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Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label motivation. Show all posts

Shark STEM Connections

They can be scary from their movie stardom to their sharp teeth and bad reputation...sharks are like the big bad wolves of the ocean! However, their reputation shouldn't really be as bad as they are portrayed! Only 100 people each year are attacked by sharks and only 25 out of the 368 species of sharks actually attack people. To get to know sharks better, my students who live far from any ocean celebrated a bit of a shark week sensation!

We started off with a great EPIC book connection, Sharks! by Ilene Tremble which helped us develop background knowledge. We proceeded to learn even more about sharks by creating a lapbook that had us researching habitats, food chains, and characteristics for survival. These are all part of the NGSS standards that are woven throughout elementary school!

Once they were finished with their lapbook, the students had an opportunity to create one of the sharks they learned about. It had to have the same features that the real, researched shark had and needed to be able to float in a bucket of water. These were some constraints that they had to follow.

For the last STEM sensation the students worked in teams to be able to build a shark cage that allowed a person (plastic figure) to be submerged in a shark (fish) tank...equip with our very own sharks (plastic)! This activity surely stumped my higher level thinkers, because it had to sink in the water, but it had to be made out of something water proof!

Some issues that came up was that fact that many designs tipped over when placed under the water. Some of the cages didn't allow for the diver to even see the sharks swimming in the water!
Here is a cage that tipped over on its side. The shark is getting a bit close for comfort!

Want to celebrate your own shark week? Follow this link to get all these ideas in one place: Shark Lapbook and STEM Connections Pack

What a perfect motivator for any time of year! STEM and Literacy Connections, writing, and research as well as engineering, a perfect theme for intermediate grades!

Shop Science School Yard TPT store!

Science Brag Bracelets

We use PBIS for our positive behavior plan. We implement "Jaguar Paws" when we see students showing our core values of work...respect...be safe. As a specialist, teaching science to everyone of our K5 students, I only get to see my 400+ students one hour per week. After being at the same school for four years now...I have build great relationships with my students...however...

Our state has also implemented Teacher Effectiveness and with being a "specialist" I can't always create the parent communication and the motivation from my students allows them to work toward their academic and behavioral goals each week, not to mention the retention of scientific information.

As a mother of four, with two in college, I can't always spend a ton of money on prizes and treats and I don't really like the idea of "buying" good behavior. So, going back to Teacher Effectiveness...I needed to find ways to continue to make connections...motivate my scientists...and create positive communication!

What are brag bracelets?
Brag bracelets are a positive incentive system that will be used to create an inexpensive reward that will celebrate and promote positive academic and behavioral classroom goals.

How will students wear the bracelets?
After earning a brag bracelet that focus on:
1. teamwork
2. problem solving
4. kindness (yes, kindness is one of our biggest issues when students work in teams...)
5. science star
6. doing their best
7. observation skills
8. team leader

I will be watching for positive behaviors as well as encourage students to focus on our goals. When I see a student exhibiting something to brag about, I will take a bracelet and place it on their wrist. You can either glue or tape it on. It is important to share with everyone why the student earned the bracelet!

Will you keep track of who earns a bracelet? 
I will not be keeping track of who gets one. Our school is at 82% free and reduced. Many of our students need all of the positives they can get. They also need to be motivated as well as find ways to motivate themselves. Just like any behavior plan, at times some students need more encouragements while our leaders also need to be celebrated, too! Keeping track of over 400 students with only having one hour with them a week could use up way too much of my time when I need each and every minute for teaching.

Things to think about:
I am storing them in a word chart. Each bracelet fits perfectly in the pocket.
I am printing up quite a few so that I am ready to go the first day of school.
I will not give any student a bracelet if they ask for one...just like we don't give any student a PBIS behavior ticket if they ask.
I thought about why this method will work better for me than the coupons that our PBIS team wanted us to give out...bracelets have a better chance of getting home so that parents can see how they are doing in science!

Ready to try science brag bracelets?

Here is a free copy of my brag bracelets that will be for sale in my TPT store. Enjoy getting your students motivated in YOUR science school yard! Let me know what you think...leave a comment to share the love!


Motivating the Masses

This linky party is a new one for me, but made me think about all the ways I am trying to motivate our kiddos. Sometimes, it seems hard, but it sure is worth the try. At http://headoverheelsforteaching.blogspot.com/ this fun linky sure got me thinking!

As a science teacher, we see each student only one hour per week. Motivating students to study is always hard. That seems to be the one area that I really want to tackle this year in a big way. For our third grade Earth Materials Unit, I made a book that students could make that focused on all of the areas that we studied and that were going to be tested. I gave a study guide to one class and we made the book in the other just to see if my new method would work...and it did. I was happy to see more of my students having success on the test.

 I also gave out mini science star certificates to students that passed the test and we asked for words of wisdom for how to always do better. That idea came from a free science star reward card from TPT thanks to Sparkles, Smiles, and Successful Students.        http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Im-a-Science-Star-277450

 We posted the "Study Tips" on the wall for future reference. With 79% of our students on free or reduced lunch, many of our students don't always have the support they need to thrive. I also added this year the traveling science star award for the class that is the shining star class of the week. This class was on target, helped each other, answered questions, set up and cleaned up in a timely manner...you get the picture. We are always trying to find ways to keep our kids on task (specialists you know what I mean). We share that information on our daily newscast in a kind of Where's Waldo fashion...can you find the science star? Who's class will be next... I also have tried class dojo to motivate, but it takes too much time out of the class to keep it up, so I started the three stars on the board thing. I have three stars on the board, kind of like three strikes your out. I give a warning if they are off task, then the class loses a star. We have PBIS at our school, so they want to get a class paw at the end of our class. We also give out individual "paws" for kids who are really shining in class. In our class store, students can use their "paws" to purchase some great prizes.  The one that seems to be going over quite well is an extra science class with me. We made fake wounds and slime in October, rockets and Mento Volcanoes in November.
This is also a motivator to earn tickets for fun activities in science. It has been quite motivational and the kids who bought my pass have passed on the word that extra science is a blast.  I am glad I was able to link up.
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