Monday, April 29, 2013


Do you hear that? Listen closely...
It's the sweet sound of the END of state testing! When school resumes tomorrow, things will go back to normal - well, as normal as they can be during the month of May. 

Last week I celebrated my 25th birthday. Are you familiar with the movie Miss Congenitally?  My birthday's claim to fame is a line from that movie!

(Pardon my screenshot from my iPhone - oops!)

Since it was my golden birthday, turning 25 on the 25th of April, my sweet boyfriend made me a golden cake to enjoy! It was even polished off with gold sprinkles. 

All day long I received lots of sweet messages, cards, and goodies from my friends and family. I was certainly spoiled on my birthday as well as the entire weekend. 

To round out the festivities, we celebrated with my family in my hometown. My cute (almost) 4 year old nephew was more than willing to assist in the candle department. 

... as you can see, I didn't quite think that one through. The look on my face, my Dad's face, and BDE's face cracks me up. 

Now that we're doing with the MAP test, my creative juices are flowing again. Tomorrow we're starting THREE brand new units in Social Studies, Communication Arts, and Science. For a few weeks, I felt like I was swimming in a pool of test prep - not anymore! 

Happy Monday :)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dear America & Prezi

With all the madness of standardized test prep, I wanted to give my students a little shift in our classroom tone. I felt it was time to implement book clubs, but I wanted to challenge many of my readers to stretch outside their comfort zone.  A small percentage of my readers engage in historical fiction and I wanted to expose others to the greatness as well. First, we started with an introduction to what historical fiction is: 

Bless Pinterest for the assistance I needed with this anchor chart. Although, I can't quite find the source at the moment. I'll keep hunting!

Then, I went to the library and checked out almost all of the Dear America series of books. We have a wide variety of male and female diaries that cover a vast timeline. Immediately, I thought about the incredible conversations students can have across topics. How is WWII experienced from a daughter of a newspaper editor? How is that different from a solider? How about from a resident of Pearl Harbor? I presented the books to my students with great excitement. I let them check out the books and their synopsis with their small groups and approve my selection. I wanted the students to be interested in the subject matter and not feel like I'm forcing them to read them. Surprisingly, all of my students kept their books. Now that they're finishing the stories, I have several students swapping titles. :) I can also thank the 4th grade teachers in my building who read the Oregon Trail book to my kids. 

While students have been reading, I've given them time to chat within their small group about the plot, setting, and most importantly: perspective. Since we're reading "Wonder" right now, we've had great discussions about the power of perspective writing and reading. 

So many titles - So little time!
As a final product, students are creating presentations in Prezi. I gave my students a mini tutorial on Prezi and warned them that at times, it is easy to get frustrated, but to stick with it! Each book group was given a Prezi Planning Guide. If you want a copy of my planning guide, email me! [] The planning guide helps students draw out themes, character traits, historical events, golden quotes, and so on. Several groups finished their novels today and got started on their planning guides. Also, the project can be modified to create power points or poster presentations instead.

One of my girls finished her story, "Early Sunday Morning", on Friday afternoon. I was a little alarmed when I heard, "WHAT! IT'S OVER?" from across the room. I walked over to chat with her and she was very distraught over the ending and how the author could just leave her.... like that. It was obvious she was extremely invested in the story and her character, Amber. 

How's everyone else out there? Swimming through test prep like us? 

Add This


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...