ABOUT ME

ABOUT ME
ABOUT ME

My Store

My Store
My Store

Free Resources

Free Resources
Free Resources

Science School Yard Year In Review

I was reading over some fun year in review articles now that 2016 is nearly over and I thought that it would be fun to look back at the Science School Yard and review this year's checklist.




My goals this year were fairly simple...set up a new classroom instead of being in the teacher's lounge...continue to add STEM and a bit of Makerspace into my science lessons, figure out how to use the Ipads that each of the 400 students that I work with will bring to me each and every hour of my school day!

Not a small task by any means, but one that I was ready to tackle. I also threw in a graduate class on Inquiry Based Science, and Positive Growth Mindset...not to mention our district's new programs such as Itslearning and Explain Everything that they want us to use. I am always up for a challenge! I think I did pretty well!

I look back at how clean and empty the room looks, but I was so excited to get my own room after spending 4 years in a small lounge that we called the science room. I might have had only a week to get it ready, but waiting for "real" science tables and chairs was worth the wait!  Now, the room looks lived in and the counter is filled with activities ready to go!

This one was the hardest at first because it was such a huge learning curve~however we have an amazing library/media specialist that worked out a plan to help us implement apps that we could use in our Encore/Specialist classrooms. We started with Explain Everything. Check out the video to see how to use it! (I made a how to video to show others how to use this great resource!)

What I am most excited about are my Digital Activities that I have been making and using in my room! I am using FOSS and going 1:1 and using all those packets and sheets were killing me. So I created packs that would help my classroom teachers and myself to go digital! Teachers can use them on the Ipads or Chrome books that we have at our school! Want to go digital? Check these out!


I even started making packs that I could use along with my FOSS packs so that I could have my students use their Ipads instead of all of the paper worksheets! The students love them and it is a great way to assess what they know! I have even started using Itslearning to add quizzes, tests, and tickets out the door that are automatically graded and put in a gradebook for me. This is our district's new way of housing all of our plans, tests, sites that we use, but in the end if I have to use it next year I might as well start figuring it out now.

My students LOVE STEM. I use this opportunity in all of my FOSS kits to add some hands on learning opportunities as well as team building! We created pipelines during our first two weeks of our water unit to get the BIG picture as to why we need to study and learn about how important water is!

We even found a way to learn about water and buoyancy by building a boat for the gingerbread man!
 Wanting more STEM for the New Year... I have got you covered! There are so many great ways to add STEM into your school day by integrating them with a great picture book...nursery rhyme...or science fun! Find it here in the Science School Yard!
3

STEM Holiday Connections

Find the ELF Pack HERE!
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to find a way for all of the 400+ students K-5th grade be able to connect a fun seasonal book to a STEM activity.

Up until this point, we have been able to do some quick Halloween STEM activities, and a few NGSS STEM connections in a few of the classes, however using the FOSS road map that our district has developed is what often drives my theme or lessons. Lucky enough, I have been able to find ways to join some of those lessons together as well as integrate activities using our Ipads...so it allows me some flexibility to add NGSS...STEM...and extra activities that I create that go with our theme.



Find the GINGERBREAD STEM pack HERE!
Here are some tips to integrate any of the fun STEM packs that I have in my TPT store!

Tip 1: Pick a theme

This week's lessons  look like this...

K-weather connections using Three Cheers for Tacky, building a structure for the Penguin to keep him warm using toothpicks and marshmallows and a fun penguin pattern...they sure are Tacky!
1st Grade- How to Catch an Elf...we are learning about size and property words.
2nd Grade-FOSS Solids and Liquids and the Gingerbread Man
3rd Grade-FOSS Water...make a boat to float on water to keep the Gingerbread Man from having to rely on the fox to get across the river
4th Grade-FOSS Human Body and Elf on a Shelf... Mr. Bones style and Elf Traps
5th Grade-FOSS Mixtures and Solutions and Mr. and Mrs. Clause and separating mixtures

 Tip 2: Pick a Picture Book

With the opportunities to integrate some STEM lessons, I always try to find a fun picture book that will help set the tone. Here are some of the books I am using this week.

Tip 3: Find ways to integrate what you are already doing in your classroom...Look at the standards and find a way to incorporate them into a hands-on STEM project! I also challenged my older kiddos to finish something that was in our road map before they could work on a STEM project, and you should see how fast they start to work to get to be able to build!

