Monday, June 23, 2014

More Technology Camp + an Updated Freebie!

My "Science Sentence Starter" freebie is one of my most downloaded products. Wellllllll, since it is so popular, I decided that it deserved a facelift and an update! (And don't worry, it is still free!) Here it is:

At least the cover is much cuter, right?? ;)

I updated the fonts and even added a little bonus activity.

Whenever I teach Technology Camp, I want the kids to have fun but I also want them to learn and have a great educational experience. On the first day, we discuss how we are all scientists and talk a lot about what scientists do. We also discuss how scientists share their findings with others. To introduce how scientists can speak with others, I use one of my favorite things--QR CODES!!

I made each sentence starter a QR code. The students use an iPad to scan each code and then record the sentence (if you use the recording sheet on the left) or a missing word from the sentence (if you use the recording sheet on the right).

(This also introduces the kids to using QR codes because most of them have not had experience with them before they come to camp.) They always LOVE this activity and it is WAY more fun that just reading the sentences together, one by one. After everyone has had a chance to scan and record, we then discuss each sentence starter and when/how we can use them. I print and laminate a copy of the sentence starters and display them for the rest of the week. We use the sentence starters in our discussions about our experiments/investigations and in our class discussions. Love them. Here are two examples of how students use them in their camp science journal:

Don't you just love "a little less than medium"??! Lol. Anywho, the sentences can really help scaffold their thinking and explain just what they are trying to say. Click below to download your free copy: 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Write the Room: Adjectives

Happy Sunday! I hope you are having a great one so far! I am just excited that my summer has finally slowed down long enough for me to tie up some loose ends and finally get back to blogging. I have lots of products that I have started but, due to various reasons, just haven't finished yet. Well, I am pleased to bring you a simple one that I made a few months ago to review adjectives with my kiddos:

Easy peasy, right? ;)

Check it out in my stores! Only $1.50!! :D

Have a great day!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Technology Camp 2014!

Howdy!! For the past two weeks, I have been teaching at a summer technology camp, which is something I commit to doing every summer. It is always a great time because I get to write the curriculum, I have a small class (usually less than 13), snacks are provided ANNNNDDD I have oodles of technology tools at my fingertips, such as iPads, digital cameras, laptops, software, and online programs. Click here to read about Technology Camp from the past few years.

For the past two years, I have taught the "Germs, Mold and Other Gross Stuff" camp to entering 4th and 5th graders. This year, the camp moved down to entering 2nd and 3rd graders. We do several awesome/yucky/disgusting/fun activities. Now, I am NOT one that actually enjoys gross and icky things; I am a germophobe and get grossed out VERY easily. However, there is something about teaching it that makes it tolerable! I cannot even explain it. So, here are our yucky activities:

Bird Poop Painting
Probably my most favorite activity! We do a little bird diet research, make a goopy model of the bird poop, and then paint with it.

The BEST part is that they learn how to make a QR code. The QR code is attached to the painting and reveals what the bird's diet is.

Drinkable Blood

Enough said. ;)

The Best Diaper Brand
We tested the two most popular brands of diapers to see which one would hold the most liquid. The result?? You'll have to scroll down to find out!
Couldn't fill up the diapers with just plain water..........we added yellow food coloring. ;)

We poured water in the diapers, 5oz at a time, until it couldn't hold anymore liquid.

That is one FULL diaper!

Huggies on the left, Pampers on the right.

And just for fun--this is what the polymer beads on the inside of a diaper look like. The kids were pretty fascinated with the texture of the beads.

And the winner--
Both diaper brands held about 50 ounces of liquid, but Pampers consistently held a little bit more each round. So, good to know--your baby can have about 50 ounces of pee in his/her diaper before you need to change it! I do not recommend this, however, because the diaper then weighs about 20 pounds!! (among a few other reasons, haha)

Booger Model
Ew. This one was a gross one. I'll just leave you with some pictures and move on.

I warned you about the grossness. ;)

Finally, we make a science journal and several little foldables about all of our activities on the computer. Those items are printed, folded and added to our "Germs" lapbook:

Inside the folder:

And I would be remiss if I didn't include pictures of my camp classroom! It is held at a local tech high school/college so I have no control over the set up. However, it was the right amount of space for the number of campers I had.

Also, this is in the makes:
Be excited. ;)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

QR Code Adventure: Animals

Happy summer! Hopefully, all of you are out of school by now!

So I made this product a loooooooong time ago and it just sat on my hard drive. And sat. And sat. Annnnddd sat. A few months ago I came across it and updated it. And then it sat some more. Then I came across it a few weeks ago and actually used it in my classroom. And then it sat some more. Well, I am proud to announce that I FINALLY posted the product!! :D Here it is:

Now, I originally made this with 4th graders in mind (back in 2012 when I was teaching 4th grade--told you it was old!). The product has evolved since then and I believe that it is now appropriate for 1-5th grade. (I can attest to using it in 1st because I successfully used it with my 1st graders!)

In this pack, students will read a description of an animal and use prior knowledge/evidence to make an inference about what animal they think it is. The animal descriptions include information about the animal's body and/or habitat, so you can also discuss what kinds of things the animal has in order to survive in its environment--perfect science connection. Here is a sample page (see if you can figure them out!):

And here is one of the recording sheets:

Looks like fun, right?! It is! Check out a preview and the product itself in my store:

Have a great Tuesday! :)

Monday, June 9, 2014

ANOTHER School Year in the Books.

Friday, May 30 was our last day of first grade--and what a year it was. I had some of the sweetest and smartest students I have ever had!

......I also had some of the MOST DIFFICULT and emotional students I have ever had. Ever. But, let's not dwell on that. Here are some highlights from my school year:

My Classroom

LOVE my classroom! I added some different things this year and even more throughout the year. Click here for a full tour.

Writing Center

My writing center got a HUGE makeover this school year. I added more paper, more supplies, and different resources to help the kids remember/use the writing process. Success. Take a closer look at it here.

Math Stations

I also completely changed the way we do math stations. What worked for my class last year did not work for my class this year so change was necessary. I LOVED it! Read about it here.

Thematic Units
This year I was finally able to take a multidisciplinary integrated approach to teaching. Penguins and plants were our big units this year! I wrote all about my plants unit here. Next year, I hope to have everything mapped out before the school year starts so that I am able to teach using a multidisciplinary integrated approach all year.


Poetry is hands-down my FAVORITE change I made this year. Last year, my class used poetry here and there and during our poetry unit. This year, poetry was a DAILY thing. And I LOVED it. And the kids LOOOVED it!

I even used this pocket chart and DIY stand to implement a poetry center for use during Daily 5.

I will be posting about our weekly poetry routine soon! :)

Phonics Groups

I also changed the way I taught phonics. Instead of a whole group lesson, I divided my class into 1 high and 1 low group and instructed them in those smaller groups. This allowed me to better work with my students both high and low. I really LOVED doing it this way.  Check out this post about my Daily 5 time to learn more about my small group instruction.

Well, time to get this day started. Upcoming posts:

-Poetry in action
-Technology integration
-The return of "Sweet and Simple Saturdays"