A comment on one of our most recent posts asked:
How do you manage to have EVERYTHING for the whole year prepped ahead of time?
I'm struggling to stay about 4-5 lessons ahead of my students... this is in part because of my team. We have common assessments that we create during our PLC time (roughly 4-5 lessons ahead of when we plan to give them) and sometimes, throughout the course of the semester, our experiences determine that we need to add, remove or rearrange a few learning targets to meet the needs of our students!
Additionally, I've 2 students who are just plain outworking me! They're quite persistent and as soon as I've completed a lesson, they're working on it and have it finished (and, yes, mastered) before I've got the next one ready!!!
I love my self-pacing (as do most of my students) but am definitely looking for ideas to help improve things for next year.
I've had some conversations recently that addressed some similar questions or concerns so we figured we would dedicate a post to answering those!
How do you have EVERYTHING ready for the whole year?
I most definitely do not have everything for the whole year prepared ahead of time. I wish I did and I'd like to get there someday but that day is not today. I try to stay about 3 lessons ahead of my students but I do not have to work in a team to make common assessments so that allows me some freedom to stay ahead of my students who are currently working. Sometimes that just doesn't happen though! I have had a couple of times this year when a student would let me know they are ready to take the assessment for goal number __ and I didn't have it done. At this point I asked them to email me that they were ready for the quiz so that I had a digital reminder to get it completed when I went home that day. After they send the email they have 3 options: keep working ahead and start to study for the next goal, help another student study for their goal (this student must not be taking an assessment), or work on their math project. Adding the math project this year has been a life saver in multiple ways. It allows me some extra time when I feel like I am drowning in work. I don't feel like a bad teacher when I don't have the assessment finished for a student 100% of the time because I'm not stopping them from working. The project has so much more engagement and ownership because they are 100% in charge of designing what their project will be. I also love not having to look at the same project or repeating the same directions/guidelines 1,203,920,409,459,345 times. If you are looking for something other than busy work to give to students when you just don't have the next thing done, I definitely recommend a student led project.
What do you do when students aren't working?
You do the same thing you would do if students weren't working in a traditional class period - whatever that means for you. I've talked with some teachers who have said that's the student's choice and if they want to waste time it's on them. Others would ask students who aren't working to leave the room. Whatever your strategy is in a traditional classroom, do the same thing in a self-paced room. The nice thing however is that you can have individual conversations a lot easier without calling attention to a student because everyone is doing their own thing.
How do you grade so many tests or make sure they don't just tell each other what is on the test?
I use Canvas to create my self-paced course. It allows me to make question banks filled with the types of questions I would ask for each goal but will pull only the amount I ask it to. Basically, I could have multiple students sitting next to each other, each taking the same quiz but none of the same questions. Canvas grades the quiz immediately giving feedback to the student so that they know if they need to do more work or are ready to move on. If they pass the quiz (12/15=80% or higher) then they show it to me and I enter it into the grade book immediately. Our school also has GoGuardian which allows me to monitor their screens or restrict them to specific sites. This helps me to catch students who may be cheating. At my previous school we had lockdown browser which locked students into Canvas and kept them from going to any outside sites.
How do you test things like graphing?
There are some goals that just don't lend themselves to the test setup on Canvas. I do create paper tests for those goals. I create multiple versions of each and get really good at grading them quickly after a few tries! I've considered making them multiple choice tests but right now I just think having them graph the problems are more important.
Do you give partial credit on Canvas tests?
Not unless it is blatantly obvious that the students knew what they were doing. I encourage students to do the work on paper so that they can check their work. If I see that they have the correct work and answer but just mis-typed something in the computer I give them partial or full credit for the answer.
What other questions do you have about self-paced classrooms? I'm more than happy to answer them with what I do in my classroom. It is 100% not perfect but I am trying to do what I think is best for helping students master math! Bring on the questions and good luck with the last month or so of school! :)
Year 2 in my student-directed classroom honestly started off pretty rocky. If you have been following us, you are very aware of my struggles. If you are new to following Becca and my teaching adventures here is a summary of how my year started off.
I had such grand intentions of making this year amazing and that all my self-paced plans were going to work out just perfectly. When this years started though I was hit by some serious distractions. My classes suffered from apathy and behavior issues and I didn't respond fast enough. Going into my semester break I knew I needed to restructure and regroup, so I spent some time really thinking about what I need to do. I read a great book and got my head on straight. I knew going into my second semester I was going to need to make some changes.
