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Elementary Teacher Resources, Issue #035 - It's Summer. My Brain is "Off". :)
June 14, 2009

It's Summer!

My brain feels like it turned off the minute I walked out of school this year.

But, turning my brain off hasn’t really helped me put together ideas for this latest newsletter…

I’m at a total stand still.

So, I’m putting this out to you. What do you want more information on? Please email me and let me know what you'd like to hear about before you go back to school in the fall.

I’ve taken a few of the more frequently asked questions from my question and answer page and am going to go into a little more detail about them.

“Assessments are killing me. How do you get them all done?”

Amen, sister. You’re preaching to the choir on this one. I love data, but I hate taking away from teaching time.

We are required to have 2 DRA’s and at least 12 Running Records on each child within the year.

Well, with a class of 20 that’s 280 assessments to give! Whoa! Stop the bus!

Now it becomes a “juggling game” of: test or teach. It’s sad for kids in our rooms.

What I do is find any moment in the day to give Running Records. Technically, they are to be done in Guided Reading, but in reality it just doesn’t happen sometimes.

So, I’m doing Running Records during Bellwork, Independent Reading, Independent desk work and even when I take the kids to the computer lab! I keep all of my records in a binder so it’s portable and can be dragged around the school.

I also maintain a little spread sheet to make sure I’m on track with all assessments (DRA, Running Records, Math Tests, Science Tests, blah blah blah.)

The key is using ever minute you can to assess so when it is guided reading time, you can teach guided reading!

“My kids are stressed. I’m stressed. None of us are having fun. What can I do?”

This is really common when the end of the year is coming. There are a million and three things to do and 10 days to get it all done.

One big thing to remember is: Stop and smell the roses. Really.

Taking a 10 minute break to sing a song, sit on the floor and draw, even just read quietly can help you all decompress and enjoy life again.

I am a fierce keeper of “The Schedule” normally – but when I look around the room and ˝ my kids are drooling on their desk and the other ˝ are climbing out the window – we all need a break.

Some of my favorite educational music activities are writing sight words in shaving cream, standing up and doing workout songs and anything that the kids can dance to.

If you can’t be loud – then be quietly relaxed by giving the children plain white paper and 10 minutes to write and draw about what’s on their mind.

I think the biggest thing to keep in your thoughts is “If the kids are “done”, you can’t teach them anything anyways, so give them a break!”

If you liked our first Literacy Centers eBook... you will love it's new companion "More Literacy Centers for Primary Grades".

We have created and tested 18 new centers specifically made for the busy teacher like you!

Check out my podcasts on my podcast blog. They are fun and helpful!

I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or homeschool moms!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

See you next month!

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