Friday, March 29, 2013

Celebrating 1,000 Pinterest Followers!

This is a milestone that I never saw coming! But, it's quite exciting!  As my followers grew, I was inspired me to dig deeper for the type of pins that they would want to see.  I love a treasure hunt and Pinterest has given me a place to store my treasure.

So, let's celebrate!!!  And there's no better way than to have a Giveaway!  My followers tell me that the #1 prize they like to win is a TPT gift certificate and this Giveaway will have NOT one, NOT two, but three TPT $10 Gift Certificates!  

Goodluck and thank you for following me on Pinterest!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get rid of the "Crazies"!

I have had more than my share of "crazy" this week.  Not the good kind of crazy.  The crazy kind of crazy.  LOO-NEE-BIRD-CRAY-ZEE!  Gone-off-the deep-end-crazy.  Encounters of the "Get a Life" crazy?  Are you with me?

My poor dear hubby is always there to listen to the craziness.  He is the best about helping me let go of the Crazies.  I am also very fortunate that I have a wonderful, supportive teaching partner and grade-level team.  But, when my mind wanders, I like to have something to redirect my thoughts.  Enter:  Roy Rogers.  I was very excited to find this quote on Pinterest recently.

This is much easier said than done.  I'm just not the thick-skin type.  But when I turned half-a-centurylast summer, I began to feel a stronger urgency to live every minute to the fullest.  Roy....your wisdom lives on!  Here are a few other suggestions for dealing with the CRAZIES!

Unfortunately, teachers are encountering more and more adult irrational behavior.  How do you cope with it?  Please share as we could all benefit from different ideas! 



I had just finished writing and publishing this post when my doorbell rang.  I was so surprised to see a former student (and his mom) who had moved across the country last year!  He handed me a beautiful flower arrangement and said he was in town and asked his mom if he could stop by to say thank you for being his teacher.  If he only knew how much I needed to here that today!  

I believe it was a little divine intervention on this Holy Friday.   God's work through my former student was this teacher's cure for the crazies.  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Warning: Monday is Approaching

I know.....I should be enjoying the last hours of Spring Break instead of thinking about Monday.  But this isn't just any Monday. This Monday begins the countdown to April 23rd.   What is April 23rd, you ask?  Why, it's the Texas Math STAAR test.  Only 25 school days to finish teaching the curriculum, review, tutor, and otherwise prepare my 8 and 9 year old third graders for their first high-stakes test.  The thought of it all sends my stomach into a gymnastics routine that rivals Gabby Douglas' gold medal performance in London, except my gymnastic days were over somewhere in the late 80's. 

Recently, a colleague of mine told me that she knows of other districts that start preparing for STAAR during the first week of the school year. My friends, I pray you are not in one of those districts.  The thought of that makes me so sad, mostly for the kids.  But, I guess it's reality in the education world we live in today.  

I'm a realist.  It's coming.....I can't change it....must deal with it.  So I thought it might be cathartic to share my "Preparing for the Test" routine.  Here we go. 

#1  Analyze the Benchmark

Our district gives a math benchmark prior to Spring Break.  In administering the benchmark, we simulated the STAAR environment: the test was STAAR length (46 rigorous questions) and the kiddos had 4 hours to finish. Many used the entire 4 hours and they were completely exhausted.  A review of the results showed that they started out well then showed less effort and more mistakes as the test went on.  Note to self:  Build stamina.  

I also crunched all the data provided by the benchmark.  I looked at which standards I need revisit or hit hard.  For those who did poorly, I created an individualized success plan and discussed it with their parents.  

#2  Create One-to-One Tutoring Schedule

For those who are considered at-risk for failing the test, I will offer 1-1 tutoring with me after school.  We have small group tutoring during school day.  But, some of the kiddos will require intensive re-teaching of conceptual skills....the type of skills that should have been mastered before they came to third grade.  I require that the parents attend the tutoring as well, so they can reinforce what I am teaching with their children at home. 

#3 Daily STAAR Quizzes

Each day my students will take a STAAR quiz with 10-12 questions.  I will briefly meet with each student to go over the problems that they missed.  If they score 90 or above OR improve their score according to a goal we set together, the student gets a sticker.  For every 5 stickers that they earn, they get to spin the Prize Wheel (something I only do during STAAR prep).  We come up with the prizes together (within reason), as they tend to work harder when the prize is something they really want to win.  

#4  STAAR Daily 5  

We will continue with our Daily 5 plan until all the standards are taught.  My Math Stations will reinforce the weak areas as shown on the Benchmark.  

The independent station will be an ongoing review project.  The students will create a A B C's of Math booklet which you can get for free HERE.  

The goal will be to ensure that everyone is engaged in math review activities so that I may meet with small groups to review and reteach.  

#5  Practice STAAR Tests

I plan on giving 2 additional STAAR practice tests.  I will probably use a beefed-up version of the 2009 Released TAKS Test including questions similar to the STAAR Released Test Questions.  I also recommend two practice math STAAR tests I found on TPT (#1 and #2).  I used the 4th grade versions last year and they were great.  The author has taken great care to mirror the blueprint of the STAAR test.  

#6  Keeping it Low-Key 

Last but not least, I work very hard to limit anxiety about the test.  My goal is to over-prepare the kiddos by exposing them to as much problem solving as I can before the test.  I want them to approach  test with confidence by having lots of experience under their belts. In fact, I've had kids tell me that they thought the test was going to be so much harder than it was.  That's where I want them to be.  