Overall my second semester has gone so much better! It has been a relief to see some improvements in all of the areas I set to work on.
On the whole things have really improved and I think that my classroom has gotten stronger and the student-directed aspect of my class has gotten stronger as well. This will definitely go down as a year where I have questioned myself as a teacher the most and grown the most as a teacher.
We're nearing the end of the year! I've loved having technology and really embracing the self paced classroom this semester but I'm most excited about seeing the final projects. It's also the thing I've had the most questions about from students.
They are used to getting a lot of structure and most of the time, I try to provide that and be fairly predictable with class. We know that a lot of kids don't have that at home and providing it helps them in more ways than one. In my class, they know what format the quizzes are in and how to access resources. They know the expectations for classroom behavior as well as what goal they should aim to be on each week in order to be "on track". What they don't know is how to get full points on a final project...and I am loving it!
This has been up on the board since the first week of this semester and when students ask me about the project, I tell them it needs to be high school level math...and that's it. When they start to get that confused look on their face, I tell them they can pick something they like in math and I will help come up with a topic or they can pick a topic they like and I will help them come up with the math, but that it is completely up to them as long as it is a high school level math project. They do not have to present in front of the class and they can work on it when they want to in class (as long as they are "on track" with the quizzes).
As most students are nearing the end of their quizzes, they are trying to come up with project ideas and it is so great to hear the different ideas. I love that they have buy in to the project and I love that I will be able to differentiate the expectations based on the student and what they've done all year.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- I have a student who carries a transformer figurine as a fidget. He loves that thing so much. He informed me that when it is in the form of a jet, it is a replica of a real jet. He is going to find the dimensions of the real jet and compare it to his figure. After that he will change it into the transformer and calculate the "real" dimensions of the transformer using the scale factor he found.
- I have a student who loves their phone (who doesn't?) but is always concerned about her battery. She is collecting data using a Google Form about the top 4 apps people use in a 24 hour period and how much of their battery percentage each has used. She'll be calculating averages and finding the most popular apps as well as researching if particular apps are used more commonly on specific days of the week.
- I have a student who would like to compare clothing costs at different stores. She is going to find the same article of clothing at two stores and compare the price. She'll do this with multiple stores and connect at least five stores so that she can compare the markup at different retailers despite being the same brand of clothes purchased.
- I have a student who is going to research the history of pi and create a children's book about it.
- I have a student who is going to calculate the number of seconds spent in school in a single school year, throughout high school, and K-12. They are then going to use different units to share their findings. ex: I could listen to my favorite song, _______ x amount of times
- I have a student who is comparing the cost of buying a house against building the exact house from scratch...so much work....and they know it...and they still really want to do it!!!
Are these projects super relevant? Maybe not. Are my students more engaged in this than they have been all year? YUP!
I have heard a lot of really good ideas and I am excited to see them come to fruition and share them with you. I just wanted to share how AWESOME it has been to step out of the rubric life for just one project and really let them do something crazy and interesting!
Only a month or so left! Let's finish this out strong! :)
By Genevieve Laucher, 6th grade teacher in San Jose, CA
Summer: that time of year to recharge, a time that teachers look forward to as much as (if not more than) their students do. However, as a brand new teacher who just started teaching full-time midway through the year this February, I felt that I hadn’t quite earned my break yet and wanted to keep my momentum going for a bit longer. I decided to teach summer school; specifically, Speech & Debate and Creative Writing for incoming sixth through eighth graders. Although a part of me envied my teacher friends who were taking trips and sleeping in, teaching summer school turned out to be a very enjoyable learning experience.
Having never taught these subjects before, I set out to do my research on the internet. There are so many resources out there that can be helpful for new teachers, but the challenge was sifting through and making my own tweaks to fit the needs of my eleven to thirteen-year-old audience. Finding lesson plans is great, but every group of students is different, and our lessons should reflect that. Throughout the planning process, I kept in mind that it was summer—my students wanted to have fun in their learning and so did I!