Looking for some winter or New Year STEM or some Christmas alternatives? Check it out at my TPT STORE. Follow the link HERE.

Hang in there...just a few more days for those of us that have to teach right up until break! Happy Holidays!

1

How To Catch An Elf and Elf-tacular Giveaway!

It's that time of year...time for laughter time for cheer! Just this Saturday, I had to read at Barnes and Noble for a fund raiser for our school. As I picked several books to read to the little kiddos that were hanging out in the children's section of the book store, I grabbed one that I thought could inspire me to add it to my right before break STEM activity.

You can see where this is going...Time to trap an elf! As I read the story to the kids surrounding me...I was already formulating my own plan to trap some elf trap makers right before the holidays!
Using everyday items such as cardboard boxes, cups, foil...your learners can try to catch an elf, too!
Here are some of my littles and their creations! This activity is good for all ages! Right before the holidays...it is always great to find a way to channel their excitement!
Catch Your Own Elf Pack HERE!

Another way to add a little excitement into your life, join our ELF-TACULAR GIVEAWAY!


 My friend, Nikki, over at Teaching Autism has organized a fun little hop for you to participate in!

Hop on over to each and every blog post within the loop. Gather a new letter at each site. Follow the rafflecopter to enter to win a great TPT Gift Certificate just in time for the holidays! Here is my letter to add to the others...

Now, it's time to click on the picture below to head to the next blog, Scissors and Crayons for another
letter! Thanks for joining me...and good luck!
  

a Rafflecopter giveaway



0

Science Rock and Roll

It was that time of year...time to finish our FOSS Earth Materials Stations...Moh's Hardness scale... Calcite Quest...Properties of a Rock...It isn't always the most exciting and at times it loses the kids. The kit can be loooonnnnggggg.

I know I am not alone. We all have units that make it hard for us to keep the kiddos attention. Units that we have to follow because of district initiatives. We follow the plans...we try to add a fun twist...we think "how can we shake it up a bit?"

To finish up on the Rock Cycle lessons that I added, I also mixed it up with a little "ROCK" and roll. QR codes are a great way to get kids actively engaged in concepts such as vocabulary, studying for a test, and reviewing concepts.

Sometimes my students scoot around the room....sometimes they have the cards at a station...other times like this we make it a competition.

Here is how it works...
1, Playing some rock instrumental music sets the mood. I just have it playing in the background lightly.
2. I share with the group that they are going to be rock stars today. Each time they pick a new card, that lead rocker will read the question, working as rock stars to try to figure out the answer.
Displaying image.jpeg
Rock Cycle Questions and Record Sheet...my students ROCKED IT!
In a group of 3-4 they take turns reading, having everyone record, checking the qr code for the correct answer, changing it if they are wrong,  and passing it to the number 2, then 3 rocker.... Each leader must also make sure that the same process is followed each time. Read, record, check, correct, pass to next rock star!


3. When each box is filled in with the correct answer, the band of rock stars must come up to me and show me that they rocked it out together. If they are all finished...first...I give them rock candy and a polished rock.
Displaying image.jpeg
The Rock Stars LOVED the candy rocks! 
4. We finish up by reviewing the Big Ideas of our FOSS unit and I continue to find other students that are "rockin' it" with sharing what they know about the scratch test...vinegar test, the difference between a rock and a mineral...

Here is a link to your own Rock Star Rock Cycle Review Freebie!
Rock On My Friends...we all can be rock star teachers and get our students to be excited about what we are teaching! Sometimes it's nice to get a little help from your back up band (with a freebie!)
1

TPT Wish List Linky and $100 Give Away!

Since Teachers Pay Teachers LOVES the teaching community so much, they are throwing a Cyber Monday, November 28th through Tuesday, Tuesday, December 29th. This starts tomorrow so get your shopping lists ready! I am linking up with Daisy Designs to help you with your list and share some items that buyers have loved in my own TPT Store: The Science School Yard!
 With over 155 Science Products to choose from...here are three of my favorites that I want to share with you...
 This pack includes four stations with very simple supply lists. Packaging Presents requires some typing paper, tape, scissors and packaging peanuts for filling...

Gumdrop Chimneys need toothpicks, gumdrops, measuring tape, and a Santa to see if he will fit...

Santa' Treat Table needs newspaper, tape, scissors, a plate picture that is provided and a school carton of milk for weight (you can always use a glass of water...)

