Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Grinchy Christmas and Padlet

So we are all a little busy around here... but I have done a bunch of work with the Grinch.  Instead of using Google Docs I have uploaded everything to a Padlet Site.  It is a free site that is awesome for teachers to use for themselves or for their classrooms.  So please enjoy the items I have made and I'll get back to blogging after the first of the year!

Padlet Site:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

STEM Day Hurricane Houses & Keep it or Junk It

So last year our school decided instead of using our 2 hour early release days as just an abbreviated day, we would take them and turn the whole day into a S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) day.  So each month we have 1 day that we do STEM all day.  The kids have so much fun, and so do I.

This month we have been studying weather, and as we wrap us this chapter we are have been talking about severe weather.  Over the last few days we have been talking about hurricanes and the devastation that they can cause.  Well, I was lucky enough to have a friend send me some ideas that she was using for her class STEM days... thus Hurricane Houses were born!  I can't wait to work on these with the kids.

The first thing I did was do a quick Google search and was lucky enough to find a great video on  Have used this resource yet?  I LOVE it.  There are so many great things there.  The videos are great.  Some are quick, and some take a while, but there are plenty that are quick and painless and lend themselves to so many great ideas.  One of the ideas I used over the last couple of weeks has been called Keep it or Junk it.  It is a really fun reading strategy that we put into use in our Science class.  I really suggest watching this video and trying it out in your class! Plus I found a really cool PDF of the rules/procedures for Keep it or Junk it that you could project and go step by step with over at Mrs. White's 5th Grade Class.  Check it out! Totally Cute!  I think the best part about it is that the lesson really is student centered.  When I did it in my class I ran a bit more of it since it was only our first attempt, but I let them know that they were going to be running it more often than not.

Anchor Chart for Keep it or Junk it

So the other thing I found was a great video that had a teacher making Hurricane Houses.  She went through step by step how she made the houses and how she tested them.  You can find that video here.

After I watched the video I decided to make a PowerPoint to help guide my kiddos through the building process as well as an accountability sheet.  I also found several things online with the American Red Cross that talked about being prepared for a hurricane. 

Here is our plan for tomorrow:

1.  We are going to go through the PowerPoint.
2. Watch the BrainPop on Hurricanes or if you don't have a subscription you can watch something similar on National Geographic for free.
3.  Then each group will get a bag of supplies. The bag includes 2 sheets of construction paper, 5 straws, a Styrofoam base, a glue stick, and 60 centimeters of tape.
4.  They will will plan individually, and then use the accountability sheet to do the final planning and drawing.
5.  Then they will build their houses in groups.
6.  Finally we will take them outside and I will use the leaf blower to test them.

So Below you can find some more freebies.  Feel free to use my ppt and accountability sheet in your classroom!  Let me know how it goes or if you have any questions.  I will post pictures when we finish our projects!
PowerPoint to go along with STEM project

Accountability Sheet

Have fun!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Data, Decimals, and a Dash of Delish!

It has been a long 2 weeks.  I said to my Mom on the phone the other day that I can't keep up with my own life.  Between school, home, and trying to create things for TpT and my class I can't keep anything straight.  I know it will slow down soon... hope it's soon :)

Anyway, we have been working on a couple things these last few weeks.  The first thing is decimals.  The CCSS and our NGSSS have us both working to recognize, round, compare, add, and subtract decimals.  My kiddos had a good base when they came to me, so we just reviewed place value.  However, when we started to talk about word form and expanded form that was another story.  I saw a cool idea on Pinterest the other day that showed a place value mat that was put into a plastic page protector.  Loved the idea!  So I whipped one up real quick, grabbed some page protectors and started using them.  The kids really were digging using them.  Plus they said they wiped off so easily.  When I was teaching in 4th grade we also used this unit that my assistant principal shared.  It was great practice, plus it had a fun game that I printed and made. I also worked with my kids as I used this PowerPoint to help talk to them about the value of decimals and how to compare them.  Overall, it went well and we are going forward with adding and subtracting decimals next week. 


Click Here for Place Value Mat

So beyond decimals we have been diving into our Leadership Notebooks hard core.  They are an intricate part of our Leader in Me philosophy. Our students have created their own mission statements, set personal and academic goals for themselves, and have been keeping data on themselves.  I have put together several items that have helped them with this.  The first thing we did was brainstorm a list of ideas, words, and thoughts for their mission statement.  A web worked well for us, but another graphic organizer can work too.  Then I just simply had them write a rough draft and I made time during the first week or so of school to look over it with them.  I gave them a piece of paper that I had typed My Mission Statement on the top in cute letters and then provided lines for them to write.They did have a little practice before hand when we wrote our class mission statement.  Plus mine is displayed on my desk.  You can see that here.

Class Mission Statement
So once we  did our mission statements we started concentrating on our goals.  A lot of the academic goals come from our grade level indicators and their baseline testing at the beginning of the year.  The personal goal is exactly that.  I have kids that want to be able to do a front tuck, barrel race, be a better baseball player, you name it they want to do it.  So once we figure out the goal my next question is how are you going to help yourself accomplish this?  That is the part that takes more thought :)  I give them time to think about it, and then we come back together and look over the goals and put them into their notebook.  I thought I would let you see some of the forms I use.  They aren't anything fancy, just a way to help the kids stay organized.  Beyond those two things I just made forms for them to write down their test scores that they take at the beginning, middle and end of the year so that they can see how they are doing.  I also have a set of sheets that they track their weekly reading tests on and write about the struggles or strengths, and a math sheet where they track their chapter tests and vocab tests.  Those are more individualized to what I'm doing, but I would be more than happy to share those too.  

Goal Sheet
Mission Statement Sheet


Ok... so the Delish part is this yummy fall treat!  It's nothing fancy but my kiddo and I love it!  So have you ever mixed candy corn, M&Ms, and salted dry roasted peanuts? OMG it is so good!  Plus I have an adorable dish that I picked up from Kohls a couple of years ago.  The best part is that I can see how much my son has enjoyed the M&Ms, my husband has munched on the peanuts, and that leaves me with a whole lot of candy corn.. oh well time to add more goodies to the BOO bowl and call it a night!