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Showing posts from 2009

Our Week in Science

Monday - The main focus of the lesson was Tides. First we reviewed, updated our moon phase of the day, then I showed a Promethean slide show I made on the subject and embedded a short tide video clip from streamline. We read the left hand side information, looked at the textbook information about tides, and I had students draw a diagram of the moon pulling at the tides on the right hand side. One class was done early so we played vocabulary BINGO. Tuesday - The main focus of the lesson was Shadows. I had students tell me what they already knew about shadows. Then students took turns being the sun and my shadow as I verbally went through how shadows change as the position of the sun changes in the sky. I showed a Promethean Planet download about shadows. We went outside to see if we could spot our shadow (no luck...cloudy all week...but it did get students outside :) We watched a streamline video about shadows and direction (approx. 15 minutes long). I did not do a left or right hand a…

Bingo Markers - Great Idea

Our social studies teacher in fourth grade (Mrs. Amy Edwards - http://www.mrsedwardsclass.com/) is trying notebooking in Social Studies this year and is enjoying it. We share ideas back and forth and this is one that she came up with for the organization of the BINGO markers that I really thought was good and will be doing next week.
She got the the snack sized ziplock bags and taped a corner of the bag to reinforce it. She snipped off a small part of the same corner to allow air to escape out (the tape reinforced the corners so the bag would not tear up the seam).
She taped the bag to the back inside cover of the notebook and put the bingo markers inside it.
Each child now has their own set of BINGO markers, which saves time when setting up the game, reduces student blowing air into the bags and trying to pop them, and makes students more responsible for keeping their BINGO markers off the floor, etc.

Lesson Plans - Astronomy Unit

Monday - We just got back from Thanksgiving break so I did some review. Our science fair projects are due this week so I spent some time reviewing the requirements and I let some early submissions present to the class. This didn't leave a lot of time left but I was able to go over the difference between rotation and revolution. I got the kids up and moving rotating and revolving. The main lesson was really for students to learn why we have day and night. I showed a streamline video on the subject and taught them a poem I made up with hand gestures (will post video). The end results were that my students should have been able to tell me the difference between rotation and revolution, how long does it take Earth to rotate, how long does it take for the Earth to complete a revolution around the Sun, and why does that rotation give us day and night. The only thing we did in our notebooks was to record the current moon phase on the calendar in our notebook.

Tuesday - Students took turns…

Catch Up Grading

Another grading technique I use for the notebooks is assigning a "catch up" day (usually a Friday and in conjunction with a quiz). As students are finished their quiz they get their notebook and work on completing the required pages. Then they come to me to get their notebook checked. I have a spread sheet and I mark off that we met and what grade they received. I can do a lot of grading quickly that way. I am usually left with a handful that I still have to get after class to grade but it is less cumbersome. This is a great way to get the coloring done, which is the one thing that tends to get pushed to the side if we are running out of time.
If you periodically grade this way it is important to have something for students to do when they are finished. For forth grade that is easy....you can have them make a poster of some topic you have been studying to put up in the classroom, you can let them check out the nonfiction section of your bookshelf and read up on any topic they…

Lesson Plans - Astronomy Unit

Monday - Showed a PowerPoint I made comparing and contrasting the characteristics of the Earth and Moon and discussed with students. Showed an excellent ETV streamline video (A Closer Look at Space - The Moon. Approximately 20 minutes.) on the subject. No notebooking activity.
Tuesday - Read the left hand information reviewing characteristics of the Earth and Moon. Showed Brainpop on both the Earth and Moon. Worked on Earth/Moon popup books (I made the books and students colored and cut the moon and Earth gluing it in the popup location. Students had to list five ways the moon was different from the Earth and five ways the Earth was different from the moon. They also had to trace a path from the moon around the Earth in the popup and note the number of days it took to go around).
Wednesday - Lesson - Why do we see different phases of the moon? Right hand assignment was to start a moon calendar, which we will update daily until Christmas break. I made the calendar full page size and sh…

Unfinished Projects - Astronomy

I had quite a few students who did not use their time wisely while working on their planet accordion project. I could not dedicate any more class time to finishing so what I did was seal an envelope and cut it in half. I glued it into the notebook and put their cards inside of the envelope. On the outside of the envelope I gave them their grade, based on amount of work completed, and listed everything that was incomplete. I am giving students until we break for the holidays to complete for a better grade on their own (giving them the opportunity to come into class early, work on it during homeroom, or stay in for recess to complete if they wanted). The completed project will then be glued over the envelope once complete.
So far I have only had three students take me up on the offer.

