Shark Week Freebies Blog Hop

All teachers know that kids learn more when they’re excited and engaged. Today a team of bloggers come together to help your students take a BITE out of learning with a theme your students are sure to love! Get ready for a feeding frenzy of FREE activities relating to sharks!

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I am always looking for ways to get my students engaged in writing and research activities. These two content areas are the least favorite of many kids. In order to change kids from feeling these important activities are boring, make them more engaging! Just changing the way the information is presented can get kids excited about it! Using trading cards is a highly engaging activity in my classroom. The students love to make them and they go crazy when they get to actually trade them! They write and research with a lot of excitement when we are creating trading cards, no matter the subject. Of course, picking topics the students are interested in (like sharks) always helps, too!

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My Shark Week inspired freebie are Shark Trading Cards! The file contains everything you need to complete this exciting activity! Be sure to grab your Shark Trading Cards download! Slide1 Slide3 Slide4 Click HERE to try it out!

Don’t forget to go through the rest of the linky. You do not want to miss the chance to take a BITE out of these shark freebies!  Get ready for a feeding frenzy of your own in the classroom because your students will gobble these lessons up! Be sure to go for a swim in the linky party below. Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a fishy freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, August 17th  : )

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Time to Talk about Assessments

The next part of the 10 week back to school linky party involves assessment.  Once again, everyone is linking up with Mrs. D’s Corner and Miss V.’s Busy Bees!

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Assessments are one of those things that we all do all the time, but when you try to explain what it is you are doing…well, it gets really difficult, doesn’t it?  My school district (and I am sure most others) has teachers working with TBTs, or Teacher Based Teams.  These are weekly meetings which involve sharing assessment data, coming up with interventions, and sharing strategies that work well in our own classrooms.

We use short-cycle assessments in our classrooms for reading and math.  These are designed to span about three weeks of instructional time and they are focused in on just a few standards that we are teaching at that time.  We give a pre-test at the beginning of the three week span and share the results, plan some projects,  lessons and interventions based on the results, and  begin thinking about how to group students most effectively.

Here is an example of a reading short cycle test.  We used this one during a unit on Space and while we were reading the novel, “Neil Armstrong is my Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me”, by Nan Marino.  It is a work of historical fiction.


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The assessment pack includes a prompt, a variety of questions, an answer key and a way to record the data for students.

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We keep data folders and students track their own progress from pre-test to post-test.   The students get really excited to see their growth.  Meeting with my TBT keeps me on track with my grading and the work I need to be doing.  It really is a great system for assessment!

In math, we also do pre-tests and post-tests in short-cycle time periods.  We also add in benchmark check sheets so we can see how students are mastering the individual concepts needed in order to be able to do the higher level, multi-step problems required of our grade level.

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These pictures show what a benchmark quiz looks like (top right) as well as what the pre/post tests look like (there are two versions in the pack).  Here are the data sheets we use:

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You can find this fractions pack here!  It is only $3!

What do you do to assess your students?  Share your ideas in the comments section!

I just created a FREE Student Data Notebook pack for intermediate grades to keep track of those assessments for reading and math!  Click here to grab your free pack!

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Good luck!