The Science School Yard: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One For Me...




















Boy, I have never reflected as much as I have than this year. I found this linky party that really made me think about...good ol' 2013. I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics, which has been very inspirational. At 44, I am at a time in my life where you do start reflecting a lot. 2013 had me graduation our oldest, no travels, no real highlights. I worked on a Farm to School Grant that I am proud of...it helped so many families and connected me to my new school.

My parents moved out of our home town and with their "new" life they have not contacted our family in over 7 months. I am sure people don't understand, but it is nothing new. Blogging has helped me connect where I sometimes feel alone.  But it is what it is. I am starting to develop a relationship with my sister which has been so nice. Lose one...gain one.

 Switching schools this year...I reflect on how hard it is to connect with a new staff when everyone is so stressed out and working so hard to help our kiddos that struggle. 79% free and reduced... our teachers work so hard, with more on our platter then ever before and plc's, i/e blocks, school improvement. It is often lonely when you are a "specialist". That feeling is new to me, but it is... what it is.  It is nice to feel like you can connect with total strangers that teach what you teach and they can relate to you. Bloggers rock!

Our oldest child is now in college and so this year, sending off one of my best friends, yes, mom and friend, was so hard. I miss her and know she is doing well, but I hope I did a good job preparing her for "adult"hood. I sometimes see me in her and worry that she needs to find joy in her life and be positive.

That my friends is my One for Me. I want to make adult connections and not feel so lonely. Sounds funny maybe, but I put everything into my children, now that they are all getting older, 17, 14, 11, besides almost 19. I want to find joy in the small things, and also be more positive.

My word for 2014 then is ...relationships. I want to make sure that not only do I connect with adults, but I want my little kiddos at school to know that I am there for them, too. Relationships with colleagues would be great, and even finding time for a bit of husband and wife time, too. This February is 20 years. WOW! I have a little niece and another little niece or nephew on the way. I want to develop a relationship with them, one that my own kids didn't have with other aunts and uncles.

Thank you bloggers for making me think about goal setting and knowing that I am not alone. We all have our little baggage. Thanks for letting me share! Happy New Year!






Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolution

I found a fun link. Makes me think of whether or not I can follow through on that resolution stuff...we shall see???!!!?? So, I am linking up with A Peach for the Teach to share my resolutions. Check out my thoughts for 2014.
Time will tell. I can't wait to hear about your resolutions, too! Happy New Year bloggers:)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Winter Olympics

The Sochi Winter Olympics start on Friday, February 7th. My oldest child will be 19 on that day. I know right...you're way to young to have a child that old.  While I had a bit of time to think about future plans I thought it would be fun to create some stations for my students as we finish up the 2nd quarter of school.
         Winter Olympics Science Stations
Happy Winter!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Questionnaire Party



It sure is nice to link up with others and get to know the blogs that I love to check out each week, as well as check out some new bloggers. Thanks for sharing a little bit about yourselves! So... here it goes...

Hot Chocolate or Eggnog? 
I LOVE hot chocolate. We live in Wisconsin, where it is cold and snowy. Let's just say it has snowed a little each day for I think weeks. It makes you feel all warm inside. We have a little station in our kitchen right now with caramel and vanilla syrup, peppermint sticks, a container of marshmallows. Yum! Forget eggnog, this year we bought Snickerdoodle Holiday Milk. Yum!

Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them underneath the tree? 
When I was little presents were always wrapped. Now, for my own four kids Santa always leaves their gifts wrapped in their own wrapping paper and a guide so they know who's is who's. 

Colored lights or white? 
White! I love how it makes me feel when just the holiday lights are on. It makes me feel all warm inside.

When do you decorate? 
This year was different. Our oldest is in college and so we waited until she was back to decorate. So, this year, December 13th. I put up the snowman collection though. 
Real or Fake Tree? 
I am allergic to the real ones and so is our dog. So for years, I  suffered through it and we cut our tree as a family as a tradition. Now, I am so lucky, I have a tree with the lights on already. I take it out of the box, it folds out, and the lights are already on. Tada. 

What Tops Your Tree?
We have an angel that we got as a gift. 

Favorite Christmas Memories or Traditions?
We have a Christmas baby...yes the 25th. So, we have a day of traditions that make her feel special about being our best Christmas gift ever. Each year, we open "santa's" gifts in the morning. Then we have Birthday Brunch. We follow that with Christmas Birthday Bingo with tons of gift cards and goofy gifts that we work as a white elephant game. We wrap up the evening with the pickle present. A German tradition that is a bit different in our house. We hide the pickle ornament and all four kids are brought it to find it. The first one  to find it gets a family gift. They hide it and then the others try until all four gifts are picked. It is pretty funny to see them all try to find the pickle. Last year, our son jumped into the tree to get the pickle from his sister. 

