Sunday, November 16, 2014

Young Adult Book Festival - Charleston, SC




At the beginning of the school year I was chatting with one of the media assistants and she was telling me about a Young Adult Book Festival in Charleston. I went online to find out more information (I am a huge YA fan) and there was an opportunity to volunteer (um...yes please!). I spent two days working the festival (signings, panels, set up and more). I got to met a ton of super nice YA authors (who did not mind my obsessive picture taking).

My favorites included James Dashner (Maze Runner series), Veronica Roth (Divergent author), and my personal absolute favorite... Rainbow Rowell (if you haven't read Eleanor and Park you are missing out on one of the best YA books to come out in awhile). 

I spent well over $100 on books while I was at the festival (which was bound to happen considering the number of nieces and nephews I have).

The festival is in its fourth year and has gained a lot of notoriety on the YA circuit. We had families traveling in for the event from Missouri, New York, Ohio, etc. I am hoping to get another opportunity to volunteer next year. 

If you are in the area early November 2015 look it up!

Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition Activity

I saw this activity at a science conference years ago and haven't had a chance to use it in a classroom until this week (mainly because I didn't teach weathering, erosion, and deposition). It is a great way to reinforce the definition of the weathering, erosion, and deposition in a highly kinesthetic manner.

Basically you break the students up into groups of three. One group is "Weathering" another group is "Erosion" and the third group is "Deposition".



Add tape to the back because you are going to stick them to the forehead of the children in each group.


The "weathering" students get a sheet of paper that is their "rock" they will be breaking down.


At the start of the activity the "weathering" students will start ripping tiny pieces of their "rock" and handing it to the "erosion" students. The "erosion" students will be running their tiny piece of "rock" to the "deposition" students at the back of the classroom. Those students will start making a beach with the tiny pieces on their assigned desk. Their job is to cover the entire desk with the tiny pieces they get from the erosion people.

Note: “Weathering” students can only rip it into tiny pieces and hand it to the “Erosion” student one piece at a time (no ripping it all over the floor!).      


In my activity I made one of the weathering students the "earthquake" student. They weren't allowed to do ANYTHING until 2 minutes were up (I set a timer). Once the timer went off that student, and that student only, could rip a huge chunk of their "rock" off and give it to their "erosion" person. Once they were done I had people rotate jobs.  

Here is what students learned:

1. Weathering breaks down rocks
2. Erosion moves the pieces
3. Deposition creates new land forms with those pieces (in our case a beach)

They also saw:

1. The process would take a lot of time
2. Earthquakes were rarer, hence the 2 minute intervals
3. Earthquakes broke off larger chunks then normal due to their violent nature


The students LOVED running back and forth and wearing name tags on their head. A pre and post conversation showed how much clearer their understanding was of the three terms AFTER the activity. 

Hide-a-Face


Want to blur out a face in a photo? Try http://www.photohide.com/. It is a free website that allows you to upload photos and select certain faces to be "blurred" out. It is very easy to use and allows you blur out students who can't have their face published.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Notebooking, iPads, and Bingo




Our school district has rolled out iPads to all students in grades 3-5 (and Dell Venue 11 Tablets with detachable keyboards to students in grades 6-12). This has kept us (all the tech coaches) BUSY this year! 

One thing I am trying to do is incorporate the use of iPads with the notebooks. One web tool I use a lot is bingobaker.com . It is free bingo game card generator that you can either print out or play using your tablet. 

For students I created a QR code (using QRstuff.com) and put it at the bottom of their science vocabulary sheet that goes in their notebook (see second picture). When we are ready to play students take out their iPad, scan the code and it goes straight to a randomized bingo board (no two bingo boards are the same). Students touch the screen to make the square light up and touch it again to make it go back if they made a mistake. Once a winner has been declared students touch the "refresh" circle and they get a new randomized board. 

The game is VERY popular with students. Just make sure you have some prizes on hand!

Monday, October 6, 2014

October - Anti Bullying Month - Song


This is one of my favorite videos/songs sung by 14 year old Rachel Crow. Since October is Anti-Bullying Month I thought I would share how you can use it in your classroom (as an excuse to show it :).

You can have students write down what they think, "I'm just gonna comb you out of my curls" means. Explain how figurative language can be used to paint a picture (have them draw a picture of someone combing mean girls or mean words out of their hair - post in the hall). Teach students what pronouns are and then have them count the number of pronouns in the lyrics version of the song. (Lesson idea came this website).





Math Facts Poster





This poster was up in the hallway of one of the schools I go to. I thought it was pretty cool. Student's get to sign their name in one of the numbers once they have mastered that specific fact. The banner is in the younger hallways as well with 1-10.

The poster was made using one of the school's colored poster maker (Staples might be able to make it as well if you don't have a poster maker). 

Here is the link to the adobe files of the numbers (1-12 and 1-10). 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Parent/Teacher Conferences - Online Sign Ups



With parent/teacher conferences coming up you can use Google Docs to manage your conference schedule. Using Google Docs will allow you to create a schedule template where parents can view and sign up for available time slots online (none of that dreaded paper and shuffling of time slots).  Please note you will need to still manage it and send out confirmations. 


I put the time slots into 20 minute increments. Our district has late conferences the Thursday and gives students a day off school on Friday for teachers to meet with parents. I usually tried to get all my parents in before the Friday so I could spend that day catching up on classroom "stuff" (we weren't allowed to have it off if we were done). The template is geared with the district schedule in mind but you should be able to edit it easily.


If you are interested in trying it out this year I created a signup template that you can import into your Google Docs - Parent Teacher Sign Up Form Link

1. Sign up for a Google account if you don’t have one and then login
2. Click on link below to go to the template
3. Click on “file” and then “make a copy” (this will give you a copy of document that you can then use as your own)
4. Put your name on the file and change the times you are available
5. Click on “share” (top right)
6. Under “who has access” click on “change”
7. Click “anyone with link” and click “allow anyone to edit” (no sign in required)
8. Copy the link and send it to parents via email or newsletter.