In my Creative Writing class, one of our favorite lessons was having my students create a “Fictional Facebook” for a character they were working on. They drew out a “profile picture” of their character, listed his or her hobbies, interests, birthday, relationship status, and more, and even wrote “status update” posts from the character and posts from the character’s friends and family members. As we know, students are on social media younger and younger, so why not take note of this interest and use it as an educational activity? My students were fully engaged, laughing and being creative as they developed fictional personas. At the end of the activity, they better understood the importance of character development and were excited to write their characters into a story.
For the Speech & Debate class, one of our most successful debate activities was a simple one: the Four Corners Debate. I made signs that read Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, and Strongly Disagree and put one in each corner of the room. I then wrote a statement on the whiteboard and students moved to the corner that best matched their opinion. There, they talked with other students in their same corner and put together an argument to persuade the students in other corners of their position. Each corner got a turn to share their reasoning and finally students could switch corners if hearing other arguments had changed their mind. Some interesting topics included “Schools should require students to wear uniforms,” and “Homework is beneficial for students.” I had an opinionated group of students, so they were excited to share their thoughts. This activity encouraged them to take sharing a step further and explain not just what their views are, but why they disagree or agree with the given issues. The ability to reason and persuade others will help them throughout middle school, high school, and beyond! One of the more controversial topics, given the 2017 trends that teachers love to hate, was “Fidget spinners help kids focus.” Surprisingly, this issue was evenly divided! What this means for the future of fidget spinners in the classroom, we will have to wait and see in the fall…
Overall, teaching summer school gave me more insights and experience with lesson planning, something I’m getting used to as I begin my teaching career. Throughout the regular school year, my goal is to provide variety in my lessons and keep them engaging. The first step is to know our students and plan activities that will best fit their learning needs while also appealing to their interests. Something else that I always want to keep in mind is that learning can and should be fun—both for the students and the teacher!
Projects are awesome! I am one of those teachers that loves to do as many projects as possible. The unfortunate thing is that I struggle fitting in all of my project ideas within my short semester timelines. I feel like for every unit I have over the years come up with 4 or 5 projects that I have tried at different times. The struggle is that every student likes different types of projects and as teachers we are trying to reach as many different types of learners and interests as possible.
The solution to this that most of us have figured out is to give our students a list of project options to choose from. Students like this because they have the ability to make a choice in their learning and what they focus on within your parameters. Teachers like it because typically students take the project more seriously and care more about the project overall since they had the ability to choose what they work on.
Project choice options are another tool that teachers can use in the student-directed classroom or as a tool to differentiate assessments in your classroom. There are a lot of pieces in creating quality projects and structuring those options for your students. Here are 5 tips and things to think about when creating your project options:
Spring break is either happening or coming up soon for most of us. What are you doing with your time off? Hopefully you are doing at least one of these things.
1. A fun craft or recipe
Do something that is totally you! Make one of those pinterest recipes or crafts you saved back in August and haven't had time to do. You have time for this week and then probably not any more until May. Use this time to accomplish something just for you- and it doesn't need to be something for your classroom, feel free to save those for June!
2. Binge watch that show you've heard so much about.
I love hearing from others about shows they've found on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. that are binge-worthy. Now is the time to try one out! Find a comfy spot and relax!
3. Read a book.
There are plenty of great educational books you can read if you're looking for some ideas to try when you head back to school but you could also spend some time reading something completely unrelated to your job. It's Spring BREAK! I plan on reading a few books and only ONE of them is school related. I know, such a #Rebel.
4. Spend time with friends or family.
Teaching takes a lot out of you and sometimes our friends and family don't get the attention we'd like to give them. We have a few days off this week to not think about school. Take that time and give at least some of it to your friends and family. Invite a friend over for that binge-watch session or take them/your spouse lunch if they don't have spring break. Do a craft with your kids or plan a date night. You have time this week, use it on the people you love!
Some of use won't be able to resist the urge to use Spring Break to go work on our classroom and break goes by way too fast. If you have the opportunity, get out of the area! Out of sight, out of mind! I have a couple of friends who started planning a Florida trip back in November and I am so glad they did! We will only be gone for a couple of days out of Spring Break but I know that those days are already dedicated to friends and relaxation. It forces the much needed break on those of us who may not use it otherwise.
6. Stay up late!
Teaching is EXHAUSTING. My husband if always making fun of how early I go to bed but almost all of the teachers I know are heading to bed around the same time. We're tired from the day and we know we have to be up and on for the kids tomorrow...not the case on Spring Break! This is the week to stay up with your friends, kids, or spouse and live it up! You can sleep in tomorrow!
