Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Science Penguin

Make sure to head over to "The Science Penguin" to check out my guest post! I love how Ari incorporates Daily 5 into science. "The Science Penguin" has great resources, check it out!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Critters in the Classroom

 
 
 
Head on over to Critters in the Classroom to check out my post on reptiles! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday's Training: Danny Brassell



     Yesterday, we had a guest at our school... Danny Brassell! He is fabulous! If you ever get a chance to see him, do it. He was so motivational...what a perfect way to start off the year! He is so funny...even our crabbiest teachers were laughing. :) He has a blog about books: http://www.lazyreaders.com/ where he gives book recommendations for every age and interest. He has also written several books and he has a dvd. We had a full day workshop with him and it was very informational, funny, and uplifting all at the same time. Check out his site:

http://www.dannybrassell.com/


Monday, August 13, 2012

Get Your Science On!

Don't forget about Teachers Pay Teachers back to school sale! Use code: BTS12 for an additional 10% off! Last night of sale. I have some great freebies and ready to use science packets. :)

       I am back to school this week for professional development, planning and getting my room ready. I will post pictures of the lab soon! Big Daddy is sad vacation is over. He has to leave his vacation home (my house!) and return to the lab to help with the kiddos.

A editable freebie for my friend who has been looking for all things gecko! https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BwO4fqwIC0ztWjFMUXhmbFZxSk0

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Budding Botanists

     Spring is not the only time to teach plants/life science. Fall is the prefect time to turn curious students into "budding botanists"! Use pumpkin seeds to learn about germination. Grow pumpkins, carve them, and reuse the seeds for next year!


My latest item has experiments and investigations you can use to teach about seeds and germination! And if you use back to school code: BTS12 today and tomorrow, you can an additonal amount off! Check it out!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Budding-Botanists-germinating-science-fun

Friday, August 10, 2012

Curriculum and Theme Integration Rant...


     UGGHHH! Could someone please send A little LOT of pixie dust my way? Pretty please! I have some ranting to do, so you might want to sit down and grab a glass of cup of coffee. Let us start off with some curriculum. Curriculum IS NOT a textbook. What? Did I hear a gasp? Well, hang on to your big girl (or boy) panties for my next statement. THROW your textbooks away! Well, not literally or you might owe your disctrict some money, but at least hide them in your closet on the top shelf. You will do yourself and your students a HUGE favor!
     Curriculum is not a textbook. Yes, I am going to repeat my self until everyone hears me. Standards should drive instruction, not textbooks. Textbooks are to be used as a resource, but do not limit yourself. There are so many resources available to us. If you are using a science textbook, I am betting it is already out of date. And with all of the amazing children's literature out there, why on earth would you want to read the same stories over and over again in your basal reading textbook? Remember, if you are not having fun, they are definitely not having fun.  And math...for the benefit of our economy's future, let's teach them skills they will apply in the real world. Teach about the stock market. An awesome resource, along with some healthy competition for learning the ins and out of trading is: http://www.weseed.com/. Why not let them open a store? Sell school supplies, student made projects, candy... Let them develop a business plan, marketing, and open a store. My final plea...do not let the textbook teach your students. You teach your students! If you are not familiar enough with your content, use textbooks only as a resource while you educate yourself (yes, the internet is our friend). We, as educators, should be keeping up with current strategies, trends, and constantly continuing our education.
     Theme integration...is it difficult? If you have ever taught kindergarten, then no. That is how we teach! For others, I don't think it should be difficult, but it seems to be. Each of our nine weeks have a school theme based on science standards because we are a science focused STEM school. Our first unit is "Mystery Madness". In kindergarten we always start out with the nature of science and senses. Last year it was really segmented and not very much fun. We taught the senses, sense by sense, with little mysteries along the way, but we weren't excited about it. So do you think they were very excited about it? Probably not. This year, I came up with "Mysteries of the Wild"...teaching the nature of science and the senses as wildlife biologists. I have ordered safari hats, binoculars, a wildlife camera, and more. We are so excited about this unit! We have picked all of our literature and math based on wildlife. It is going to be so much fun! Theme integration (with a science background) is not reading a science reader during small group. How do you help someone to write a theme integrated unit that doesn't get it? Ughhh...frustrated.
Okay, I will wrap it up for today, but more I am sure will follow soon. :) Forgive me for any grammatical errors. I type fast and furious when agitated.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wildlife and room design...


     Well, I have been working long hours the past two days at school and I am not officially back unitl next week. There is just so much to do and I have put it off all summer! Bad news...I still have a long way to go in the lab. Good news...my principal approved the purchase of a wildlife cam! Does anyone have one of these at school or home? I have been googling and searching...I don't know which one to get. I haven't gone the hunter route and checked out the cameras they use, but I am heading over to the Cabela's right now. Kindergarten is starting the year with "Mysteries of the Wild" as wildlife biologists. I have ordered safari hats and binoculars. On campus, we have hawks, foxes, possums, and the occasional owl, so I thought it would be great to have a camera in a tree to capture what we don't see!
                                                                                                               

Now, I need some classroom design help...
Do I go straight with my lab tables?















Or angled?


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Summer is ending... :(



     And so it begins... I need to arrange my tables (trying to decide angled or straight?), do my bulletin boards, redo some stuff on my walls, make a new so valance for my ugly blinds, reorganize cabinets and closet (which is huge!), set up everything electronic, clean tanks, set up critters (that are at my house for the summer), and finish units for first and second grade for the first 18 days of school. Only ONE week of summer left... :(
     My wonderful hubby started working on my bulletin boards! He put up the black material and layered my borders just like I wanted (and he does a much better job than me!).  I am going with black and white (dots in bloom-creative press) with a touch of color. My wonderful daughter put my new label maker to work and started labeling my cabinets. I want everything organized and labeled! Teachers grade K-3 come in once a week for an open lab time and I want supplies handy for them. I also try to maintain supplies for experiments they do in their classrooms.  

     Tables on an angle or not? I might try them straight. Last year, I had them like this and it took me a little while to get use to them (I like straight lines), but I ended up liking the arrangement. I am so not ready for summer to be over!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mysteries of the Wild and insomnia...

What to do when you can't sleep? Work on school stuff and blog! I just finished our first kindergarten unit for the lab...see below! It will be going in my TPT store shortly...  



This is a unit that I do with my kindergartners in the science lab. I do have quite a few lab pets and we have great local wildlife. Please adapt to your local wildlife. The kids love this unit! I purchased safari hats and binoculars for them and we fully immerse in our role as wildlife biologists! We are a STEM school and our unit is fully integrated. They do math, reading, writing, social studies, and science in their classrooms also based on this theme. Our school focus for the first nine weeks in “Mystery Madness” and our kindergarten spin on this is…”Mysteries of the Wild” There are so many great books and songs to go along with this unit at the beginning of the year. My favorite books are the Epossumondas” books (4) by Coleen Salley.  We also do a lot of bear hunting! We go on a school wide bear hunt to introduce the campus and staff to the students. We love Dr. Jean’s Bear Hunt song. And the best bear book, “The Very Cranky Bear” by  Nick Bland.  And for you techies…there are great ipad apps for the books above. J