Surviving Spring to Welcome Summer-Blog Hop

Do your kiddos have Spring Fever yet?? Mine certainly do! With our state tests coming up in a little over a week, we have buckled down with test prep, and it's everything I can do to keep them entertained and having fun!

Several of my BBBs have come together to share some tips of how we make it through the rest of the year (with some freebies AND a chance to win one of three TPT gift certificates or a Classroom Friendly Supplies Pencil Sharpener)!

Let's be honest, at this point, the kiddos are definitely starting to check out! Getting them to do small tasks can be hard! And homework? Forget about it! Right? Wrong! I started this a few weeks ago to motivate my kiddos to still do that homework, even after the big tests are over and the weather is so nice!

Each week I keep track of homework stats on the Homework Club sheet in this pack. I have my "VIP" check in homework each morning, and if it's not they just put a check ned to their name. Then, that student has to take their homework club magnet down off the board. On Friday, whichever students are left get to enjoy a half hour extra recess outside in the gorgeous spring/summer weather! :) The other students stay inside and write a reflection of why they aren't in homework club. One week of this, and all of those kiddos will be completing their work and EXCITED and proud to be in homework club! :)

You can make your own Homework Club just like ours by downloading my editable freebie here!

I would love feedback on the product page to hear how you used it in your room and how motivated your students were!

My second tip for you is to finish up the year with a fun writing project! I always have my kiddos write an advice book for next year's 4th graders. They LOVE writing this, I {love} reading their opinions, and it's so fun to read to the new kiddos in the fall! You can pick this up for free from my TPT store, too! :) Click here to download. I hope your books turn out as fun as mine do every year! :)

After entering my secret code below in the Rafflecopter, continue the hop with Jivey!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Workshop Wednesday: Preparing for the BIG test!

I love that Jivey's theme this week is preparing for the big test.. because that is DEFINITELY what we are doing over here in room 219! Our state test is the first full week in May and we are gearing up! I want preparing to be fun, and not seem scary or boring!

So how do we prepare? A number of ways! But here are a few things we're doing now that we're in "test prep mode".

{We practice "coding the question" with test like questions, something we've been talking about all year! These signs are free in my TPT store if you click here}

{We do A LOT of task cards! We play SCOOT, do them independently or with a partner during stations, I post them around the room, and sometimes I even tape them up and down the hallway and students have to move around and find them and answer them! These are a great quick way to assess how much they know! I love Rachel Lynette's and Erin Cobb's task cards!}

{We also use this test prep kit from my TPT store. I give the students a copy of the "Glossary of Terms" to study over the 2 weeks leading up to the test, we go over test taking strategies with the posters and make our own little foldables, and we use the task cards on the day before to review ALL of the skills we've learned!}

 {We review different LA terms each day to make sure our memories are fresh! We make mini anchor charts and post them all over the room! All of our activities for that day usually relate to that term, so it's great reinforcement!}

{We do a lot of integrated SS to cover nonfiction standards and practice tough skills such as Main Idea! We also do small group time where we analyze close reading passages to cover many skills at once!}

Next week we start our Test Prep Blitz! An idea I got from the amazing Amanda over at One Extra Degree!
I use a few of her Test Prep Blitz items, and throw a few of my own in there to make an exciting week of preparing but having fun before the test! My students are shocked when they walk in and see things like corn hole boards in our room! We decorate and get ready! Here's a picture from last year:

So how do you prepare? I'd love to get other ideas from all of you! :) Link up with Jivey for Workshop Wednesday or comment below with your preparation techniques. :)


Student Blog Literature Circles-Pin it to Win It!

I have been BURSTING with excitement to share with all of you what we are now doing in room 219! If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already seen a preview of this! Many of you have been requesting more, and after trying it out and finding success in my classroom, I am finally here to share it with you!

Literature circles have ALWAYS been one of my favorite things to do. The students love being given a book and told to take charge of their learning in their group. So how do we make it even more engaging and keep up with the times? We teach our blogging skills to our students!

I decided to take literature circles to the next level by having my students create their own blogs! Let me tell you, it has been a HUGE hit! I have students who haven't consistently done homework all year and spend most class time distracted, who are now engaged, enthusiastic about learning, and producing quality work! It certainly makes a teacher heart happy. <3

You may be asking, why choose technology-centered lit circles? Here's a little note from my product about that:

Are you convinced? Let me share a little more about what we did.