7. Sleep in!
Get some extra rest this week. Sleep in or take a nap - we don't get to do this normally. This is the week to stock up on sleep before we hit that crazy 4th quarter!
8. Get some alone time.
We are around people a lot. Whether you teach Kindergarten or Seniors, it can sometimes feel like we are at the beck and call of 30-180 students. Even if you are a mom with little ones to play with over break, take some time for just you. Spring Break marks the 3/4 mark in the school year for most of us and sometimes that last quarter is the craziest. Take some time for yourself before you head back into the chaos.
9. Do something you can't do during the school year.
Yes, we have the summer but that is still 2-3 months away! And that is a long freaking time when you are trying to teach 20-180 students who are itching for summer break themselves. Find something you're looking forward to for summer and have a little taste of it this week.
10. Get outside and get active!
Hopefully the weather is nice for break...regardless, find something active to do for at least one day of the break. Enjoy some sun if possible and get moving no matter what! Even a 5 minute dance party would work! Just move. Don't let your break fly by without DOING something or you'll go back to school more tired than you were before!
To pretest or not pretest? I don't really think that is the question teachers ask anymore. It seems to be standard practice to give students a pretest at the beginning of the school year or semester at the very least. The question really is are we using those pretests effectively?
I will admit that I was really not one of those people that was using pretests like I should. I was only giving one pretest that was too large at the beginning of the semester. I always looked at the overall results, but I didn't really look at the individual student results and I really didn't change my teaching style or material based on those tests. I also never asked questions about what students thought about the topic I was pretesting them on. I knew I really wasn’t using pretesting very effectively but honestly I was afraid of the workload that I thought would be created if I was really analyzing my pretests. Then I read a book (Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding by Design) that reinvigorated my drive to better myself (read more about that here) and one of the things I wanted to delve into was using pretests more effectively.
What I took away from the book was how you don’t want to be teaching in the dark, which really stuck with me. Why would I not want to know what my students already know and why wouldn’t I want to use that for my teaching. It was I would call a "duh" moment.
That was all took to get me to dive into how I was going to use pretests more effectively. From there I used stories from the book to guide me and pieced together what I wanted to do with it.
How I scheduled my pretests
I have broken my content down into 3 sections so I am going to have three pretests at different points in the curriculum which I have based around my units.
Here is a break down of my class to show you what I mean:
I decided to not give a pretest on my first unit because that is the one that sets up my entire course and I feel it is important for the students to complete it. It allows me to see how students work towards a deadline and get a feel for them as students. It also allows me to review the results and implement them.
My plan with pretesting was to use the results to decide what activities students would need to complete in order to show proficiency in my standards and objectives and add elements of personal choice/interest based on what they said in the pretest. In my class students have a certain amount of flexibility in how they progress through a unit in terms of time and mode of learning. I refer to it as student-directed and self-paced (see more about how I do that here). In the beginning it was really just self-paced but as I have progressed it has really been about teaching students content but also working on the skills of learning and working students in small groups as opposed to large groups unless it is needed. Now I am adding more options in assessments and creating a personalized experience based on their pretest results.
Makeup of the pretests
When creating the pretest I was looking to have 2-3 questions per content focus for the unit. My goal was to have no more than 25 questions. Then I asked some opinion style questions to see how they felt about the material from this unit. The questions I ask were:
I went with these questions to see how much they valued their environment and what current biases and points of view they have about the environment and how humans use the environment. I will say that asking these questions gave me some valuable insight into my students and what they think about the topic. It was able to highlight issues and create connections that I am not sure would be seen in a typical multiple choice test.
Reviewing the student data
Once the students took the test I had the part that honestly I was dreading: reading through every test. I will say that I am super lucky in that my district uses canvas which allows you to create a spreadsheet broken down by student. The only problem was that I wanted a single 1-2 page breakdown of the test results for each student so I could review it with the students and not show them anything but their own results.
Luckily I have an amazing husband that happens to a spreadsheet genius and helped me organize my results by student with only the important information and helped me print it so it would be useful. Unfortunately I didn’t ask him right away to help with that and was trying to create a page form that I was going to hand write the results on for each student! I was creating so much more work for myself. My co-blogger is going to read this, roll her eyes and laugh, because she is also a spreadsheet genius. (Yes, you should have called me! Plus I guarantee one of the Alice Keeler spreadsheet add-ons would help with the process...next time! haha!- Becca)
Once I had my results printed and ready to review, all I did was highlight the areas of weakness so when I went to review with the student it would be easy to see what areas we needed to work on.
