Found the Gold Freebie Hop!

Hi everyone!!! Thanks for hopping over!! Did you just LOVE Angie's freebie over at Lucky Little Learners?!? Thanks, Angie, for sending over all of these awesome educators!! 

Well, today is your LUCKY day!! All of us over at A Spark of Inspiration wanted to share the "gold" with you before the leprechaun takes it back!! :) So, below you will find one of my favorite freebies in my TPT store!
Author's Purpose Response Sheets

Click on either of the pictures to download them!  These response sheets have been such a help for my students!!!  I hope you and your students enjoy them too!!! :)

Thank you so much for stopping by to grab my freebie!!! Next, you are hopping over to Tanja at Journey of a Substitute Teacher!!!  Make sure to hop all the way through because you won't want to miss ANY of these "golden" freebies!!! :)

EDexpo 2015 Top 10 Blogger Picks!!!

Hey there!!  If you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, I'm sure you saw tons of pictures of my amazing weekend a week ago at the EDexpo 2015!!!  I was given the fantastic opportunity, along with 50 more teacher bloggers, to go to the EDexpo 2015, check out all of the amazing products, and then rate my Top 10.  Uhh, teacher heaven, anyone??  
It was such a neat experience to be able to talk with developers, stores, and other teachers about what we think would be the best resources for classrooms around the world!!  Once everyone turned in their Top 10s, they compiled an overall Top 10!  Below, you will find the Top 10 products.  Click on the images to go to their websites and check them out!!  There were so many awesome resources that it was really difficult to pick among them.  

Let's take a look!!

EDexpo 2015 Top 10 Blogger Picks

There you have it!!!  AMAZING, right?!?  Well, don't forget to stop by their websites to learn all about each one!!  If you see something that you would like to purchase from above, make sure to stop by the Edmarket page to find a local or online retailer.  You can also click on the image below to take you there too!!  Happy shopping!!! :)
A HUGE shoutout to Sherron Washington for allowing all of us bloggers the opportunity to work so closely with vendors and creators!!!  I had a wonderful time, and if you ever have the chance to attend the EDexpo, I would highly recommend it!!! :)

Testing Mood Swings!! PLUS a Testing Encouragement FREEBIE!!!

Ready or not, it's here!!!

Hi everyone!! I'm stopping in really quickly so I can share something I created today for my students!! We are starting the dreaded state testing tomorrow! This is my 12th year of teaching, BUT my first year having to be a part of state testing!! Our testing starts in 3rd grade so being in 2nd for 10 and Spanish teacher for 1, I haven't had to deal with them. It was glorious! haha :) Now, I feel like I'm having Testing Mood Swings all the time!!
I've never been a teacher to teach to a test.  Now, I follow the scope and sequence with the standards, but I try to do this in a creative way.  I love taking the standard and content my kids need to know and creating something engaging and effective.  I always think doing what's best for my kids should be priority in my book.  So I shut the door and teach.  This does bring some anxiety to me being in a testing grade.  The "what ifs" and "should haves" start creeping into my head.

What if my kids don't do as well as others who don't veer far from the line since I tend to test the waters? :) (staying close to the line is not a bad thing either, just a different style :)
What if people think that I'm not a good teacher because of my kids' test scores?
What if my kids do AWESOME?
Is what I'm doing working?

It's like one minute I'm not nervous at all, and the next, my stomach is in knots!  If you know anything about Indiana right now, we are taking a brand new test this year since we opted out of the Common Core Standard (even though, they are almost identical, just saying!).  So after finding out that kids were going to be tested for an eternity, they decided to cut the test by 3 hours a week before we could start.  I'm not going to go much further into this because I don't like the politics, but needless to say, it's a little stressful.

SOOO, once we take this test over the next 2 weeks, my 3rd graders have the big IREAD-3 test that determines if they move onto 4th grade or not.  I'm way more nervous about this test than the first.  I've been having discussions with my kids about how they feel about the tests coming up, and how this should be a celebration of what they know.

I know that kids need to be accountable, and if we're doing our jobs, we should be holding them accountable all the time in normal, everyday school activities and at life, in general.  I want to help a child grow into a wonderful person inside and out.  Creating relationships and a sense of family is EVERYTHING.  As I learned from visiting the Ron Clark Academy (post coming soon :), if we, as educators, go above and beyond for our kids, they will, in turn, go above and beyond for us.  If we nurture our relationships with ALL of our students, then they will give us their all!

I just don't think, at the age of 8 and 9, that my kids need to be stressed out and anxious about testing.  They have PLENTY of years of that coming up in their lives.  I do talk about how they want to feel proud when they turn their tests in knowing that they did their absolute bests.  We reflect on how that should feel and how they can tell when they haven't given their best.  This, however, is connected to everything that goes in life.  NOT JUST A TEST!  I had to step back for a second and think about this.  I can't control what they go home to or what they carry with them to school, but I can control how I make them feel.

I was that kid that was sooooooo nervous to take a standardized test!!
I was just like this child except my face was probably on the verge of tears!! hah
I didn't want to mess up!  I still have that problem some because I equate it to I'm not good enough.  We watched a video about the importance of not rewarding intelligence, but rewarding effort.  All through school and sports, I always felt like if I wasn't the smartest or the best, I wasn't enough.  I graduated in the top 10% of 641 kids in high school and with honors in college so it wasn't that I wasn't a great student.  I put WAY too much pressure on myself to be perfect.  I don't remember being told that I showed great effort.  I was scared to make a mistake on the basketball court just as I was in the classroom.  I knew I held back a bit in basketball because I didn't want that pressure.  When I became a teacher, I vowed to myself to try to not let that happen to my students in my room.  We celebrate the process!!!  I don't want them to be like me and still struggle with this now as an adult.  I'm way better, thank goodness haha, but it's no fun!  I want my students to feel like they are more than ENOUGH!!!

Okay, so jumping off my soap box (PHEW! :), tomorrow is our first day of testing!  Each day we test, I want to give some sort of encouragement for my students!

My kids LOVE smelly (scented) markers as much as I do!!
I get these at Target for $1.99 for a set of 4.  There are 4 themed scent packs! 
We use Crayola Pip Squeaks scented markers during literature circles when we do our Whole Brain Teaching Super Speed Reading!  They just can't get enough of them!! So, since I failed at the task of getting the correct markers for them for Christmas (I couldn't believe they weren't the smelly ones!!!), I decided to surprise each of them with one tomorrow!!!  I whipped up this little tag to go with it!!  Click on the picture below to download them for yourself!! :)
Credits: KG Fonts, Dollar Photo Club
I will add on the others I do as the week drags goes on!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!  If you are testing, I wish you all the best of luck! :)  I'm going to remember to JUST BREATHE!