Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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Friday, March 2, 2018

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Mystery Science Rocks

Have you heard of Mystery Science? It's an awesome website that provides teachers with ready-made, online, complete science lessons that fit easily into any classroom. There are STEM lessons and activities in all areas of science including force and motion, weather, plants and animals, properties and matter, body and the brain, and sooooo much more! My kiddos LOVE Mystery Science! The smartboard lessons hold their interest and the enrichment activities that are included with each lesson are so much fun my students don't realize how much they are learning.

Recentely my kiddos did a Mystery Science lesson on speed and energy. The title of the lesson was, "How can a car run without gas?" The enrichment activity called for the students to create rubber band racers using plastic cups, plastic lids, rubber bands, beads, and straws. We chose to create a different type of vehicle after our lesson so we will be creating our rubber band racers when we get back from Christmas break.

Following the smartboard lesson my students each designed and created a car that used balloons and air power as the energy source. We got the Design and Play STEAM Car Kits from Lakeshore Learning. They were part of a DonorsChoose.com project that I had written at the beginning of the year and the students were excited to get into the kits and begin designing their racers. They had a great time during the creation process and racing one another with their vehicles. It was awesome to watch them race their classmates then redesign their racers when they didn't work. The activity reinforced what they learned about energy  as well as promoted creative thinking and team building. In the end my kiddos were more concerned with helping their classmates be successful then they were about winning the races.

If you are looking for a great way to incorporate science into your classroom I strongly encourage you to check out Mystery Science. I guarantee you and your kiddos won't be disappointed.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Friday Letters Home-My Favorite Classroom Activity

If you are like me you are an avid Pinterest surfer. This summer I found a pin on Friday Letters Home and was completely intrigued by the concept. Students write a weekly letter home to their parents and the parents respond to their child on the back. At the end of the year the letters are bound, made into a book, and sent home with the kiddos giving them a super cute keepsake. The activity is designed to reinforce writing concepts with students while getting their parents actively involved in their child's education.

Implementing this activity in your classroom is super simple.Download the free forms from this website, glue the coversheet to a folder with brads, run off double sided copies of the papers, and begin writing letters.

This activity has been a HUGE success in my classroom. I love it, the kiddos love it, and the parents love it. The kiddos love the activity because they get to give their parents homework on the weekends! They also get a wonderful letter to read from their parents that lets them know how much they are valued and how proud their parents are of them. The parents love it because they get a peek into what their child has done in school the previous week. I love it because the children get to practice their writing skills. We also get to review what we have done in school during the week, and I have a running record that shows the children's skills progression during the year.

The letters reinforce sentence structure, the proper use of capital letters, subject-verb agreement, and punctuation. This week we worked on adjectives so the students will have to add colorful adjectives to their parent letters to make them more interesting to read-taking what we learned in class and applying it in a practical way.

If you decide to try this idea in your classroom and are looking for stationary to use I created a file that you can download here. The file is filled with all the writing paper you will need for the entire year. Border themes include: fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, winter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, spring, and much more.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Flashlight Friday

I love finding new ways to get my kiddos reading. On one of my recent visits to Pinterest I found an anchor chart listing the rules and procedures for "Flashlight Friday" and I knew I had to try it with my students. I was super excited to add this new reading activity into our daily reading block.

The activity was really easy to do and required very little preparation. I sent home a note on Thursday asking parents to send a flashlight to school with their kiddo on Friday. During our reading block, I lead my group of giggling third graders to a dark and spooky storage closet, turned off the lights, and instructed them to turn on their lights and read. They each came to the closet with their personal carpet square and either a chapter book or several picture books so they wouldn't run out of reading materials. As you can guess they really enjoyed this activity! Even one of my most reluctant readers participated and said he loved reading this way.

The activity is super simple and you can adjust it to suit your own unique students. Just supply each of your kiddos with a flashlight, or have them bring their own from home like I did, take them to a dark spot, preferably one they haven't been to before, and let the fun begin. During our reading adventure I had the expectation that my kiddos would stay on their rug square and read quietly and they didn't disappoint me. If you passed the closet you wouldn't have known that it contained 15 eager readers!

They can't wait to do this fun, highly engaging activity again next Friday. I plan on putting it into our reading block rotation at least every other week. I also plan to have a special creepy holiday edition of "Flashlight Friday" where I will read stories out of the book, "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" to my kiddos. Don't tell them but I have a few scary and fun surprises in store for them that day! Bwahaha!

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Summer of CKLA

It's not even the end of May and I am already getting ready for my new class in the fall. Last year was a learning year for the teachers in my district because of adopting CKLA as the reading curriculum. Implementing the new curriculum wasn't easy, there are so many things to like and dislike about this program, but my fellow teachers and I got through it. This year is going to be sooo much easier and I am looking forward to using the materials that I have created to supplement the program.

The first Core Knowledge Language Arts unit for third grade doesn't have a spelling component so I created one using the review words from the lessons. There are two lists for each week, one has 10 words and the other has 20 words. The daily worksheets can be done either in the classroom as a group or can be used for homework.

I hope you and your students find this unit helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions drop me a email.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kite Building Fun and Flight

It is so hard for me to believe that summer is here, the year went by so quickly for me. I've taken so many pictures this year but haven't had the time to post them so here we go.

My class was lucky enough to participate in a local STEM program that provided materials so each of the students would learn about flight, aeronautics, and how to build their own kites. They had the absolute BEST time creating their kites and even more fun when they took them outside and flew them! The best moment for me was when one of my students said, "This is the first time I have ever flown a kite and what makes it the best day ever is that I made the kite myself!" What a huge win for him and an enormous win for me!

The last picture shows one of my kiddo's who moved to the United States from a South American country. Her father was killed while she walked along side of him. There is a beam of light shining down on her in this picture. That beam of light only appears in the pictures with her in them. She and the other students in class believe it is her father letting her know he is watching over her. I hope they are right.