I also looked for patterns in the pretests. What I noticed was that I had three groups of students: students that were weak in the unit as a whole, students that were in the middle needing some review, and the students that were advanced in their knowledge of the material already.
The changes I Have seen in my classes
As students turned in their final assignment from the 5 Themes of Geography unit, I pulled them aside to review their pretest and their HEI checklists (see more about how I use checklists here). As we talked I highlighted the portions of their checklist that they needed to complete. Most students even if they scored advanced had some things that they couldn’t get out of. I usually have at least 2 formative assessments embedded into the unit to make sure they are getting the material before they get to the summative assessment. They could not get out of those and they could not get out of their textbook readings because we are working on reading and notetaking skills.
I used the opinion questions to guide our class bell work activities and added some of the topics they picked out as important to our assignments and have been making sure to talk about them as we work through content. It has been really nice to have those conversations with students and the students have responded pretty well because they can’t dispute the results and they appreciate that I have taken their answers and opinions into account.
So far I would say that really making use of my pretest has been very positive. It definitely has caused some extra work for me because I have to be on my game even more and have extra activities planned for students that need extra support or enrichment, but I feel like I am creating a more student-directed learning environment where students have more ownership in their learning and they know that I am considering them when I am creating materials for the class.
Kahoot has been around awhile and is a go-to for many teachers when they want to review material in a fun way. Today I want to offer up an alternative that fixes many of the issues that teachers have with Kahoot.
If you're not familiar with Kahoot, it is an interactive trivia style game where the question is displayed in a central location and student can answer the multiple choice question from their device. While it is a big hit in with most in kids in many classrooms, there are some problems including students struggling to see the question on the projector, students guessing through questions because they are disengaged, or students guessing because answering quickly earns you more points and they want to answer fast.
Quizizz is still a game based system that allows students to gain points for answering multiple choice questions but:
-You can change the settings to let students earn more points based on how quickly they answer or not. (I love this feature!!!) It encourages students to take their time on the question rather than rush through it! Even when you do add the time feature it allows students to answer the question for points with no time left. If the end goal is to have students think through the problem and use their knowledge to answer it, this definitely encourages the process more than Kahoot.
- Quizizz lets you play the games in real time OR assign them as homework. I have been using Quizizz as homework assignments for my Algebra class and I love how engaged they are with the material. I can set the homework assignment to be offered once or to have multiple attempts.
Like Kahoot, Quizizz allows you to create your own assignments or quizzes to share publicly. Because of this, they have a huge bank of premade Quizizz games to choose from! If you are planning on using Quizizz as a review or homework assignment, you may be able to just search the site and reuse one that is already created!
Quizizz also has an app making it much easier for students who have a device but may not have access to a computer. I definitely suggest trying it out in your class!
We have chromebooks! Yay!!!!!
Now that I have chromebooks, I am ready to get back into a mastery based self-paced classroom. No, it is not truly self-paced because I am still working on a semester long time limit BUT it's as good as it is going to get...for now. A girl can dream!
I was originally using videos and guided notes from flippedmath.com to help students master the material. These guys, the Algebros, put in some solid work to create so many amazing resources for math teachers. I have a lot of students who love their videos and feel like they learn best by taking the guided notes from them. I have a few others who are not such big fans. I realized that while I was differentiating by pace, with access to the internet, there wasn't any reason I couldn't give them more resources to choose from in order to learn the material and differentiate by learning style.
My process looked like this:
-List the objectives for Algebra 1 in a Google Sheet (I LOVE SPREADSHEETS!)
-Link each objective to it's own padlet. If you have not started using padlet or something like it, today is the day to start. They can be private, public, or collaborative and they are fantastic for dumping all kinds of resources. I love using it to organize all the resources I find for teaching.
- Find resources for each padlet. I started by adding the matching Flipped Math link, IXL links, and Kuta worksheets to each objective's padlet. It took a while but what I love so much about organizing the information this way is that I can continue to add to it year after year. I am creating a library of free resources organized by objective...it would bet worth it even if it was just for me and not for students to access!
