Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Post About Lunch Boxes...Yup...Lunch Boxes!


My favorite purchase I made last school year were these Easy Lunch Boxes. I was looking for a bento style lunch box that I could use to help put healthy lunches together (it is a goal of mine...sigh!). In my search I found these. I had a gift certificate to Amazon so I purchased a set...along with the little "mini dipper" containers (a friend gave me her silicon cupcake holders that she doesn't use..so I pretty much have everything in the first picture above).

I love love love them (and that is saying a lot for me to wax poetic about lunch containers!). I even wrote a review on Amazon (which I don't normally do).

What makes them different from other compartment containers? They are deeper...so wraps, salads, cut up anything fit in easily (right now I have a salad in mine for tomorrow with dressing and cut up fruit). They don't warp in the dishwasher at all. I like having all the compartment options (I'm a snacker so that works for me). The "mini dippers" fit in the box so no need to keep salad dressing or hummus in something separate from your lunch. They are sturdy (no flimsy plastic). They don't dye red when you are putting in leftover spaghetti AND they have a ton of lunch ideas on their website.

I did not buy the lunch bag because I already carry enough bags and this container fits into one of my bags I carry on a daily basis.

I thought I would pass on in case anyone was looking for an awesome lunch box container (I did not get any product for free this is a genuine "I love it" post...not that I am against getting anything for free :).


Guidance (Classroom Management) Ideas



I saw these two signs while in a school and I liked them both. They came from the school's guidance counselor. The first required that a student be able to mentally check off a list before they report bullying. I liked this because children often throw the word "bullying" out without really knowing how it is defined. The list she has posted helps (I didn't see the form that students were to fill in but it is on my list to find the next time I visit the school).  I thought this could be used in a classroom - particularly at the beginning of the year when talking about bullying.

The second made me laugh. I saw it in a kindergarten room and asked the teacher about it. She said the school's guidance counselor came and taught her little ones about the importance of people's "personal space". They had to demonstrate that they understood the concept of "personal space" to get the certificate. I loved the idea as a guidance lesson...so I thought I would share. Even if you don't have a dedicated guidance counselor (some counselor's are shared between more then one school these days) this might be a good beginning of year lesson for students. I'm not sure what she did in the lesson but when I am tracking down the bullying form I'll ask and post.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Powtoons - LOVE!



Here is my new favorite tech program - PowToon. It is a free animated video presentation tool that is very easy to use. I used it with groups of 5th graders who made a group presentation on the need for after school clubs at their school - see their full presentation HERE. I was so impressed with the student's work that I went home and made a "commercial" for our tech department as a way of playing with the site (the cat thing in the commercial is a running joke with our team so I had to work it in).

A couple of things...the website requires Flash so it can not be used on iPads (which was a bit of a problem because we have a 1:1 iPad program in our 3-5 classrooms). When we used it we booked the computer lab and used a few student laptops. The free version is limited but not so much so that it was debilitating. You can't download but you can work around it by uploading it to YouTube (an option under the free version) and then using a YouTube downloader to pull it off the site. 

We found the sound hard to deal with. You can record within the program and their help videos suggest recording BEFORE making the video but that didn't work for students (they need to see the video progress in order to record). We worked around that by using the free recording software Audacity and using the "snap screen" feature so students could record on one side while viewing the video timing on the other side. 

The educational pricing is very reasonable for full access (but you can also use the free version - which is what we used). 

If you have time between now and the end of the school year have students try it out!


Monday, May 11, 2015

End of Year Activity - Flextangle



video

I saw this "flextangle" activity on Facebook and thought I could modify it for academic content. In the example I choose WW2 (primarily because I recently worked with a Social Studies teacher and her standards were fresh on my mind). It was pretty easy.

The student would need to come up with 12 short facts about a topic and be able to illustrate it somehow (my illustrations range from good to poor but I was able to depict my thinking so really that is all that mattered). It could work with science as well as social studies. The end product is pretty small size wise which is why I recommend short facts.

A teacher friend of mine posted that - they actually demonstrate the math concepts of frieze patterns, reflection, rotation, and translation (here I was thinking they were just "cool" :).

The original post I took the idea from can be found HERE. This is also where you go to get the instructions for putting it together and the pattern. 

If you are looking for a fun independent project for students to do as you head into the home stretch of the school year this might be for you!