Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stone Fox, Open House, and State Testing

We've been pretty busy trying to finish our Stone Fox book these past couple of weeks, but we got it done! Oh, how my students loved this book. I think it has been there favorite so far.

***SPOILER ALERT....if you haven't read Stone Fox then you might want to scroll down a little bit****

        I had never read the book before, so on my spring break I took it home to read. I was shocked that Searchlight died! It was almost like when Luke Skywalker found out the Darth Vader was his father..."NNNNNOOOOO!!!!!!!!" However, when Stone Fox stopped the race allowing Little Willy to carry his dead dog over the finish line, I lost it!! There were tears involved. So when I had to read it to my students, I knew that I was going to have to hold it together--which I did, barely. The reaction of my students was priceless. They were so in to the story, so when Searchlight died it was the same reaction as I had! WOW! They were REALLY engaged in the story. I think they were more mad that the story didn't have an "ending". They had all sorts of questions about what was going to happen next. Did Willy get a new dog? What did Willy and Grandfather do now that he was well? Were Willy and Stone Fox friends? This led them to writing the next chapter of Stone Fox.

****'s okay to read now...spoiler alert is over*****

        Next, we are reading Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger. This out to be interesting. I haven't seen my kids so excited about reading in a long time. So thankful that my principal gave my team the "go ahead" on using REAL books! The little ones are constantly asking about what we are going to read next. Even if they do not care for the current book itself, they are still excited about what the next story will be. That makes my heart get warm fuzzies!

       Okay, next week is an open house during school hours for an entire week! We are trying to give parents a chance to see what goes on in our classrooms during math and reading. Since our school has gone to using Investigations math material, some of the parents started to worry about this "new" math. This is a great way to for them to get a glimpse into our math world, see how making math fun can help students learn, and how we are allowing students to use their own strategies for solving equations (not just using the ONE way the uses one the board). Maybe it will help them see that I have to take care of other children's needs too, if you know what I mean. So far I only have one parent that is coming. Maybe there will be others. Our school already had math and reading sessions one evening a little while ago, so that could be for the low response. I will let y'all know how it goes.

      State testing is just around that corner--in 3 weeks to be exact!! Where did the time go?!?! Our preparations have been underway since the beginning of the month. We have to get our opened responses a little more refined. Lots of reviewing going on here. I have been thinking about what I can do for my students to get them pumped up about doing well on this test. There were some really cute ideas on Pinterest (of course, isn't that were we get every idea nowadays, ha ha ha) that I might try. For example, I saw some cards with cute messages that matches different types of candy. Also, last year I had parents write a letter of encouragement to their child which was given to them the morning of the first day of testing. Those kiddos read their letters every day, aaaawwww. I might do it again. I would love to hear your ideas!!