Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm Not Ready!

I can not believe it is almost the end of the school year. This year, out of my four, has easily been the year that flew by the quickest. I do not know if it is because of the always entertaining group of students I have this year, the switch the Common Core, or just the overall work load that I have found myself in, but it feels like we were just starting school a few weeks ago.

I'm beyond proud of my students during their EOGs these last two days. Wednesday and Thursday they full out beasted it spending close to four hours doing everything they could. I'm sure their little hearts were exhausted after two consecutive days of three plus hours of testing. Not mention the sitting and working quietly afterwards in respect to those still testing! It was a longgg two days. To keep my kiddos quite after testing I really like to have them reflect on things that they learned, did, or participated in throughout their sixth grade year. Therefore, I have them complete little writing prompts during the last 10 days of school reflecting on things. Check out the SmartBoard notebook lesson here! The questions are anything from:

- What were the three most important things you learned this year and why?
- What was the nicest thing someone did for you this year and how did you thank them?
- What is your favorite spot in our classroom, or throughout the school, and why?
- What are six adjectives that you would use to describe this school year?

There responses are getting pretty interesting and amusing!

Have I mentioned that I can not believe it is the end of the year...I am so not ready for it! I'm not ready to let these little guys go. I'm not ready to see my sixth graders as seventh graders, or my eighth grade athletes move onto high school. Can't they just stay this age forever (I feel so old saying it like that).

We held our awards banquet last night here at school. I almost got teary eyed a good number of times talking about my softball girls, my basketball girls, and how they are moving on to high school. I will definitely miss them! Here are some of our pictures from our classy evening last night:

Kat and Taylor (our basketball girls) with Coach Spargo (My teammie!)

Basketball girls!

So proud of my little Mini-Me. She is an
awesome athlete. 
Audrey and I. Another basketball girl and
Whoop Whoop

My Courtney! 

Oh what am I going to do without my Courtney? Not quite sure how I'll make it through two (softball and basketball) seasons without this one next year. Definitely going to miss them all :(

Today was Beach Blast at school. I have to tell you our P.E. department is fabulous (I'm not even just saying that because my husband is one of them ;) ). They put on our Beach Blast every year after EOGs for our students. Students pay a donation of $10 to the P.E. Department in order to attend a three hour beach festival. There is everything from field games (egg toss, tug-of-war, corn hole, etc.), to dunking booths (which yours truly was in), to a fire truck water slide. Our town fire truck actually comes to the school and we have a HUGE slip-and-slide down the hill using the first hose as a water source. The kids eat it up! Here are some pictures from our lovely afternoon:

The firetruck working the Slip-&-Slide! 

The kids are having a BLAST!

The field events. 

A little corn hole action.
Our girls having fun!

Enjoying a little sugar.
Oh Boys!

Having a great time! 

Absolutely love my softball girls! Even if they dunk me :)

It was an absolute BLAST (hence BEACH BLAST!). We had a ball; although I do believe we can call it a carnival from now on. Not to mention we got a little wet with the dunk booth :)

Yours truly in dunk booth.
That would be my husband behind the dunk booth.
He's so sweet!
Ohhhh a dunk from a kiddo.
Probably one of the close to fifty of them!

Well as we relax for the weekend (minus Master's Class Saturday morning and a couple baby showers to attend) I will keep you updated with the fabulous final week of school next week! We have everything from A.R. Reward (Accelerated Reader), Demerit Reward, 6th Grade Picnic, and Awards Day!
It's going to be busy...Until then :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rappin' Up Social Studies

It was MSL (Measures of Student Learning) day last week for my sixth graders and we have covered A LOT in our curriculum this year...just about 5,000 years. No biggie right? I have to say I believe my students were ready and prepared. I know they did fantastic last week and I can honestly say that I am beyond proud of them for their work this year! (P.S. I can not believe how quickly this year flew by!)

