5 for Friday - laptops, newsela, student treasures, writing in math, test prep, whew!

Wow, the amazing weather in Michigan this week has made me sooooo happy!  I can't stop smiling. It's been a long time since we've seen sunshine and grass (even though it's brown) around here.  The time change has helped my mood as well, it was actually light out past 7:30 last night! I'm just ecstatic.  The only downside is my students have a bit o' the spring fever setting in.  But it's a fair trade off for daylight and warmth.  The energy is kicking in Room 206 and we've been busy this week publishing books on our brand new HP laptops, closely reading nonfiction articles from newsela.com, devouring The Weirder School book series, writing in math class and test prepping (our state test is coming up in just a few weeks, yikes!) common core vocabulary!

WE GOT AN HP LAPTOP CART!!!!  I'm always so insanely jealous of all you 1:1 schools, and now I can pretend we are 1:1 for a few hours a week.  :)  We tried them out for the first time today, We are finishing up the publishing of our Student Treasures books.  If you  haven't heard of Student Treasures, check them out.  They offer FREE publishing kits.  We are using them school wide.  You can choose to publish a class book where every student gets two pages in the book for their story/essay/poem and illustration.  You get one FREE copy for the class and students can purchase a copy of the book if they wish.  This is what most of the teachers in our school choose because it's very manageable to publish.  The best part though is once a few teachers in your group choose to publish class books, they open up the option to publish individual books.  I always try to do this option because every student gets to publish a 14 page book AND they each get a FREE copy. They can also purchase additional copies if interested. You can't beat FREE books for your entire class.  But, publishing a 14 page book is definitely time consuming so you have to keep that in mind.


We are immersed in nonfiction right now and I am finding most of our shared reading texts from Newsela!  I absolutely L.O.V.E. this website because new articles are added frequently and the most amazing part is that every article is available at several lexile levels, so you can print the level that's appropriate for your students.  Plus, most of the articles come with text dependent questions (quizzes) and MORE!  And, it's FREE.

I love nothing more than when a reluctant reader finds a series to love.  That has happened with some readers in my room and the Weirder School series by Dan Gutman.  I'm over the moon!  They are just tearing though these books.  So this week I used some Amazon bonus points (thank you TPT conference) and purchased more titles.  There are seriously more books in this series than I can count!!  They arrived yesterday and the smile on one reader's face made my entire week.  These books are perfect for DRA level 28-34 readers!

Thanks to daylight savings time, I've been able to work on my next Math Journal Response Prompt set this week. It's funny how just a little bit of extra daylight makes the day seem longer.  This newest response journal set is focusing on measurement of three dimensional shapes & volume.  I can't wait to add it to my set of growing response prompts. We use these response prompts daily during math class as formative assessments. Hopefully this newest set will be posted to TPT within the next few weeks.

Double yikes, our state test is coming up in just a few weeks.  It will actually start the day we return from spring break.  I know, right?!?  In Michigan we've always tested in the fall over the previous grade level's expectations, so switching to the spring and testing over the current grade level's expectations is a huge deal for us and we are feeling the pressure.  To alleviate some testing anxiety we are getting very familiar with the critical verbs of the common core.  We are studying a new word each day and adding it to our growing bank of academic vocabulary.  We aren't going to let these critical verbs stump us on the M-Step.  No way!  Check out this FREEBIE week of critical verb instruction with a quiz included if you're interested!

Enjoy the weekend everyone and bask in the sunlight and warmth!!!!

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