Do you remember your favorite gift as a child?
Who remembers the Cher doll. I loved her. The bionic woman came in at a close second. Does this date me???? I wish I had them yet. They would be antiques. 

Do prefer giving or receiving? 
My grandpa died right before Christmas. I lived with my grandma for years. After that, Christmas just wasn't the same. It is hard for me to receive gifts. I don't want anyone to spend money on me. Silly, I guess.  I would rather make others happy and see them excited. However, I just became the house that everyone comes to so I hope I "get" some help cooking next week. 
What is your favorite Christmas song? 
Baby It's Cold Outside. Did anyone see SNL's version this weekend. HAHAHA

Candy Canes. Yuck or Yum? 
I don't really love hard candy, but I like candy kisses with candy canes in them. Not totally feeling like it is a yum. We always laugh when the kids would suck the end down to make it a weapon though. 

Favorite Christmas Movie? 
We watch The Christmas Story every year. This year, our son is getting a gun for Christmas. I hope he doesn't poke his eye out. We are having him get clues based on the movie to see if he will guess what he is getting. Chinese anyone?

Do you shop online or at stores?
BOTH. But I sure would love to shop online for everything. I hate the crowds. We bought some gifts at stores earlier this season and guess who can't find those bags. Yikes.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gingerbread Science

The gingerbread man has made many sightings here at our school. Our kindergartners have made traps to catch him...they are very creative with their building.

However, as the kiddos started to get older and wiser about their design... check out the around the corner so he can't see us design by a second grade team...it works!
Our second graders are learning about solids and liquids so I made some FOSS connection sheets for them to tie in the gingerbread man to FOSS.  



I also connected our 3rd grade FOSS to gingerbread by having our kiddos work with our gingerbread and what would happen to him if the fox had gotten him wet.
Gingerbread Science: Water

Run, Run, as fast as you can...you can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man:)



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sneak Peek

Thanks for stopping by! Five more days and then VACATION! Yea! Not ready yet though...are you? Linking up again with my Wisconsin blogger, Mrs. Laffin's Laughing. Here is a sneak peek at my week and then check out my other posts to show what I will do at the end of the week with my holiday stations:) 
Here is my week in review, this is what my kiddos worked on this week. My day one, or what normal people call Monday's start on Tuesdays right now. Sooooo, I don't get my planning time until Monday. This week however, I had a conference, let's just say I lost all my prep time and learned Nada. I hate that. 



Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Acts Of Kindness For Sandy Hook



As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School.  We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children.  We honor their memory with our service.  Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook.

All during this week, please promote the RAK on social media.  
Use the hashtag:  #love4SH.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Santa's Workshop In Science Class

Next week, is obviously a busy week before we are on vacation! HOOT! HOOT! So, why not take a little break from the FOSS lessons or kits to use the concepts in a holiday way!


Our Kinders, firsties, and 2nd graders are going to be using a great freebie from Smart Chick that has the students building a gingerbread man trap. Great for STEM engineering activities. I will be reading this great version 
In third grade next week, I will be working on an extension of the FOSS water unit by seeing what would happen if gingerbread got wet. I am using the idea I got from Amy Lowe that will help extend what they are doing. I will also be adding a liquid activity that combines their slope activity. I have included it for you... My fourth graders will be working on gifts that santa will bring that goes with bones...

While my fifth graders are working on the stations I created for mixtures and solutions... Christmas Holiday Science Stations

Christmas Holiday Science Stations
Here are some pointers, pictures, and tips to make this station activity work perfect. First, with the chromatograhy... you can use vis-a-vis markers, that's what I use, that seems to work really well. They do the best in separating out.You can also test other markers to see if they would work, too. Check it out:


I then set up buckets for each station...
Reindeer QR code research

Chromatagraphy lights

Santa's Sleigh

Cups for each group to test for Mrs. Claus' Mix Up


Stations are ready to go! Each group has 3 cups ready with prepared powers.

Enjoy your holiday fun!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Pre-New Years Resolution

Okay, so I am not the type of person to have resolutions, but two of my coworkers have been doing zumba so I thought, why not. I hate exercising and all, but connecting with coworkers was my goal this year because everyone is sooooo busy and streeeesssssed out. We started talking as we were warming up and could still breath, and one of my friends brought up our biometric screening that we have to sign up for again after last year's big push to lower our health care costs. They gave us incentive. With that test, my husband was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and since than my hubby has lost over 40 pounds.

