Art, Creative Thinking, Music

Measure This. #2

Day 2 of this year’s standardized testing, so I’m posting a few more amazing feats that defy measurement on any state-mandated tests.  You can see Day 1 here.

Miniature Origami Art

Walmart Yodeling Kid

And I absolutely adore the snow shovel art done by Cindy Chinn.  You can see more images in this article, and you can visit her Etsy store here.  Thanks to Cindy for giving me permission to include this picture/ (If you like her snow shovel art, you should also check out her pencil carvings!)

The Tree Swing by Cindy Chinn


Creative Thinking

Measure This. #1

In honor of standardized testing, I’ve decided to showcase a few amazing talents that could never be assessed with multiple choice questions:

Shag Carpet Cakes

Miniature Embroidery Masterpieces

Imagine_Images on Pixabay
Education, K-12

You Are More than a Number

As we begin our spring testing season in Texas, I would like to share a video that our principal, Dr. Cody Miller, posted on our school’s Facebook page this weekend.   At our elementary school, and across our state, students in 4th and 5th grades and many other grade levels will be taking STAAR tests this week.   Educational decisions will be made based on the results of these tests.  Sometimes, in our zeal to prepare our students for these assessments, we inadvertently send the message that we value high academic performance above all else.  In Dr. Miller’s video, he reassures our students that educators and families are aware that standardized test scores only communicate a small fraction of the abilities of each person.  We honor kindness, creativity, leadership, and so many other strengths our students exhibit each day.  Their art work, music, athletic feats, selflessness, collaborations, and innovations cannot be condensed into numbers or plotted on graphs.

Assuming we know a child based on a test score, or even a series of scores, would be like judging the health of our planet by measuring the height of a blade of grass.  Although these measurements give us some information, they definitely do not sum up the whole.  This may seem obvious to most adults, but some of our students may need the comfort of this reminder.

image from woodleywonderworks on Flickr
3-12, Creative Thinking, Education

Things You Can Do While Actively Monitoring a Standardized Test

Love, Teach is a blog I turn to whenever I need to smile.  Our state is doing a lot of standardized testing this week, so I was thrilled to see some suggestions for occupying my brain while I monitor the test. These tongue-in-cheek suggestions from Love, Teach are certainly more creative than my own ideas.  In fact, I’m kind of glad I have three days to try them out.  Planning for the zombie apocalypse will definitely keep me busy for awhile…

Why standardized tests have bubbles instead of fill-in-the blanks (from Reddit user Blahson)
Why standardized tests have bubbles instead of fill-in-the blanks (from Reddit user Blahson)
Education, K-12, Motivation, Teaching Tools, Websites

Watch Out for Those Pebbles

It’s testing week in our neck of the woods and you can see the stress in the eyes of teachers and students.  It’s difficult to be happy to come to school on days like these.

While going through some of my older posts, I ran across one that I wrote my first year of blogging on the Mini Motivation website.  I had completely forgotten this site existed.  So, I spent 20 minutes refreshing the page to get as much motivation as I could.  Here is one of my favorite quotes that was new to me:

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 9.22.10 PM

If you decide to use the site in your classroom (although you probably can’t do that during testing), I would advise you find a quote first before sharing it with the class on the “big screen.”  It’s possible you may discover one that you don’t find appropriate for your particular audience.

I have more quotations (with prettier graphics) on this Pinterest Board.  And, don’t forget this link to Inspirational Videos for Teachers the next time you need a pick-me-up 🙂

Education, Games, Gamification, K-5, Motivation, Music, Teaching Tools, Videos, Websites


Go Noodle

It’s time for state-wide testing in my neck of the woods.  Even though we are not allowed to have computers on during the test, you might want to consider using GoNoodle after the test, particularly for students who have been sitting for awhile. They also recently added a feature called, “Flow,” which helps with stress.

I mentioned GoNoodle a while back in a post I did on “Physical Ways to Survive the Week Before Winter Break.”  Shortly afterward, I started meeting with my new Kinder GT students twice a week.  On Fridays, they miss Kinder Cafe (when the students go to the gym once a week to dance to different songs) to come to my class.  Last year, the students didn’t seem to mind.  But, this year I nearly had a mutiny on my hands. Even though, they only meet with me for an hour on Fridays, and we barely sit down the entire time, it was clear they needed a “Brain Break.” So, I thought I would give GoNoodle a try.

GoNoodle is free.  You can register your class (no individual student names necessary) and then get started.  It’s a fun way to gamify being physical for your entire class.  I usually choose a student randomly with Class Dojo to pick that day’s GoNoodle activity. (“Let it Go” and “Everything is Awesome” are huge favorites.) There are lots of videos to choose from – some including more physical activity than others.  Go Noodle keeps track of the time spent on the video, and gives the class points toward the next level.

The students enjoy the goofy looking characters and the silly pieces of trivia they offer.  But, of course, they enjoy the music and dancing the best.  Admittedly, not a lot of dancing goes on with “Let it Go.”  It’s actually more of a sing-along with dramatic magical gestures 🙂

If you are wondering about the appeal to older students, you might want to check out this post from @TechNinjaTodd about the way he uses GoNoodle with 5th graders.

Note: If you are in a district that blocks YouTube, you may have some trouble accessing some of the videos. Our district allows us to log-in, but the first time I tried to go directly “Be Happy” through GoNoodle without logging in, I had a group of very disappointed Kinders!

a selection of the GoNoodle Brain Breaks
a selection of the GoNoodle Brain Breaks