The end of the school year is near, does it seem possible? Every school year seems to get shorter and every year I panic wondering if I can finish everything before the end of the year.

From preparing staff developments, writing creative lessons for my gifted students that will keep them motivated and charged and finishing a multitude of paperwork; I am trying to not worry and keep moving forward. My only consolation is that I know the end of the school year is like a pregnancy; it has to end sometime and all those little things that I'm worried about now; somehow always get finished and no longer matter once June rolls along.

By keeping the focus on what really matters; those bright and shiny eyes before me, I am able to prioritize much easier. At this point in the year I have 26 more days to teach and make an impact on my students and that is all that really matters right now.

1. "What Surprised You Most?"  After I have introduced a unit or topic and the students have started their research projects or follow-up activities; I always try to do a quick assessment to find out how well the students are grasping the concept as well as what might be interesting them most about the topic.  
     My fifth grade language arts students are reading novels with WWII themes and completing research projects about WWII as well.  I asked them each create a poster explaining the information they have learned about WWII and describing the events and details that have  surprised them the most.  This could be adapted to any history or science theme.

2.  "TAGxedo Animal Adaptations"  Our students are working on animal adaptations and habitats this week.  "Tagxedo" is one of my favorite "word shape" creators on the web.  
     After a brief training on how to use the "Tagxedo"; the students were asked to choose an animal they weren't familiar with and research the physical and environmental adaptations of that particular animal.  After the students researched the animal; they were asked to create a "Tagxedo" shape and fill in the shape with their research.  
     Because "Tagxedo" will choose to display the words artistically; I also have the students turn in their original research paper after they have printed off their "TAGxedo" shape.
      The "Tagxedo" is extremely easy to use and your students will figure it out in no time.

3. "Prepositional Phrase Cut-outs"  My students were having a difficult time grasping how to identify prepositional phrases so I had them locate prepositional phrases last week in newspapers and magazines and create new complete sentences of their own!

Have a great week,