Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Last night, I woke up abruptly sometime around 3 AM.  Thoughts were invading my head... taking over... holding me hostage.  I was on a mental rollercoaster ride for almost two hours.  A continuous string of thoughts wound around my brain like an endless spaghetti noodle.  What time are spring pictures?  What do I need to bring to my meeting tomorrow morning?  I need to remember to look through my OAA file.  I wonder if I can make the Koosh ball review game this weekend?  How can I download the SMARTBOARD Notebook file onto my laptop?  Do I have to pay for it?  Oh, no!  I still need to upload the software for the Luna projector!  Shoot!  How am I going to rework my intervention groups?  How am I going to review test taking strategies?  What do I need to cut out of the next unit to get us ready for state testing and prepare us for end of the year testing?  And it went on... and on... and on.   Eventually, I fell asleep, but I honestly considered smashing my cell phone into tiny pieces this morning when my alarm went off.  I hit the snooze button at least four times before my husband made me get up and get moving.  :)  I'm very pleasant in the morning, if you can't tell.  {Yeah, not so much.} 

At any rate, we are knee deep in Benchmark testing again.  Of course, after rescheduling my spring observation FIVE times, my observation fell on a review day.  I was totally nervous about being observed on a review day, but because I've been observed several times a year for six consecutive years, I coached myself enough to RELAX and stop being OCD about it.  Sometimes, you just have to accept the way the cards fall.  Mine fell on a review day.  I survived... the observation went well... and here I am.  One day later.  Alive.  Exhausted, but alive.  :)  

Now, please don't misunderstand me.  I LOVE my job!  I love my district, and I love my kiddos! I just have a really serious case of perfectionism.  I am totally my own worst enemy, and I have a tendency to pick all of my stuff apart mid-lesson.  That doesn't exactly calm my nerves when I have visitors!! In the end, everything is fine, but if you could read my mind while I'm teaching... :) 

Essentially, I was trying to mix it up this time around for our review session.  I created review cards with questions like the ones they encounter on our Reading Street Unit 4 Benchmark test.  {You can download them for free on TpT if you think you can use them with your kiddos.}   I printed them off on cardstock and used them with the Learning Resources Mystery Hat.

One little peanut came up at a time to answer a question with answer buzzers while the rest of my students showed their answer choices on little fingerprint cards.  {Scroll to download from Angela Bunyi... one of my favorites!}  This is a wonderful tool for review... because I can instantly see a status of the class, and I know when I need to revisit a concept again.  Since I don't have clickers, this does the trick!

 I think the review lesson went pretty well, but I definitely missed not being able to see the questions and answer choices on the SMARTboard.  Sadsville... as Michelle would say.  I thought of it yesterday morning, but with insufficient time to whip something up... I rolled with it.  Again, the OCD had to take a backseat.  Next time, I plan on typing up each of the questions in a little Kooshball template for the SMARTboard.  Angela also blogged about a great template HERE, if you want to snag a copy for yourself!  Maybe I'll be able to share the finished document once I whip it up.  I have no idea when that will be... since I am treading water right now... but eventually!  I know you all feel me on this one!

Any-who! After our magic hat practice session, the kiddos went on a preposition egg hunt.  This was a classic Lesson Plan S.O.S. lesson, and it was a great way to review something that my students were still kind of grappling with in a fun way!  {I hid the eggs ahead of time for our review session to shave off some time.}  We completed their Thick/Thin Questioning lesson prior to our little Easter mini-break, and that was super fun too!   I let them hide their eggs for that one.

The final part of our Benchmark review was a little graffiti wall.  It was a nice open-ended review of a few comprehension concepts that were a little tricky for some of my kiddos, and it led to great discussions afterward.  I gave them about ten minutes to write whatever they wanted to write to demonstrate their comprehension prior to that.  Simple.  Just the way I like it.  Since this was more about ideas than conventions, I had to resist the urge to turn into the grammar police.  :)  This is just raw idea harvesting, friends!

