Monday, October 24, 2011
A teacher friend of mine is entering a week of the water cycle with her students and I put lyrics to one of my favorite Bill Nye songs on the Water Cycle this morning for her. The embedded video is above but the direct link to the YouTube can be found HERE.
This is her schedule for the week:
Monday - Water Cycle Introduction
Tuesday - I have them in the computer lab using Smart Art in Word to create a Water Cycle flow chart
Wednesday - They are doing a cut, match up, and paste activity in their notebook
Thursday - They are doing a couple of water cycle experiments
Friday - Students are taking a quiz and watching the Magic School Bus Water Cycle video
The kids are excited about the week but I think more because they get off for a week's fall break on Friday :)
Friday, October 21, 2011
I happened to be in a friends room who notebooks in Social Studies and noticed her notebooks on the shelf. I love love love that she put colored duct tap on the binding to, not only secure an area that typically starts falling apart, but allows for easy identification.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
In my experience there are three kinds of students - ones that finish an activity on time (yay!), ones that you have to push to finish an activity on time (boo!), and the ones that finish early (YIKES!).
I have been helping a friend who just started notebooking and teaching fourth grade science and those early finishers have been problematic (mainly because they start bugging everyone else who is still working :)
We recently devised the "poster project" for students who are done early. Basically we set aside a part of her wall for these posters (in this case her cabinets as pictured above). Students who are done their assignment early are asked to contribute a poster to the wall. It has to be subject specific (so no random pictures!). The other day she did weather tools and the kids who finished early had to draw and label a poster of their favorite weather tool (she uses regular paper and the kids have to mount it on colored construction paper and put it up on the wall....which they LOVE to do). She was working on weather safety the other day and if they were done their notebook assignment they had to make, mount and post a weather safety poster.
I've been grooving on this idea to the point I think we need to set up a poster supply area for these children so that crayons, markers, construction paper, glue, and tape for the wall are all in one "ready to go" to area. We only get at most five to seven children who might be done early (and they don't necessarily have time to finish their poster - if they are not finished we keep them in an "unfinished poster" file and if they are done something else early they can go back to it.)
If you are short of wall space you could always put the posters out in the hall under "What We Are Studying in Science" header.
Another reason why I like this idea is under our observation rubric we must have student work on display. This activity pretty much guarantees that we have met that objective (another YAY!).
Earlier I wrote a post about an origami shirt - see post here. I had my Girl Scouts do the activity as part of an energy badge we are working on. The girls had to make an energy pledge and depict it on the shirt. My example is pictured above.
Sadly the girls pretty much copied my example (isn't that the way it always is????). Next time I think I would do a better job of discussing different things we can do to save energy and NOT show them an example.
I thought this might be a fun activity for teachers to do with Earth Day in April (not necessarily with energy). Students can brainstorm all kinds of different ways they can help protect the Earth.
I showed the shirts to a friend of mine and she used them in her ELA class. Students had to investigate their name - interview their parents, look up the meaning of their name online, discuss how they felt about their name. They then wrote up a short piece in Word and glued it on their origami shirt and decorated around it (she used large pieces of construction paper). It looked like a fun project and the kids seemed to be enjoying it.
I thought it could be done in a social studies notebook. Students could draw a scene from whatever they were studying, glue it in the notebook, and underneath write about the scenes.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Composter as Advertised on BuyLifetime
A grant that I wrote up a month ago was just approved (Yay!). The local grant committee surprised us today with a balloon and novelty check for $500.
I will be working with two fourth grade science teachers integrating composting into the curriculum. The grant covered the cost of two tumbling composters (see compost tumbler video here) and child friendly composting books from Amazon for both classes.
We will be composting pumpkins after Halloween and poinsettias after the holidays. These are two items that always find their way into the trash after the holidays. I felt both of them can be easily composted thus eliminating landfill waste. The students are excited about it and are already wondering if decomposing pumpkins make orange compost!
