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Finding Ways to Write in Science Class

Need to find ways to add science into your day? Why not find ways to write in science! Not only does science writing help children synthesize and process, but it allows them to communicate their learning with others. Don't just limit writing to your language arts lessons...Here are some ideas as to how to find ways to add writing during your science lessons.


Why we should look at writing in science...

1. Let's build content area

2. Let's model our writing after scientists

3.  Let them practice thinking and absorbing specific concepts and content

4. By writing their observations, we can allow them to write without the anxiety

5. It allows teachers to help students use prompts to start their thoughts

6. Students learning to reflect is important to be able to allow them to empower them as thinkers

Top 10 Kindergarten through fifth grade ideas on how to do this...

1. Anchor chart creation and then send them back to draw and write a connection

2. Ticket out the door ideas

3. Constructed response tests

4. science notebooks

5. Have them write beyond summarizing...use DOK or Bloom's higher level questions using sentence starters. Grab your free sentence starters here!

6. Make thinking visible (put it up around the room, add it to the anchor chart, put it on a bulletin board...)

7. Use the CORE model...connect, organize, reflect, extend

8. Utilize graphic organizers

9. Let them share what they wrote

10. Use sites such as Flipgrid to have students share what they learned, video their responses, and/or share their work with you and with their classmates

Knowing that science has always been a bit harder to find time for in busy days of school...using your writing block might be another great strategy for finding time to not only write, but add science to your day! 
Simple Idea Alert!
Grab a book you are going to read to them, create a fun STEM project, and tie in a science concept and you have another great way to tie writing into your day as well. For example, in the picture below, we read Humpty Dumpty, we create a stable wall for Humpty to balance on, made walls out of tape and paper and then wrote about what we learned. Three subjects, one simple activity!

Whether it is a small station, an experiment or demonstration, students can utilize their writing skills in so many ways that apply to your science lessons! Pick one idea from this post and give it a try. 

Need more ideas? Join me at Whole Teacher EclecticCon 2020 where over 50+ presenters will help you get ready for next year whether we are in school or distance learning. Classes for mental health, core curriculum, technology connections, social justice and more! Find out more about it here!

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Flipping For Flipgrid

Let's just say friends, that this year has been like no other. On a Sunday in March we were told that the next day we would not be headed back to school, we would be remote. I had a feeling that it was going to happen sooner than later so I packed a big tub of science materials for each grade level and put it in my car that weekend. I am so grateful for the sixth sense I had because we were given an hour that week to do what we needed to do to prepare for the unknown.

Going into something like this blind, my team of library media specialist, art, music, PE, and science (me) had to find something that would allow us to add our lessons and find some way to assess and check for understanding. I stumbled upon flipgrid as I was searching. We quickly set up grids, for me was one grid(class) for each grade at each school. One first grade at school A, one first grade at school B. Then for each topic(lesson) I was able to place my lessons within each class. This is where the magic comes in...you can use it for any class. We each created our own grids, shared out the codes, and created a how to video for our families! Within one week, we were up and running and finding huge success!

What is Flipgrid?

 Flipgrid is a web based social learning platform that allows teachers to pose questions to their learners, then the students can respond in a video to show what they know. Students can also respond to each other which allows for more understanding as well as discussion. Educators can also use a rubric to assess, as well as email students.

What is a grid vs. a topic?

I like to think of a grid as the title of a book. It is where you have your classroom of learners go to for the videos, lessons, and links. I use my grid as a way to set up each grade level I teach, "Jefferson Grade 1" and "Hewitt Grade 1". Two schools, two different grids. If you teach multiple courses you can create grids for reading, math, writing, science. In order to find your grids, students get a special URL for each specific grid. The grid code can be changed, a topic code can not.

A topic is like the chapters of a book. It is where your lessons are for your students. This is where you can upload your own videos, youtube videos, gifs, documents, google slides, boom decks and beyond. Students can also have the words that are typed out read to them within the topic. This is where they also respond with their own video and show their learning.

