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A Stress-less Approach to State Testing

Photo: Students enjoy breakfast during a morning review session before school begins.

I am betting that every college graduate has participated in a study session for a final exam at least once. Maybe many more. I found them to be very helpful; especially if it was in preparation for a high stake exam that involved assessment over a large amount of material.  What I always enjoyed about these review sessions with peers was how much we were able to accomplish in a non stressful environment/manner. I can only imagine what it might feel like to be tested on everything learned for an entire school year, in every subject. Not wanting my class day to turn into a test prep. conservatory, I opened my doors a little earlier for some casual review sessions. The average for the week? 16 to 17 students. Learn how.

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A Free Alternative to Smartboards: Interwrite Technology


Photo: A student uses a wireless Interwrite pad/pen to help make his PowerPoint interactive.

Have you wanted a Smartboard but can't afford the price-tag or the space it takes up? Well, consider an Interwrite download, as it can do almost everything a Smartboard can with one quick (and free) download. With a wireless mouse and a clipboard, you are good to go. As for me, I won an Interwrite pad, making it one of my favorite tools in the classroom. 

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Organ Dissections: One Day Medical Residency at U of B

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Photo: These University of Bunyi medical students are shown dissecting and observing a pig heart.

I debated with myself this morning on what to write about. With about ten topics tempting me, I had to go with this one. Dissecting cow eyes, pig hearts, pig kidneys, and sheep brains just can't be ignored. So, put your medical scrubs on and see what happened at the University of Bunyi Medical School last week. 

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Don't Be Afraid to Shine!

Photo: Some of my Shiny Supporters- My husband, Brayan, and my son, Eli.

I think we all know at least one Shiny Smoosher at our school. Do you know what I am talking about? Shiny Smooshers are most prevalent in the educational setting and found most often in female dominated professions. I fear you may be working with some of these individuals now. Take my short quiz to see if you are guilty of association, before I determine how you can deal with the situation.

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Reflections on Having a Student Teacher

Bonus: Hear me on NPR's Morning Edition.
Photo Credit: Ann Marshall, NPR.

So, it's such an odd feeling when your student teacher leaves you for their next internship. Very odd. I don't quite know what to make of it. It made me question myself, mostly, and reflect on some things I hadn't thought about before. Three things to be exact.

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The Workshop Model: Assessment Strategies That Work

I hope I am not being too radical and out-of-the box saying this, but I think assessment just gets in the way of teaching sometimes. It just seems like we pull out that seed so much now, wondering why it hasn't grown, don't we? And with all the assessment options in the world, what is an "85%" reader anyway? Actually, the whole grading system boggles me. Who made up the scale we use in the first place? (ex- 8 point range for a "B" and 5 point range for a "D", 69 point range for an "F"). So many thoughts come to mind...how do you assess that written piece that deals with grandma's death when it is plagued with conventional errors? And that child that is reading on a first grade level in the fourth grade...but is making steady gains. How do we assess such an internal process as reading anyhow? All these questions on a Saturday morning deserve some answers. I'd like to share what seems to work in my classroom.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Angela's 4th Grade Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.