Currently in Jasztalville- Read-a-thons and parent/teacher/student conferences...

By Victoria Jasztal on October 14, 2009

This has been a very busy week in Jasztalville and it is going to be even more busy during the next few weeks because of fall-related festivities. I tell myself in the midst of times like these "...Take a deep breath." Sometimes my mind races at 120 miles per hour with loads of creative ideas, yet reality has me steadily going at 50 miles per hour. Let me tell you about this very important time of read-a-thons, conferences, and preparing for the many fall-related festivities to come.

Last night, I held a read-a-thon event in which I call "Feed and Read." My colleague, Jane Stevenson, held these events monthly or bi-monthly when she had her own classroom. Basically, it is a time where students can read chapter books as well as shorter books for Reading Counts after school. Even though I encourage my students to read a variety of books aside from those that are offered on Reading Counts, I motivate them to take the computer tests through events like these. Aside from having time to read books and take tests, the students have pizza and healthy snacks (pretzels, Chex Mix and granola bars) as well as participate in games (such as water bottle bowling).

Tomorrow evening is when parent/teacher/conferences will be held. Every year, the students have to sign a compact, an agreement where they come up with a goal for themselves by the end of the year. This is what I will be discussing at the conference:

  • Progress in reading/math programs on the computer (Called SuccessMaker Software- where the students have to reach a specific level in each program for their grade)
  • Book choices that have been made by the students
  • Specific practice they may have to do to prepare for state tests in the spring
  • Their grades for the first quarter- what went well and what is considered to be a "work in progress"

Lastly, I am preparing for upcoming events at school. This is what will be happening in the next few weeks:

  • School costume parade and classroom costume contest
  • Pumpkinology (counting the seeds inside of pumpkins, measuring the circumference and height, weighing it (and comparing it to their weight))
  • Pumpkin-rolling contest (Does the size of a pumpkin affect how fast it rolls down a hill? This is utterly hilarious to watch!)
  • Spooky science (atomic slime from Steve Spangler, balloons with hex nuts, making "lava lamps")
  • Activities with our kindergarten Book Buddies

I am preparing more resources for you! In the meantime, I am wondering... What do you do for conferences? What is an exciting fall-related activity you do with your students this time of year?


Well, you know by now that Steve Spangler can do no wrong in my eyes! And now I know that you have exquisite taste in science instruction for your students! Oh, and isn't all that Halloween Science on his site amazingly awesome?

... Of course, I agree! Steve Spangler has been a spectacular influence on my teaching career. I will certainly be taking photos as my class completes Halloween science next week. What have you done with students before, Jane? - Victoria

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