Ten BIG Reasons Why My Team All  Chose To Use Flipgrid:

1. It's free with a gmail or Microsoft account
2. super easy to use
3. allows for all students to have a voice as they share their learning
4. teachers can respond through video, email, grading, note
5. they have a built in rubric
6. you can get ideas from thousands of lessons that easily upload to the grid of you choice
7. you can showcase amazing work
8. you can share the link and lessons on any site, some use google classroom, we linked on a google site
9. you can add links, videos, assessments, google activities, nearpod...you name it, it will connect
10. It reads to your learners to differentiate

Let me share with you how you can use flipgrid for science!

1. Use it to do a flipped lesson, where they watch your video, learn the background and vocabulary, then when they are with you they do the experiment or activity (it looks like we will have one week on and one week off with kids next year)...flipped lesson
2. Use it to have your lesson intro then have a digital assignment such as boom cards, google slides, or a digital game linked to reinforce what they are or will be learning the next time you meet
3. Use it to have them reinforce what they learned the week before, by showing you what they remember. They can connect their learning by also commenting on someone's post on flipgrid to advance their understanding.
4. Use it to have students record observations through taping their experiments
5. Use it to have students watch a video on youtube then share their understanding
6. Use flipgrid to draw and share an explanation of what they learned in the lesson done in or out of class
7. Use it to demonstrate and share a STEM project
8. Use it to share a picture they drew about their learning and how it connects to another lesson to review past learning
9. Use flipgrid  to explain a scientific concept that will be used as an assessment with the built in rubric
10. Use flipgrid for students to post predictions before an experiment, then comment on after they find the results
11. Use it to encourage students to work together on projects that require several steps, such as collecting data, or in situations where students are doing something new, perfect for helping each other succeed or work as a group without having contact

Don't have time to make and prepare new lessons? No worries...Disco Library!

Not sure where to start with lessons? No problem. There are countless lessons all ready to go in all subject matters. When you sign up with Microsoft or Google it is free to teachers and students! Head over to the Disco Library for those lessons, ideas, and tips ready for you immediately! Need a bit more information before you try flipgrid? Here is there amazing guide (found here) that will GUIDE you to this free resource I flipped over!

Have fun with this free program. I can't imagine moving forward into the unknown of next year without it!
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Flat Teacher Adventures!

As we move toward summer break...which mind you we all sure could use...I wanted to keep connected with my students over the summer. I found some great ideas online and I am ready to help you make yourself flat and go on adventures with your students, too! Here is how to do it...

You might be seeing the Flat Teacher posts all over. This idea originated with the book Adventures of Flat Stanley, if you haven't see it...it is about a boy who gets flattened and goes on adventures all over the world! I am giving it a little twist for my own students, many who never get to go too many places. I want them to share their Science and STEM adventures threw posting videos and pictures on our flipgrid Classroom!

Let's Go On A Flat Teacher Adventure!

6 Easy Steps: 

1. Before you do anything, you need to make yourself flat! How to do that? Download the bitmoji app from the App store.

2, Now, head on over to your computer and get the chrome extension: Bitmoji Extension for Chrome

3. At this point you can edit and create your very own Flat Teacher! This is the fun part! For just the right pose such as your full body, search Pose, don't be too specific. Watch out for the space bar...don't do it. I used the words: wave, look, point, jump, run and walk for bitmojis that were without other images. I then right clicked and saved the image to my desktop to insert.

4. I first download my bitmoji  You can also save as a png which will make your background transparent. I copy and paste 6 bitmojis on one page to print and cut out. All I did was right clip and save my pictures to my desktop.

5. I printed mine on cardstock so they were stronger. Didn't have time to laminate because time was valuable...(four hours and out).

6. I used flipgrid for my virtual learning and WOW what a great free program on your computer with use with microsoft and google! I will have all of my students post their pictures or videos within our summer science spot within flipgrid!

If you are using flipgrid you will need to create a new banner. The dimensions are: 1500px x 500 px.

Want to download my science letter? Here you go...Free Bitmoji Summer Science Letter, even if you want to use the idea, you can print, sign and attach your bitmoji!