Lesson Plans - Astronomy (Planets)

Whew...this week was one of those topsyturvy weeks that threw us off schedule slightly. We had H1N1 shots administered Monday, a field trip Tuesday, no school on Wednesday.....looking forward to a "normal" week :)

Monday - Showed students the International Year of Astronomy Trailer on YouTube and explained how 400 years ago Galileo used his telescope for the first time. Played the song "On the Shoulder of Giants" for students (video with the song can be found on my website - my students last year LOVED the song and had it memorized!). Showed a PowerPoint I made about the planets in order (had students line up as planets with smaller ones being the rocky inner planets and the taller students being the gas giants - threw some students in there to be the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. I picked a student wearing red to be Mars and I lucked out with twins in one of my classes so I made them Venus and Earth). Students got to practice trying to say the planets in…

Lesson Plan - Start of Astronomy Unit

We just got back after a week long fall break and it was a short week for me. I attended and presented at the South Carolina Science Council Convention in Myrtle Beach Thursday and Friday (notebooking and blogging) so there was sub work for the students.

This is what we did in the notebooks this week.

Monday - Put together the astronomy title page and reviewed the standards for the unit. I also went over the vocabulary for the unit with a Promethean slide show and, as I was reviewing the vocabulary, students were filling out their bingo boards for the unit.

Tuesday - We started with information about the sun and its importance to Earth. We did a fun activity that I had done at space camp last summer (with a sheet, a bowling ball, tennis ball, and ping pong ball) showing how the mass and gravity of the sun cause planets to rotate around it. We read our left hand sheet about the sun and watched a Brain Pop on the subject. On the right hand side of the notebook students had to list four way…

Tech Week in Science

We had a short week (four days) to accommodate parent/teacher conferences. This also coincided with the start of our Fall break here. Students and teachers are off for a week. Our district has Extended Learning Time for students who have been identified as needing remediation and they will have school next week (small groups focusing on reading and math).
Since I had a short week (that also combined an "end of quarter" party Thursday) I choose not to start any new material in the notebooks. We will be starting Astronomy when we get back.
I designated this week "tech week" and had the great idea of teaching my fourth graders Photostory. Sadly if it could go wrong it did. Photostory had been removed from the computer lab computers and our laptop lab during summer re-imaging and I failed to check it assuming it would have still been on the computers from last year. Lesson learned!
The original plan was for students to choose one of the following and create a Photostory c…

Weekly Lesson Plans (Review/Test Week)

Monday
Students worked with their clock partners to complete a "fill in the blank" study guide. We played a couple of review games and worked on vocabulary BINGO.
Tuesday
Reviewed for test and completed a simple dew point experiment - does the size of the container affect the dew point temperature?
Wednesday
End of unit test
Thursday
We caught up on our notebooks. I was grading and students needed to make sure they had finished everything on the pages I had listed on the board (including coloring).
Friday
Students watched a Blizzard video. Kind of fun since we don't get blizzards down here in the deep south.

Weekly Lesson Plans (Clouds and Fronts)

We are ending our unit on weather this week. Next week will primarily be filling in the study guide and a few review games.
Monday
Checked our evaporation experiment. Reviewed water cycle from last week. Sang the song. Presented a PowerPoint I made about clouds (which includes careers that need to know about clouds - pilots, astronauts, professional fisherman, etc.). Read a notebook page about how clouds form (students drew pictures of each stage) and about the three basic type of clouds. Went outside to look at and identify cloud types (pretty disappointing...all stratus clouds but students enjoyed being outside).
Tuesday
Checked our evaporation experiment. Did the "cloud in the bottle" with the class. Showed a YouTube video of something similar. Introduced fronts. Used weather.com to show map, map symbols, and talked about air masses affecting the US. Acted out air masses meeting. Made inferences about our upcoming weather and checked out the 10 day forecast. Read our notebo…

Create Your Own Puzzles

I often create my own crossword puzzles and word searches for my science class. These can be assigned for homework but more often I use them as extra work students can do when they are done a test or quiz. If you type in "make your own word search" lots of different websites come up. I usually use the Discover Education site to make mine.
Three years ago I made test shields out of two taped together file folders (they have held up pretty well). Inside the folder I put the test/quiz and a puzzle. This keeps earlier finishers quiet and engaged while others finish up.

