April Shower Bring May Flowers, then EOGs!

Spring Breaks marks the coming of the end of the school year. The number of school days between now and the end of grade tests in middle school means it’s time to focus on resources for review. As a teacher, high stakes testing preparations is serious business. It is like Tax Day deadline for CPAs and due dates for expectant mothers. Schools have their favorite strategies designed to remediate, reteach, and reinforce. Hopefully, this blog will help readers share some of their secret strategies or best practices (let’s post the legal ones only folks–please).


Reading coaches. As a classroom teacher, I have always argued that if Johnny can not read the question, then he can not show proficiency. Designing a program within a school is not for the faint of heart. Pulling Johnny out of his art or computer skills class for reading coaching requires buy in. Again, data driven decision making is crucial for a focus intervention.

Printed Materials

Our middle school math teachers are fond of their textbook ancillary materials. These materials are correlated with the North Carolina Standards. Another publishing companies sell books and if your schools has the funds, buy them and try them. In my personal opinion, just passing out the EOG books and having them work through the pages is a poor use of instructional time. Worksheet do not build dendrites. Creative uses of this material can engage students. This spring break, our middle school students were provided with a packet of review materials as a graded assignment. The completed packet if due the Monday we return from break. On my way to my vehicle, the day we dismissed for spring break, I passed a parent talking with our principal at 3:35 PM. All I could here was her talking about her son’s packet. She was not trying to assault our principal, so I dashed to my vehicle and speed out of the teacher’s parking lot with dust flying!  Our teachers are trying to do all we can. Providing every affordable opportunity to learn. I am not trying to be negative here, but everyone has responsibilities. Ok, here’s the question- what printed materials do you use in your classroom? Leave a comment.

Online resourses

Our district has Compass, StudyIsland, Accelerated Math, and Streaming Discovery (in one school). I created lessons for my students using the Teacher Center section. There are lessons available in the Teacher Center. The links below was copied from our school’s front page. Teachers have already received positive feedback from parents.

CMS Student’s Busting the EOG

Written by Donna McElveen
Tuesday, 24 March 2009 14:14

Communication Skills Flashcards grades 6-8testbuster.jpg

Communications Skills Online Games grades 6-8

Math Resources grades 6-8

note: we are adding additional links.

Parent Night

Everyone knows that parent involvement is the key to academic success.  Our school is planning a night for parents to come out and view the various strategies our teachers are implementing. One idea I have heard them discussing is a timed mock test (shortened version) formatted like our North Carolina EOG. Also, there are plans to distribute materials for parents on test-taking strategies and proper nutrition for test days.

Earth Day

April 22, Earth Day

Remember to mark your calendar for Earth Day.  http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com/ Streaming Discovery Education has a bundle of resources ready to roll out to participating schools.

Description of Earth Day:
Former Senator Gaylord Nelson’s concern about the environment led him to organize the first Earth Day “teach in” demonstration in April 1970. Twenty million Americans participated in environmental rallies, demonstrations and other activities to raise environmental awareness, to celebrate Earth’s life and beauty, and to alert people to the need for preserving and renewing the threatened ecological balances upon which all life on Earth depends. Later that year, on December 2nd, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address pollution problems in America. The agency focuses on cleaning up our nation’s water, air, and soil. It conducts research, sets standards, monitors activities, and helps enforce environmental laws. Celebrated on April 22nd, Earth Day is a reminder to learn more about environmental protection through educational programs and activities. It has been observed on that date every year since its first celebration in 1970.


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  1. Nicole Gray said:

    Great resources, John!! Can’t wait to read the comments on the different printed materials used around NC – great blogging question BTW!!!!

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