This week FLEW by! It seems like there was something important happening every minute...
Monday was our last day to review for The Test. We finished our English Language Arts testing last week and this week we had two days of testing for math. I've changed the way we review for testing... I've added more partner work, move "move-around" games and more group study. Time will tell...
By Wednesday it was all over. And I was soooooooooooo proud of my students. They really worked hard! It was funny to be watching them and suddenly hear someone say "Yes!" (Translation: "One of my answers is in the list!") and "Oh, Oh, Oh!" ((Translation: "I've seen a problem like this before"). Even if their scores are not all stellar, I will be more-than-pleased with their efforts. The state measures their scores against a standard of proficiency. In my mind, they all worked at a proficient level... including those who waited quietly (and waited and waited!) for their classmates to finish. I'm glad that's over!
Wednesday was Teacher Appreciation Day. Some of my students brought flowers... and chocolate... and sweet notes... and they left me a giant note on the white board with everyone's name included. I left it up for an extra day because my heart wouldn't let me erase it!
My principal gave each teacher a book for Teacher Appreciation Day. (I love that my principal is a serious reader!) Mine was called Teaching with Fire: Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach. (I wrinkled the ribbon, sorry, J.) and the quote on the card was "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited" --Plutarch. I thought that was so inspiring (and thoughtful). And, of course, I loved my purple pen! My favorite section is called "Holding On." Now I know just where to look when I need a little extra motivation to try again the next day.
Our PTA puts on a luncheon for the entire staff at our school... and our tiny staff barely filled six tables! Yep, we are a small school. But what we lack in numbers, we make up in determination!
Yes, I did do laundry, but that's not why this picture is posted! Sometimes, when the stars are all aligned, I can manage to sneak in a surprise for my colleagues. Under the guise of "practicing for promotion," twenty sixth graders learned a song in sign language called "Do I Make You Proud?" Our colors are white and royal blue, so they dressed in school colors and took the stage. Some were nervous and some were... more nervous!
Just like the differences in students' voices, their signing is different too. Some sign in a "timid" way and some sign in a "dramatic" way. It makes the whole performance that much more touching. And, since they only had two days to pull it together, it was so gratifying that they managed to shine (brightly!) on stage. They were SO precious! I was fine for the first few verses, but at some point, the tears started and that was that. Later, they said they thought it was funny that I was crying, but I think they knew it was just an acknowledgement of how proud I felt at that very moment...
If you have never heard the song--or you missed a season of American Idol, I left the link below. Imagine it from a student to a teacher... Pretty sweet, huh? The part about raising my hand really affected me because we worked so hard this year to become participants. The video is a little "over the top," but twenty kids in blue and white shirts, signing with all their hearts would have made even Taylor Hicks proud!
Friday was Western Bar-B-Que Day. By 10:30, the smell of hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill had reached every classroom. We sneaked out a few minutes early--only to be among the three other upper-grade classrooms who were thinking the very same thing!
Living in suburban southern California, most of my students don't own any "western wear." Three kids had a variation of a cowboy hat. A few had plaid shirts and jeans, but we didn't look very festive. The night before, I had made a trip to Boot Barn. This is a local store filled with cowboy boots and other western attire--quite dissimilar from the shorts, t-shirts, and tennis shoes worn by most of my students to school each day. The salesperson was laughing as I sorted through the big barrel to find 32 bandannas. She didn't know that I was thinking with each choice: "Ashley will want a pink one, Marcus will probably be wearing black basketball shorts, Roxie's favorite color is green..." That morning, I let them choose bandannas, and soon we looked ready for a photo shoot... or at least for a tray of "special" food prepared by the Food Service people!
Once lunch was over, we finished our Mother's Day letters, and then my cowboys and cowgirls waited for the clock to finally tick its way to the weekend.
Twenty more school days. I keep alternating between being excited and feeling a bit melancholy. This is definitely a class I will always remember...
HERE at TpT!