Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Teacher Tuesday: Are We There Yet???

So I started this series a while ago, did one post, and then haven't talked about it since.  Go me! ;)  Well, it's Teacher Appreciation month and I'm currently feeling consumed by school - so this post is appropriately timed. hahaha

At our staff meeting last Friday, my principal was talking about how this part of the school year (we're in the last 6 weeks) is analogous to the last 3-4 hours of a REALLY long road trip.  We're headed home and are tired, hungry and ready to be DONE!  Everyone is finding everyone else a little bit irritating and we're almost home.... we can see landmarks that let us know we're almost home.... but we're not close enough to feel the relief of being home yet :)  

And all the teachers say, "AMEN!"


I love love love my job and the kids I have the privilege of  working with every day, but at this point in the year with the track meets, band competitions, testing, dances, hormones, after school events, etc. I kind of feel like there's no time to actually teach :)  Thankfully this isn't my first rodeo and I've structured my classes to "peak" after Spring break and so now I have lots of "flex room" in my planning.  This means lots of games and lots of fraction practice... because I'm everyone's favorite teacher. hahaha  #theyallhatefractions

Since I like to keep a good sense of humor about the whole "last six weeks situation", here are a few of my favorite end of the year memes...



And since we're on that leg of the trip where everything my fellow passengers does is annoying, there's these...










OMG!!! I laugh sooooooooo hard at the two Captain Kirk Picard ones.  (If my cousin Lindsey is reading here she's rolling her eyes soooooo hard at me mixing up the captains. Sorry, L!)
ALL DAY EVERY DAY! hahaha
Middle schoolers are a unique breed.... a unique breed who is incapable of hearing directions. ;)

If you're a teacher and you're on your A-Game this year and already thinking about exams I thought I'd share one of my most fun teacher tips... how I make exams fun.

Nothing screams fun like being tested on a semester's worth of material and students STRESS to the max so I attempt to lighten the mood a bit by structuring the tests around fun pictures and anecdotes from the year.


I use little inside jokes, clips from videos that they think are funny and I exploit fun little tidbits I've found out about kids... like when they are crushing on animated princesses :)


I make sure to include EVERY student in the test at some point and love seeing big smiles and grins spread across their faces as they flip the pages of the test instead of the normal grimaces that during an Algebra exam.


It definitely takes more time to make tests like these, but it is soooooooo worth it!  They leave my exam talking about "that funny question about Will" instead of talking about how they think they performed.


I put embarrassing pictures of myself and, if I have time, like to include a little note to the class at the end.  It's the VERY LAST thing that the students will do in my class and I love getting to end it on a fun note.



And last up - this little system has worked FANTASTICALLY for me and so I thought I'd share.  When I copy my exams, I number them and put it in the upper left hand corner.  I shuffle them and pass them out randomly so that no one knows anyone else's number.  I tell the kids to note their numbers and then when I grade the exams I use their exam numbers (instead of their names) to post the results on my door.  I avoid being HOUNDED by dozens of diligent students wanting to know their grade, they get the info that they want and everyone's privacy is maintained.  WIN! WIN! WIN!

 

I still can't believe that I'm even thinking about exams!!!  But I have a feeling I'm going to blink and it's going to be exam week. 

So, to all my teacher friends out there, do you have any "best practices" to share?  I love hearing great tips from other teachers.  

Happy Tuesday, friends!!

36 comments:

  1. Love that you are a fun teacher!! Have a blessed day!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have to be the best math teacher in America!!! The pictures on the test and the note at the end is something your students will always remember!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Whenever the last test is turned in I like to instantly start some up best dance music. We all dance together and forget we even took a test!!! I love love your ideas!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My very favorite part of summer...being able to hang out with you every day :). Can't wait until we're pool side baby!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What's it like to say 'Goodbye' to your class every year and prepare for a new one. I always wondered that going through school, If teachers miss old students and how they cope with it year in year out.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love how you create your exams! I will have to put that into practice :) I got a kick out of all of those memes!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am right there it's you!! I teach 7th grade English and everyday is interesting! You never know what they are going to say! I laughed out loud at the teacher cards because they are so true!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I teach preschool in the morning and lower grades in the afternoon but all of these apply even to my 3-4 yr olds. I found myself saying yes. Yes. Yes. That's me! Lol. Thanks for the morning laughs. Good luck on the home stretch!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that you make your exams so fun for your students!! You are such a great teacher!!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I bet everyone wants to know who #3 is! hehe. I went to school to teach, but now we homeschool our three kids, and I feel just the same as you this time of year! End of a road trip...perfect! This is usually when we start taking field trips and really long nature walks!