Now onto my resolution...I am suppose to also improve in some way???!!! Yikes. That means lose some weight, lower my blood pressure...okay, so now you can see my dilemma.  It is the holiday season. Food is the theme. Resolution time... I will drink more water... I will continue zumba with my friends...I will do one workout on my own per week... and I will (try) refrain from eating in excess. I will also (try) avoid Mountain Dew. That might help me with my goal of losing 5 pounds. Wish me luck. Here is the zumba video that I have been using:)
Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Freebie Friday, on Sunday!

I love linking up with other bloggers. Today, I was blog hopping and found this great blog with some fun freebies. There are some great freebies so stop on by Teacher Blog Addict to check it out. This site also does a great job with video tutorials. I put a facebook link on my site with her steps. I just have to fine tune it. Here is my Friday Freebie: Pet Rocks, Rock!

Human Body Centers

I have been contemplated an idea that I saw on the Science Penguin. Ari teaches science to her kiddos in Texas. Something that she does is set up centers or stations for her students and then as they are working she is able to meet with her struggling students in a direct instruction group. So.... I am trying this next week. I am going to be setting up stations for the students in 4th grade that are working with bones and the human body. I will use the "bones" of the lesson from the FOSS kit, but then have stations to learn the bones, using this sheet from Crayola.
Human Skeleton coloring page


http://www.crayola.com/free-coloring-pages/print/human-skeleton-coloring-page/. I am also using this Cloze activity for them to fill in as they work on learning the bones from boggle.  bogglesworldesl.com/files6/skeletalsystem_cloze.doc‎ 

I also created a scavenger hunt I will be placing around the room as the fourth graders go from picture to picture trying to recall the names of the bones. They use a smart device to check their answers after they studied the bone sheet from the FOSS pack. Check it out...
Skeletal System "Bone" afide Review QR Code Style

No bones about it...it was a busy week. My planning day for next week is on Monday, stay tuned for some FOSS FUN!





Sneak Peek

Have you ventured over to Mrs. Laffin's Laughin' ? She does a fun linky party to take a look at everyone's week. 
I have been busy planning for next week, now that my day 1 is on Tuesday. Last week, I sure was busy taking some pictures of our busy day. Take a look at how FOSS can be fun...
Kindergartners are working on things that move. We move and so do objects, but friction is when things rub together, which makes things go fast or slow. Here is their experiment...
cars and balls go fast, and blocks and rock go slow...friction
My firsties, were rock hounds once again. They separated and sifted rocks and we got this great book from a TPT seller that I am sharing with you:)  https://drive.google.com/a/wausauschools.org/?tab=mo#search/my%20rock%20book  Thanks Angela Potter!

Our second graders used solids to build towers, but not before we had them learn all about being architects, engineers, and constructions workers by using Gail Gibbons book . We then worked on a sheet that helped us plan what we wanted our tower to look like and what materials we would use. Our skyscraper needs a strong foundation!
Now, onto our third graders, we were working with surface tension. You know the one where we see how many beads of water can fit on a penny. We did that, but then we added some pizzazz. We learned about how water bugs can stand and even walk on water. We then used the crayola site I added on an earlier post, here is what they drew...
Water bugs are cool!


  Fourth graders are learning to become doctors, nurses, CNA's, by taking their first medical class. Next week, however I am working on finishing a QR code scavenger hunt for them. I can't wait to share it with you! In my last post I showed you what I did with my biggest kiddos, mixtures and solutions stations and qr code review. They loved it! Thanks for taking a peek at my week.



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mixing Up Something New

I hooked up with my blogger buddy over at Head Over Heels For Teaching with Spark Student Motivation!  Something that I did this week seemed to spark student motivation! I created stations for my fifth graders to help them foster independence, time management, and study skills!  This week flew by and was sooo busy I can't believe it. I really wanted to try some new things after break and so getting a great idea from Ari at the Science Penguin. She teaches science down there in Texas. Her kiddos are lucky, she is very creative. I was reading her blog and I saw that she does stations and then works with a group for direct instruction. Love that idea. Soooo, I tried it myself. I set up 5 stations for my kiddos using the FOSS bones. We defined mixtures and solutions with one of Ari's sheet I got from TPT, then we also did a QR code review practicing how we would separate ingredients. I had three stations that also had them working as a team to separate three different sets of ingredients one where they had to use magnetism and even review with qr codes...
















One, where they had to use a filter and flotation...













And one where they had to choose from a bucket and then separate it themselves using one of the six methods we studied: filter, evaporation, screen, chromatography, magnetism, and flotation.
 
If you want to take a look at the stations, I have them for you on my TPT Store with my Mixtures and Solutions Pack. Just trying to find ways for my older kiddos to self guide themselves. We did fist to five and they all seemed to love the lesson. Hope it helps their test scores next week...we shall see.