- Decide on mastery rules and base objectives. One thing Danielle and I have always loved about the self-paced mastery set up is that it allows us to differentiate the material more easily and discreetly. Do we have a student who has gone through some major family issues outside of school and has missed school? Do we have a student with a learning disability who needs a modified assessment? Do we have a student who needs more of a challenge? Taking all of this into consideration, I set up the BASE objectives. In order for a student to gain credit for Algebra 1, the bare minimum objectives I would expect them to master are bolded and underlined (this is a tracked class so this is the lowest level). I expect that most students who are in class and using time wisely would be able to master these AND an additional 5 objectives - I'll let them choose those. After they have completed this, I am done giving them assessments, I want to see them apply what they know and I don't want to see the same project over and over. Students who can demonstrate mastery of my basic objectives as well as an additional 5 of their choosing will have to come up with a project and tell me which objectives it goes with.
- Track and assess. I will still use Canvas quizzes to assess students on mastery when possible. The only time I have trouble using Canvas is when I want students to graph. I create multiple quiz forms for those few objectives to maintain the integrity of mastery. (Click here for more on how we avoid cheating in a self-paced classroom)
I added a calendar portion so students can see how much time they have until the end of the year and set goals accordingly. Each student has their own copy of this tracker on Drive and updates it daily. When they pass an assessment, they change the objective to green. Remaining required objectives are marked as red. I use Alice Keeler's Template Tab to create my own tracker for each individual student. At the beginning of each class period, I move from person to person and click on their tab. I ask which objective or goal they are working on and how they are working on it. I ask when they are planning on taking an assessment and assist them if they are stuck. I track this on my sheet and then move to the next student. This only takes about 10 minutes of class and allows me to check in with each student individually. It also gives me a great visual of students who are absent. Finally, I track their work each day. Are they using time wisely? Each student begins with 5 points for the day and loses a point for each time I have to redirect them.
We are not currently using the Self Regulation sheets but I am planning on adding it as a Google Form to end class each day. I am also still working on adding resources to each of the padlet's as well as creating assessments that truly fit each objective.
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I'm at a new school this year and I was looking for a way to get more involved. I was lucky enough to meet the Student Council sponsor who was very open to letting me help out. Student Council programs are different at every building so a lot of it was really new to me. I helped out at Halloween and Christmas events for the community where there were activities, decorations, and prizes for families and children to do. It was so cool to see the community show up in the school building. This last week however was one of my favorite events and after having a bad week (I read this post about a million times!) it was exactly what I needed. AND it would be pretty easy to replicate at your school if you wanted to!
Every year my school hosts the Love Bug Ball, a Valentine's dance for the students in the special education program. It started with just one or two teachers setting up a dance in their classroom for 4-6 students. They eventually reserved the commons area of the school and invited the special education programs from the local schools. A few years ago Student Council offered to do the set up and I am so thankful they did because it meant I got to help out!
Student Council students were out of class for 5 of their 7 classes Friday but it was time well spent. During 1st and 2nd hour we set up the room. With decorated tables, a photo booth, a DJ table, and a snack area, it definitely looked like any other high school dance I'd been to. A couple of students volunteered to be the photographers and write down the names of students and which school they attended so we could send their photos over. We had a playlist created on Spotify and borrowed some speakers from another teacher to set the mood. A few of the students parked themselves next to the snack table to keep it clean and the water/lemonade stocked. Each of the StuCo students were dressed up for the dance and at 9:15 just as 2nd hour was ending, we saw other dressed up students coming down the hallway! For the next two hours we all danced together! I loved seeing Student Council, Best Buddies, and 100+ students from local schools all dancing together.
After songs from Frozen, Annie, Michael Jackson, and more, the dance was over. We cleaned up and went back to class for 6th and 7th hours but I couldn't stop thinking about how great my morning was.
If you are wanting to do something like this at your school, first of all, I highly recommend it! The cost was minimal, mainly because we had so many re-useable decorations. Your first year may cost a bit more but if it's something you know you want to do next year, consider going through Valentine's Day clearance this week. We also partnered with Best Buddies who bought some of the snacks for the dance. We bought plastic table cloths, lemonade, balloons, and some more decorations for the photo center. Basically, do it. I am so thankful that I was included in helping with this event. It is definitely what I needed. It will easily become your favorite event of the year and who doesn't need something amazing like this to look forward to in February!?