Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Donor Choose - Grants


I was just recently awarded a grant through Donor Choose for science themed reading material for a classroom at our school. I was required to write a grant through a class I was taking as a final project (we didn't have to get it funded we just had to write and submit). Several of us in the class got our requests funded. Mine was flat out funded but a friend of mine got hers funded through a series of donations to the project (which is a great way to get parents involved by asking them to contribute a little bit to the materials you need).

For those educators who have not heard of Donor Choose it is a site where teachers can put up grant requests for their classroom. The entire process is very easy. The site walks you through everything step-by-step.

Some tips I would pass on are:

1. Put a picture up of you with your class (make sure photos are permissible of your students first). I think if donors can get a sense of who you are and your students you run a better chance of getting funded.

2. Work backwards. I wanted to get a grant for a science newsletter in the classroom but the site works with very specific vendors - none of whom carried the newsletter I wanted. I decided to look at the vendor sites first and then write my grant to match what I could get (in this case Time Magazine for Children for my writing/ELA class).

3. Write your responses in Word and copy into the blocks they give you. Save your Word document. I remember going to town the first time with my write up on the site and my computer froze and I lost everything and had to start from scratch (annoying!). I have used portions of my saved grant write ups with other non-Donor Choose grants this way.

4. Look at other grant requests for ideas. My problem isn't doing the write up...it is coming up with the ideas. Sometimes one project might trigger an idea for another project (I got "build your own telescopes" for an astronomy grant after seeing a grant request for something else related to astronomy).


Paper Pull Outs







I had seen a project on the internet that involved a pull out tab on a teapot and I have been thinking about how it can be used in notebooking. Today I had my "Aha moment" :)

I know my examples above are social studies based and that is only because I happen to be meeting with some social studies teachers this week. The concept would still apply to science.

One social studies teacher is entering a unit about westward expansion. I thought she could take the groups they discuss and students would choose a group (rancher, Native American, Asian immigrants, miners, etc.) to do a pull out tab person for their right hand assignment (my example was of a cowboy/rancher) - the fourth picture is what the back looks like. When finished the edges only would be glued to the notebook (leaving the tab to move freely in and out of the hat). Students would have to finish writing their information on the tab before the edges of the picture got glued in the book (very hard to write on the tab once it is already glued in the book...learned the hard way :)

Another teacher I am meeting with is doing a unit on explorers - so my two bottom examples were of a viking and Christopher Columbus ship.

I freehand copied clip art pictures on the internet because I can't draw at all. I did a Google image search for "viking clip art" and found a forward facing viking and freehand sketched it for this project.

I am hoping to convince these two teachers to do this project. If I am successful I will post some student samples!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Origami Tshirts


This class made origami t-shirts that they then decorated with items that represented themselves. They wrote about the decorations and how they fit into their lives in the computer lab (using Microsoft Word). The teacher took pictures of their heads and they were cut to fit the t-shirts.

I really liked this project. For this class it was a beginning of the year project but I could easily do it with a Social Studies or Science class. I would change the instructions to read: "Create t-shirt designs that match an event in history. Write about how your drawings match what we've studied in social studies."

The instructions for making the origami shirt can be followed from this Activity TV site.

Room Decorating Idea

I liked the wall decal and the fabric around the desk of this teachers room.

Hallway Display



I found out last week that I was assigned a bulletin board in the school for this month. I had seen a picture of a cute Facebook bulletin board that a teacher had done for her class and I essentially copied it :)

It was a huge hit in the school because of the interactive "status update". Parents, teachers, and students are encouraged to post updates throughout the week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Scratched Constellation Designs




I taught my constellation activity today. It didn't go as well as I hoped (Monday???). One class didn't finish. The other class did with lots of complaining (about coloring)!

I took an idea I found on the internet (see this site) and modified it for the class. I initially wanted to use the cards and hole punch like the website but my hole punches wouldn't reach far enough in. I saw this idea on the web and thought of using it as well but couldn't find any jumbo push pins.

I remembered an old Girl Scout craft where you colored one color underneath a darker color (crayons) and scratched out a design and thought that would work.

The students really had to color hard with both colors - yellow on the bottom and blue on top (hence the complaining). It did not work well with generic crayons (Crayola worked best). Time wise it took about 20 minutes for the entire class to finish. We scratched out the constellations using paper clips.

The right hand side of the notebook held the lyrics to a constellation song on YouTube. You can download the lyrics HERE. (The kids loved the song. We listened to it and sang it about five times). The left hand side held the finished scratched constellations.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Constellation Activity


I am teaching a fourth grade class about constellations this coming week and came across this adorable idea (picture above) from this blog.
Sadly I don't think I have time to do this activity with this class (the lesson is on Monday and today is Saturday) but I might run it by the teacher to see if we can make it happen.
Sharing the idea because it was just too darn cute not to :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pop Culture Points



A teacher in one of our district shared this YouTube video on letting children earn "Pop Culture Points" in the classroom. I love it! One of my favorite things about teaching is when a child comes in and has made a connection to what we are learning in class to what they are watching on TV, reading, or listening to.

We all know that making connections is powerful and helps students remember. This teacher now assigns points for it. I like what one of the interviewed children said, "It makes you think about learning when you aren't normally thinking about learning."

I saw this video a couple of days ago and really started looking for points of reference in the shows I watched. In this weeks Warehouse 13 the dangerous artifact was a pair of binoculars that were on the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. On Eureka the entire town was focused on an upcoming launch to Titan, the largest moon on Saturn. I thought both worthy of Pop Culture Points and related to content we teach at the elementary school level :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Unusual Spaces

This teacher has a very small room with not a lot of wall space. I loved that she thought out of the box and used her desk to have students make their lunch choices on. She put the students names on magnets and they move them over when they come in in the morning.

ELA - Beginning of Year Activity





This was an assignment I did when teaching one class of ELA in fourth grade. I stole the idea from a teacher friend of mine (thanks Jamey!). She used the book The Best Part of Me as the literacy tie in and had students write about the best part of them.

One of the third grade teachers in my school loved the assignment and had her kids do it the first week of school.

The first picture was a fourth grade example of this project and the second is a third grade example.

Third Grade - Title Pages and Safety Posters




Very excited to be working with one of our third grade teachers notebooking this year. It is my first time with the third grade curriculum (outside of my student teaching) and it is nice that the teacher will let me offer up suggestions and ideas for right hand assignments.

Above you will see some of the title pages student worked on and classroom safety posters (the safety posters also went into the notebook...those who finished early got to make larger posters for the classroom).

Tools - Notebook


In this 3rd grade class students are using notebooks for the first time this year. In this activity children learned about tools a scientist use on the left hand side of the notebook. On the right hand side students were asked to cut out and match up names and uses of each tool.

This was a pretty nice notebook example. Most of the other notebooks looked willy nilly (matched up appropriately but with not super neat cutting) but the children like the activity and we know that the students will get better with notebooking as they progress.

Measure Up Math






I liked this start of year math activity. It was done with 3rd graders. Student's learned how to measure their height using the floor tiles in the classroom. They then traced themselves on bulletin board paper and measured aspects of their cut out - waist, arms, neck, head, etc. The cut outs were then put out in the hall and made great wall decorations for our open house.