came together as all of 5th grade. I LOVE bringing cultural activities into the classroom and having my students explore outside of their own world. 

For this activity we read Rechenka's Eggs. I first heard this story when my aide read it aloud to my Kindergarten students. It is a beautiful story of friendship with the culture of the pysakny represented.

Paper Pysanky
After the story my students made their our pysanka, which is a Ukranian Easter Egg. This was also a great tie in because my grade partner is Ukranian, so she shared a little of her self with our classes. The template came from the The Mailbox, it is part of my Gold Subscription. 

I was amazed with the detail in which my students created their paper pysanky. The sheet they were given showed what certain images and colors represented so they could keep in mind the person who was receiving the gift. They certainly did not rush through this activity, and that made my teacher heart happy.

What are your favorite spring activities?

April 15, 2017

#TpT Flock 17

This has always been one of my favorite quotes.

Last weekend I had the WONDERFUL opportunity to come together with 180+ Teacher Pay Teachers teacher-authors at the Flock. Very fitting, the theme of the TpT Flock is "birds of a feather flock together" and yes we did!

It was so rejuvenating as an educator. Here I am surrounded by these incredible men and women who want to make a change. Not only in their own classrooms, but in classrooms around the world!

Along with my other half we made the 4 hour trip to Rochester, NY. That in itself was so full-filling to have him with me and support my career. 

 When we reached the Woodcliff Hotel I had to give a gigantic hug to my dear friend Erica of Ms. V's Kinder Kraziness. Would you believe that over a year ago she was a complete stranger?! I first met Erica at a TpT Meet Up in NJ. This was my first meet up and I was so scared, I was going there knowing not a soul! But I fully believe in a big risk, big reward system.

Lucky for our partners, we had adjoining rooms!!! Even though this lady was super busy being on the Flock planning committee.

Saturday was an early start and a long day, but so worth it. The day started with breakfast and a Keynote Speaker. And yes, that is a donut wall!!

 I finally got to meet Kay of Primary Cornerstone, I connected with her through Erica and Instagram. I met so many other great people, but I didn't use my camera! Fail! Next year I will be better, because you better believe I will be there next year.

Jenny of Art with Jenny K. was the phenomenal Keynote Speaker. She did such a fantastic job of building us up. She also gave such a good reminder of why we do TpT. Every resource that is purchased from us is being used in a classroom. That is 30 kids we are reaching, and we know that. That is why we put our heart and soul into these resources because you teachers deserve the best. 

After the AM Keynote she had us decorate a piece of paper. As you can she she put it together into a gigantic collaborative poster. Each one of us contributed to this picture. If even one person would not have done their part, it would not be complete. Truly we would not be complete without Paul, Adam and Amy of Teachers Pay Teachers. They are truly an inspiration to us all.  

 Throughout the day we attended sessions that helped us to grow. After lunch we had the opprtunity to hear from some amazing educators on a Q & A panel. This was followed by a Q & A from Team TpT.

Collaboration, not competition. We are all about building each other up. Because if we succeed, students all across the world will succeed.

If you are a TpT author, I highly suggest you join us a the Flock next year! You will not regret it. 
 We were so spoiled this weekend with goodies and our swag bags! One thing we did that I loved was a tool trade. We shared items that help us and then swapped with another teacher. Below are the items I received from Kim of Stress-Free Teaching.
My biggest take away from the weekend? Get out of your comfort zone, that is where amazing things happen. And, work with educators to build each other up. When we are built up, we build up out students.

Click here to read more about the Flock!