Have fun connecting this summer with this fun and easy activity that I can't wait to see the response. Flipgrid has allowed so many of my students to have their voice! Let's make Science and STEM child's play...together!

End of The Year Science and STEM Ideas

This weekend, we took a little trip to the top of one of the  highest spots here in Wisconsin. We trekked up flights and flights of stairs to finally reach the top. There I was overlooking miles and miles of forests, watching the sway of trees as they danced to the music of the wind. It game me a totally different perspective. 

I guess it reminds it reminds me so much of the last few months of virtual learning. I have always seen the importance of adding subjects such as science into a schedule because science and STEM  can reach students differently through creativity and problem solving...different that reading, math, and writing...we need to take a look at that perspective, too.

  • I now have a whole new perspective of what I do for my students when I am in school. 

  • I have a new perspective of the impact we have as educators and the way we can help our students learn in new ways.

  • I also have a totally different perspective of the tools that I can utilize to meet the needs of my students. 
  • I bet that you have a different perspective of teaching as well! There are aspects that work and also some that do not!

Let's find a new perspective on end of the year celebrations then...head on over to my blog for some great end of the year tips and tricks as well as a free resource! Home learning/distance learning/remote learning/virtual learning just to name a few...whatever you are calling it these days, it is all new territory to most of the classroom teachers out there.  It is definitely new territory to me. Now, it is time to reflect and finish up the school year, from the confines of our own homes. Let's find some spectacular Science and STEM opportunities to connect with our kiddos!

Virtual End of The Year Ideas For the Science and STEM Classroom

Have A Virtual Field Day Event
We are hosting ours on flipgrid by making copilots so that more than one person can host on a grid where kids can add their field day event. Perfect for sharing and watching other friends in one spot!

We are housing our ideas and videos in flipgrid along with five challenges for our students and families. The five challenges we included are:
  1. Sock Toss
  2. 3 Legged Race
  3. Book Balance
  4. Spoon Walk
  5. Cup Toss and Catch

Have A Virtual Field Trip

What a great way to end the school year by taking a field trip. Virtual field trips are amazing! There are lots of different online field trips, which I am sharing my go to's down below:

STEM/Science Tic Tac Toe Board

This was a fun way to host a weekly event this last few months. Students were given a tic tac toe board that allowed for Science concept reinforcements. This share out can be digital as well! 

Virtual Award Ceremony
Students can get an award from you through a a google slide celebration. You can utilize google slides in order for each student to get a special science award to showcase what they have shown this year in class or at home. 
I made a free science reward pack for you if you sign up for my newsletter!  I will be sending each child a special slide within the awards that when they click on the link it goes right to their personal award. You can also send a page directly through email, when you copy a specific page a new file with that child's name. 

STEM Connection Celebration
I hosted several STEM events during virtual learning this last quarter. I asked students to bring certain supplies to the meet which can be on ZOOM or google meet. 

The first week: make something to share
  • paper, spoon, fork, cup and one item of your choice ...the goal was to make something to share out
The second week: the tallest tower
  • we used two pieces of paper and tape...the goal was to create the tallest tower
The third week:  Building Bridges
  • Legos, building blocks, cardboard boxes saved ...the goal is to build a bridge for a small stuffed animal or figurine

Find a great STEM challenge that you can host on a virtual meeting. The kids can build right in the meet and share out individually within the meet. It is engaging and the supplies that you suggest can be easily accessible around the house. Want to find your set of Google Slide Packs for your students? Find them here!

Enjoy your end of the year. It wasn't easy, but when we can celebrate, show how to persevere and be resilient it will help model for our families that we can get through this together and we do have lots to celebrate!

Let's Make Science Child's Play!

The Power of Using Boom Decks In Science

Digital Resources such as Boom provide students easy access for learning science concepts. If you are in search of an app or digital option for self-checking task cards Boom Learning decks are self-checking, interactive, digital task cards. Going virtual this year has upped my game in terms of finding ways to assess my virtual lessons and which students comprehend the new concepts. There were several tools and apps that I found very capable of helping my students and me be excited for the next lesson! Boom did not fail me. Once I figured out how to create them and post them for my kiddos, I got Boom Fever!