I have never done this project before and I am hoping that we have useable compost in both bins by mid to late May. I want to write another grant that provides students with a pot and plant where they can use the compost to plant their own plant to take home at the end of the school year. Wish me luck!
Monday, October 17, 2011
About an hour after I made my last post, where I uploaded an embedded YouTube video, I made one of the popup cube wallets. It wasn't that hard. I probably wouldn't have any grade below 4th try it. It would be great if I can get our art teacher to do it with the kids (not sure if he would be willing or not). That way they can work on what goes on the cube in science class. I would like it to be a little bit bigger but I am thinking that I can enlarge the template on the copier. You definitely have to use card stock paper for both the cube and wallet for stability purposes.
Above is a short (30 second) video of my finished cube.
The website for the PDF templates can be found HERE. Scroll down until you see the Pop Up Cube in Wallet video and just below it are the templates.
I introduced Scoot to two groups of fourth graders today. I video taped the lesson above (and can I say how much I dislike watching myself on tape? Sigh!). The intent was to give folks a visual on how the review game is structured.
I got very lucky with this class. There were only 14 children (five were pulled out for resources so there is actually 19 in the group). They were very good and got the hang of it easily. I gave them an easy Scoot - Abbreviations and Initials so they felt pretty confident going from question to question. The teacher videoing me LOVED it and can't wait to see me do it again with her class on Wednesday with pronouns (we are co-teaching a unit on the eight parts of speech).
I also introduced it to her afternoon class. That would have been more amusing to watch :) They were lower academically and made so much ambient noise that I had to stop several times to get children to refocus. The music seemed the biggest problem...distraction wise...they loved it but got a little crazy dancing and bouncing into each other after they answered the question. I am going to try it again on Wednesday. It may be that I need to choose less energetic music for that group. The first group was certainly dancing (which you will see in the video but nothing like that second group!).
After playing it twice my biggest problem personally was how much paper it wasted. I think I would get paper out of the recycled bin next time and cut it into thirds to reduce the paper waste.
Friday, October 14, 2011
I was introduced to a game called Scoot today through a teacher at my school (thank you Ms. Perry!).
She found the game through proteacher.net - Here is the link to how the game is played
I watched it being played today with second graders. Ms. Perry had printed out task cards from proteacher.net that a teacher had posted having to do with place value. The cards asked a question and gave the student three multiple choice options.
She had the students number a piece of paper with however many students were in the room (in this case 23). At each table she put a numbered task card. The child would start at whatever number their task card at their desk was marked at (so if I was in spot 19 I would start my answers at number 19 on my numbered sheet). Students stood behind their chair (tucked in) and when told they flipped their task card over and answered the question (the teacher played music during this). She stopped the music and told everyone to "Scoot" to the next number on their list to answer the next question.
When they finished at every desk they reviewed their answers.
I thought it was a really fun review game that got the kids up and moving (I can't wait to try it!). I spent some time looking through proteacher.net and found a teacher that had a lot of science task cards that are pre-made and can be downloaded from proteacher (free registration and free download).
Here are some links to those task cards:
I think the game would require some modeling and I found some easier tasks cards for that (abbreviations and initials looked like a good one to start with).
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
At the end of the Bill Nye videos he always has a fun song that goes with the episode. You can find many of the songs as stand alone videos on YouTube.
This came in handy because today I am teaching a lesson on layers of the atmosphere and found a song from his Atmosphere video on YouTube titled "Fresh Aire." I really wanted to remix it and put the lyrics on the video (so the kids could sing along and see how the lyrics matched the lesson). The first thing I did was found a site that has all the Bill Nye lyrics posted used my YouTube downloader (see instructions here) and downloaded the song. I then imported the video into Movie Maker Live and used the caption feature to put the lyrics on the different frames (cutting and pasting from the lyrics site into Movie Maker Live). I saved the video and reposted to YouTube so other teachers could use the video with lyrics (the finished video is posted above).
The process was pretty easy and I am thinking about doing it for more of the Bill Nye songs. My favorite is the "Jump Jump" version of the water cycle.