Thursday, March 19, 2009

Notebook Activity - LIGHT


Students made these transparent, translucent, and opaque cards as part of their right-hand notebook assignment (left hand side was information that we had read and highlighted earlier in the lesson). Students had to make the cards (we used extra laminating film for the transparent, wax paper for the translucent, and black construction paper for the opaque). They had to write down the name and definition, using the left hand notebook reading.
They got to play around with them with a flashlight before taping the top edge of each card to their books for future reference.
Differentiated Instruction - Have all materials on trays for each table. Model how to make the cards. Write what they are to put on the card on the board. Model how to share one tape dispenser (I had students peel off four peices of tape and stick to their desk and then pass it around so by the time it got back to the first person they were ready for the next group of four - this REALLY cut down on the arguing). Teach the first people done how to tape into the notebook and have them go around helping you.
This can be adapted to a three ring binder. Print out the information about the three types of material on one side and have them tape their completed samples on the other side.

Title Pages - More Examples


Here are examples of our light and electricity title pages. Students were told to use their science textbook to draw some very specific items (page number and item to be drawn were marked on the board). This helped serve as a "book walk" for the unit. I very rarely use the textbook, but this activity does provide students an opportunity to look through the chapters that are related to the unit at hand.
You will notice that in the bottom example the student had not spelt "light" correctly. I tend not to make a big deal out of those things because as a mother of a teenage boy I love looking back at my son's work from this grade level and seeing his development. My favorite gift he made for me was a flower pot that says "Huges and Kisses Always".

Tape in the Notebook


I have a shoebox full of tape (buy when they go on sale). I use tape to put things in the book that need to be lifted, or anchored down quickly (glue takes a while and very rarely can fourth graders keep it from leaking out around the edges causing the pages to stick together).
These pictures are examples of things that need to be lifted because there is information on the back page that would get "lost" if I glued in. They came from a book I have and were relevant to the lesson being taught. I really didn't have a place for them to be "stored" so I had the students tape the side edge to their notebook. Technically this is not considered a good "right-hand" assignment (other then coloring and reading the students aren't being asked to reflect on any material in the lesson). I play that rule loosely in situations like this. The left hand assignment had notetaking and drawing involved so students were more engaged with the material on that side in this particular example.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Colored Pencils - End of Year Suggestion


I substituted at a school once where I needed to borrow colored pencils from another teacher to complete a project. She handed me a tub similar to the one pictured above full of colored pencils. She said that at the end of each school year she asks students to donate any unwanted color pencils to the box. She said you would be surprised how many you collect doing that.
She keeps the tub out when doing projects and students can borrow from it.
I did not do that last year (crazy year!) but will definitely do it this year to start my collection. While we require students to have colored pencils the reality is that they never have them when you need them.
As stated in an early post, colored pencils are preferred in the notebooks over markers (they bleed through) or crayons (wax makes it hard to write over it if you are taking notes or need to label something).
Occasionally I will need crayons and markers so I can see myself getting a few bins and having students donate those as well as pencils and red pens at the end of the year.
DISRUPTIVE STUDENT IDEA - I have a couple of early morning disruptive students in my homeroom class. They love to help and I actively look for jobs for them to do to keep them occupied or better yet out of the class :) I can see sharpening pencils (both plain and colored) might be a job I'll add to my list next year (I never let them use the electric one...too fast...they get the hand held pencil sharpener to slow down the work).

Inexpensive Glue


I apologize for not writing more. Unfortunately we suspended science for a couple of weeks in our classroom, at the end of a unit, in order to practice for our state writing exam, which students took yesterday. I am happy to write that we are back to science and started our unit on light, electricity and magnets. Students worked on their title page yesterday and will finish up today on our modified schedule after the second part of the state test is given.


Today's post is about inexpensive glue. As a notebooker I have gone through TONS of glue, so much in fact that I joined Elmer's Glue Crew for recycling glue bottles - and extended it school wide.


I tend to buy glue when it goes on sale at the beginning of the year and generally have 4 bottles in my supply bins for each table grouping (I have five table groupings). I was hoping that would last the entire year but sadly it has not. I ran out of school money in our classroom budget and was faced with buying glue refill at Staples for $20. Luckily I ran into another science notebooker in our district, Donna Moore - 7th Grade Science, and she discovered that Lowes sells Elmers Glue All in their paint department for approximately $10. I ran out immediately and purchased two jugs of it. Next year I will put glue bottles on my school supply list for students (I didn't have any input this year so glue sticks reign supreme in our environment, which don't work as well in notebooks because of the drying out factor).
I cut the top off of a plastic water bottle and had my classroom volunteers use it as a funnel to fill my empty bottles.