I chose to use Kidblog as our blogging platform. I love that it offers the teacher complete control over what is being posted, has many security features, and is completely private (only students in the class can view, and parents if you give them an access code.) I love that it is easy to use for the students, they get to choose from fun themes, and it puts all of the blogs in your class in a "live blog feed" right on the homepage when they log in. And best of all, it's FREE! :)

After creating a classroom blog, I added each of my students to our class.

Next, I assigned students literature circle groups based on their reading levels, and chose a book for each group. My fourth grade groups are reading the following books:

  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Among the Hidden
  • Hoot
  • Holes
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Loser
  • The One and Only Ivan
  • The Chocolate Touch
My groups have 7-9 students in them (large class sizes) and it works! I would recommend group sizes of 5-8 students.

After assigning their groups, we created our blogs! I spent about 2 days with my students going over how to login and design our blogs. I taught them how to do all of the "fun" things so they would be excited and ready!

Next, we outline our first post, which was an "All About Me Post" and spent time publishing them on our blogs and commenting! By this time they were giddy with excitement over this new adventure.

I then gave each group a month reading calendar for their novels. For my higher group, I had them work as a group to plan out their reading each night. For my other groups, I made the schedule ahead of time. 

Then, it was time to choose blogging jobs. I passed out the descriptions of the 9 jobs, and let students meet with their group and discuss who would be assigned each job. *I chose to let my students take charge of this, with some guidance from me. You could choose to assign the roles if you'd like.

Lastly, we went over the "Weekly Blogging Schedule" and they were off! I gave them outlines for each daily post that they complete during our writing time, and then they have class time to complete publish their blog posts.

I have chosen not to require any blogging as homework, because about 20% of my student population do not have computers at home. This is up to you! You know your students best and can choose what works best for them! 

After the first night we blogged, I came in the next day to find 419 new comments to approve! Remember, that wasn't required homework! I LOVE how motivated they are!

Here are some examples of the AMAZING posts and comments they've done:

I hope you will take this amazing journey with your students, too! 

Since this is my newest product in my TPT store, I'd like to offer a "Pin it to Win it!" Pin any picture from this post, and comment with the link to your pin! At 9pm tonight I will randomly choose 2 winners! :) Ready. Set. Pin!

Our winners are…. Carmen and Dana!! Thank you so much for participating, everyone! Carmen I will be emailing you, Dana please contact me so I can email you, too! :)

This will also be on sale in my store for 48 hours! Click here to download :) 

I am linking this post up with my lovely BBB, Holly, for her Tried it Tuesday linky; since this is definitely a new and FUN thing I've tried!


A Peek at my Week-Lots to do!

The gorgeous weather outside has been so motivational for me! I feel like I get so much more accomplished when it's nice out.

Including planning out my week and getting things ready! :)

I wanted to link up share a "Peek at my Week"!

I thought it'd be fun this week to share with you what we're doing by showing the newsletter we send home to parents and students on Friday! This shows details of what our week will be all about :)

{If you like my newsletter, pick up your copy here for free to edit for yourself!}

We are in full on test-prep mode with our state tests only 3 weeks away! (EEEEK!!)

I like to make test prep fun, so we do a lot of stations, which the kiddos LOVE! We are reviewing characterization, using evidence,  and point of view this week!

Here are the things I'll be using during stations to review these concepts:

2 of our stations will be spent working on our Kidblog Literature Circles!

My students are {LOVING} every minute of this new concept of blogging, and are SO motivated! I overheard one of my boys run up to another student on Friday and say "OMG, I commented on your post! Make sure you check it!" Makes my heart happy to hear that! They didn't have any "blogging" duties this weekend, and I just checked to approve comments and posts and there were 415 comments for me to approve, and 22 new posts about books! And that's all EXTRA! :)

I know many of you are dying to know more about this, and I've been promising to share.. and I am going to stand by that promise! But I want to test everything out in my room first before I post it as a product and blog about it! I have 2 more little things I want to try out Monday and Tuesday!

This will be available in my TPT store Tuesday, and I will have a nice long blog posts jam packed with pictures all about it! :) Pinky promise!

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their Sunday, and have an amazing week!