    ReplyDelete
  11. OMG this couldn't have come at a more perfect time...we are giving state Diagnostic Testing all week and I am being evaluated for OTES (Ohio Teacher Eval System) today- I'm ready to pull my hair out! The end of the year brings so many fun activities, but sooo much stress too. I love my firsties but am soooo ready for summer! Love, love all of the ecards you posted, and really love how you make your final exam! We do lots of "brain breaks" between sections of tests including a really funny site called GoNoodle. Thanks for making this crazed teacher laugh this morn!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh how I luuurve those memes!!! I teach 2nd grade and last week after repeating myself for the umpteenth time I told them "I feel like a broken record!" Blank stares and crickets, I tell ya! Bless their litthe hearts... they had no clue what I was talking about!!! Hahaha... records??? What are those??? :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. The world would be a better place if more teachers cared about their students as much as you do!!!! Good job girl!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This time of the year is crazy for teachers! I agree 100%

    ReplyDelete
  15. YOU ARE SO GREAT!!!! Just looking at your exams takes me back to stressful classes in middle and high school (let's jus say math is not my forte...ahem) and it would have made a world of difference to have something funny to calm me down. Hang in there...summer is almost upon you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I admire your love and dedication in your wTeaching. It's a tough job especially during the home stretch of the academic year. Hang in there. By the way, in the Star Trek graphics, that's Captain Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation series. Captain Kirk is part of the original Star Trek series.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Teacher here - Yes, I teach kindergarten and yes, they are jumping out of their seats, and to top it off we just got back from spring break so you think they would be ready to sit and finish out the last few weeks. NO, they are as wiggly as ever. Great tips - even though I don't teach that high up, I get the "motivation" behind it.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It is uplifting to see how much effort you put into your classroom! Bravo :)

    Buuuuuut, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that those memes? Are of Captain Picard :) Captain Kirk had the beard! (and I had a huge crush on him as a child, which is why I remember! ha)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oh and one more thing-I love your exams and how fun you make them!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I guarantee if you would have been my math teacher I would have loved it instead of hated it....me and math do not go well together! You are such an awesome teacher and I just love the way you interact with your students, we need more teachers like you!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow! I wish my kids had had a teacher like you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have put the meme of "I just answered that question" up on my SMARTboard when they keep asking the same questions! :) They learn to ask a classmate instead! :)

      Delete
  22. That last baby meme reminds me of a high school history teacher I had. You weren't allowed to jump up and run out of his classroom when the bell rang. When the bell rang, you sat there an extra second or two until he said go. It seems controlling but as a teenager, it's good to be forced to practice some restraint.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I was an English major. Just seeing the algebra exams post makes my head hurt. ;)

    I was also a senior English teacher for 4 years. Kinda makes me want to go back. Kinda.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I wish I had went into teaching but have no desire to go back to school now. I would love these ideas if I was teaching though. My daughters would love you I am sure :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. I too teach and I feel ya on all of those memes. I especially love the ones about extra credit. I teach 5th grade at a year round school so I sitll have 10 weeks of school left :( but like your it's testing season which mean stressed out teachers and kiddos. I love your idea on including fun little pictures on tests. I might just have to give that a try!

    ReplyDelete
  26. As a fellow middle school math teacher, all these memes & ecards are SO spot on!!!!! hahahaha!!!! LOVE this post! And, I love how you customize their final exams, so fun! All our grades are online, so we don't have to post them outside our classroom. P.S. Jealous of your class sizes....I have between 30-32 students in each class!

    ReplyDelete
  27. what a great test! but i don't have confidence that i could answer a single question correctly. i was hoping for the answer key with full explanations to brush up on my algebra!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh my goodness - I am terrible at math but I would have loved having you as a teacher! You are so fun & it is very apparent how passionate you are about your job and your students! Keep it up - teenagers, especially middle schoolers, need a constant positive influence and that is just what you are!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I wish I had you for a math teacher, how fun are those exams? You = best teacher ever!

    ReplyDelete
  30. High school teacher from Canada here! We've got about 9 weeks left and just past midterm and I've got the 'landing gear out' as we say around my school.

    I started using memes to express myself to my grade 12 class last semester and they thought it was hilarious. I also showed them a video of my cat being adorable to make up for when I wasn't able to get a test marked when I promised... later they told me that I was the personification of the Internet! HA!

    Any time you do something 'young' they think it's weird and hilarious... 'old' teachers (I'm 35, lol) who know about their stuff. So much fun!

    ReplyDelete
  31. As a former teacher those memes are top notch.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I teach 21 1st graders and right now I have one boy who poops his pants 2x a day and one boy who literally has anger fits and has to be carried out of my room....HOWEVER.....I'm the biggest cheerleader for anyone who teaches Middle School!!! And I firmly believe that those teachers deserve a salary and a half! Bless you child! Your tests look amazing and big cheers to you for making that part of the end of the year a positive and a memorable moment for them! ;0)

    ReplyDelete