Thursday, May 16, 2013

YouTube Science Songs

I asked to help a group of 8th grade teachers who were given iPads this year to come up with some science lesson activities that students could do using their iPads. They were studying the theory of Continental Drift. My first go to place was of course YouTube. There I found THIS SONG by Mr. Parr's (which the kids loved!).

It turns out that Mr. Parr has got a boat load of fun science songs that he put together for his 6th graders (so warning...some of the lyrics might be too advanced for elementary). To see a complete list of songs head to his YOUTUBE SITE.

The activity I had students do required that they listen (not watch) the song. I then gave them a print out of the lyrics (also found on YouTube) and they had to create a presentation (they used educreations) to illustrate and repeat the song back. This activity can also be done in Movie Maker Live or PowerPoint and is something I might try with an elementary class next year.

The lyrics can be glued into their notebooks as either a left or right hand reference.

Book - Unit Plans (Hoot)



Hoot is one of my favorite books to read with fourth graders towards the end of the year. It goes well with our study of animals and how humans impact the environment (and it has the added bonus of having a movie to show afterward!).

I talked a new fourth grade teacher into giving it a try (which turned out to be fortuitous because they are doing a birding day this week with a local birding group). We borrowed a class set from another school and checked out the book on CD from the local library as well as the movie (warning the word "dammit" is used in the book...I never noticed before but this teacher did...after the kids went "ooooooo" they got over it). While I was looking for some Hoot lesson plans online for her I came across a site that had an EXCELLENT Hoot unit plan. It was so good (they had sample pages online to view) that I purchased it for $20 (gasp!). I thought their questions and activities provided good higher order thinking questions (good practice for the upcoming transition to Common Core). It included chapter tests as well. Some of the items are "advance" (imagery, irony, symbolism) but definitely dobable. 

The teacher LOVES it and would definitely consider other purchases from the same site. Here in South Carolina teacher's are given state money at the beginning of the year (I want to say $200) and often grade levels have some money to spend. It would definitely be worth it to review the site and purchase other book units. The units are billed as "Middle School" units but they have books that we read in elementary school (i.e. Because of Winn-Dixie, Bud Not Buddy, and Tuck Everlasting to name a few). 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

End of Year - Fun Idea


I was looking for free end of year tech ideas on TeachersPayTeachers and I came across this fun idea. You make a Word document for each child in the classroom and then have each child in your class go into the document (centers or in a computer lab) and write a positive comment (what a great way to end the school year!).

The final version can be printed out and given to each child.

Activity can be found on this TeachersPayTeachers site - http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Graduation-Positive-Comments

Student Self Direction - Part II






A few weeks ago I wrote about a teacher who uses student self direction learning in her class every Friday - http://sciencenotebooking.blogspot.com/2013/01/student-directed-learning-form.html. Another teacher saw the post and has developed a game plan for next year and wrote about it on her blog (http://jessicaywinston.blogspot.com/2013/05/self-directed-learning.html). I really like her ideas and will be following her posts closely as she implements this great teaching idea (picture of her schedule above is from her blog).