Our wonderful Social Studies curriculum instructor, Adam Perrow, sent over through Google Drive some review packets to help us study this week and here are my consolidated note pages that my students used. (Check Them Out!) As a reward I did tell my students I would embed the songs about our lessons that we used throughout the year to help us remember important dates, events, people, and parts of our curriculum. So with out delay...Here they are :)

If you have, for some reason, not been introduced to Flocab from Channel One news, please check him out! He has some wonderful songs that my students just fall in love with. He makes learning, especially Social Studies, so helpful and relate-able to students. You will find your kids singing and humming the songs during tests to help them remember things...It's wonderful! 

Today we also had the wonderful opportunity to play literary terms review Jeopardy with our A.I.G. (Academically and Intelligently Gifted) Specialist, Robin Spargo (She is even my teammate's wife!). The students had a great time and showed off some mad skills in literary term recognition. I do not mean to brag...but my Gray Dolphins are the new county record holders! Whoop whoop. We actually broke two records! The original record was 33,000. We had a 35,600 and a 48,800. I must say myself, I am pretty impressed. Way to go guys! 

Our Winners with 48,800! Congratulations! 
Our 2nd Place...But still county record breakers! Finished with 35,600! 
Until later this week :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Getting Ready for Summer!

OK, so my title may be a little pre-mature. However, it is actually the truth. As many of you know, I am currently working on my Middle Grades Master degree through Appalachian State University. This summer I am excited to say, and super happy to brag about, that I am getting the opportunity to participate in the Writing Project Summer Institute through UNCC! Whoop whoop! The program does not occur until the first three weeks of July (July 1-19), but we got an early jump on things this Saturday at our orientation.

Getting to UNCC by 8:30am Saturday (can I tell you I was absolutely nervous?), I was excited to see how things were going to go this summer. We had a lovely little breakfast with coffee and bagels while we got comfortable and familiarized ourselves with other members of the group. At 8:30 we began with a super cute name introduction that had all individuals say their name with a movement to help us remember each other. I, being the girls basketball coach here at Cramerton, decided to pretend like I was shooting a game-winning three and say my name. P.S. I am definitely stealing this idea at the beginning of the year in August for my kiddos. It helped us get out of our nervousness and into some personality traits of others.

After we all introduced ourselves we went over the basics, the routines, and the pieces of our Summer Institute. We all received a little special present from the Writing Project, our daybooks! Have I mentioned that I absolutely love notebooks? I will write down anything and everything, so this daybook was like the best thing ever! In this daybook we are to keep thoughts, ideas, writings, and activities that we will do throughout the institute. It's like everything for three weeks kept in one nice little journal; I'm obsessed! We used it throughout the entire day.

One thing that I thought was really interesting during the day was a demo that was presented to us. We looked at the differences in gender roles in media and current popular culture. We began the demonstration by writing down a few notes about what popular culture influences us currently in our lives. Then we caught a video from a father and his view point on teachings of gender through media. The guy was Colin Stokes and I was astonished by some of the valid points he made during his presentation. Check him out here! During the video we communicated our thoughts and feelings through sticky note discussions (another awesome idea I'm stealing for my sixth graders!); basically we wrote our thoughts down on sticky's and shared them with those around us and avoided talking during the video. After the video we were given some popular articles steaming from Colin's twitter feed and separated them into categories on their purpose and points. Check out our web:

Then we came together from our three groups and shared what we found. It was interesting hearing the differences in opinions and thoughts throughout our groups. I really think personal age, gender, and family dynamics altered people's thoughts.

My favorite, and I think most powerful part of our orientation on Saturday was our closing activity. It was called word explosion (have I mentioned I'm stealing things from Saturday to use in my classroom?). We read a poem together, then as the reader was reading the poem for a second time, we wrote in the margins what words spoke to us and what our interpretation of them were. Then the third time the reader read the poem, when she read our word, we would repeat it, and then say what we wrote down. It was very confusing to understand the directions, but once the poem was being read, it was so powerful and influential. I feel as though the entire group got a better understanding of the poem, each other, and emotions through this activity. I believe it was an awesome way to relate the poem to the individual reading it. I loved it :)

After Saturday, I have to say I am even more excited about July coming (not only because it is anniversary time for Zack and I ;) ), but because I didn't think I could be more excited for the Writing Project Summer Institute. I feel as though I learned and was exposed to so much within those six hours, that I can only image what thirteen days will do for me! is the updated Sarah daybook :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wrapping Up & Showin' Off!

