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Sunday Scoop...Hop On Over!

It was a very different Easter this year...our third daughter is in Florida with a friend...miss her! We celebrated on Saturday so that our oldest and her boyfriend could go to both families...happens when your children date and need to share time with each family...the best thing is that his family came over for dinner Saturday! Love that they are part of our little group of 6. So the Sunday Scoop is late because we just cleaned up the house after our two oldest headed back to college! Only 5 weeks and we have a college grad!

I thought I would share a little freebie with you tonight. My littles love play dough! So, I whipped this activity together for them this week! Here is the link for this cute freebie!


I am linking up with my favorite Sunday Friends...over at The Teaching Trio! Love seeing how everyone is planning their week!
I am really not one to relax, however I really need to take a break. I hope to do that with my son! We have made a little plan for the week. Each day we are doing one big thing together or for each other. He wants a friend over and then they want to go downtown...we want to take in a movie on Tuesday...it is cheap seat night....Wednesday we are going to our local museum with family friends... then we have to try to figure out what else we could do on our stay-cation! We might go to a trampoline park a few hours away, but there is snow in the forecast again. Yuck.

I am looking forward to learning how to snapchat better. My kids love it, but I really haven't done it too often. This seems to be the new thing for teachers to connect so why not give it a shot! I realize I need a better phone so I may have to do that.

Happy Easter, Everyone! Hope your Sunday was filled with family and traditions!

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Building Blocks Stations: Playing With Purpose

The week before spring break and all through the school...there's a full moon in the sky and the teachers didn't know what to do...

Our little kiddos have a look. You know what I mean. It's a crazy kind of wild eyed look they get when they need a break! I try to finish up all of my FOSS kits right before break so that I can finish the school year with the last kits I need to do, so one last week of FOSS Balance and Motion. I wanted to find a great way to tie in the concepts of rolling, spinning, and sliding and wanting to make it completely hands on! I LOVE Legos and so did my son. He is now almost 14 and the Lego box has not come out in a while. Why not pull them out and take them to school for my first graders to play with.

Did I say play? Okay...what I really meant was learn with. No...I really did mean play! I am so very fortunate to be able to use my time to integrate fun ways to tie in our concepts through toys and STEM activities! I try to find ways to play with a purpose whenever I can!

So what I did was planned 6 stations that had the students rotating once they finished the building and reflection sheet...they could move onto the next station.

What I didn't realize as my first graders started working and playing with the Legos is that on average 4-6 students per class had never played with Legos before. Legos are expensive and I teach at a school that is 82% poverty. Sometimes I forget that the opportunities that my own children had are not accessible to my students. I realized that these stations meant more than I originally thought!

Wanting to set up these fun Stations in your room? Here is the linkto my TPT store...Give these stations a try!


I will leave you with a quote by one of my favorite poets..."It is a happy talent to know how to play." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Hey Peeps...It's Time For Easter STEM

It is the week before Easter and it is time to find a simple way to add STEM Easter Stations to your science time. Here is a simple way to add science concepts...

An adaptation is a process of making changes over a long period of time for survival. This can include changes in looks and in behavior. This concept is a great way to teach students how we adapt and change and so do animals!

For my bigs...we share an adaptation book from EPIC books called Animal Adaptations by Patricia Armentrout. We make a list of how animals can look different and a list of how animals behave. After the list is created I tell them that they are going to be collecting jelly beans, but they can not touch them with their hands. They must adapt to the task by creating something that will help them collect their food in the jelly bean patch!
Love all the different ways they try to adapt to not being able to use their hands!
Our winners...so cute and so proud!

Here is another fun version of the Peep Palace!
For this activity they can only use the items I provide at the STEM Store...our supply table. I give them time to build. Then, we set up the jelly bean patch and let the first person test their adaptations. The first team to collect and place the beans in the cup yells out Jelly Beans! We then modify if we need to and then try again until everyone gets a chance to collect their food.

Jelly Bean Patch Fun! Adapting to not being able to touch the jelly beans with their hands...

