Bright Future Campaign - #NoOfficeDay

Bright Future Campaign - #NoOfficeDay

If you work in an elementary school in the state of Texas, you endured the first round of STAAR testing. Students in 4th and 5th grade were assessed, but every student and teacher feels the impact of the test in some form or fashion, because their typical scheduled routine is "off" for a couple of days. With the absence of the "typical" routine for a couple of days this past week, it was time for another #NoOfficeDay. This past Friday I was able to rotate through our building and see first hand the creativity that exists when teachers must think outside of the box to reach students and allow for them to be successful!

For returning readers, you will notice a few more pictures during this #NoOfficeDay than in the past, and I hope to continue and maybe even one day, eliminate my narration of the day and just let the pictures speak for themselves. For now, you get a little bit of both.

5th Grade Reading was my first stop and as I mentioned above, after two days of testing this week for students and teachers, by Friday it was a must to have high interest activities and an engaging way for students to interact and @SOC54 did not disappoint. What a better way to engage students that through a good ol' read aloud.

Mr. Richards (@SOC54) was kind enough to let me read a little of chapter 6 with the students and as you can see, the students were very engaged throughout the time they spent listening. (On a side note, I really enjoyed reading out loud to the students and if any other teacher in the building wanted to invite me to do so, I would have a hard time saying no.) Students were listening to, "Schooled" by, Gordon Korman. 

As students listened, they were pondering some questions that were written up on the board to help them monitor their comprehension. Taking it a step further, their responses were even generated in the form of a sentence frame. The students had the template and had to input their own thoughts and justification for why they were thinking so. Look at their minds at work! 

I mentioned the engagement factor needed to be high and Mr. Richard's used @Socrative as his engagement tool to capture students responses and provide some authentic feedback for other students to see. Want to learn how you can use this engagement tool in your classroom?

Read more here:

(As an extension activity, Mr. Richard's shared students are able to correct their sentences and other students' sentences for some authentic editing. Love that idea!)

I transitioned to the next group the students and Mrs. Himes were ready for me and I even had my own seat and name tag. 

After a warm welcome I received a very good lesson (from students) about synonyms. (not to be confused with cinnamons) 

We worked hard together searching for words that meant the same thing as the word provided from the teacher. We all got a good laugh when we got to the word "hugged". One of the young ladies in the group was working ahead of the other and came up with the word "cuddled". Through each of the previous words we have been acting out the various synonyms such as "saw" and "looked" seen above, but when "cuddled" came up, we had to find another word. (to act out any way). We worked together and landed on the word "squeezed". The Mrs. Himes and I got a laugh and the girls realized that Mr. Arend could "hug" and "squeeze" (side hugs, of course), but Mr. Arend would not be cuddling! After a final laugh it was time to rotate to my next group. 

I mentioned it was Friday and this next group of students loved being led through their spelling test with principal. In fact, they are so focused on their test, you can hardly see them. 

After a successful spelling/dictation test the boys and girls could not wait to show off just how much their fluency skills had developed. Each of them had a "personal best" recorded in their folder and worked hard to improve upon their last effort. One young lady in the group was new to Sigler, so I was able to guide her through the activity while the others blew me away with just how much their fluency had developed from earlier in the year. Hats off to Ms. Fugate for instilling a love reading in these kiddos! 

It was time for some math after increasing my own fluency a little bit and this next block of time was one of the highlights of my day. Mrs. Himes had prepared a little math game that I was the center of. Students were reminded of what a Nickel, Dime and Quarter were worth and what they looked like and then used a dice to add the amounts together to make Mr. Arend a $1.00. 

It was terribly exciting for the students to add their coins together roll after roll until they had made enough money to give me $1.00. Once I had received my $1.00 we had to go to the other side of the room for me to see what I could spend my $1.00 on. I had no idea what I was getting myself into as I hopped up to the other side of the room sharing in the excitement with the others in the room. They had a video waiting for me to watch to see what I could spend my $1.00 on. 

Check it out:

My next stop was to visit Mrs. Burwell and her students in our room that has come to be known as "B104". You will notice I do not have any pictures of my time with Mrs. Burwell and her students. My inability to take pictures (which I didn't realize until I got home Friday night) was a vivid reminder, just how busy Mrs. Burwell and her students were working while I was in there and how quickly we were all moving back and forth from one task to another. I mentioned earlier that engagement must remain high and that is the case on a daily basis in B104. Engagement must remain so high that every 15 minutes, students rotate to a new activity. So while I was in there, students completed close to 6 different activities. We read stories about caterpillars and butterflies, we worked on some addition, we practiced spelling with specific word patters and even found a little time to take breaks with some reinforcers that where of high interest to the students in the room. (Did I mention all of this took place, while two maintenance men were in the room installing a door) Mrs. Burwell has created an amazing atmosphere for students to learn and the children she is working with are shining! My hat is off to you Mrs. Burwell! Your battery remains charged at all times and the students are reaping the positives each day!

I headed back to 5th grade for what I thought was going to be math. It certainly was math, but today, student's were taking their math knowledge to the next level and were certainly owning their own learning.

Have you seen this video:

This video served as the inspiration for the students in Mr. Richard's math class. Students were in the midst of making cardboard arcade games that focused on math. Students were incorporating, numbers, fractions, multiplication and division to create games that they wanted to play. The games were undergoing repairs and in one case an "out of order" sign visible. I am excited to return to the arcade when the games were up and running and cashing in my tickets for some prizes the students had collected on their own. Here is a picture of the arcade as students were working on their games.

My last stop for the day included some time with Ms. Fugate and some of our 4th grade students. Keep in mind, these kiddos had, had a long week with STAAR testing packed in the middle and the challenge for the teachers was to find something of high interest that was engaging for all. Ms. Fugate did just that by finding a story the students were interested in. While reading can be fun for all, today students were able to watch their story through a series of video clips. The students were learning about myths and watching "Jason and the Argonauts". 

I was blown away by the level of engagement our students had and the insight they were able to provide through watching this myth play out right before their eyes. Students were able to make connections to the story, infer meaning into things by seeing it come to life and even share myths they were aware of. 

When the day was done, one central theme came to mind; engagement! Each of the teachers I was able to spend time with had come up with outside of the box, creative ways to engage their students because they knew what their students needed. Each of the teachers incorporated technology as a way to engage their students and the result for each of them was students who were being successful! 

All staff at Sigler strives create an environment for students to be successful and on this day our special education teachers hit it out of the park! 

Great job everyone! Thank you for allowing me to spend time with you, hang with your students and be reminded just how hard you work each day! 

I am looking forward to my next #NoOfficeDay already!