To begin our week we actually wrapped up our poetry from last week. Students completed their Diamante and Metaphor poems. Check how the instructions here! Here are some adorable examples:



Monday was also the very first Technology Showcase for Pinnacle leaders and Ipad Pilots in Gaston County. Teachers were invited to come and show off the fabulous things students are doing in their classrooms with technology. I had the privileged of taking three of my amazing students to the showcase and allowed them the opportunity to show their stuff! They were asked by other teachers, administrators, parents, and even school board members to explain their use of technology. I must say they did FABULOUS! They handled the discussion so well, so mature, and did a great job explaining their roles in the classroom and how technology is used. Here are some pictures on their afternoon: 




I absolutely loved it and know my students did too! It went awesome :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

It's Poetry Week!

This has got to be one of the most exciting weeks, at least for me, and definitely one of my favorites throughout the entire year. It's POETRY WEEK! I have always loved poetry and constantly want to spread that passion to my students every year. Therefore, instead of hitting poetry here and there and in spotty times of the year, we hardcore focus on poetry for one week. During this week we dive into poetry review (terms like simile, metaphor, personification, etc.), then we actually write a piece of poetry or two a day! Of course we also look at some poetry and answer questions (but this is done throughout the year). This week is mainly dedicated to students writing their own poetry and expressing themselves through figurative language.

Monday we created "I Am" poems. These poems are three stanzas long about the students and their personality. They are given line starters for the stanzas, but then they feel in with actual dreams, wishes, thoughts, and feelings. Here are some examples:


Tuesday we did Pantoum poems. We reviewed stanzas and introduced quatrains. Students really like just saying the word, and were super excited to tell Mrs. Kinnett that they used a Spanish base word in Language Arts. These poems follow a specific line pattern where each line is repeated twice throughout the poem and it follows an ABAB rhyme scheme. Students were given the topic of Spring to write about and here are some awesome ones:


Wednesday we reviewed Haiku poems. Many students have written these before, but did not recognize the term when I introduced it. These poems are from Japan and mainly focus on nature. Students wrote two poems dealing with nature following the five syllable, seven syllable, five syllable pattern for this three line poem:


Thursday we worked on Concrete poems. This is probably a majority of my students' favorite poem of the week! Students are able to write on any topic they choose (they are excited after being told what to write about for the last two days!). They write their poem first, then choose a shape, then write the poem in that shape. For example if students wrote a poem about a tree, they could create a tree shape out of the poem! Students really get creative with this poem.


Finally today, Friday, we actually covered two poems! (We still do work on Fridays!!) We did Metaphor and Diamante poems. Metaphor poems are simply the students writing metaphors to compare themselves to another thing. Students can pick any object, animal, or thing to compare themselves to, then write metaphors (comparisons not using the words "like" or "as") about themselves being that object. Diamante poems (which I believe are my personal favorite) are in the shape of a diamond. Students can also write this poem on any topic. Students choose either two synonyms or two antonyms. The first line is one of those words, line to are two adjective describing word one. Line three is three -ing words describing word one. Line four has two nouns for word one, then two nouns for the final word. Line five is three -ing words describing the final word; line six is two adjectives describing that final word. The final line is the synonym or antonym for word one of the poem. (I'll have pictures of these two wonderful poems on Monday!)

Also at the end of this week (today!) students were turning in their Instagram Project that I assigned last week. Students did a wonderful job with it! Check out the instructions in this post from last week... Here are some final copies and views of the students' work:



And last but not least...It is the Cinco De Mayo weekend and I could not be more excited! I absolutely love Cinco de Mayo, Mexican food, and everything that goes with it. At Cramerton today we had a pre-celebration lunch with tacos, chips, salsa, queso, and all sorts of desserts. Here's my contribution...Sombrero Cookies (Thanks Pinterest!)

Tener un gran fin de semana!! (Have a great weekend ;) )