Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quick Check In and End of the Year Awards

Man, it has been a busy few days! We have a lot going on at school in my classroom right now. All the usual stuff plus the extra Earth Day seed planting, a guest teacher coming to do some Close Reading with my kiddos tomorrow, our Westward Expansion Simulation is about halfway done, and we're gearing up to start teaching the Human Body science unit next!
We're about halfway through reading Wonder and my kids keep begging me to read another chapter, then another one, and another one. I want to give in and just keep reading, but we have so much else to do that I've been resisting the urge. The kids just LOVE this book, and it has so many moments in it that really affect them. I know I've talked about it too many times, but maybe if you haven't bought it yet, you'll finally do it! And my Wonder Novel Unit makes teaching it even easier and more meaningful!  ;) 

It's at that time in the year where my intern is taking over the lead planning and teaching of most of the school day (though I won't let her read Wonder with the kids because I want to!) so my evenings have opened up a bit as far as planning and prep is concerned. I believe in co-teaching, and constant observation/participation when my intern is teaching (I don't believe in the "leave the room and let them solo teach" thing), but it is still nice to have a little less on my plate in the evenings. We're lucky to be partnered with Penn State, and have yearlong interns rather than typical student teachers. They start full time on the first day of pre-planning and come to work every day, all day, for the entire school year, all the way until the last day of school. Usually by this point in the year the interns are essentially teachers with a year of experience. I wish they had a program like this when I was in school!

The extra time in the evenings is handy because I'm still going strong with the "Biggest Loser" contest going on in my school! I have lost a wife-infuriating grand total of 7 pounds since I started about 2 and half weeks ago! She complains about how easy it is for men to lose weight, but I think it's fair considering she's a waif and I weigh nearly twice what she does! I walked over 20 miles last week too! This little fitbit gadget is addictive.

I've also been working on a few different items for my TpT store, one is about 50% done and the other is around 80% done. I took a break from them though to spiff up my End of Year Award Certificates. I give these out to the kids at the end of year to both celebrate their strengths and poke a little light hearted fun at some of their...other qualities. I have made 48 certificates, and I usually end up giving 2-3 to each student. Sometimes I have to create a new certificate for a special kiddo, and I'll definitely be updating the product on TpT with those when that happens.

I am drawn to the Victorian/Vintage style stuff, and I know my kids for the last few years have been obsessed with things like mustaches, steampunk, bowler hat type stuff, so I made them in that style. I also stuck to black and white simply because I end up printing 60-90 of these every year! Here's an example of what they look like:

The certificates come in a powerpoint file that is completely editable. All 48 certificates (with potential new ones added each year) are just $4.00! I have three more preview images on the product page. Check them out!

We still have over 30 days of school, but I am beginning preparations for a lot of our end of year activities. I'll hand out the awards at our classroom award celebration at the end of the year. We also have a secret party planned to thank my intern for her service, where we'll present a big basket full of teacher goodies. Leading up to the last day of school we'll be hanging and popping 20 balloons with a special "reward" inside each one. The 5th graders get to enjoy a fun afternoon during the 5th grade picnic/carnival that is put together by the PTO. And finally on the very last day of school we have a gathering of the whole school and "graduate" the 5th graders by watching a video of their experiences from the year. Many tears will be shed!

What traditions do you celebrate at the end of the year? 

1 comment:

  1. I do similar awards with a bit of poking fun, usually about something that happened during the year, but I make special handmade ones (which I'll post when they are made in a few weeks). One of my favorite middle school teachers would make them and I held onto the idea and have made them for every class I've taught.

    I also have make a slide show and secret music video that we watch and I surprise them with a copy on DVD to take the memories with them.
    Upper Grades Are Awesome


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