Monthly Archives: March 2012

27 Down, 10 To Go


So, I know I have not written for a good while, but there is a good reason:

March 12-16 Spring Break (I was chillaxin’)

March 19-22 Practice for our Standardized Test (Boooorrring!)

March 26-30 Take our Standardized Test

There’s only one school post in there.  So, between Monday and Friday my kids took 11 standardized tests!

On Monday, everything got off to a crazy start due to unforeseen circumstances that I will not bore you with here. The point is that I wasn’t able to give any last minute tips or conduct a small review for the kids. We just had to start: they took Vocabulary, Word Analysis, and Reading Tests. Most of them didn’t need the help though; they remembered all of their strategies.

On Tuesday, things were much more normal, and I was able to remind the munchkins about some tips for completing the listening section as well as the language section.  Only some of them used those tips, but oh well. I did all I could do.  And some of those listening questions were hard! Like, so hard that I was confused just reading it. We’ll see how they did…

On Wednesday, the kids took math concepts and math problem solving.  I was so nervous about the math concepts test because we have not even touched on graphs, charts, and time yet. Some of the kiddos got confused along the way, but that’s expected if you haven’t learned the material, right?

On Thursday, the kids took math computation and social studies.  Math computation has a timed section, and I was proud, beyond proud that all but two of my munchkins finished the timed section (they are not expected to) and all of them finished the first-grade-level problems. Woo hoo! Social Studies was also sort of a gamble, since the historical figures, information about safety etc. could be simply a different set of facts than the ones asked about on the test. Fortunately, the kids made it through pretty well.

On Friday, the final day, they took the science test and the sources of information test.  Most of the kiddos did fine on the science test, but some of the kids weren’t able to translate their knowledge of science into the answers to some of the questions that weren’t straight-forward or those that asked them to combine facts from multiple disciplines. Oh well. Then, in the sources of information test, I watched in horrid fascination as one of my brightest students lost total focus and got EVERY SINGLE QUESTION WRONG on one section of the test AND I COULDN’T DO SAY ANYTHING. Thankfully, things improved sharply after that.

I’m exhausted.


25 Down, 12 To Go


Schooool’s out for spring break! Schoooool’s out for 1 week! That was my adaptation of Alice Cooper’s “School’s out for Summer”

Anyway, the point is that I have a one-week break. Jack and I went to the library yesterday and got library books to keep ourselves occupied. I have some school stuff to do, like writing comments for report cards, but I’m going to wait until later in the week when I really miss my munchkins to write those.

So, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were kind of ordinary days filled with the normal things that we do.  On Thursday, however, the fun began. Well, it didn’t start out fun. The first thing that we did was take three tests so that I could get all our units and grades finished up for the quarter. The kids were pretty sick of that and we had to do the chicken dance periodically to cheer things up.

Then, after lunch, we had “Spring Day.”  Our marvelous second grade teacher had a marvelous idea to have a party on Thursday. But after talking it over with the kindergarten teacher, we though that a “party” might be a little much, considering that they would be coming back to school the next day for a field trip. So we came up with a 1/4 learning 3/4 fun idea called Spring Day. When we explained our plan to the second grade teacher, she agreed that the second graders should also have a 1/4 learning 3/4 fun day.

Students brought in two pieces of their favorite fruit, and we created a fruit salad together and talked about the season of spring and why fruit salad can remind us of spring. Then we made tissue paper flowers together and watched a documentary about butterflies. The kids loved it and I so wish I could post pictures to show you how cute the munchkins were!

On Friday, our last day of school before spring break, the entire elementary school was scheduled to go to Pioneer Farms from 10-2. If you don’t live in Austin, you may not know that we received an inch of rain on Thursday (High temp 76) and were scheduled to receive more rain on Friday (High temp 48).  It was after only 1 hour at Pioneer Farms before the principal called in the kindergarten and first grade to come onto the bus because it was too cold.   We all got ushered on to the bus when a deluge of Biblical scale came down. I almost called out, “Thank you Jesus that we’re all on the bus already!”, but I held back.

The rain continued all the way back to the school and the bus ended up having to drive up on the sidewalk so that the kids could go straight from the door of the bus to the door of the school. We ended up having an indoor picnic and watching Reading Rainbow for the rest of the day.

It was good. And I went home 1 minute after all the kids left on the bus. Woohoo!

24 Down, 13 To Go


Ah, spring is in the air. The birds are chirping, my windows are open, wild flowers are blooming, and I’ve begun screaming at my kids. Not screaming in anger, mind you. It’s just that spring is when the kids become immune to your indoor voice.

So…I’ve been screaming…a lot.

In language arts, I screamed about finding the main idea in reading passages. We also finished up our fourth book this week and played their favorite game–complimentary chairs. That’s the one where the kids march around the room to the music, and when the music stops, they run to a chair, read that person’s book, and write a compliment on a sheet of notebook paper. SO FUN!

In math, I screamed about addition. We’ve already worked on the basics of addition, but we are coming back to practice recalling facts by memory and working *scary voice* two-step problems.

In social studies, I screamed about wants and needs. The kiddos listened to fairy tales and then made venn diagrams to show the things that the characters got that were wants, the things that were needs, and the things that were both (like a feast. You NEED food, but you WANT a lot of good food) They also cut out pictures from ads for things that they wanted and then wrote about why they couldn’t have it.

In science, I screamed about the seasons and the beginning of our unit on the sky and space. We’ve been talked about day and night. The kids learned that the sun shines on half the earth at all times and that sunrise and sunset come when we are turning into and out of the sun. Then, one of my G/T kids asks, “Then why are the days longer in the summer than the winter if the sun is always shining on half the Earth.” I told him that he would have to wait until the end of the book for me to explain it. And I did, with the help of a lamp and a tilted globe.