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Monday, July 30, 2012

Happy Dance! 100 Followers!

     I am doing the happy dance...I have reached 100 followers! Woo-hoo! So, in honor of my accomplishment, I am giving away my newest "Superlative Science Signs and Labels". Please visit my TPT store when you get a chance, I am working on finding new followers for my store. Thank you!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Spiders and more...

Spider by Melonheadz

Check out my latest item... "Superlative Spiders"! This is the perfect packet to complement your favorite spider literature such as "A Very Busy Spider" or "Diary of a Spider". In this packet, I also discuss "Bottle Biology". A must have book for any classroom interested in science and biology!



Also, starting tomorrow, check out Kindergarten Lifestyle. Jeannie is celebrating 1000+ followers with a freebie frenzy! My Scientist Theme Classroom Set will be available for download for one week for FREE! Check it out!

http://kindergartenlifestyle.blogspot.com

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Science Notebooks

     All of my students, K-3 have a science notebook. When they fill one up, they get a new one. These are theirs to keep for reference and resources. We glue in any lab sheets (they are taught how to fold them and only glue one half of the paper so they can still open it and it does not stick out), foldables, leaves, different types of sand, soil, clay particles, etc. I also have small ziploc (snack size or smaller) bags, so they can put liquids, slime, etc in their notebook also. In the first few weeks of school, I pass out old science magazines, national geographic kids, or whatever I have on hand. They get to cut out pictures of what science means to them and make a collage on the front on their notebook. I then cover in it in clear contact paper or clear packing tape. They are so proud of their notebooks and show any guests who come in! Their favorite part is taping things in. I go through a lot of tape, but it is worth it. :) Every table has their own dispenser. I always start off with modeling my own notebook. Anytime I go to any science prefessional development or I am trying out a new experiment/investigation, it is logged in my notebook. We have tried binders, folders, spirals, and the best thing is the compostion notebook. Consider using science notebooks...it improves science inquiry skills and writing.


My science notebook...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

TPT Addiction Sale!

In honor of TPT being back up (may it neve leave us for that long again!), I am throwing a sale!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Superlative-Science


How many times did I check TPT yesterday to see if it was back up? Ummm...I don't think I want to count that high! 20% off of my store! :)

P.S. This is how I feel today!

Graphic of how I feel today by http://melonheadzillustrating.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scientifically Challenged?

Are you scientifically challenged? Well, I used to think I was! Science is... curiosity. If you have curiousity about things around you, then good news...you may not be scientifically challeged! I used to think, "Did I do any science this week?" And I usually answered no (yes, I talk to myself, don't you?). I answered no because I thought you had to be doing "The Scientific Method" to be teaching science. I was wrong. "The Scientific Method" is a neccessary evil that is tested on most standardized testing at some point, so I do cover it, but I am no longer obsessed with it. I wonder if astronomers or paleontologists ever wake up and ask themselves if they are doing "The Scientific Method?" I bet not. Nope, I bet they wake up and read about their curiosities and then go explore them. My purpose as a science teacher is to instill a love and curiosity about the world around us from a scientific point of view (and I do promote careers in science). First and foremost, this includes reading about the world around us. Actually, the scientific method is probably A LOT lower on my list (I just heard a gasp from the other science teacher at my school...sorry Alyson!). Well, in order make it easy for others to teach the neccessary evil, I put together this little packet. :)


                                                        

Monday, July 23, 2012

My Teacher Story {Linky Party}


Frogs and Cupcakes is hosting "My Teacher Story" link party... 

    
     My teacher story begins about seven years ago. For eleven years, I had worked for Publix (supermaket company in the southeast). I made great money (way more there than as a teacher!). My husband was also a manager for the same company and while money was good, the hours were crazy! Along came our daughter Madison, and I decided to take some time off and stay home with her. I stayed home from age 1 until she started kindergarten. I had all intentions on going back to Publix when she started first grade, but then I started volunteering. Volunteering led to subbing and subbing led to teaching. My degree is in business, but a local college had a summer program that led to professional certification for non-education majors. I have taught ESE self-contained, ESE resource, Kindergarten (my favorite grade!), and now Science (my favorite subject other than reading!). Although growing up, I never wanted to become a teacher, now I could never see myself doing anything else! I love teaching! If I won the lottery, I would still teach!  I feel blessed that I wake up every morning, excited to go to work. :) 