Here's How They Work: 

Boom Cards are also compatible with Google Classroom and Google Apps, so, if you use those platforms, this is a resource for added science learning. A set of Boom Cards is called a Boom Deck. Boom Cards may contain fill in the Blank Answers, multiple choice, move-able pieces, clickable answer choices and more.

Creating student logins is quick and easy! In your dashboard, you’ll click "Add Many Students," and enter nicknames for each student. Boom Learning will automatically generate passwords, but you can create personalized passwords too! {Often times, students already have a login and password for another account—like Google Apps/Google Classroom so you can just use the same ones!} With older students, you can share the classroom username and password and let them set up their own account details.

How My Students Can Play:

Boom Decks can be played in two ways: Fast Play: With your free account, you have unlimited access to playing any purchased or free Boom Cards through an interactive whiteboard, tablet, or other device. In Fast Play, you are unable to record student progress (however, Boom Learning regularly offers free trials of the student data component for new users, so be sure to check the latest info on that!) With a free account, you can create 5 students (think, 5 groups with differentiated assignments assigned to each. This works well in stations where you can have students access the activities they need to practice).

Once you access a Boom Deck, it is in your "library". You will always have free access to assign and play your Boom Decks in "Fast Play" mode. In Fast Play mode, student data is not recorded, but students receive instant feedback. Fast Play mode is perfect for modeling on an interactive whiteboard, and playing whole group, in partners, or small groups. Fast Pins expire after 5 days. These are for practice or instruction only and don’t record student progress. To assign on any site with a Fast Pin, go to your Library, find the Boom Cards deck to be assign, click the blue Action button and select Fast Pin. 

The second way to use Boom Decks is by sending Hyperplay Links or assigning decks to Students. You can send Boom Cards to individual students or groups of students. Hyperplay is available with the Basic, Power, and Ultimate Accounts. When I want to gather data I will then use Hyperplay Links which prompt students to sign in and they result in student progress being recorded. To assign on any site with a Hyperplay Link, go to Library, find the Boom Cards deck to assign, click the blue Action button and select Hyperplay Link.


What Can Students Use: 

BOOM Learning is app available for Apple products, Chrome Books/android devices, and Kindle. Boom Learning can also work within Google Classroom. I tend to use a fast play for practice which my students on their ipads and hyperplay when I need to assess progress. 

How Can I use Boom Cards?

*with a group on an interactive whiteboard.
* beginning and end of the year assessment tools
* allow fast finishers computer time and practice time
*use them as part of your science stations/centers
* assign specific decks to students, so they can master specific content or review a concept that they might be struggling with 
* as homework assignments for students. Students have a login of their own, so they can login to Boom Learning from any computer or device anywhere, but they will need internet access. 

Can I see how it works?

I've included a link for you to practice any of the first four pages of any of my resources. Give it a try!

Boom Learning Science Decks

TPT Science Decks

Give Boom Decks a try...I am so glad that I did. My students love the "game" like feel of review and assessment!

6 Ways To Fit Science Into Your Day

Trying to teach intermediate students science isn’t always easy. There are a lot of supplies to often set up and the concepts at times are much harder to explain. Often, science can even get put on the back burner. I am asked by other educators how do I find that extra time that is needed to give quality science curriculum? So, I want to share with you today a few quick tips to finding that time and making it count!

Targeting Standards

1.      Make sure that you are pinpointing the exact standard that you want to cover. whether it is 
NGSS or your districts requirements. Utilize the NGSS cross cutting strategies within their plans. 
That is a great guide to how you can even add the required concepts within your reading and writing 

Non-Fiction Science Connections

2.      Non-fiction reading in common core and in NGSS cross cutting … is a perfect way to add 
science concepts. For example, having a hard time fitting in ecosystems or food chains because the 
supplies needed seem a little out of reach? Then, a non fiction book and science/reading station is a 
perfect way to add a concept that seems out of reach. I purposely utilize Epic books which has a ton 
of great non-fiction science themed books that are perfect for your reading lesson. They even have a 
variety that can be read to students in order for you to differentiate learning. 