Weekly Lesson Plans (Water Cycle)

This week in class we have been looking at the water cycle.

Monday

Introduced the water cycle with a Promethan Planet flip chart. Taught the steps of the water cycle song (click here to see a TeacherTube video of some of my students from last year singing it with hand motions). Watched a BrainPop on the water cycle. Read a left hand notebooking assignment about the water cycle. Students started working on the right hand assignment which was a flip picture of the water cycle where students had to write which step of the water cycle each flip was and what it does. For a couple of classes I made cut and paste cards that students had to match and glue under the flaps (faster and helped with students who write large).

Tuesday

Reviewed water cycle and water cycle song. Showed short Streamline Video recapping the water cycle (approx. 15 min). Gave students a "fill in the blank" brochure I had made to go with the textbook chapter about the water cycle (the inside flap was vocabulary d…

Weekly Lesson Plans (Weather Unit)

This week was one of those odd weeks where I happened to be out for three days. Despite some typical "sub behavior" things seemed to go pretty well as far as using the notebooks.
Monday
Lesson plan focus was introducing students to different type of severe weather and related safety tips. Students read and discussed a left hand sheet that I had glued into their books before I left. They were encouraged to discuss their own encounters with severe weather. My sub, whom I spoke to before I left, brought in newspaper articles of Hurricane Hugo and was able to contribute to the discussion. For the right hand assignment students had to pull a safety tip out of a bag (I had put together 27 or so that I found on the internet covering lightning, hurricanes, and tornadoes) they had to share the tip they pulled, discuss why it was a good safety tip, and then a draw a poster that went with the tip on the right hand side of their book.
Tuesday
Lesson focus was comparing and contrasting hurr…

Colored Pencil/Crayon Problem (Solution)

I allow both colored pencils and crayons in the notebook and students started becoming sloppy using the crayons. I decided I wanted colored pencils ONLY. So I purchased five plastic shoe boxes from the local dollar store (one for each table grouping) and loaded them up with the colored pencils I had purchased this past summer when they went on sale for .25 a pack. Luckily I had asked for donations of colored pencils at the end of last year and got a TON (thank you Ms. Musgrave for that suggestion) and divided those up among the five boxes. I then added hand held sharpeners to each box (the ones that catch the shavings). Those were on sale at Staples this past summer for a penny each and I should have bought more. Ideally I would have three sharpeners per box but at the moment it is one (maybe two). Because there are so many colored pencils in the box I have not experienced any whining ("So and so has the only black pencil!") there has been some fighting for the pencil sharpe…

Weekly Lesson Plans

Monday
We kicked off our weather unit with a lesson on the layers of the atmosphere. Not technically a fourth grade standard in weather I still introduced it because the atmosphere comes up in our Astronomy unit. On the left hand side was a cloze note sheet that went along with a PowerPoint I made about the different layers. Students had to fill in as I went through the presentation. Students then watched a BrainPop on the subject. On the right hand side I had made a flip book for students to make and illustrate about the layers.

Tuesday
We discussed weather tools and their uses. On the left hand side there was a fact sheet about the basic tools that we read. I had a flipchart to go with it with plenty of pictures. I had samples in the class to pass around. On the right hand side students filled out an accordionfoldable where they had to list the tool, give its use, and draw a picture (to make the accordion foldable click on the "video" label on the right hand side menu. I did…

Weekly Lesson Plans

This was a short week because we had Monday off for Labor Day and I had a substitute because I was selected for jury duty on Tuesday (and we all know how we just love making sub plans...ha!...luckily it was only for the one day).
This is what we did for the week.
Monday (with substitute) - They started a mini science fair board in their notebook for an experiment that we did involving soda and different types of coozies (this is an example of how I abandon the right hand/left hand rule....I glued mini science fair boards on both the right and left hand side because we had done two experiments).
Tuesday - Group review of everything we had learned to date (lab safety, observations / inferences / predictions, qualitative and quantitative observations, scientific method, and variables). I explained that while we had filled out lab data sheets for our experiments we still needed to present our information in a more user friendly format (hence the mini science fair boards - I was trying to s…