The second part of our hour was spent making our peep palaces. We discussed ways that animals protect themselves by building a special home. Some are way up high in trees. So I challenged them to make a home for the Peep rabbit that would be higher than anyone else's. The shortest home would have the predator eat their Peep first, going in order until the predator was full! We just learned about food chains so this was another perfect way to incorporate that review! Finding ways for STEM to fit in your classroom is just that simple...Here is the pack that I got those two activities from! Check it out in my TPT store...four fun Easter STEM stations that can bring holiday fun and science together!


Jelly Bean Picker and Peep Palace are just two of the fun activities in this pack!

Enjoy some Great Easter STEM activities! Happy Easter!
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Sunday Scoop March 20th

It has been a few weeks since I shared my Sunday Scoop. I love checking in with the Teaching Trio and friends to see what is on everyone's platter. So...3...2...1....blast off!


It has been a busy weekend. I have been lucky enough to have my two girls home from college...so that means our family of 6 is complete for a few days. That also means loads...and when I say loads...I mean I do believe every article of clothing they own coming home to be washed.

I hope after a fun photo shoot yesterday with the girls, that I can actually get a picture with all of us for a nice picture I can have of the 6 of us!
My girls and I...One lucky mom!
I have been goal setting and trying to use my time more wisely. I have to say at first it was easy...make a list stick to it, but it has been harder when there are things at school and at home that change your ability to get work done...new phones at work so training in the morning...spring concert at school gone almost 3 hours... committee meetings this week....and I love my kids home, but I am lucky then if I can check my email and sneak in a quick facebook scroll...I am sure that I can get back on track and get some of my to do list done!!!???! Right? I am getting spring break fever...four days and counting!

My family will be home once again next weekend and with boyfriends and their families I want to make sure everyone can be together for a nice meal. That may mean we will have Easter dinner on Saturday. I have learned that it isn't the day that makes the holiday...it's the time you spend together that counts!

Enjoy your week!
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Makey Makey Magic

STEM is about all four of those amazing letters! S=science...T=technology...E=engineering...and M=math! I was able to save some of my science budget money this year to invest in MaKey MaKey Boards for our school. My wonderful librarian and I are coordinating efforts to teach our students how to use them! I was a little nervous about setting up a lesson about something based on technology with no background in this product at all. I took a kit home...played around with it with my son...and wow it was amazing how exciting it was when I played my first banana bongo!

My students in fifth grade are two weeks ahead of schedule...so I decided to bring out the Makey Makey Boards...create a lesson linked with lessons found on Scratch and the rest is magic!

Here is what I did...
1. I first showed them the Makey Makey set up video...

2. I shared with them the scientific process and made sure that they knew that it was about trying...testing...troubleshooting...and then sharing!

3. Then, I shared with them how to get to the assignment...I set up a google classroom for the students to enter and find my sheet with direct links on. This is helpful when using one computer and one Makey Makey box per table.

4. Their goal was to first, make an instrument out of what was placed on their table. This is the fun part...on each table I placed a tray with different objects. (veggies, fruits, foil, play dough, school snacks, and treats) They are all great conductors!

5. I give them a piece of aluminum foil to ground themselves to. They can make a bracelet or arm band or even a ring.

6. I then let them have at it! It only took three minutes and I heard music once they got into the google classroom sight.
7. Once they play some music...they then have to create a controller for a game! They can choose Mario Brothers, Pac Man, or Tetris. Each of these games can be found at Scratch: Explore. I then looked for music and games then reviewed them.

I found this on my hunt to teach MaKey MaKey lessons...great fun connection to use if you want to!

8. We finish our fun up with groups able to create an art project that uses graphite to draw pathways that connect to the MaKey MaKey board! Not all groups get to this task...but before we wrap up we complete the sheet and rate the lesson! On a scale of 1-5 we averaged a 5 on this one!

MaKey MaKey Freebie Sheet and Links I used...
What I learned...using new technology might be scary at first, but the kids pick up on it faster than you think. Give something new a try...you might find out that your kids will love it! And so will you!
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Simple Science Series: The Wind Blew

So many people ask me, "how can you fit in science into a very busy school day?" Well...I am here to share with you some simple ways to sneak in 20-30 minutes of science and have big impact to boot!


This is my first Simple Science Saturday Series! I am very excited to be sharing with you a quick video to show you how to add science into your school day in a simple way. All you will need is the free sheet, baggies filled with a kleenex, a cube, a feather, a spoon (metal works best), a toy car, and a straw.

The Set Up...









