Thursday, May 31, 2012

Soil Science Activities

 I'll admit it...I have not done the best job with teaching my soil unit this year.  Soil is our final science unit of the year, and it often gets pushed aside until after state testing.  Once testing is over, we have remediation and retests!  What I have been proud of is using Discovery Education's Science Techbook as a way to engage students in what many would consider to be a boring subject.  I also tried my hand at a few foldables that we glued into our science notebooks.  We did one on the layers of soil and a second one on the types of soil.  I'm very pleased with how they turned out!

Of course, my students' favorite part of our soil study was when we had this yummy treat to see (and taste) the layers of soil.  We used an Oreo at the bottom of a small cup to represent bedrock.  Next we crumbled up two Oreos to represent the weathered rocks that are present in subsoil.  Finally we added a large drop of chocolate pudding to be our dark, rich topsoil.   The students enjoyed eating their soil while we created our flipbook notes on the individual layers.   I have also heard of teachers making dirt cake with gummy worms as a way to show the components of soil.  Anytime food is involved,
students will pay attention!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer Make-Aheads

 I love to get ahead over the summer...or at least I'd like to think that I am getting ahead!  One thing that I do get done in advance is birthday cards for my students.  I make these easy foldable cards in advance for student birthdays during the year.  We pass the cards around, and every student gets to sign or write a message inside.  I also make gifts for the students using tissue paper, paper towel rolls, and ribbon.  The gifts are filled with candy, pens/pencils, erasers and stickers.  The students have to take the gifts home before they can open them-this helps in case two gifts are not exactly the same-but I tell them that it is so the gifts can be a surprise.  I love to find little things in the dollar section at Target (5 crayon-shaped erasers in a pack, sheets  of stickers, packs of fun pencils).  Stores like Staples also have clearance sections where you can find deals!
 The cards are made from 12 x 18 sheets of construction paper.  The paper is folded in half, and then half of one half is folded.  I cut two 3 1/2 x 9 rectangles from a different color of construction paper and glue those pieces on so that the closed paper looks like a square (which is supposed to look like a present).  Punch two holes, tie a ribbon for a bow, add a tag, and you have an inexpensive gift that your students will love!!!

I'd love to know what other projects that teachers make ahead of time over the summer.  Please share!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Forgot to Mention...

For the world maps, I just used a template of the continents that I already had.  The paper plates were the oval ones by Chinet, and then we painted them blue before adding the continents and labels.  Enjoy!

A Bit of Sharing

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Woo-hoo, a day off!!!! There is so much that I want to accomplish today, one of which is a blog post. Of course, my day started with perusing Pinterest, and I found this great idea! In yesterday's post, I mentioned that my classroom library books are falling apart. This idea for a "Book Hospital" basket originally came from the two sisters at The Daily Cafe. I found this picture and a link for a free template at Mrs. Bremer's Kindergarten.
Genius, right? Now I will have a place to keep those books until I get around to fixing them. Love it! Hope that everyone has had a wonderful weekend. Please keep all of our soldiers in your thoughts and prayers, today and every day!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Summer Reading List

I have seen many blog posts with Bucket Lists-such a cute idea! There are definitely a few things that I hope to accomplish this summer: finishing a dress for Corinne, continuing to get to the gym, ride my bike more, and work on this blog design. The thing that I know that I will do the most of this summer will be reading! I recently downloaded a Kindle app to my phone, and I love the convenience of always having a book with me. On my phone, I am in the process of reading The Hunger Games, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, and a book on canning (whether or not I do any canning depends on our garden). In actual books, I am reading a biography of Dave Grohl (love the Foo Fighters, and I saw Nirvana in concert back in 1994), and Moon Women.
I love to use Paperback Swap to trade out real books for free (just shipping costs at Media Mail rates). I have a huge library in my classroom, but I am in need of new books. The ones I have are falling apart! I've been considering writing a grant to obtain some iPads, but I think that I may try something smaller and get an updated library! My daughter's library is in no need of being updated-I am a sucker for buying books for her!
I'd like to think that I have the summer off from teaching, but I will be busy working on helping my rising kindergartener with her reading!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Hip to be a Teacher

Me, hip? Hardly, but I liked the flow of the title. I consider myself a geek and/or dork, but not a nerd (I really have to create my own personal definitions of those terms). I have spent weeks trying to come up with a catchy title for a blog, but nothing was working for me. My husband and I are HUGE fans of a Canadian band called The Tragically Hip, and so the title was born. I have recently become obsessed with blogs, and I have been itching to start my own. To be fair, I have to admit that this is not my first attempt at blogging. I wrote a blog a couple of years ago focused on my daughter, but I let it go when it felt like I could accomplish the task of sharing her antics through Facebook. I also keep a blog on my classroom website, which is convenient, but I would like to replace it with something that could reach a larger audience.A little bit about me...I guess I could now be considered a veteran teacher since I started my career in 1995. Yikes! I have spent most of that time teaching third grade, which is still my current position. I am that teacher that goes to every training/staff development that is offered, so I feel like I know a bit about a large number of topics. I am currently working on my master's in instructional technology, a program that I LOVE!!! I am blessed to teach in a district with a focus on technology, and this degree just feels right. My goal of this blog is to challenge myself to do more, to share what I am doing, and to learn from others. Like the song says, "That's what it's all about," right???Here is my classroom website in case you want to check it out!