Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Testing, Testing, Testing...(Mini-Freebie!)

Ah the joys of testing! Achievement testing is actually one of my favorite times of the year. I love walking around the room noticing how smart my Owlets are. I get so excited when they get to answer questions that cover something that we recently worked on in class and see that light bulb of "I know this one" light up. I do have a couple of students who don't like testing at all and get pretty stressed out about it, so I try to make the moments in between testing as fun and stress-free as possible.

Because I teach a first/second split I have to vary who is being tested and who is being absolutely quiet. As you may know I'm in my second week of raising chicks. Four have found their permanent home. I made up a quick coloring page for my students to use when they weren't testing. I gave them no directions. I casually laid them on the table for students to use if they wanted. Every second grader picked one up and came up with some pretty amazing ideas. A couple wrote a narrative on how to hatch and take care of chickens. The rest wrote stories about their chicks. I must admit this is my favorite...
Guess what book this second grader just finished?! 
I could have told students to turn the chicken into their favorite book character, but what makes this chicken even better is that the kid came up with this idea on his own. "I wanted to make the robe scarlett," reports class famous reader, "but you said I couldn't get out of my seat during testing. I just used the tools I had available." I think this chicken is bound to catch the Golden Snitch and win the tournament for Chickendor!

Wanna see something really cute? I must first make this disclaimer...No animals were hurt during this photo shoot. My daughter wanted to introduce her cat to my chicks. On Sunday when I was in my classroom working, my daughter shows up at the door with the cat...

What caption would you add to these pictures?

Click HERE to get a copy of your own chicken to disguise!

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Can it really have been a month since I last posted? Yikes! Stomach flu, visiting children, and winter doldrums have left me with little motivation to do anything but get through each day. I refuse to complain about the long winter...It will only make spring that more wonderful when it finally gets here. Maybe summer will get here first. She's welcome too!

We set our alarm clock for 12:57 on March 20th. That is when spring arrived on the calendar. Our school had a mob flash dance as soon as the alarm went off. We sang and danced to this Happy song...

Then it was back to work. The work of watching chicks!

Whenever I have had the chance to go to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I spend most of my time looking at the chicks hatching. It is my favorite part of the whole museum. I'm always disappointed that I have to move out of the way for people who are shorter than I am.

After years of dreaming about hatching my own chicks I finally did it. Since we studied life cycles in science, it fit into the curriculum perfectly! It has been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Hearing a chick make peeping noises before it even shows signs of hatching is just the most delightful thing in the world.

There are some important things to keep in mind before trying this yourself! Find someone who is willing to take the chicks once they are too big to stay in your classroom. Make sure that people are will to take roosters and hens! I was lucky to have three people tell me they are willing to take any or all of our chicks.

Once you place the eggs in the incubator DO NOT open the incubator. Whoops! I didn't know that. Luckily, my eggs made it anyway. The temperature and humidity needs to be fairly consistent and opening and closing the incubator can kill young chicks. Imagine the excitement in our classroom when students were actually able to see four eggs hatch.

Chicks poop. They poop a lot! Changing the bedding material frequently is important as is proper hand washing after handling the chicks. We handle our chicks a lot! We read to them and I had one little guy telling them how to regroup before subtracting! It will be a sad day when they fly the coop!

Finally, you will become attached. You will hear chicks peeping even when they aren't anywhere near. You will find yourself having to go back to school to check on them every night after supper and staying for several hours holding and talking to them about your day. You will marvel at their growth and worry about their development.

I have been putting Sparty, Clover, Martin, Cutie, Boxer, Wilbur, and their siblings out in the hall for the rest of the school to enjoy. If I see anyone near the box, I watch carefully. I make sure that no one harms MY babies. I couldn't help but think of how much more God loves and watches over me. He bought me with His Son Jesus Christ and now He cares for and protects me. " often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings..." Luke 13:34
 Of course you can check out these books about chicks on Amazon...