Thursday, June 2, 2016


The end of the school year does not come to a graceful stop.  Instead, much like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at Disneyland, the end of May into June is a whirlwind of heightened emotions, long hours, crying students, a never ending to do list, and triple checking lists to make sure every task was accomplished.  

Then, it's over.

If you're wondering what it's like to teach in May, {this video} does a fairly good job at capturing how it feels to be in a fifth grade classroom.

My students are officially on summer break.  I am a few hours away from that joy as well.  My brain, however, decided that 2:38 am was a good time to start the day, so here I am.

Let's recap, shall we?  Since there's a lot that's happened, I'll stick to one topic:

ABC Count Down

The last twenty six days of the school year are devoted to an ABC countdown with each day having a different spirit concept.  In theory, this is wonderful and helps the kids finish the year strong.  However, we also were standardized testing until the end of May and it's incredibly difficult to keep kids motivated on spirit days.  I failed spectacularly at taking pictures this year, so I'll just describe our spirit days.

A: Art day. My students had a math test and I told them their art was fraction models.  They didn't find it funny.  I on the other hand, found it quite amusing.  I gave them some doodle time once their tests were all turned in.

B: Beach towel day.  Students brought in towels (I forgot) and we read outside in the court yard once standardized testing was done.

C: Crazy hair day.  No dye and nothing to distract from testing.  I let my hair dry naturally so participation was easy.

D: Disney day.  I'm sure I was some sort of Disney princess.

E: Exercise day.  We laid on the ground and did some stretches.  We also worked on calming breathing exercises before taking the SBAC.  I walked around in circles for hours "actively monitoring" testing, which means I make sure they're on task, but can't look at the specific questions that are asked because it's confidential.  I also try to win the fitbit step challenge of the day with my coworkers.

F: Fruit day.  Some of my students brought in snacks to share.  B brought me flowers and pineapple (since this was also teacher appreciation week).  Happy coincidence that it was fruit day!  Because I still had a lot of math concepts to teach before the math SBACs (we took ours in three parts: ELA, math, and science while spacing them out three weeks apart), I used this to teach about surveys (favorite fruit), organizing data, and making graphs to represent the data.  Since it was derived from our classroom, the students were super engaged.  They also generated questions that could be answered by the class data, which helped them practice thinking critically.  I paired them up and had them share their questions before analyzing if the question was answered explicitly by the data, inferred by the data, or not supported by the data.

G: Geography day.  This happened to coincide with a digital field trip from {Discovery Education}, so we visited Indiana and learned about cars.

For our first digital field trip, this went fairly well.  We missed the first twenty minutes (because they were out at recess) and this was geared toward high school students, but it was still a fun experience.  We made connections to perseverance and the scientific inquiry process, so they were still able to get something out of it.

H: Hat day! This also coincided with a visit from {Dr. Frey}, a field trip to the {Springs Preserve} for their {Butterfly Habitat} AND May the Fourth (Star Wars Day), so I had to plan accordingly.

Luckily, B's new BB8 hat did just the trick! 

(Naturally, Waffles is in the picture!)

Students learned about life cycles, so this was a perfect tie in with standards.

I: Inside out day.  One students wore a shirt from the movie, while others wore their clothes inside out.  I accepted both for spirit day points on {class dojo}.

J: Joke day.  They brought a joke to share.  Their jokes were not that amusing.  My jokes are rarely child-friendly. 

K: Kickback day.  My first of several opportunities to wear yoga pants to work.

L: Lollypop day.  Students could enjoy a sucker during independent reading time (if they brought their own).

M: Movie day (?).  Again, this was weeks ago and a lot has happened.  If it wasn't movie day, it should have been.

N: Neon day.  Another year has come and gone where I realize that I own nothing neon.

O: Octopus day.  This day, by far, makes the least sense.  We are a landlocked state.  We are in the middle of the desert. Yet, we use this day to discover the {Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus}:

Except this creature isn't real, so instead we have the life chat that not everything you read on the internet is true.

Next year I vote this is orange day. It would be much easier.

P: Pajama day in all its glory.

Q: Quiet day.  This coincided with testing, so it was a breeze.

R: Red & read day.  This one was pretty straight forward and a great opportunity for me to rock a red Gryffindor shirt. 

S: Superhero day.  I failed in my attempt to ban Superman shirts.

T: Team day? (This was only a week ago and clearly not a memorable one.)

U: As much as we tried to convince the students that they were to wear their underwear outside their pants like Captain Underpants, the true spirit day was uniforms.  Some of my students came in their boy scout uniforms, some dressed as doctors, and most rocked sports attire.  My request to come as Batman was denied.

V: Video day.  We Facetimed with a teacher who is in the hospital.  Her students loved it.  Mine shared their Vokis that they made on the American Revolution.

W: Watermelon day.  If they wanted to, students brought in pieces to share.

X: x-change autographs.  We took all the fifth graders to the courtyard and gave them twenty minutes to sign yearbooks and t-shirts.

Y: year-end clean up!  They took all their stuff home and I took down everything on the walls.  My classroom is being painted, so everything has to be cleaned and put away.  My room is also being used for summer school, which means everything of value (all my books) that can't be locked away must come home to the garage.  B's been awesome at helping.

Z: We spent the day at the pool, then had a BBQ so I'm not quite sure what the official spirit day was for yesterday.  I shall call it zzzz for naps day!  (Although I had no nap and probably could have used one.)

When I wasn't handing out spirit day points and remembering the ABC count down, the end of the year also brought:

*Teachers vs. Students Kickball: (I did not strike out and the teachers won.  Success all around)


*Hosting a bridal shower

*Hosting 3 baby showers

*End of the Year Staff Party (we had a taco truck and a fiesta)

*Observations (because there's no better time than the end of the year!)

*Grade level trivia with iPads and Kahoot (more on that later!)

*parent/teacher conferences

*report cards and awards 

*Fifth grade promotion ceremony
*Fifth grade pool party and BBQ lunch

*meetings.  Lots of meetings.

*Skyping with the Chief of Staff for Arkansas's governor

*Dunk Tank:


Oh yes, and finishing my grad school class.  45 non-contract hours in 3 weeks.  That was rough to say the least.  But I'm done (for now) because there is literally no incentive for me to take any additional courses (but more on that later).

On non-teaching related things, some of my bridesmaids and I planned the bridal shower and ordered invites, B and I escaped to Arizona, we took in a 51's game with friends, we puppy sat for a week, and had our AC start acting up (thank you home warranty), and I had car issues.  Fun times!

No wonder I'm exhausted!  

All that stand between me and summer break is finishing the last dozen items on our end of the year check list and officially signing out.  T-8 hours until break! 


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