The Mystery Bag Toy (so love this one especially when we do the gift exchange) needs items you collect such as toilet paper rolls, yarn, buttons, colored paper, or cheap items you can  get from the Dollar Store such as pom poms and pipe cleaners.

This pack is great for all ages and after using these ideas for two years, I love the excitement my students have when they are creating!


 For those of us that are implementing NGSS into our classrooms, but don't have any curriculum that was given to us...this pack has been a great way to teach animal adaptations. My store has a variety of NGSS inspired products that help make this a bit easier for you!
As a Science Teacher that has to teach K5 and over 400 kiddos...I was always trying to find one way to build STEM activities into our existing FOSS curriculum. I also wanted to try to figure out a way to reward hard work and I know that STEM is always a success! Not only can I teach positive growth mindset, but we can teach the engineering process, team building, and presentation skills! These 32 activities allow me the flexibility to use one or more ideas for one or more grade levels! With the 28% discount this $21 product is now quite a reduced cost compared to other STEM packs with fewer activities!
video

These items not what you are looking for right now? Take a look at the STEM video and some other great STEM packs to get you through the winter!

I have also partnered up with TPT and several other amazing Teacher Authors to help you win something really amazing... Jump on over to my Instagram Page for your chance to  win a $100.00 TPT Gift Card for the BIG SALE!

1

Turkey Time STEM

This next week, we have two days before we see a little break for Thanksgiving.The teachers are in their classrooms  writing about what they are thankful for and getting in their last minute tests so that the students don't lose the information while they are on a bit of a holiday.

What a perfect time for STEM! STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math. What is so great about STEM activities is that you can tie in a great picture book along with a hands on problem solving situation. These activities don't have to be complicated, time consuming, or expensive.

Image result for run turkey runTake for example the book, Run Turkey, Run. Have the students use bo ops and Jenga, with a little art to make the scenery or setting of the story and you have a great hands-on way to teach a reading strategy. I use Jenga blocks and gift boxes along with a bit of tape and you are set to go!

Time for CranberriesImage result for a turkey for thanksgivingWith my littles, all they need is a book like A Turkey For Thanksgiving and some math manipulative that you already have in your classroom such as 10's and 100 blocks, Unifix cubes, Legos, or even Jenga blocks again and you have a simple STEM idea in the works by having them make a hideout for the Turkey so he isn't eaten on Thanksgiving.

1. Pick a fun Turkey Trouble story where poor turkey might be dinner...
2. Set out materials for them to get or have them ready at the tables...
3. Let them build their own little turkey hide out to help the turkey not be dinner!
4. Place the paper turkey inside the hideout and then...
5. Let the kids share their ideas and reflect with their sheets.

A little writing...a little reading...a little science and engineering! If you like this freebie...take a look at my STEM stations on TPT.

Download your freebie station HERE.

If it's turkeys that you have had enough of, here in Wisconsin we are never short of some fresh cranberries! This fun new book shares with students how cranberries are harvested from bog to berries on your table.

Grab a bag of fresh berries and boxes of toothpicks at the dollar store and you have an interactive way to tie in math structures and shapes. You could also taste test different cranberry products and vote on your favorites. You can also show your students why cranberries float...they have pockets of hollow space just like pumpkins! From craisins to cranberry juice this graphing activity can help you find ways to make learning right before a break fun for everyone! Follow the link for some  Here is the Teacher Pay Teacher link: Cranberry Fun!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May you all find something to be thankful for! I am thankful for all of you!
0

Marvelous Magnets...FOSS...NGSS... and More!

We just finished up our FOSS Magnet portion of the kit that we need to cover in fourth grade each year. I love the activities and supplies that FOSS offers, but at times the fun of magnets is lost in the FOSS lessons. Our science standards that we are using in our city are based on 1991 standards from our state. This seems a bit outdated even though many of these concepts are seen in the new NGSS standards. Because our state has not adopted these new standards I like to take what we already have to do and integrate the new NGSS standards where ever I can.

The great thing about magnets also is that the 3rd grade NGSS science standards of Forces and Interactions fit perfectly within the FOSS Magnet unit. 3-PS2-3 has students: ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other. So for example you could have students take two permanent magnets and see the relationship between steel paperclips with one magnet vs. the relationship between two magnets and those same steel paperclips. FOSS gives you the magnets, but how you use them to cover other standards is the key.