Speaking of simple things, I thought that maybe you'd like to see the Task Cards Direction Sheet freebie in action.  I put all of my task card sets into little sandwich baggies, and then they go into the tub.  The direction sheets sit on top of the cards, because I want them to be easily accessible.  It's been a pretty new addition to my classroom, but the kids seem to have picked up on the routine quickly, and they like it.  Not too shabby.  :)

We're still tip-toeing through our America unit, but I have to be honest.  It's not getting the attention it deserves right now.  I need to work on that... but in the meantime... it's all about reading.  It's just the way it is when you're in a testing grade.  The world basically stops spinning around test time.  We have managed to talk a little bit about the common good and what it means to be a good citizen.  We also started to talk about immigration and "Packing for a Long Journey".  This lesson is a great way to introduce immigration to your kiddos while teaching them about determining importance.  It's only $1.00, and the kiddos LOVE it! {Note:  the suitcase is not included in the file.  This is one of my original files with old software.  It includes a direction sheet and a recording sheet.}

Lastly, I just want to spread the word about a little Earth Day Giveaway at Mrs, Freshwater's Class! I've teamed up with six other bloggy buddies... and I'm not gonna lie.  I kinda-sorta wish I could enter myself!  Haha!  Is that against blog etiquette?!  At any rate, click the picture below to find out how you can enter to win seven resources for your classroom!  Happy Hump Day!


  1. You are super busy but everything looks great! I love the answer cards...that is such an easy way to see how the class is doing! Good luck with all your testing!

  2. We are truly our own hardest critics! It comes with the perfectionism! Sleepless nights are the worst, it's so hard to make your mind stop thinking about everything. I ended up putting a to do list app on my phone so that I could write down all those 2am thoughts... it helps a bit because I don't get stressed that all forget all my late night reminders!
    Hopefully you can rest up tonight!
    A Turn to Learn

  3. I love that common good anchor chart! We talk about being good citizens all the time - what a perfect reminder!

    Rowdy in Room 300

  4. I often have those nights where I lay awake thinking of all the things I need/have to do the next day. One thing that my coworkers told me is to keep a notebook by your bed and make a to-do list. That way it's written down and you can go back to sleep :)

    I just downloaded your Task Card Directions (love it!). Thanks!

    Jamie at 2nd Grade Stuff

  5. I completely feel you on the is such a bad disease!! It drives my husband bonkers that I am such a perfectionist!! Hope testing goes well sweet friend!!

  6. I love all the cause and effect items!! That is such a hard concept for my kiddos! Thanks for the great ideas!!

  7. Your activities are always amazing! I think we tend to be perfectionist because we care so much about being our best for our kiddos.

    You teach from the heart and that will show on any test your kiddos take!

    Blessings to you!

    Heather's Heart

  8. I did the EXACT same thing last night. I woke up at 12:30 and I swear I didn't fall back asleep until at least 4. I woke up at the last possible minute this morning and I plan on going to bed super early tonight! So much running through my head!

    Love all of your super cute ideas! =)

    Ms. Smith

  9. Don't we all get "teacher brain" sometimes that just won't quit? I know I do! :)

    Also, I think there's a typo on the first review card- two a's. Just so you know!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  10. Jenny! Thanks for catching that! I caught it when I reviewed with the kiddos, and then when I got home to fix it, I couldn't find it. My brain is evidently in lock down! Haha! Anyway, it's corrected! Feel free to redownload! :)

  11. I have totally been there. I wake up almost nightly and start thinking of things I need to do and trying to make sure I don't forget anything. I hate that feeling. It'll be better in June, right?


  12. I love the fingerprint idea. I often have my students do sign-language letters for multiple choice but as we all know, the end up looking at everyone's answer before I scan the entire room. Thanks for the resource and keep up the great work!

    Miss Rorey's Room

  13. I love your task cards! They are so bright and colorful. Do you have a template fore them? If so, I would love it!


  14. Your notebook paper label is TOO CUTE!! What are the chances you have more of those to share??? ;)

    Little Miss Glamour Goes to Kindergarten

  15. Hi, I am a new follower...for the feelin' green giveaway...cute blog.


  16. Enjoying your blog! Thanks for all your hard work. I am a new blogger and would love for you to take a look when you have the chance...


  17. I wake up like that sometimes too. It's reassuring to hear it happens to someone else too.
    You have so many great things going on in your room! I love it!
     Chrissy

    First Grade Found Me

  18. Can you let me know which task cards you are using in your centers? Are in they in your tpt sore or did you get them from someone else?