Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Peek at my Week - 2/9/14

This is the second of THREE straight four day weeks at my school. Last week, we had a snow day and a 2-hour delay. This Friday is a professional development day, and then Monday is President's Day.

Under normal circumstances, I would be ecstatic at three short weeks, BUT we have our standardized tests the last week of this month, which, incidentally, is the only full week of school we have in February! This teacher is feeling the pressure to get it all in before the test! I'm trying very hard to adopt the mantra of "I've done all I can, and now it's time to relax," but seriously, most days I just stress myself out about it. To top it all off, I came down with a nasty cold on Sunday night, and it's just now starting to get better.

Despite the inner turmoil, I've decided to do what's best for my kids, and just keep teaching as usual instead of trying to cram things in before testing. So, here it is... a Peek at my Week:

We are still working on adding and subtracting fractions. My kids did pretty well overall with all of the basic fraction concepts, but having to put all of it together to add with unlike denominators was a huge challenge for them, so instead of trying to rush it, we are going to spend at least one more day on it before we move to subtraction. Ideally, I'd like to get through addition and subtraction so I can test on Thursday before their long weekend. I am using the cutest activity for their fraction practice on these skills. It's from Miss Math Dork, and you can get it here. My kids have LOVED getting to cut the strips apart after they finish the work and create the heart chains! The first set are already hanging on our bulletin board, and they are very excited about adding to it this week!

Our schedule is extremely tight this year on actual instructional time, so anytime I can incorporate Social Studies or Science into Writing, I am all for it. Enter Jivey's fabulous American Revolution Mentor Sentences. Since we are in the middle of three short weeks, I will be finishing up last week's sentence, from John, Paul, George, and Ben, and then starting the following week a little early. I was so surprised that my students have NO clue who most of these men were! Thanks to this unit, they are learning, and loving it! My students absolutely love mentor sentences, and this is a super easy way to incorporate some great mentor texts for Social Studies into our writing.

In reading, we are just getting going on our figurative language unit. Last week, we got through simile and metaphor, and will be doing hyperbole tomorrow. I'm using Erin Cobb's amazing Interactive Literature Notebook resources. She has paired each type of figurative language with a song. My students loved listening to the songs in class and looking for the similes and metaphors. I was SO impressed with their interpretations of the metaphors, especially. On Friday, they even "caught" me using a couple of metaphors during the day. I've never had a class so excited and motivated to learn figurative language. Using music has them so much more engaged than they usually are! I forgot to take pics of their notebooks last week, so I'll try to get some tomorrow morning to add in here!

 Between days off and early dismissal every Tuesday, we actually only have 6 days of Science/SS left before testing, so this is the time to review all those little things they *should* have learned in fourth grade, but won't remember unless we remind them! This week, I am going to tackle the Water Cycle with a quick activity from the Water Cycle unit by Common Core and So Much More. After that, we will make our own water cycle models by drawing the water cycle on zip-lock bags and hanging them in the window. Hopefully, we will get enough sun and warmth next week that they can see the water cycle in action in the bags. Here are a couple of pictures from this activity last year:

Assuming we're in school all week, I'm hoping we will also get to do a super quick review of the planets (just to make sure they haven't forgotten them!). Does anyone other than me feel frustrated at having to teach, or at least review, extra things outside our standards just because you know it's on the test? I hate it!

Well, that's my week... If you haven't already, you have one more day to enter my 100 follower giveaway and win some great prizes! Click the image below to be taken to the entry post. Have a great week everyone!


  1. I was at a conference last week and one of the speakers was talking about test prep. You are right. The best thing you can do is keep everything as normal as possible. Kids can sense when you are stressed, then they become stressed. Besides, what could you possibly do to prepare for a state test? You'll do great!!

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. I love your water cycle bags! Keep your chin up, you sound like a fantastic teacher and I am sure you are doing your very best. Keep up the good work!

  3. I'm so glad to hear you are loving the American Revolution Mentor Sentences! :) :)


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