Testing Treats – Candy Grams to Help Ease Anxiety

Testing time is stressful for all involved! So to ease testing anxieties a bit, I decided to create candy-gram treats for them and place them on their desks each morning. They loved the silly messages and special treats, and were actually excited to come in each day in anticipation of each day’s surprise. You truly can get kids to do just about anything for a piece of candy! 🙂

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I turned to Pinterest and Google for treat labels that were already created by other teachers, saving me a ton of time. The prep work took a bit of time, but it was totally worth it!

Below are some pictures of the treats and links where you kind find labels of your own. Happy Testing!

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Smartie Pants Printable

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Small Candy-Gram Labels

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Dum-Dum and Smarties Printable

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Airhead Printable

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Additional Links:

Smart Cookie

Super Cute Treat Tags

Testing Incentives

Letter to Parents for Week Before Test

 

 

 

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Kids Get Free Gifts With Summer Reading Programs

summer-slide-statistics-nsla

Summer is a time when kids get to kick back and enjoy their carefree days, making memories that will surely last a lifetime. However, not being in school for 2 consecutive months, also has a huge downfall, more specifically the “summer slide.” Experts agree that those children who read during the summer acquire reading skills, while those who do not often slide backward. The good news is that research indicates that reading just six books during the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. The trick is to make sure these books are on the child’s independent reading levels, so that they are not too easy or too hard. Below I have outlined a few summer reading programs that offer kids incentives to continue to read over the summer, avoiding the summer slide and getting rewarded all in one!

Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Program – Imagination’s Destination

Kids earn a FREE BOOK in three simple steps:

Step 1. Read any 8 books and record them in the Reading Journal PDF. Step 2.Bring the completed Reading Journal to your local B&N store.

Step 3. Choose a FREE BOOK from our selection on the Reading Journal list at the store… Enjoy reading!

Pottery Barn Summer Reading Challenge

Students who read all summer long and log it on their recording sheet, can visit a local Pottery Barn store and pick up a free book!

Half-Price Books Summer Reading Program – Feed Your Brain

Kids 14 and under can earn free Half Price Books gift cards if they read for at least 300 minutes from June 1 to July 31, 2014.

TD Bank Summer Reading Program

With this reading program students who complete the program by reading 10 books, earn $10 free! This summer reading program runs June 1 – August 31.

Chuck E. Cheese Reading Reward Certificates

On this site are many different rewards certificates that earn children 10 free play tokens! The reading certificate requires students to read each day for two weeks.

Wonder – Teaching About Bullying and Acceptance Through Literature

I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

wonder

So if you know me, you know I absolutely LOVE to read. I am that annoying friend who will gladly push book selections on you if you ever make the mistake of telling me that you enjoy to read! I own tons and tons of books and enjoy nothing more than sharing them with others. I am always eager to know if my friends too enjoyed them as I always feel a certain sense of triumph when I’ve paired a friend to a book they’ve loved. In short, I am a huge book nerd!

A few years ago, a close teacher friend of mine, Stephanie, asked if I wanted to read the book “Wonder” with her. I dove right in and ordered the book without hesitation. Once I opened it, I was hooked and couldn’t (and didn’t) put it down until I was done. To say that the book was an emotional journey for me, would only begin to describe the effect it had on me. If you have not yet read “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, I strongly urge you to do so. (You can totally borrow my copy!)

This year, I decided to read the book to my class because I feel it encompasses so many life lessons, and illustrates it in such a believable and moving way. I love how the language and characters in the story are so realistic, and so I really felt like the students in my class would be really moved by this story. Well by day one, they too were hooked!

Here is a quick synopsis taken from Wikipedia: The story “Wonder” is about a 10-year-old boy with facial deformities named August Pullman (Auggie) who wishes to be treated normally. He attends public school for the first time in his life, although he does not want to, he agrees to go. Throughout his fifth grade school year, he faces many challenges of having a deformed face, but some surprises also come up like Summer and Jack. The book also goes into other people’s perspective of August: Via’s, Summer’s, Justin’s (in which he doesn’t capitalize his “I’s” and has other grammar mistakes), and Miranda’s.

The themes of kindness and inclusion, meanness and exclusion, and friendship, are the main ones weaved throughout the story. Wonder is told in several different points of views, allowing the reader to see how one person’s differences can affect the lives of so many others. It will make you laugh, cry, question your own behaviors and thinking patterns, and force you at times to be uncomfortable. This is the magic behind the story and what makes it so powerful and moving.

I will be posting some activities we did as a class for the book as we go along. Here is a FREEBIE that we used to create text messages to Auggie prior to the chapter when he goes to school. I had my students write him a text message offering him some advice on his first day of school. They enjoyed it very much and did a great job balancing the right words to encourage Auggie, while also setting him up to be prepared for the possibility of not all kids and adults treating him nicely. I was very proud of their work and excited to showcase it.

We were also working on persuasive letters in Writer’s Workshop at the time, so I had students write August letters persuading him to either go to school, or stay at home and continue to be home-schooled. CLICK HERE  for the paper we used for that.

We signed the Choose Kind Pledge online as a class too! After each kid signed, I gave them one of these cute labels I printed onto a label to wear.

Last, they visited this SITE and created digital postcards that they e-mailed to me. On each postcard they were asked to write about how they would carry out their pledge to be kind.

Each of the assignments is pictured below.

Text to Auggie

 

Auggie Text

 

2014-04-21 14.22.54

Wonder

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2014-04-21 14.23.00

wonder postcards

 

A List of Resources

Choose Kind Tumblr

Educator Guide for Wonder

 Teachingbooks.net

 

HAPPY READING!

Celebrating Earth Day – April 22

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we have been taught.” ― Baba Dioum

Earth Day is an important time of year, that falls during an unfortunate time of the year for us – NJ Ask Test Prep. However, its central message is so important that it is one that simply cannot be ignored. With the obvious signs of climate change, the continued depletion of valuable natural resources, and the devastating effects we are beginning to see throughout the world as a result of both, educators must take the time to demonstrate their support for this cause.

Earth Day is an annual event that is celebrated on April 22. It is a day on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 as a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. Today it is celebrated in over 190 countries worldwide.

One thing I have noticed in my classroom this year is the increase of students bringing in water bottles to the classroom. The classroom is littered with them, the recycling bins overflowing with them, and the spills from them are all too common. So yesterday I decided to show my students the trailer for the movie Tapped on YouTube, not knowing if the concepts would be too complex for them. Throughout the trailer, I did pause the clip so I could paraphrase and discuss each point brought up with them (in order to check for comprehension and clear up any misconceptions they might have). I am happy to report they were fascinated and enraged by the water bottle industries actions. They were curious about BPA and the chemicals in the plastics they used every day, and of course saddened by the animals being harmed by water bottle consumption (an injured animal always sways a kid).

My students, like many people today, thought recycling was the answer. We discussed the recycling process and how it was a better solution than allowing the plastic to enter a landfill, but how it still wasn’t a good thing! We then discussed what we could do to help the Earth in our classroom. No surprise here, they realized that they could start using reusable water bottles instead of buying water in bottles that were to be thrown away after each use.

Today, take some time to talk to your students/children about the importance of protecting our Earth. It’s up to us to make a change and make things better for future generations.

In the words of Dr Seuss: Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’

Here are some Earth Day Activities we did together as a class, as well as the links to TPT that I got the ideas and activities from.

Happy Earth Day! PEACE, LOVE, EARTH!

Project shown below was inspired by: I Can Heal the World Activity on TpT  (My Version Free Here)

Earth Day Writing Paper Freebie (Seen Below)

 

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