It's That Time of Year Again: Testing {with a Freebie}, Balloons and Memory Books, Yee-Haw!

Wow! I have eight kiddo days left of school and a teacher workday after that. I can't believe how fast this year is FLYing!

Well, my goal is to be finished with end of the year testing by Wednesday. Then it's onto grades, report card narratives and end of the year awards.

Most of my class finished their MAP testing last week. MAP is a computer assessment that we take three times a year. MAP stands for Measure of Academic Progress. For more information on MAPS, click here! My kiddos LOVE taking "the fun test on the computer"! I have always done goal setting with my firsties but this year, I thought I would make it a little more exciting, so I created play doh goal setting cards for MAPS!

I printed them 1:2 sided and cut apart. On the front I added their names and on the back I added their EOY goal in the goal circle. The EOY goal is located on the website under the student goal setting worksheet tab. There is space to write both of their scores from both parts of the test and a spot to total the two tests.

My kiddos were so excited to see their score and their goal! It was great to hear comments like, "Whoa! I beat it by a lot!" and "Oh, I missed it by one. I need a little more grit."

Their favorite part was playing, creating and building with play doh after the test. Each student had a piece of wax paper and a little tub of play doh. It was the perfect end to some hard working testers!

Can you see the snowman?

You can pick up the MAPS goal setting cards for FREE in my TpT store! Remember to leave feedback if you download!

MAP Goal Setting Cards

This upcoming week, we are starting our first grade EOY memory books. This year we are creating cowboy and cowgirl memory books! It's called, "I'm Giving First Grade the Boot!" I made a total of 26 books and made the boy and girl versions with different colored card stock front and back pages. There is also a version for kindergarten and second grade! Check out the link to this memory book below!

I assembled the books last weekend and totally took over the binding machine in the staff workroom! Oops!

I bound the books with the binding at the top, so it will be a flip from top to bottom.

I can't wait to see their faces tomorrow when they get their memory book!

This is probably THE page that will be a huge hit! Boys can sign their names and draw a self-portrait in the boxes on the cowboy page and then the girls can sign their name and draw their self portrait on the cowgirl pages.

TIP: Students may not get autographs until they have finished the rest of their memory book. This helps to keep kiddos on track with completing work, EVEN during the last couple week of school!

Have your measuring tape handy! I'll spend a good part of tomorrow helping kiddos measure their heads to figure out their 'hat' size!


End of the Year Memory Book for Cowboys and Cowgirls

So, one more EOY activity that has been ah-mazing is the balloon popping countdown! We started last week with 13 blown up balloons taped to the edge of our stairs. Inside I wrote up 13 different, fun low-prep activities on little notecards. Each day, I pick two kiddos: they must decide which balloon they want to pop and then how they want to pop it! It's been great so far! Activities include: 10 minutes of extra recess, 10 minutes of watercolor time, each person at the green table picks out a brain break for the day, everyone eats lunch in the classroom, etc. It's been fabulous and the kids love seeing what's inside the balloon!

Thanks for poking in! I hope your journey to the end of the year is filled with fun!

Until again, I wish you well!

Home to School Communication: Keeping Everyone in the Loop

I've linked up with Mrs. Olson's Lucky Little Learners and Schroeder Shenanigans in 2nd for their monthly link up #2GETHERWEAREBETTER! Check out many more communication ideas at the links above. I hope you have a great takeaway and find something that you want to implement!

Parent communication, for me, is something that starts off really strong each year and then it gets harder and harder for me to maintain throughout the year, especially if I'm trying something new! Case in point. As I looked through old text messages, I realized the last time I sent a Remind text was in November {ugh}.  Now I really enjoyed sending these text reminders, but I had a hard time getting parents to sign up. {Parents/families have to enroll in the program to receive texts from me}. I found that after winter break, I didn't resume sending them because I only had 6 parents that were receiving them. For next year, I plan on starting it day one. I'm thinking a little business card to pass out as parents drop students off the first day, with important contact information, email, phone and Remind sign-up :-)  For more information on this tool, check out the REMIND website!

Two things that I DO maintain and have for several years, is a weekly newsletter {paper based} and a monthly homework calendar. My newsletter consists of the basics: what are we learning, a home-to-school connection piece with important announcements, and a section for upcoming dates/assemblies/field trips, etc. On the back of the newsletter is a break down of our reading series. That includes spelling words, high-frequency words and our reading comprehension skills and strategies. Oh, and I print them out on colored paper for extra fun!

The monthly homework calendar is something that my first grade team started a few years ago. The calendar breaks down all of the monthly homework into 4 columns; words to know, math, spelling, and vocabulary. It's a nice little EXCEL document that gives a monthly overview for me and parents. We align the calendar with our curriculum pacing calendar. To set up my homework folders, I use folders with the 3-prongs. I try to find the perfect, thickest, heaviest, I hope it will last all year long folders! At the front of the folder is a pencil pouch.
This is where students can store their necessary homework tools for the year. My parents have RAVED about these pouches! Behind the pouch is the homework calendar and then the homework for the rest of the MONTH! I know, I send home an entire month's homework at a time and it has been fabulous! On my end, I don't have to re-stuff homework folders every weekend and I only have to fight with the copier once a month for homework related materials. On the parents end, they have been excited to have all the materials they need to complete homework and they enjoy looking ahead to see what is coming in the curriculum. I also include a monthly calendar for all upcoming dates.

So to answer the question, I would say that the homework folder (aka my CAMP folder: Collecting And Managing Paperwork) is my most successful tool. It is definitely one that takes a great deal of time to get set up and then to prepare every month, but it feels well worth the time for me, my students and my parents.

Until again, I wish you well!