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May 30, 2017

Surviving the Final Days

I can not believe that I am now 3 days away from the end of the year! This school year has really flown by. Did it go the way I hoped? Not entirely, but honestly, does it ever?

As we begin to wind down for the year my students have taken this to believe we are done. Yeah no. We will be learning friends. With a less than a week left I am certainly not teaching new content, but it is also not a free for all.

So What Am I Teaching?

These final days are all review of content, but in an engaging way. In Math class we have been working our way through a PBL designed by April from Performing in Education. My students have been working on planning a field trip to space. It has truly been a great experience. My only regret is that I have not done more of these throughout the year. (Look out next year! Edit: JK I am going back to Kindergarten next year LOL)

Beginning of our PBL - working in small groups

Dependently organizing data and justifying trip
In Social Studies I am finishing up a quick unit on the 13 Colonies. Social Studies is unfortunately always one of those subjects that students do not seem interested in. I don't think it helps that text books are always outdated as well. So I decided to bring a little more engagement with this unit. We will be ending the year with a BANG while participating in an Escape Classroom.

I am doing the escape activity after grades are due, so I needed to get another assessment in. We completed these adorable pennants from The Little Ladybug Shop. Not only were these a great review, but she included a rubric, makes my life so much easier!
13 Colonies Pennant

Increasing Student Engagement

Last year I ended Kindergarten with a fun camping theme. You can read about it here. Since it was such a hit, I wanted to repeat it with my 5th graders. Now, I did not set it up to the extent of putting a tent and lake in my room, but it was just enough that it was exciting for them. With help from this resource from Math Mojo, I had instantly increased engagement and motivated my students.

In Language Arts my class had a blast completing Mad Libs type activities, writing a letter to next years 5th graders and designing a book commercial.  All year we had been watching book commercials and I really wanted to have my students create one for us to post to YouTube, but it didn't happen. This was the next best thing! 
I love having my students share the favorite book throughout the year.

A huge hit was in Math class! 
They loved this multiplication game!
I love games that are engaging but also reinforce a skill. Isn't it always a win when they are learning while having fun?

To end our camping week we had Flashlight Friday. Another slam dunk! I blacked out our classroom and my students used flashlights all day to complete their work. These kids were hiding in the craziest places in my room! What it really reminded me was that we need to treat kids like kids. We can deliver content in a way that lets them play and they may even learn more from it!
Flashlight Friday in 5th Grade
I hope that your end of the year is exciting and engaging as well! And enjoy your well deserved summer!

May 28, 2017

5th Grade End of the Year Gifts

Do you give your students an end of the year gift? I know many who teachers do and do not.

Honestly, I was torn about what to do this year. After reflecting on my class behavior this year and how much I already did for them, did I really want to do more? Don't get me wrong, I love my class. However there were so many times where they either expected something or were ungrateful for what they received. 

Typically I love giving my students a gift, typically a $1 book from Scholastic. You can click here to see what I gave my Kinders last year.

At the end of the day, I did decide to do something because this would be the last thing they would ever receive from me. So here's what I decided to do. 

After discussing with a teacher friend, she told me that she does a Wordle gift for the end of the year. Boom. Done. Easy no expense, if I don't buy a frame. And it is meaningful.

Set Up

I wanted this to also be a gift that the class had some say in. So one day I had a sub and I had her this with them.

I had the students complete a Character Scoot around the room. Each student had a sheet with their name on the top, which they would leave on their desk. Then they would scoot around the room and write 1-2 (kind) words that they associated with that person. 

Want to make your character scoot a little interactive. Ashley Schroeder has an adorable resource on TpT.

Don't want to do a scoot? You can set up this sheet like Confessions of a Teaching Junkie did.

In the end I would just need to grab the papers and put the words right into my word cloud.

Creating the Word Cloud

There are many different programs that can be used to create a word cloud. I made mine through www.wordclouds.com. After I typed in the words I selected to have the shape be the first letter in their name.
Word Cloud Example

I then saved the image and printed it at home on my color printer, because HP Instant Ink Rocks.

I did decide to purchase frames from the Dollar Store. (picture to come) So all in all this gift cost me $1 per student.

So why did I finally decide to do a gift? This quote explains it all.

Image result for they won't remember what you said

More Ideas

There are so many ideas on pinterest that it can be hard to decide what to do for your students.  Check out some free tags I have found below!

Stop by and check out these fun ideas for inexpensive end of the year gifts for students. Gift ideas include mini erasers, bubbles, flashlights, sunglasses, and more. These end of the year gifts are perfect for Kindergarten, first grade, or second grade students. Click through to grab your FREE gift tags to make your own student gifts!
How bright and colorful are these tags from The Printable Princess?!

10 FREE Gift Tags for end of the school year student gifts and gift ideas that won't break the bank for the teacher.:
I think I might use the post-it one this year as I am changing grades!