I often relate the test prep to sports.  It's something to which they all can relate.  I am the coach and they are the team.  I tell the students that I am going to coach them to be the best player that they can be.  And we do that through practice, practice, practice!  
For instance, Michael Phelps didn't win all those gold medals by sitting on the edge of the pool and dangling his feet in the water.  To make my point, I love to show this video, when Phelps won his 7th gold medal in Beijing by .01 second.  He could never have done that without all the practice and training he did.  And where did that final burst of energy come from?  He pushed himself because he wanted to win and he believed he could do it! 

Finally, we talk about how a coach can get the team ready, but he doesn't play in the game.  The coach steps aside and the player does his best to remember and implement everything the coach taught him, just like Michael Phelps!  As we get closer, I will remind them everyday that they are ready.  They just have to show what they know.  


Well, that's that.  For those of you who teach a testing grade, I wish you all the best in making it through the next several weeks.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Flash Freebie Winner!

Congratulations, Jessica from Joy in the Journey!  You are the winner of the Flash Freebie from my TPT store:

I hope you enjoy it, Jessica!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bitten by the Creation Bug!

As you may know, I recently opened my TPT store and I am in the process of adding new creations.  I have tons of things I have created over the years, but they really need to be gussied-up (is "gussied" a real word?).

Thank you to everyone for celebrating my opening with me!  I am feeling the love........SO, I'm going to have a flash freebie giving away my newest product:

All you have to do is to leave a comment in which you share your best TPT advice.  If you don't have a TPT store, tell me about a math product you would like to see me create.  Easy-peasy!

The flash-giveaway will end Fri., March 15 at midnight CST.  I will choose a random number within the comments.  


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Moxie's TPT Store is Open!


I am beyond excited!  

My first product is in and it's a FREEBIE!

I was going to wait until summer (mostly so I wouldn't become obsessed with creating).  But, things don't always go the way you plan!

I created "A B C's of Math" as a project for my students.  As part of our Math Daily 5, this will be one way we prepare for the upcoming Math STAAR test.   I was so happy with the finished product, I thought it would be the perfect first and free product in my new TPT store.  Here it is:

There are many ways to use it and it is easily adaptable for any grade level.  You could choose the vocabulary words and write them in before you copy it.  You could complete it as each math vocabulary word it introduced.  It could be a fun, end-of-the-year, math review project.  I hope you find a way for it to fit your needs.  

Do you have another idea?  I'd love to hear it!

If you use it, I would appreciate it if you could rate my work!  Thank you for your support!!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Jumping on the Bus" Day

Isn't it amazing how some things go viral so quickly?  I was up super late last night, mainly because it's Spring Break (yay!).  I was reading my blog roll and came across something that I thought I would like to share.  But, I was getting tired and put it on my "to do" list.  By morning, this topic exploded!  I guess the deal was even better than I thought!  

What IS this viral news?  Can you guess?  It's the launch of Educents, a new website that will offer daily deals for teachers.    Educents will launch on April 2nd, so the actual deals remain to be seen.  But who could pass up a FREE $15 gift certificate for signing up to try it?  Hurry because the offer ends on the April 2nd launch date.  Click HERE to sign up, so you don't forget!

Another teacher-loved website is Vista Print.  Oh,  how I love this site.  The possibilities are endless and the price is right.  I started using Vista Print years ago for our family photo Christmas cards. I also was an Avon Lady while my kids were little and used Vista Print to make free business cards and post cards to promote my business.  Now I use it to create neat customized items for my classroom.  Here's my latest creation!

I couldn't find a pre-made sticker that I liked, so I made my own!

For more ways that I've used Vista Print, view this post for my other creations.  It will also lead you to a Vista Print Linky Party which has tons of ideas!  

Now for all the giveaways that you have got to enter!  If I even win one of these prizes, I will be thrilled!

Collaboration Cuties - 1 Day Left!

Ideas by Jivey 

Peace, Love, & First Grade
Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sandy Hook Ducks bringing happiness!

I heard about this story and I just had to share.  It's a story of a small kindness growing in to a boat-load of joy.  To keep the joy going, help is needed.  Here's why.......

Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, a Kiwanis Club in Colorado sent a small box of plastic ducks to the children who were affected.  
The box was opened by someone from the newly created School Resource Office of the Monroe, CT Police Department, the community where the Sandy Hook children were now going to school.  One of the Resource Officers got the idea to place the ducks around the school.  The entire school fell in love with the little ducks and started to look forward to finding them every day.  

Since January, the School Resource Dept. has placed over 2,000 ducks in the school.  The children are collecting them and trading them.  Every day they look forward to seeing if there will be new and different ducks.  In February, the newly created Newtown Duck was given to every child in the school

Pin this picture to help spread the word!!!

The problem is, THEY NEED MORE DUCKS!  If you are like me, this tugs on my heart strings.  

I love the idea of creating a little happiness for those children.  I ordered some ducks from Oriental Trading and will get my students to sign them before we ship them off. 

If you'd like to donate ducks, send them to:

Ducks of Sandy Hook
3 Sims Lane
Newtown, CT  06470   

Also, check out their The Ducks of Sandy Hook  Facebook page to read more about this.  

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Photo Challenge

Hurray!  Spring is right around the corner!  St. Patty's Day....Easter....and if you live in Texas, it's time for the Rodeo!  

March's Photo Challenge is to link up with a picture of how Spring blooms in your classroom.   Is it a holiday celebration?  A unit you work on in March?  An outdoor activity?  A field trip?   

I'm also excited that my teaching partner extraordinaire, Megan at I Teach. What's your super power? won the February Photo Challenge Giveaway!   How about that for a bit of March luck?  Megan, your TPT gift certificate is on it's way!

I can't wait to see your creative entries! Just link up below!   

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