Friday, May 29, 2015

End of Year Gifts

This year, I decided to give my students something that would get them in the mood for summer (as if they weren't already in the mood!).  Inspired by Pinterest, I gave each child an inflatable beach ball and we took time in class to sign each other's.  This gift was so easy and a huge hit:
Static electricity discovery took place while we were waiting for everyone to inflate their ball:
In addition to student gifts, I also gave my parent volunteers a gift of appreciation for their help this year:
A pitcher and various Crystal Light drink mixes

If you'd like to print the "Thanks for Pitching In" tags seen above, click HERE to go to the What the Teacher Wants blog post.

Finally, I had a high school student helper this year.  She loves dark chocolate, so I bought her an assortment of Lindt dark chocolate and some lip balm with the following tag from U-Create Crafts:
So cute, right?!  I just love Pinterest-inspired gifts. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Celebrating the end of the school year...

The last two weeks of school have been a little tough.  Many of my students have already "checked out."  We are tired and ready for summer.  Listening skills are lacking and I'm trying my best to keep the students focused until the last day.  It's very difficult.

To try to get them more engaged, we decided to do one fun activity each day until the last day of school.  At this point, we are only two days away from summer!  Here's our list of activities that we started last Monday:

1.  Name Change Day (my students were able to pick out a new name for themselves and I called them by this new name all day.  I had them wear name tags so I could recall their names.  The class said that I needed a new name too.  Yes!  Now I don't have to hear "Mrs. Bowman" a million times a day!  They decided my new name was Mrs. Namwob (Mrs. Bowman spelled backwards).

2.  15 minutes Extra Recess

3.  Gum Day (students brought their own gum, but I also supplied each student with a handful of Dubble Bubble)

4.  Sit Where You Want Day

5.  Soda Day (students brought their own soda)

6.  iPad Play (I gave the students about 20 minutes of free iPad time)

7.  Donuts for Everyone (This was easy because we won a donut party for bringing in the highest number of Box Tops for the school)

8.  A visit from Miko (My little 10 pound, Yorkie mix paid a visit to the class.  I felt this meeting was appropriate because my students have had to listen to stories about him all year.)

9.  Last Day of School party at Fun Station! 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Safety Patrol Luncheon

Each year, the 5th graders have the opportunity to participate in Safety Patrol.  This is a pretty big deal that requires interested students to submit an application as well as letters of reference and then take part in a scheduled interview with the principal.  Once accepted, students can sign up for either morning or afternoon patrol.  During morning patrol, members help make sure that younger students get to their building/classroom safely; during afternoon duty, members help keep everyone quiet during pick-up and answer any questions the younger students may have.  5th graders who participate must keep up their academic and conduct grades or else they will be put on probation.  Students typically take their jobs seriously. 

At the end of the school year, we thank them for their service by providing a Safety Patrol Luncheon in their honor.  We usually treat them to either pizza or subs, a dessert, and then we play games/trivia for prizes, followed by selected students reading aloud their Safety Patrol essay.  A few days before the luncheon, I require the students to write a brief essay about their Safety Patrol (SP) experience.  In it, they include their assigned duty/post, what they enjoyed most about SP, what being a SP member taught them, and their most memorable moment while on patrol. 

Here are a few photos from this year's luncheon, as well as two sample essays:
 Playing a timed "Unscramble the Words" game
Finally, I'd like to share two essays.  FYI, the students completed these on their own without any assistance from me.  I was especially pleased with the first essay because of the word choice.  The second essay knocked my socks off because it was written by a student who made huge progress throughout the year.  At the beginning of the year, I would never have guessed that this child would be able to write so eloquently.  I am so proud!

First essay:
"During my 5th grade year at CCS, I was a part of the Safety Patrol team.  I was assigned afternoon duty.  The best thing about being a Safety Patrol student was being able to help younger children learn how to behave at car pick-up and teaching them that bad behavior has consequences.  My favorite Safety Patrol memory was when (insert another student's name) loudly announced that I was her favorite Safety Patrol.  One thing I learned during my time as a Safety Patrol was that sometimes being strict is better than giving a lot of grace.  I learned this because very few children changed their behavior if I constantly gave them warnings and never gave strikes.  In all, I enjoyed being a Safety Patrol student and wish I could have an opportunity to do it every school year."

Second essay:
"During my fifth grade year, I decided to commit to being a Safety Patrol member.  As a Safety Patrol, you have two jobs available--morning and afternoon, or you can do both.  At the first quarter of school, I did both, and at the second, I did afternoon.  The best thing about being morning patrol is getting to see the school when it's vacant.  The best part of being afternoon patrol is not needing to sit on the wall and do nothing.  My favorite memory was when I had morning patrol and I got hot chocolate.  Out of the whole year of being Safety Patrol, I learned how to be a better leader."

Thank you, 5th graders, for your service this year!