Wednesday, October 29, 2014

FSA: A Brief Overview From a Teacher Trying to Figure it All Out.

Those of you who teach in Florida are probably well aware that we are switching over from FCAT to FSA for standardized testing. While it is scary and unknown and totally new territory, it appears to be happening. I've put together a brief post sharing what I know so far, the resources I've found, and my plan of action to help prepare my students. I don't claim to be an expert by any means, more of a humble teacher on this journey with the rest of you. 

 The only sample assessment I've seen comes from the website pictured. It scares me and makes me uneasy that I've only seen one sample, and the format is new. Anyone with me?! Below I've listed directions to navigate the website for taking a sample assessment. If you haven't taken the sample assessments, brace yourselves. 

It's about to get real, friends! :) By the way, if you click on any of the pictures you can view them larger. 

Some teachers from my school had the idea of using these questions as a problem of the day, but each time you open the assessment, you're started back at question one. Bummer. 

It's my understanding that fifth grade takes the computer-based testing this year, then fourth grade next year, and third grade after that (at least in my district). As a third grade teacher that makes me feel a little better, BUT--if ours is still paper-based this year, what will that look like?! There are so many questions flying around in teachers' heads regarding all of this, that I fear may not be answered until after the fact. I decided that instead of living in fear and refusing to give this test, I would roll with the punches and create a resource for my students that I hope helps. 

I'll be creating 4 parts total, all spiraling third grade math CCSS. Instead of having all "normal" questions students are accustomed to, many of these questions require students to create, select "all that apply," and explain their thinking. It's in a PowerPoint presentation so it can be displayed on any board type, and includes the question on one slide, followed by the answer on the next slide.I also print these questions for student math journals daily. Included in the preview is a free week of POD questions if you'd like to use them. Even if you don't teach 3rd grade, a review never hurt anyone. 

I hope this post is at least a little helpful. I'll share if I get any other information, and please feel free to add any information you have in the comments. Just remember we're all in this together...:)

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sunday Circular: Behavior Management

Halloween is on a Friday this year. As if Friday's weren't enough fun already, let's throw Halloween in the mix, just to add to the craziness! With any luck it'll be a full moon, too! #saidnoteacherever

To help keep you sane this week, I've got a deal for you I think you can appreciate. I'm linking up with Nicole from All Things Apple for super Sunday Circulars!

After my first year teaching I knew I needed more than a clip chart for my friends. There didn't seem to be enough incentive, so that's when I started using these classroom reward coupons. I also use an economy system in my room, where students earn money for completing homework assignments, getting their planners signed, participating in class, and overall positive behaviors. With this money they buy their classroom coupons, but having classroom money is not at all required. That part is completely up to you!

I use a simple organization system for these reward coupons, this way it's easy and not another thing. Amen?! 

Using the coupons is sometimes incentive enough to do the right thing, but I do use this next product every. single. day. And love it. 

For October I printed my pumpkins on orange paper, and each Monday students grab a new behavior chart and tape it on their desks. The prep is simple--print and cut. When students are off-task, they "mark one off." I'm sure other teachers in the hallway think I'm crazy when I say, "Please make better choices so you don't lose a pumpkin (or bee, or flower, or chick!)." But my students understand the simple system, and know that at the end of each day they record their fraction in their planner. Parents know exactly what these fractions mean, because there's a parent sheet that goes home prior to use. It's individualized because it's on their desks, and it's there as a constant reminder. There are 2 versions available--the first has 5 clovers (or whatever the month is) and the second has 4 clovers. This is perfect for those special friends with behavior intervention plans and require more chances than others. 

So.. what's the deal?! If you buy the classroom reward coupons for $4, you get the behavior charts (regularly $2.50) for FREE! Just send me an email at letting me know your TPT username, and I'll send them right over! Happy shopping, friends! 

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Savings Circular!

It's Sunday, friends. Many of us are (sadly) turning our teacher brains back on, gearing up for yet another week of school. Unless you're on Fall Break, and if so, let me just say #whatisthat and #iwantone. Anyway, I know I'll personally be grading papers alldaylong, while taking care of new puppies. I had to share.. they're precious. And exhausting. But precious nonetheless.

To help with that Sunday sadness, I'm linking up with Nicole from All Things Apple in 2nd for Sunday Savings Circular. I have some deals going on myself, and so do many other teacher-bloggers. Be sure to check those out as well!

For this week's deals, there are 2 options for you:
1. Buy 2 sets of task cards and get 1 set FREE!


Go ahead and buy the BUNDLE (that's already discounted by 25%!) and get

Remember, these deals last for SUNDAY ONLY, so check out the deals while you can! Also, be sure to send me an email for those free items!

I can't wait to hear from you! 

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