You can also use the FOSS lesson of the farther apart magnets are the weaker the force...by testing and using the NGSS standards to prove the cause and effect relationships and how they culd show that the distance between objects affects strength of the force and how they orientation of  magnets affects the direction of the magnetic force.

Using what they know about magnets can help you figure out how to take the curriculum that you have and how you can add the NGSS standards to existing lessons. Here is what I did...

As I focused on creating extensions of our magnet unit, I focused on 3-P S2-4. I created one of the activities that students can create a simple game design that can solve a problem as they apply scientific ideas about magnets. Maybe they could make a game that uses a latch to keep something shut or create a game that can keep two moving objects from touching each other... this then takes once again the FOSS Magnet section and extends it with activities that tie in NGSS standards.

There is only one real way to teach them effectively with whatever standards you are working with...hands-on. Loving the magnets of FOSS, but not loving the lack of fun interactive activities...I made my own! When the students were done exploring the different lessons I had to do... such as permanent magnet interactions with a bag of objects to discovering the forces of attraction and repulsion there is so much more you can do with these concepts they could work on stations that were set up around the room.

What I loved to see was how they worked hard to make sure that their FOSS sheets were done (requirement before they got to pick a station in the room...) You might also see in some of my activities that we did...we used the idea that FOSS had, but made it more kid friendly and connected it with their lives. This connections help them understand the WHY of why they are learning about magnets! Check out the activities and stations that were set out for my students to choose from!




0

Ten Apples Up On Top STEM and More!

This year has been a bit of a challenge with our classes of kindergarten that come into science this year. Roughly 1/3 of the kiddos already have an IEP... the majority of them are late birthdays so they are just 5...and academically they are very low. That poses a challenge in science because I so want them to start working on the NGSS standards and start learning basic concepts. I have had to really pull out of my bag of tricks to find ways to use my 30 minutes I have with them each week to first of all change up what I am doing every 5-6 minutes or I am losing them to wandering...giving up...not paying attention...interrupting. (Let's just say this 25 year veteran teacher after 15 minutes with them the first few weeks of school was sweating 15 minutes into the lesson...)

I am happy to report that I am starting to figure things out with this new group of kiddos! Not only do I use their reading program Super Kids to tie in the characters of the reading program, I also find ways to have them using STEM activities to get them actively engaged. Here is what we packed into 30 minutes this week!

We started off with a short story from EPIC books called I Eat Apples In Fall written by Mary Lindeen. Great book for kinders! It works on shapes, colors, senses, property words in a very simple format!


I Eat Apples in Fall (First Step Nonfiction - Observing Fall) by [Lindeen, Mary]
We then follow it up with this great song and video based on the book Ten Apples Up On Top! I am now singing it in my head at night after listening to it for five days in a row! Kids love it...I do, too!

The kinders got up and we snapped and clapped. Then we used our fingers to show the amount of apples up on top! 

STEM time! I placed in a bucket toilet paper tubes, tongue depressors, and red pompoms in different sizes. I even added extra tubes and depressors so that if they wanted to be creative with this activity they could! I told them that we were going to make trees with 10 apples up on top! I asked them to share (by raising their hand...and waiting to be called on) what the parts of a tree were. I pulled out the TRUNK... the tube...
the BRANCHES...the depressors...
and the APPLES...the red pompoms in different sizes! 
I sent them to a table where the buckets were setting out and let them build!

When they were finished they counted the apples up on top! Engineering and Math!

When finished...I gave them about 10 minutes, we went back to the carpet for a senses activity. I showed them the different shapes of the apple by cutting the apple in half to show them the circle and star. I cut little pieces in the shape of triangles. We then talked about our five senses. 
Not eating the apple slice yet...they shared what they smelled...saw...felt...and then I got them excited about being very quiet to listen to what an apple sounds like when we bite it! We then bit it and shared what we heard and what we tasted. I love when you ask how it tastes with suggestions such as sweet and tart and  every time someone says it tastes like an APPLE! 

Time for a quick graph! Did you like the taste of the apple? 
Yes...No...Kind Of

We color and place our vote on the graph as we line up at the door. We count the apples up on top of each heading~ in 30 minutes you can really teach many different science concepts!
From senses...to graphing...
shapes...to counting....
and my favorite STEM!
Grab a freebie here! This lesson is pretty "apple"ing!


0
Powered by Blogger.