Friday, March 27, 2015

STAAR Testing and a Peek into my Spring Break

Welcome back this week from Spring Break!! I had such a fantastic time in Las Vegas (my mom lives there, so I go often) and Lake Tahoe!! My best friend and I went and one other friend joined us for the Las Vegas part.  Lake Tahoe is so gorgeous; one of the most beautiful places I have seen!! Here are some pictures I can share with you, so I can remember the serenity and peace before STAAR has quickly approached! ;-)



Now that you got to share in some of the fun and beautiful scenery, I will be snapped back into reality with STAAR testing. ;-)  I am the STAAR testing coordinator, so I became extremely busy as soon as we got back from Spring Break. Being the testing coordinator means I am in charge of training the staff on all of the procedures and regulations, organizing all testing materials for every student who is testing and all of their teachers, helping with the administration of all of online STAAR versions, and then when the tests are complete, I have a lot of work to do in making sure the tests are secured, packaged, and returned to the district or Pearson, in just the right order and with every form filled out just right. I have to make sure every single answer document is all filled in, just perfect with all the information Pearson needs, etc., etc. A LOT of rules, regulation and pressure, time and some stress, but this is my second year doing it now, so I feel so much better and less stressed than last year! ;-) You always need to find the positive side of things, right? This is what I will mostly be working on for the month of April, so I will not have any guidance lessons for several weeks, but I will still be continuing with my individual counseling sessions, the best I can. 

Don't forget that tomorrow is the Fun Run and we will also have our Student Council Clean-Up of Patton Ranch Rd. tomorrow before the Fun Run from 9:00- 9:45. I hope to see all of our Student Council Members there!!! Have a great weekend and good luck to all 4th and 5th graders who will be testing next week! Remember to make sure they get plenty of sleep and have a nice, healthy breakfast! They will all do great! :-)  

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Anti-Test Anxiety Society

This week our fourth and fifth grade students got to learn how to be members of "The Anti-Test Anxiety Society". Third grade also got to learn about this last week. We read the book, The Anti-Test Anxiety Society by Julia Cook to help us with strategies for calming our nerves and anxiousness when it comes to taking the STAAR test.

Some kids can really start to feel nervous before the big state exam, so we learned the "Dynamic Dozen" steps to being better prepared for the test, so the anxiety goes away. Here are the steps we learned to help us.

I also gave each student a copy of the "Dynamic Dozen," so they can look over it any time they need help remembering how to prepare and feel less anxious. We talked A LOT about positive thinking and believing and verbalizing that they CAN and WILL do well on the test and to think of it as getting to show how much they know and have learned, instead of all the negative thoughts that come to mind. We talked about how you can turn almost any negative into a positive if you try. Also, being well prepared will greatly reduce any anxiety or stress. If you are prepared for something, you generally feel a lot better about it and have positive feelings. 

You can help as parents, too, by being sure they get to bed early the night before the test, so they are well rested and feeling good in the morning. Also, making sure they have a nutritious breakfast in the morning will really help! Exercise is also very good for improving brain stimulation, it releases endorphins for those feel-good feelings, decreases stress, and helps keep your kids healthy. You can also help by encouraging them to just do their best and helping them to understand that if they miss some questions, it will be okay, and they can just try better next time. A whole lot of pressure is not necessary and won't help them. Try to keep everything very positive. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Spring Break!! I will be going to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe with a couple of my friends, so I will definitely enjoy my break as well!! 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Focusing on Our Strengths and Clean Water for Kenya

This week I spent time in the 2nd and 3rd grade classes. I read the book, Zero by Kathryn Otoshi to all 2nd grade classes. I worked with third grade on test anxiety and how to calm their nerves before the big STAAR test. More on that lesson next week because I will be doing the same lesson with 4th and 5th grade next week.

Zero is about the number zero and how she feels like she doesn't have "value" or "count like the other numbers do. She tries to change herself to be like "one" and when that doesn't work, she tries to be like "eight" and "nine." Zero finds she can only be Zero and then decides instead she'll try to impress everyone, but that ends up in a disaster, too. With the help of her friend "seven," Zero discovers that she does have value and that the numbers can't go any higher than nine without her. She discovers all of her inner strengths and that it's what's on the inside that counts. After we read the story, I had the kids think about their inner strengths and what makes them special. I told them to not only think of things, such as they are a great football player, or have awesome hair, but something from the inside, such as being a nice person or making people laugh. They then turned their "zeros" into their own bodies and the the part inside of the zero represented what was inside of them. Here are some samples from second grade: 


Some kids struggled more than others to find their inner strengths, but once they got going, they had a nice list of strengths. I loved seeing the bodies they came up with, too!

This weekend Student Council is working with the Oak Hill Rotary Club to raise money to purchase clean drinking water for schools in Kenya. We will be at the Barnes and Noble on Brodie Ln. from open to close Saturday- Sunday passing out flyers with a code that will get us a percentage of every purchase. You should have received one of these flyers last week, but in case you didn't, the code is: 11564325 
You can use this code at any Barnes and Noble location this Saturday and Sunday, but we will only be at the Brodie Ln. location and there will also be a magician at the Brodie Ln. location at 10:00 am on Saturday, so bring out your family and support our cause!! If you can't make it to a physical location, you can also use our code online at, so tell all your family and friends, even if they are in another state because they can purchase online!

Each LifeStraw that we are able to purchase will be enough to provide clean water for a child in Kenya for an entire year. Please help our Student Council make a difference!

Thank you and have a great weekend! :-)