I start with asking my students, "What can the wind blow?" We add it to the wind anchor chart. I always share my story of how when I was five my grandma and I were walking and her wig blew off. I had to chase it like tumbleweed down the road.

STEM extensions  based on the book!
We then review what a prediction is. We sing the prediction song and then I tell that that this book is going to let them do a lot of predicting. They should look for clues on each page. They do a great job predicting. When we are finished I let them know we will predict once again when we do our experiment.

I always number the kiddos because it shows them how to take turns and that there is a process to an experiment! It keeps things orderly as well! After predicting and recording...experimenting...then recording again we complete the task.

I then show the kids the back of the book with the sailboat. I then give them the foil, paper, straw, and tape and ask them to work together to make a boat that will successfully sail across the water. I give the students just a few minutes...I use a timer because this lesson is only 30 minutes...

We then share using a box fan and a long under the bed bucket with water in it. The kids love to see if their boats will float or sink...get across the water or get stopped up. If you have more time you can create a bar graph with the results to add some math to the lesson as well!
                                         The Wind Blew Freebie



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Roller Coaster Theme Park

Time for some simple science. Here is a great way to get your little scientists to build a simple roller coaster. Here is what you need:

1. Pipe insulation tubes 3/4 size cut in half (I used a carving knife)
2. cup for the marble to land in
3. marbles (be prepared to lose some passengers
4. The book Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee
5. cut strips and colored construction paper for an art project
6. Anchor chart
7. colored roller coaster pattern (included at the end of this post)

Now, for the lesson:
1. I always start off with a question, "How many of you have ever been on a roller coaster?" They are directed to pick a ticket for the ride based on the answer yes or no I have been on a roller coaster. I let them know they are going on one right now...I then let them into my room and I "buckle" them up for the ride using ribbon attached with tape to a wall. I let them know that all hands and arms must remain in the roller coaster at all times. I collect their tickets and while they are on the ride I glue their "tickets" down on our anchor chart.
2. We discuss that some roller coasters have straight flat areas, curves, hills, and loops. Some have them all. However an engineer wants to build a roller coaster that is safe for everyone. They use the idea of motion to get them understanding it is a push and a pull, momentum has to occur, and gravity slows you down.  I then show them this video... It shows loops, curves, hills, and more!

3. Now it is time to build and test our roller coasters. I give them each a check off sheet, a cup and a marble, and one track to start with. We practice how to get the marble passenger in the cup. Not too much momentum and not too little. We try the straight track...then the curve...then the hill. Finally...
4. I give them one more track to add onto their coaster. I use masking tape to tape it together. Now it is time for the loop. We talk about safety and how engineers need to create a coaster that is safe for the passengers.
5. I give the kiddos time to work on their coasters with teams to collaborate...
6. We follow up with a share out of what we learned by showing the different types of coasters. Finally, we create an art activity that shows loops, curves, hills, and more!
I have them write: Roller Coasters Can...go straight, curve, go down a hill, and loop. The words go on each piece of paper. We also display our tickets to the ride...Yes I have been on a roller coaster...No I haven't been on a roller coaster...


Have fun with this simple science activity! Science is fun in any school yard!
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St. Patrick's Day STEM Stations

I wanted to challenge my older students to some STEM stations that would lead into our FOSS Levers and Pulleys Unit. I came up with two great ways for for 5th graders to test their engineering skills using St. Patrick's Day themes the pulley and the conveyor belt. I did the conveyor belt lesson today because I won't see these kiddos next week because they are off to our school forest.

Here is how we made magic happen...lessons and all...

First, I asked them what a conveyor belt is. They weren't really sure. So I showed them my favorite Lucille Ball skit...
The kids loved it. We followed up with what is a conveyor belt? They now were able to come up with a list that helped them make sense of what they were going to build. Pizza ovens at Dominoes, the grocery store check out, the airport flat transporter (love that one...they didn't have a name for it...it is actually called a moving walkway), and my favorite at the beer tour we took were a few of my favorites!

I then showed them several quick videos that helped them see their examples in action. I then gave them time and tools to build a conveyor belt. First...they designed...then executed. Many had to modify and adjust. Then, we finally shared! They turned out awesome! Here is a quick movie to show you our final products!
Amazing team work and collaboration!

