Alright, now to the featured programming (Yeah, I know... I'm goofy tonight, but that sounded great in my head). Well, we have been testing ALL week. I'm not sure what your county or state requires. In some ways, I'm thankful that we test our kids because I feel like I get to see where we are, where I am as a teacher, and that we actually have learned. In other ways, I hate it because I am a perfectionist and when my kids struggle it breaks my heart because not only do I know they know it and that I taught it, but it causes me to overreact
and cry huge tears slightly and wonder if I failed them. So, every year when we test, I do everything I can to make it serious, but enough fun that my kids don't panic. I tell my kids not to tell the other first graders, but they are the smartest in all of first grade. I swear them to secrecy and tell them it will hurt the other first graders feelings if they find out. Obviously, my teammates teach the same things and their kids are just as smart as mine, but I love how excited they get when you build them up. I also get breakfast for them each day, which usually consists of anything from Sponge Bob Gogurts to sticks of cheese. Finally, we finish testing and on Friday I surprise them with MarioKart racing on the Wii and a pizza party. I started this around five years ago and it is one of my favorite memories I make with my kids. The best part is we don't just play MarioKart - we play MarioKart on our Activboard.
I've had several people ask me how to hook a Wii into their Activboard, so below are pictures/instructions :) It is definitely something to keep in your back pocket until the end of the school year and a SUPER special treat. They've heard rumors it's possible, but they have no clue until Friday that all of the rumors are true.
First, the trick is you are really connecting your Wii to your projector. Your Wii has a cord with a red, white, and yellow end piece. These need to be connected to the cords that typically go into the back of a VCR. The problem is those cords have the same ends that your Wii cord has. What's the solution? You go spend around $2 at Walmart and buy these small black pieces called female parts. These pieces allow you to add the connections. I've included two pictures so you can get an idea of what you are looking for if you do this. My pictures already have the black parts added, so don't let the cords throw you.
Once that's done, you have to find a place to put your Wii. I put mine behind my table area. Then, I run the sensor bar to the front of my board. It needs to be off the floor, so I put it on top of two of our book bins.
After that, I set up four ottomans and put a wheel on each. Chairs work just as well. The first year I did this, I didn't have chairs out originally and the other students kept bumping the kids or getting in front of the sensor bar. Chairs really help.
Last of all, I come up with a rotation. The kids not playing are doing other activities and centers. Each group is assigned a color, so when it is their turn, I call out a color and everyone switches out. Don't forget to include yourself. I make sure I race everyone at least once and the rule is if anyone in the class beats me, the whole class gets ice cream.
Anyway, I know this is one of those outside the box ideas, but the kids love it and after a week of testing, it's good to work on some of our social skills for an hour or two before we refocus to finish out the rest of our school year.