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Testing, Testing, we love Testing!

Is anyone else is the throes of testing?  In Colorado our third graders are tested in reading, writing, and math for two days apiece over a span of six weeks.  It takes forever to finish everything since the testing blocks are so spread out and it starts super early -- we already finished our two days of reading testing on February 12th.  That's right, FEBRUARY 12th!  Crazy early!
One activity I like to do a day or two before the dreaded TCAP (Transitional Colorado Assessment Program) which will very soon be changing to PARCC (so many acronyms!) is have each kiddo make their own testing poster.  They get to hang up their testing poster around the room throughout the six week testing window.  I tell them the purpose of the poster is to motivate them, remind them of a testing tip, or relax them.  I always draw a giant beach with a sunset and tell them that when I'm stressed I like to visualize being at the beach, so my testing poster will help me relax if I'm stressed.
Here are some pics of what my kids have come up with in the past.  They came up with some super cute ones this year!  I'll have to take some updated pics.


The Organized Classroom Magazine Freebie

Check out the very first edition of The Organized Classroom Magazine for Free!  Hooray!  I love FREE teacher stuff!


Perimeter and Area Videos

If the ninety third graders to whom I teach science forget perimeter and area this year I will be seriously disappointed.  We are constantly singing/rapping both of these catchy tunes.  I really do think they're helping.  I have lyrics sheets that we've put in our science notebooks so students can sing these all day long.  I'll post links to those in Google Docs as soon as I go back to school.  Today I'm at home enjoying this lovely day off!

Hope everyone is enjoying Presidents' Day! I sure am!  

Teaching Perimeter and Area with The Magic Pentomino

I just did this as my science lesson with the third grade classes this week and they really seemed to enjoy it.  If you need a measurement science or math activity, hopefully it will work for you too.

Introduce perimeter and area.
Perimeter = the outside edge
Area = the area inside
I like to draw a dinosaur for perimeter and a rug for area to help the kiddos remember. I'm a complete visual learner and a lot of my kiddos are too. A dinosaur for perimeter you ask? I tell the kids (while drawing a super ugly t-rex and occasionally bending my arms into a t-rex-like stance and snapping my jaws) that in Jurassic Park they say "SECURE THE PERIMETER" which means to electrify the fences to keep those dinos in. This might be a completely unrelated way to remember perimeter, but it works for me so hopefully it will work for some of them. It also gives me the opportunity to bend my arms in a funny way and snap my jaws like a shark.  :)
After you have all acted like t-rexes, tell the kiddos they will find the area and perimeter of each pentomino, searching for the MAGIC pentomino that is unlike the rest.  There is only one.  Here's what my kiddos' science notebooks liked like during the activity.
Which pentomino is magic?  This little baby!  It has an area of 5 and a perimeter of 10!