Speaking of my wonderful group, I have to tell you that they were rock stars during testing. Though I don't know how well they did, I know that no matter what their scores say, they worked incredibly hard. My teacher heart has been so full seeing them give their best effort on each test. I am incredibly proud of them!
My most heartwarming moment came last week, the day before our math test. I took everything off of my board so that we could do a math brain dump, or brain splash for those of you like me who like to avoid the giggle that comes when you say "dump". I had students line up in a single file line, then gave markers to the first 4 students in line. I told them to write anything that they've learned that will help them on their math test. When they were done with one idea, they would pass their marker to the next person in line and then go to the end of the line. I told them that when they no longer had an idea to contribute, they could be seated. Here's what it looked like when they started:
They were so excited to do this, that those standing in line were actually giddy. To keep them from getting too antsy and keep their focus, I told them that there could not be any repeats. Occasionally, I stopped them and did a "board check", where I identified areas where students wrote down a word like "sum", but didn't tell me what a sum was. I added a definition and asked students to focus on writing down only ideas that will truly help them on their test. We agreed that a word without a definition or just writing a fraction like 5/16 wouldn't actually help them in their thinking. After a couple of "board checks" and great discussions, they were off. Guess how long they lasted?
45 minutes. 45 minutes of putting all of their learning on the board. Fellow educators, my heart was bursting with happiness. I actually had to stop them, because I think they might have gone on for hours. I have definitely done this activity before, but never before have my students displayed so much learning. I can't begin to tell you how amazing it felt. But more importantly, they grew more and more excited and confident when they saw just how much they had actually learned. Not only was I proud of them, but they were proud of themselves. "Holy cow, look how much you taught us, Mrs. O!" one of them said. That's going to forever be one of the best moments ever. It will be hard to top what they came up with.
I know, I know. I should stop writing and just show you the pictures already. Are you ready? Here it is:
This time next week, I'll be relaxing, but I'm already reflecting on how fantastically awesome my group has been this year. I'm a lucky teacher!