Tie that in with digital resources and are set to go! Digital resources come in so many different 
options. From Boom Cards to Google Slides it also allows for teachers to find ways to add science 
into their day! 

Science Stations in Reading/Writing

3.      Science Stations during your reading/writing block is another way to use your time wisely. If 
you incorporate a non fiction book along with a small experiment that has easy to follow step by step 
directions, this is another way to use your time wisely. Allowing students to share their learning with 
an app or internet tool is way to assess for understanding. My new go to for this is flipgrid. 

I set up a class grid, allow for students to go there for my pre-recorded instructions that I video for 
them, or you can even insert a youtube video  showing an experiment that you find online. If you just 
want them to learn more background knowledge about a science topic allow for that video to be 
inserted on flipgrid as well! Many of my colleagues are able to utilize google classroom which I wish 
I was able to use as well. Our district required their own paid version to house lessons in, but another 
great way to add science lessons in an app for them to utilize can be stored in google classroom.

Flipped Lessons

4. Flipped lessons are my new favorite way to teach science after going virtual this year. A flipped       lesson allows you to prerecord a lesson, a concept, and/or background information that you would have used class time for. As students view the video before class, they are getting the needed information that you would have used class time for. This frees up time for you to do demonstrations and experiments and not use the time in class to do that. I still need to review the concepts for friends that didn’t watch ahead of time, but if a student misses out on the experiment, because now they must first watch the video and do the follow-up questions, they don’t want to miss the “fun” stuff. The amount of students not watching the prerecorded lessons declines.  I also find that if I record my demonstration then the students that miss out can now see that or review if they missed something.
You might be saying that is  a lot of time that is used to create those videos, but once you have them and you label them, you are set for years to come. I use screen-cast-omatic. There are other video sites such as screencastify that work perfectly well, too.  Not sure you can know what to say on your video? Use a teleprompter program on your computer and read what you would like to say. you can see how I do that in my video link here:

Supply Short Cuts and Quick Lessons

5. Find lessons, that are already made for you. If you have a kit such as FOSS, which we use, bag up the lessons for easy year after year accessibility. When we went into quarantine mode, it was a bit easier for me to grab my lessons out of the box, because they were all labeled and prepackaged. I put mine in plastic ziplocked baggies and label them with permanent markers and place them in the kit along with the sheets I used for the lessons if I utilized printed versions. If you have no kits, then make sure that you find a storage system that works best for you. I tub my kindergarten lessons along with the picture books and supplies I even use for it. This really does save a ton of time. If you don’t already do that then you will thank me!

Boom Learning Decks

6.Boom learning decks are another go to for easily checking my students for understanding! I create decks that focus on my big ideas. I can give my students a boom deck right after I teach conductors and insulators to see if they got my lesson and the concept I was teaching.   It allow my students immediate feedback to their learning and if you utilize the data you can use it for grading purposes.

Take a look at these science boom decks that can make adding science to your day a little bit easier!
Science School Yard Science Boom Decks

I hope you can find ways to add science to your busy day...your kids will thank you!

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Top 4 Tools To Help Teach Science Remotely

Remote learning by any means has not been easy for anyone. We all had quite a learning curve dealt to us, but it is how we have been able to adapt and find new ways to get to your students that is key to everyone's success! What I have found in the last six weeks, is that I keep evolving and finding new ways to implement my lessons. To help you find new ways, too, I am sharing with you my favorite finds. Here are my top 4 teaching tools that have got me through teaching remotely. 


I have been using flipgrid for a meeting place for my Science Lessons and classrooms. This has allowed me a site that I can see my students, check for understanding, as well as have the accountability that I need.  I am able to star the assignments that I have looked at and even comment back through an email setting, or even create a video for them! I also utilize the ability to host a five minute or less video review lesson or even share a video from youtube for them to watch. You Tube might be a great place to house your video lessons that are over 5 minutes then for them. Students can showcase an assignment by showing you what they did and explain their thinking. 