Unit Themes

This will be our second full year incorporating STEM into our school. We (along with three other elementary magnet schools in our district) were lucky enough to receive a federal grant to become a STEM school. However, this grant came to us with little to no instructions, ideas, etc. of how to even begin. Through long hours, days, weeks, months of work, we come up with what STEM looked like to us (and it is still evolving). Our school has specials (art, music, PE), but at a different time during the day we also have a STEM lab rotation. The students either go to the S.T.E. or M. for 50 min daily for 18 days at a time (I get every K-2 class twice a year, we have two science teachers) so that we can do problem and project based curriculum in the labs. So yes, most teachers have not one, but two 50 minute planning blocks a day. Our problem based units are extensions of what is going on in the classroom, so to help with consistency,we have four themed units (one for each nine weeks). First is Mystery Madness (based on the nature of science), Let's Get Physical (physical science), Out of this World (earth/space science), and Circles of Life (life science). Yes, we are science based. We start with science and go from there. :) Our kids are loving it! We are going from having little to no professional development to having more than we can attend. Because of the grant, we have been able to attend many conferences, and visit other schools. Out goes the 1980's style of teaching and in with 2012! I am so thankful for all of my new technology! Smartboard, doc camera, video camera, digital camera, ipad, new laptop, digital microscope, smartboard response systems, slates, and so much more!
Well, I have started working on items I thought our teachers could use for our first theme: Mystery Madness. Here is a classroom decor set... Please check it out!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mystery-Madness-Detective-Theme-Classroom-Set

Is anyone a teacher at a STEM school? Do you love it? What is STEM to you?

  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

"Scientist" Themed Classroom

Check out my latest item...
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Scientist-Themed-Classroom-Set

This set includes so much! From table numbers (2 different styles), to letters/numbers for word wall, labels, classroom jobs, passes, awards, journal labels, subject signs, and so much more!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Must Have Picture Books {Linky}




I love books! I couldn't resist posting my favorites! The Teacher Wife put together this great linky. All you do is post about your top 5 Must-Have-Picture-Books with a link to purchase them.

1. Drumroll please... "Epossumondas Saves the Day!" by Coleen Salley (my favorite of all time!)


It’s Epossumondas's birthday, so Mama's whipping up his favorite biscuits. But she's plumb out of sody sallyraytus (baking soda)! Everybody knows you can’t make big, fluffy biscuits without sody. One by one, Baby Gator, Auntie, and Mama scoot to the store to fetch some. But when no one comes back, it’s up to Epossumondas to run out and see what’s what--until he runs smack into a great, huge, ugly Louisiana snapping turtle! I won't give away the ending...but I tie it into my states of matter unit. Baking Soda + acid (we use vinegar) = BOOM! Don't forget to use your cajun accent when reading!








2.  "Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe" by Cathrene Vale Youngquist
I used this in my kindergarten class. Every year, we would do several versions of this story, but our favorite was always this one because of the caribbean dialect. I had a bridge we put up in my room and we would act it out for weeks! This is a GREAT read aloud!
The three Billygoats Gruff find themselves wanting treats on the other side of their island. However, to get there, they first must cross a bridge...a bridge guarded by Calypso Joe, the self-proclaimed "meanest troll dis part of de island." Joe demands a toll from the goats, warning of a "big problem" if it isn't paid. But Joe soon learns that he is the one with the "big problem!"


3. "Iggy Peck, Architect" by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

This is a great book if you are doing any engineering! Iggy has one passion: building. His parents are proud of his fabulous creations, though they’re sometimes surprised by his materials—who could forget the tower he built of dirty diapers? When his second-grade teacher declares her dislike of architecture, Iggy faces a challenge. He loves building too much to give it up!

4. "Newton and Me" by Lynne Mayer 
I love to use this book when teaching physics to the younger ones! It is a rhyming book about a boy and his dog, Newton, discovering the laws of motion. Very cute!

5. "The Lonely Doll" by Dare Wright. I used this book in kinderarten. It was one of our librarian's favortie books and she introduced me to it. There is also a great biography about the author for a good adult read. :) Amazon summary:
"Once there was a little doll. Her name was Edith. She lived in a nice house and had everything she needed except someone to play with. She was lonely! Then one morning Edith looked into the garden and there stood two bears! Since it was first published in 1957, The Lonely Doll has established itself as a unique children's classic. Through innovative photography Dare Wright brings the world of dolls to life and entertains us with much more than just a story. Edith, the star of the show, is a doll from Wright's childhood, and Wright selected the bear family with the help of her brother. With simple poses and wonderful expressions, the cast of characters is vividly brought to life to tell a story of friendship."

  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Creative Chemistry and more...

Wow...I feel like I have spent all weekend on the computer. And not blog stalking...actually working!
I have just added "Creative Chemistry" to my TPT store. Check it out: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creative-Chemistry-Chemistry-and-States-of-Matter-fun-for-primary-grades

While I was putting this together, I thought of several things that every classroom should have in their science center. Maybe you could add these to your wishlist. :) First, everyone should have at least one set of eyeloupes (only 3.99 at harbor freight). http://www.harborfreight.com/5-piece-loupe-set-98722.html
They are so much better than the little magnifying glasses that come in most science kits. Each one has a different magnification.   

Next, are digital scales. Also at Harbor Freight: http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-gram-digital-scale-97920.html. These are a little more ($11.99), but you will use them! We measure grow creatures, mealworms, other insects, and more.


Finally, microscopes. These are a little more costly, but so worth it!


 Have a great week!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bubble Fun!

I wonder...if I add food coloring to my bubble solution, will the bubbles be that color?


Can I make bubbles in different shapes? (The paper plate works a lot better than the wire!)


