Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dealing with Testing Stress

We have testing at my school next week.  I have to say friends, I hate tests.  I wasn't a good test taker growing up, so that has carried over to testing my little guys.  If it was a project or homework, I made a 100 every time, but actual tests stressed me out.  Not to mention, you knew they were timed, so it never failed that I was the kid finishing with one minute left.  So now when I have to test my kids, I feel that same anxiety, except now it is for them.  I know I taught everything, but there are so many unknowns like "How was their weekend?" or "Did they eat leftover Easter candy for breakfast?"  The hardest part is you truly can't test everything.  For example, determination, manners, and character don't show up on a test.

Anyway, I hate tests, I do, but I am trying to do everything I can not to let my kiddos feel the same stress I feel and that I felt when I was a kid.  I want them to be confident and sure of themselves.  Last week I blogged, a little about testing treats, but this week I'm going to fill in a few more gaps and teach you a few tricks I've learned the last few years.
If you take tests in the morning, which at my school we do, then breakfast has to be your number one priority.  I have always done breakfast for my kids the morning of tests, but a few years ago, I learned that there are actually foods that can give them a little bit more of an edge.  Below is a list of those foods.  Oh, and I'm not a dietician, so there could very possibly be a few things on this list that are wrong, but I have read multiple articles and these are the things listed by the majority of them.  The biggest thing is to eat protein.
The other thing I read in multiple places is to stay away from muffins (lots of carbs), turkey (makes you sleepy), and sugary drinks (can cause you to be jittery).
Some of these testing treats can double as breakfast for your kids, but most of them are for snacks later in the day or something fun for your kids to do after tests.  I had a lot of requests for the forms, so, I've included the file here.  Just click on any of the images and it will take you to the file to download.


Now, I mentioned fun.  It sounds funny, but I tell my kids multiple times that if they give their best I will make it worth their while and promise I will line up some fun activities.  Since today is Easter and we were prepping for tests last week, I didn't get a chance to do Easter stuff, so one of the things we will be doing are Easter centers.  We finish testing on Wednesday, so Thursday and Friday we will end up doing a lot of center activities.

Another thing we are going to do are some of the awesome Pinterest experiments I have found recently.  Below are a few of my favorites.  To read more about them, you can click on the images.  These images came from the original site which is Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.  Friends, I stumbled onto her site and whether you are a teacher or mom, her stuff is great.  She also includes TONS of pictures, so it makes it easier to know what you are getting yourself into. Once I get around to doing them, I promise to update you on how they went.

We will also be doing brain breaks.  I have ALL the CDs from The Learning Station, but just in case you don't, you can search for them on YouTube and do them with your kiddos.  Below are two of our favorites.



Happy testing and I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Updated Easter Centers

Do you ever wish you could revisit the past?  Well, yesterday I got the opportunity to do that as I updated the FIRST product I ever created.  Seriously, y'all, I didn't know anything about cute fonts, borders, and back then Krista Wallden and Enlightened Elephant didn't exist.  It was so funny to see just how much I have learned and changed over the last two years.  Much of the product was still great, but like an old house, it needed a little fine tuning.

Here's a side by side picture of the old cover and new cover?  Sure you don't notice any differences, right?  I think my favorite part is my title.  I was really original on my old version wasn't I?
Not only did I update the cover, but I added seven centers.  I decided twelve centers sounded a lot better than five.  Plus, my kiddos are needing to get some math practice in over the next few weeks.  I know for me, I don't like buying centers unless I can see what I am buying, so if you check the preview, there is one center for free.  Below I've also included pictures of 90% of what you will be getting.
If you are interested in grabbing this set of centers, you can click on any of the images to go grab them.  Oh, and I left the original price.  Until Easter, you can get all twelve centers for $6.  That's $.50 a center or in a way half off since I doubled the packet.  I'm also giving away TWO of these sets on my Facebook fan page.  Make sure you click the image below to go enter.
Now, last but not least, be sure to check out this incredible giveaway I'm getting to do.  The Learning Station and I have teamed up and they have given me an $80 BUNDLE of DVDS to give to one of my fans.  Seriously?  You don't get better than that and unlike most giveaways, it is only four clicks.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Sunday Friends!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bright Ideas: Testing Treats

It's that time of the month again.  Time for the Bright Ideas Blog Hop.
I was on Spring Break this week, so I was struggling to think of a topic and then I remembered that in the next few weeks most teachers will be facing some sort of standardized testing or benchmarks and I thought, "What if I blog about testing treats?"
First off, I promise I don't do ALL of these in my classroom.  I just wanted some variety.  I wanted to give you ideas that may include candy, snacks, healthy snacks, or items you can use.

I found ALL of the things I needed at Target, but I am certain you can get most of them at the Dollar Store, Walmart, or the grocery store.



A few other things I do during testing week to try to help with any stress my kids may be feeling is I have their parents write them a note for each day, I have breakfast ready for them when they get to the class, and at the end of the week, we have a pizza party.

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider following me on Facebook, TPT, or Pinterest for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you.  Thanks for visiting!



Have fun hopping!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Five for Friday

It's time for Five for Friday by DoodleBugs Teaching.  This one will definitely be one of my favorite ones because I have some cool things to share.

I took these pictures last week.  Our kindergarten TAs are just amazing!  Love all the colors and habitats!  They turned out great!
Do you see this pile?  I got a new printer for Christmas and literally JUST hooked it up two days ago.  I am in love!  I'm trying to get ahead and get everything printed off that I'm going to need the next few weeks.
Freebies?  Did I hear that you wanted a freebie?  Well, since Easter is coming up and unfortunately so is testing, I pulled out a few of my freebies from last year.  I hope you enjoy!
Do you like Brain Breaks?  Well, I am in LOVE with The Learning Station brain breaks.  I found them on YouTube last year.  They are perfect for rainy days and my kids ask for them over a movie when we are stuck inside.  Here's the thing.  I ordered one of the DVDs a few weeks ago and thought, "I'd love to be able to share these with my followers."  Guess what?  We are doing just that!  I contacted my friends at The Learning Station and they are letting me give away ONE DVD bundle!  Friends, it is worth $80.  You have a week to enter and I seriously can't wait to make someone's day next week.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, I've been looking for some fun things to do with my class that are more hands-on, especially after testing in a few weeks.  Here's a picture of one of my favorites - walking on eggs. Why yes, we will be doing that in my classroom in two weeks.  If you don't believe me, ask my friends.  I'll try anything once.  You can read more about how to do this on Playdough to Plato.  Oh, and make sure you check out Quirky Momma on Facebook.  She posts the neatest things to try with your kids and even in your classroom.
Have a Fantabulous Friday!

The Learning Station Giveaway

I promise I will keep this post short, but I am SO excited!  Last year, I started looking for brain break videos online.  I found some, but they were a little too long.  Well, I looked on YouTube and stumbled onto videos by The Learning Station.  I had never heard of them, but my kiddos and I fell in love.  Actually, if we are going to be honest, the entire first grade fell in love.

So, fast forward a year and I decided that I really wanted to have a DVD.  I bought one and as I was watching it, I immediately thought that I wish all my followers knew about them and how it would be awesome to be able to give away a DVD.

Well, I contacted The Learning Station and friends, I love them even more.  They immediately wanted to team up and not just offer one DVD, but their ENTIRE bundle.  Seriously?  An $80 bundle of DVDs that get your kids moving… what could be better than that?

Make sure that you enter the giveaway below!  Unlike most giveaways, you just have to like four places to be entered to win.  It is that simple.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

To learn more about their awesome DVDs and other products, you can visit www.learningstationmusic.com.
Happy Friday!