Here is the pack if you are interested in St. Patrick's Day STEM fun! Find it at my TPT store HERE.

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Currently March...5th Yikes

It is currently March 5th and I forgot...almost that it was a new month. Yikes. I am working hard to goal set and use my time more wisely in all aspects of my life. So Currently I am teaming up with Oh Boy It's Farley to take a look at March!


Currently, I am really focusing some of my extra time to learn about the world of TPT. I love the great resources that everyone is making and sharing! There are some great videos out there to watch to learn new ideas!

This weekend...basketball is over....there is no volleyball game today (tomorrow though....) and I am enjoying some time to just sit and focus on me. It is refreshing and needed.

I am hoping for peace and harmony at school. I love my students, but sometimes adults aren't always doing things for the right reasons. I hope I can work through the negative vibes at school and find peace within my own classroom walls as I work to help all of my kiddos succeed.
My hope for the future...

I am going to the TPT conference and am set with my ticket...check! I now have a sweet roommate who I connected with from Texas...so excited to meet her...check! I now have to book a flight which I am hoping to do once I connect with another WI teacher this weekend...would be great to get on the same flight together....in progress! I am getting excited to put faces to the wonderful teachers on
blogs...IG....facebook...and TPT!

Have a great weekend...my doggie needs some lovin'! She is pawing my computer!
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Kindergarten Sun Protectors

We are learning about the weather in Kindergarten. This week, we discussed how we protect ourselves from weather.


Here in Wisconsin, we get tornadoes. We practice tornado drills. We practiced to remind ourselves why we take shelter. We talked about lightening and rain and how we protect ourselves. We then focused on the sun and the many ways we protect ourselves from getting too hot or sunburned. We read the EPIC Book...


Two major NGSS standards can be met with this activity in a simple science way!

K-PS3-1. Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface.

2. Use tools and materials to design and build a structure that will reduce the warming effect of sunlight on an area.

Here is what we did...We made sun protection for our Beanie Babies! I love their creativity! I set up the STEM Store at our supply table with the following:
*straws
*styrofoam cups and bowls (they are easy to poke a hole in)
*pipe cleaners
*milk cartons (easy to get at school)
*masking tape
*toilet paper and paper towel tubes (ask the janitor to save them for you...)
*Beanie Babies (I have small ones that McDonald's had...they work great!)
*I also put out a bucket of sand on blue paper so it looks like it is at the beach! They put their protectors in the sand then for the full effect!

STEM supplies at the STEM Store!


One of the many sun protectors that were made!

This is a fun and easy way to add non-fiction reading, NGSS standards, and a STEM project to your day!

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Simple Science: Hot Wheels

I was fortunate enough to write a grant and get a large set of Hot Wheels and tracks! I have been finding ways for my littles to work with them as they learn about energy. Here are some simple ways to add science into your school day!


1. Find a fun race car book. I used a non-fiction book found on EPIC books called Machines as Work: Race Cars. (Free for teachers!) I asked them what they know about cars in motion. What makes them go? What makes them stop? How do they go fast and slow?

2. I then introduce the race car book along with race car sounds in the background.


3. When we are done with the story, we discuss what we will test as we build and create.
Our focus is on learning about motion. I use a sticky easel sheet to write and take along with us in the hall. We write down:
*What do we observe when our car is pushed slowly?
*What do we observe when our car is pushed fast?
*What happens when two cars collide?
*What happens when a car goes up and down a hill?
*How can we show that gravity is working on our cars?
*How can we show that force is a push and pull?

4. We then go in the hall to do our experiments (can't do much in a teacher's lounge classroom...just no room). I let each team get two buckets, two cars, two cardboard pieces, and 6 tracks with connectors.
Time to put the tracks together...
Time to answer our questions...

Time to test the results....

Time to observe what others learned!
This is what is driving us...my STEM Force and Motion Pack on TPT!
 Drive on over to my TPT store to take a look! I know not everyone has Hot Wheels, but I will leave you with one final thought...you can use simple supplies to help your kiddos build their own race cars! It will drive them crazy with excitement!
Milk cartons, string, wheels, straws, tongue depressors all make great car parts!

When we are all finished we start our engines...race to the checkered flag...and wrap up out day with a reflection sheet!
Ready...Set...Go to it!

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