If I concentrate hard enough, will the bubble come out? Lol. My husband volunteers most Tuesdays during the school year. He not only helps me, but does a lot of landscaping and handyman work at our school! I have a wondeful husband. :) He even takes a vacation the week before we go back to school to help me get the lab set up.

Periodic Table

     On each of my six lab tables, I have a periodic table (glued on the table color's construction paper and laminated) that the students may use for reference. I start with my kinders, so that at least it is familiar and continue to teach more about it every year, so that by the time they leave me, they have a good understanding of the periodic table. I print them from the site below. You can also order the pictorial periodic table in poster size. This would be a great addition to your science center!


http://elements.wlonk.com/




Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lava in a cup...




     This is a great investigation or experiment for making predictions, states of matter, and so much more! For a investigation, follow the instructions below. For an experiment add a question: Does the type of food oil matter (try vegetable, olive, canola, etc.)? Would sugar or sand produce the same effect as salt? 


Procedure: Fill a clear plastic cup about 2/3 full of water, add 6-8 drops of red food coloring, slowly pour the oil into the cup (at this point, the oil will separate and float on top), sprinkle salt on top of the oil, and watch blobs of lava move up and down in your cup! Your own lava lamp! :)  



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"My Science Tools"


     I start out with my kinders learning how to use "their science tools" (their senses) to make observations, predictions, inferences, conclusions, and more. We work on mastering these skills before I bring out our lab tools: eye loupes, microscopes, stereoscopes, etc. I just added a packet of some activities we do in my TPT store.  Check it out... :)

Physics Fun!


Have you ever used marble runs to teach physics?
If not, you definitely should. I don't know who has more fun, the teacher or the kids! You can apply concepts of measurement, gravity, estimation, motion, force, systems, and the list goes on. All students K-5 can benefit from investigating marble runs. I use a rubric for their finished product, and I place them into teams. If I were doing this with 4th or 5th, I would do partners or individual projects. They have to make it out of recycled materials. I have recycle bins in my room and I have both parents and staff dropping off random things (toilet paper rolls, 2 liter bottles, pvc pipe, foam, wrapping paper rolls, etc.) throughout the year. This year, I was fortunate enough to receive plastic marble runs for the younger ones to investigate force and gravity with, before they built their recycle project. When you are planning physics for your class, consider marble runs...hours of endless fun and learning! 
 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Award...Thank you!


Kindergarten's 3 R's: Respect, Resources and Rants

Thank to you Michaele @  http://kidney-garden.blogspot.com/
                                           
who awarded me The Versatile Blogger Award! I am honored!




Rules of the award...

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to his or her site.
3. Include the award image in your post and/or blog.
4. Share seven facts about yourself.
5. Nominate other bloggers for the award, linking
to their sites.
6. Let those bloggers know they have been nominated.



My seven facts:

1. My degree in is business...this is my second career. My first career was being a Publix Manager!

2. My husband is a Publix manager.

3. I stayed at home for five years in between Publix and teaching when we had our daughter,

Madison who is now eleven, in middle school, going into 7th grade. Wow, time flies!




4. I love most all critters, and in junior and high school, I was really into FFA and I raised pigs!



5. I have the most handsome pekingnese in the whole world... "Lilo."


6. I would still teach even if I won the lottery...it is my passion!
7. I am an only child and my daughter is an only child.

 Blogs I am nominating:

Carla @ http://theshiningstaar.blogspot.com/

Mika @ http://howdoesyourgartengrow.blogspot.com/

Michele @  http://krazyinkinder.blogspot.com/

NicoLanier @  http://lanierlions.blogspot.com/

Erin @ http://elementaryadventure.blogspot.com/

Check these blogs out, they are fabulous! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Fireflies: Where did they go?

    
     I grew up in central Florida and as a child, we had plenty of fireflies.  We would collect them in jars and make our own lanterns. My husband grew up in a suburb of Chicago, but spent a lot of summer with family in Michigan. They also had a lot of fireflies.  Homemade glow sticks were a summer tradition. Yes, they would mush and smear the tail of fireflies all over sticks. 
     We are on our annual family vacation to the mountains and there are fireflies everywhere. This is the only place my eleven year old has ever seen them. We do not have any in central Florida or anywhere we have traveled other than the Smoky Mountains. So, of course, my curious child said…”Mom, where did they all go?”
     This is what I found… development and light pollution (yes, we have too many lights!). Humans are believed to disrupt firefly habitat also.  The more our population grows in areas, the less fireflies are seen.  Our open fields and forests are being paved over, and our waterways are seeing more development. Logging, pollution and increased use of pesticides may also contribute to destroying firefly habitat and natural prey.
I am working an a firefly unit and will post it soon!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Smoky Mountains

     On vacation, and of course, I am buying stuff for my science lab! We were in Savannah for the weekend and went to the Savannah Bee Company...It is the neatest place! I got the neatest book on how honey bees make honey and other interesting bee facts, "The Life and Times of the Honeybee."
The Life and Times of the Honeybee








Now, on to the Smoky Mountains to enjoy the outdoors!



A much needed vacation to the mountains...