Flipgrid are the meeting place for your classroom, your school, your department or any learning community to discuss topics or lessons. Flipgrid sets up an  icebreaker. For science you can have students add lesson/experiment reflections, share their thinking, explore STEM principles, give mini-presentations, and showcase their learning. Setting up a rubric so that the students can see what they need to do to show you what they know can be utilized by adding a document to flipgrid.

 How I use it:
  • I voice record my lesson
  • I can star the students I graded so when new ones come in, I know where to start
  • I use the mixed tapes to store the science stars of the week 
  • I use the mixed tapes to store students that still need my help
  • I have students share their thinking and then I can check for understanding using a rubric
  • I share videos I want them to view from youtube
  • I email back to the students a personal message
  • It allow students to view their friends and make comments on what they liked and learned

Screencastify or Screen-cast-omatic

Screen Casts are designed from the ground up to be the safest, simplest video creation tool for teachers and students. I can  make learning more personal for my students and can provide my science lessons each week for distance learning. In the future I can use them for flipped classrooms lessons, by recording lessons, assignment explanations, and giving my students verbal feedback. I can tape myself incorporating a lesson, and use the teleprompter to write my lessons and then choose web cam and screen, make my cam the smallest it can go then teleprompt above so it looks like I am looking at the camera! I just start the prompter and it allows a space at the bottom for me to put the web cam! 

How to use it in your science classroom:
  • screencast an experiment so they can watch it before, during, and after class
  • tape your lessons for kids that are gone
  • give directions for assignments to share out
  • screencast a lesson introduction
  • use for flipping lessons and saving time once they come to class if they view it ahead of time

Boom Learning
I have loved Boom decks for my students! Boom is a platform that allows teachers to purchase and/or create digital activities for students. Boom “decks” are made up of individual, digital task cards for students to complete.
I use Boom for...
  • Differentiating my science instruction, different decks for different kiddos
  • It gives students immediate feedback (dings for correct, oops for incorrect and they get to try again!)
  • Students Get EXCITED about learning with badges and fun digital “rewards” for their work
  • Holding students accountable for their independent work especially in stations or at home
  • It saves me a ton of time because it automatically grades. 
  • It also saves paper...it's paperless!

What do I need in order to use Boom in my classroom?

  • A computer, tablet, or interactive whiteboard
  • An internet browser that is 3 or fewer years old (OR the free Boom app)
  • A free or paid  Boom Account (if you open a new account and click a link you get from a TeachersPayTeachers Boom card purchase, you’ll get 3 months free btw)
  • An internet connection that students can use on a computer/tablet to access the Boom decks
  • you can have a free account which will let you utilize fast pins when purchase them, but won't grade them and keep data which a paid membership will do.
Option A: Copy and paste the complete link for students to play
Option B: Go to the Boom main page (boomlearning.com) on a computer (or on the Boom app). Click on the “FastPlay” button. Enter the pin and click “play.” A fast pin is only good for a certain amount of days (14 days) which will tell you on the fast pin button. 
You can create your own boom decks for your students, send the deck link to families or students and it is one of the simplest tools to use and the kids LOVE them! Boom Learning Site can be found HERE!

Google Classroom
Google Classroom  is a free service for schools, non-profits, and anyone with a personal Google account. The best part of this is that a teacher and student can use in and out  of schools. Classroom saves time and paper, and makes it easy to create classes, "hand out" assignments, communicate with each other, keep track of student assignments,  and be organized.

How to use it in science classrooms:
  • Once set up, you can share a code with your class to join. Once they join they can find your assignments, videos, and class work inside the class.
  • This is paperless, so it saves time with copies
  • It allows everyone to one place for organized science lessons, google documents, flipped lesson videos and more!
  • This allows for easy communication and can be used in class, in their homerooms, and at home on any device.
  • Best yet, it's a google suites product so it connects with all your other google activities such as google slides and forms!
I would love to hear what tools have gotten you through this as well. Keep on keeping on!

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