Weekly Summer Link Up: My Best Trip Ever

I am linking up with Monica from I Heart Grade 3 for her weekly link up! The topic for this week is The Best Trip of My Life. 

I’ve had the opportunity to visit some amazing places: France, England, Belgium, Jamaica, but one trip that I will always remember is when I went to Italy in the summer of 2011.

As I mentioned, I had the opportunity to travel out of the country before and it had been a while since I had gone anywhere. I had the itch but no idea where to go. I started to search the internet looking for opportunities to travel abroad and I landed on this website called Geovisions. I found out that it was an organization that offered all types of programs abroad from staying with a host family and tutoring someone in English to being an au pair for young children. Neither of these appealed to me, but I explored further and came across a summer camp program in Italy. Italy had always been one of my dream places to travel to and this program seemed perfect. I would be there for 4 weeks and they would provide a place for me to stay. I would help out at a summer camp teaching English to kids during the week and I would have my weekends open to travel. Let’s just say that I am not a super outgoing person by nature and I had never traveled out of the country on my own before, but something about this program was just calling to me and I couldn’t pass it up. So I applied and was accepted!

Fast forward several months later and I found myself flying to another country for a whole month! I stayed with the other counselors, many of who were still college students. I jokingly like to compare it to MTV’s “Real World” with the whole cast of characters. It was fun getting to meet some great people.

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There was lots of espresso to help with getting up early each day (until I became super jittery and had to cut myself off), amazing experiences (like bike riding through Tuscany), and wonderful locals (who managed to be welcoming despite the language barrier).

The kids I worked with were a lot of fun, although I quickly learned that they wanted to do work during the summer about as much as any kid anywhere does :).
And let me not forget to talk about the FOOD! It was delicious. When I first got there I was barely able to make it through a plate of homemade pasta--by the time I left I was scraping my plate bare at each meal. There was definitely some weight gained on this trip, but it was worth it!

In the end it was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences I have ever had and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

TPT Challenge Week 3- Make Your Masterpiece

We’re back with week 3 of the TPT Seller Challenge. We’re linking up to show off our Masterpiece.

Click the picture to see it in our store

Testing. One little word that fills teachers around the world with dread. The reality of education today seems to be more and more focused on testing. Think about how much time you devote to testing in your classroom. In our classes, we attend professional development for THE TEST, have staff meetings about THE TEST, learn how to navigate the computer program to administer THE TEST, introduce the computer program to the students for THE TEST, and practice for THE TEST. Not to mention all the time it takes students to actually take THE TEST.

Another huge problem we ran into was the lack of engagement and interest our students showed when it came time to practice and prepare for testing. We knew that we had to find something our students were interested in and use it to help them prepare.

We found our answer in pirates! We created this comprehensive unit, and have used it in our own classrooms for several years, with great success! Our students loved learning about pirates and it offered us the opportunity to review important concepts and teach helpful testing strategies at the same time.

We took the word PIRATES and created this acronym to teach our students important test taking strategies:
P-Prepare to succeed
I-Inspect the directions
R-Read the text and questions carefully
A-Ask yourself if it’s a “Thinker” or “Right There” answer
T-Think about what the question is asking
E-Examine the text for evidence
S-See if you answered all parts of the question

We’ve also included complete lessons for 10 concepts that are often included in a reading standardized test. Each lesson is paired with a pirate themed book to encourage student engagement.

We’ve just added our product to TPT, and you can snatch it up for the next 48 hours at 20% off!