Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thank You!!!

I woke up this morning to find out that this blog has 501 followers. WOW! I remember being excited about my first follower and then my 100th follower (Shout out to Ginger Snaps!).

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to "follow" this blog. You give me the motivation to keep looking for and adding cool notebooking and school ideas.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Hallway Display - Social Studies

In an earlier post I noted that one of the two schools I work out have an inspection/assessment team coming in at the end of the month. I have been working with teachers and parent volunteers helping to get student work out in the hall and generally make our walls "pop" for visitors.

This is something I actually enjoy doing and I enjoyed it when I was a classroom teacher but I understand how time consuming it is. I spent many late nights at school putting together an awesome display only to replace it the next month. Time is definitely at a premium at this school and making wall displays is pretty low on most teachers lists (except the super crafty teachers and even they are coming in early, staying late, or working on the weekends to put something up).

This has got me thinking about displays that can be left up all year. I wrote about this earlier in regards to science wall displays. Now my focus has shifted to the social studies teachers. I thought it would be a good idea to put up a giant timeline in the wall and as events are studied students would add to the timeline (taking the students from the beginning of a time period to the end). I talked two of our Social Studies teachers into letting me put them up and they very generously loaned me some students to get them caught up to speed on their timelines.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Popsicle Project - Video Instructions Part II

This short (5 minute) video walks the viewer on how to put together the popsicle puzzle project. To see the tech part of it, please see an earlier video on the subject.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Popsicle Project - Video Instructions Part I

Here is a short video (4 minutes) explaining how to do the tech part of the popsicle puzzle project.

Popsicle Puzzle Project

I made the top popsicle puzzle project with my Girl Scout troop for Valentine's Day and started thinking that it could adapted for academic and notebooking purposes. So I put together a sample project (using both the front and back of the sticks) and showed it to several teachers. Many of them wanted to know when we could start working on it.

I liked it because it had a tech element to it (setting it up in Word) and the teachers liked that it could be used in just about every subject. I have a couple of classes lined up for after our state testing in May (we have four weeks after that till the end of the year). I'm making a rough guess that it will take four class periods to complete....and when you have four weeks to go to the end of the school year time consuming projects are appreciated :)

I put together two short videos that I will post explaining how the project is done both on the tech end and one the crafting end.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Moon Phase Box

I happened to walk into a fourth grade class the other day and they were hard at work making moon phase boxes. They were totally adorable and the kids were completely into it. The teacher very kindly let me take some pictures (thank you Mrs. Parker!) and add to my blog.

Students would need a shoe box and they need to cover the inside and inside lid with black construction paper. Using fishing wire they would hang a ping pong ball in the center of the lid so it is suspended in the center of the box. They then take a flashlight and trace the light end on one of the short ends of the box and then create viewing flaps in the middle of every side (including the one with the light bulb (but that might be slightly off center). It is important that the viewing areas are flaps and not cut directly out (you need to keep the light coming into the box blocked as much as possible).

The teacher used a box cutter to cut the flaps and flashlight hole for the children. I probably would have had students do the cutting and get a parent volunteer to oversee the safety of that station. I am a big believer in letting children do things like cutting (it gives them confidence and makes it easier on me :)

Once it is complete you put the lid on and put the flashlight in the hole. When you look through the viewing stations you will see the ping ball is lit up like the main phases of the moon (only four phases).

Seemed like a very doable project to add into an astronomy unit.

ELA - Tech Project - Idioms

Guess that Idiom

I know this is not a science post but I thought I would share anyway as many followers teach a lot of different subjects or know people who might be able to use a fun ELA idea.

Today I worked with a fifth grade ELA class rounding out their study of idioms. In an effort to better integrate technology into the classroom I came up with this cute and easy Guess that Idiom project using PowerPoint.

Students were given five idioms and had to use clip art to represent their idioms on one slide and then give the definition on the next slide. The students learned (or put into practice things they learned) about setting up a project and saving (not as second nature as you would think :)

We also talked about Google searches and how to narrow your search criteria by adding key words. For example, instead of typing in "Fit as a Fiddle" type in "Fit as a Fiddle Idiom."

The secondary ELA strategy we focused on in the lesson was paraphrasing. We discussed what it is, why it is important, and how to do it correctly (an important lesson in ELA when most children just want to copy the definition straight from the internet).

Our ELA blocks are mandated by the district at 100 minutes so we had a lot of time to work on the project. For people with less time I would definitely recommend allotting two class periods. Students who were done early were allowed to change the slide design and add transitions.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Brown Bag Animal Reports

I like the idea of using brown bags in the notebook. I think the original post was for younger children but I think it could easily be ramped up for an upper level group of children.
One fourth grade class at my school doing an animal research project in ELA (working in collaboration with what students are learning in science). I was thinking that the students could use index cards to take their notes while researching. They would use the note cards to write their paper in ELA but instead of throwing out the cards they could be "housed" inside these brown bags in their science notebooks.

Magnet Painting

Magnet Painting!
I know it was intended for younger kids but I know my fourth graders would love to do this. You could even try different magnets to see if you can tell the strength of the magnet by the painting that was made. Good way to incorporate art into science. Would also be a fun hallway display.
The idea came from THIS WEBSITE.

Moon Phases Plate

I liked this moon phase plate idea that I saw online. It is something I would do with a group of students.
We can occasionally see the moon at our school during the day but I think it would be better off going home with students...possibly as part of a moon journal activity???