Monday, December 17, 2012

The "R" Word...

In light of my previous post - I am vowing to come back in my second semester with a vengeance. I am going to be on here stalking blogs and writing posts like nobody's business!

As we wrap up this first semester - one word comes to my mind: REFLECTION. Ahh. It's either a teacher's best friend or worst enemy. In my case, it's definitely my best friend. I used to think that reflection was a time that I could look back and snicker, scoff, and feel bad about all of the decisions that I made that were less than mediocre. Now I realize that reflection is a necessity for ALL teachers, no matter if you've been teaching a year or twenty years. Being a teacher is all about growing - and yes. LEARNING. If you want to be a better teacher, then you need to reflect. If you're already a better teacher and you want to stay that way, you need to reflect. Even if it means you have to look at things that you did and say: "Well huh. That probably wasn't the best idea. I think I'd better come up with something better for next year." That's difficult to do and keep a positive attitude! Especially if you say that about everything that you did! But alas, you must press on.

For me, the reflection of my first semester in my very own classroom is a difficult one to face. I spent the first two and a half months miserable sick from my pregnancy. And so my grandiose dreams of having each and every lesson planned out from the beginning inevitably failed. They would have failed even had I not been sick. Lesson learned: It is impossible to plan out months and months worth of lessons before you know who your students are and  how they will progress.

After my sickness wore off, I spent too much time wishing I had done things "right" the first time around. Next lesson learned: There is no "right" or "wrong" way to teach. The only "wrong" way to teach is to assume your students will all "get it" the first time you teach it and then to assume it's ok to plan way, way ahead without taking into consideration the reality: they will NOT all get it the first time around!  I am constantly afraid that I'm doing it wrong. I really need to work on being more confident as a teacher. And I am starting by reflecting!

My struggle now lies within the delivery of the content of what I'm teaching. Am I correct when I justify lecture-type lessons by saying that for some things, there is no other way to get the material into students' heads? Are the students gaining anything from the supplemental activities that I have them do? Do they enjoy science? What can I do to make it better? And the BIGGEST struggle of all time - How can I incorporate quality questions that are authentic in nature? Gee whiz - that's the kicker right there. It is SO DIFFICULT to do this!!! Quality questioning that leaves students still talking about it weeks and weeks later. I know I have lots and lots of growing room in this area. LOTS. and LOTS. LOTS.

This is my rant. I just needed to get this in writing so that I can see exactly what I am facing within myself. I know there has to be other teachers out there - first year or experienced - that are likely going through the same thing.  Being a teacher is more than just showing up and teaching. It's reflecting and improving and learning and growing and more learning.

Here are some of the things that I know I want to improve over the next few months in my science classroom:

  • Science Journals - I need to use these not only more often, but more importantly, more purposefully. Students need to understand the true importance of the journals and I need to put more emphasis on them. More scientific writing, more foldables, more tangible evidence of learning. That's what we need in my room.
  • Daily Discoveries - These are quick, attention-grabbing brain teasers that get the brain moving first thing when students come in. I'd like to implement these on a more consistent basis. My students ask about these if we don't have them and lately, we have had more days without them than with them. Sad face.
  • Multi-Subject Integration - More reading and writing, please! Especially in science, where writing about what's being learned can definitely help students understand and organize their thinking. I gotta read more on this. I am the queen of clueless when it comes to trying to incorporate writing into science. I found an eBook that definitely seems promising, thanks to Ari over at The Science Penguin that I will definitely be checking out. I also found a big fat list of science-related trade books that might just be the ticket to bringing reading into my science classroom.
  • Daily/Weekly Assessment - I need to really find a structured way to assess my kids on each one of the learning targets that I teach. I have 72 students since I am departmentalized, so this is very intimidating to me. I will be stalking you teacher bloggers out there for guidance!
  • Confidence. This, I think, will be the pivotal factor in my second semester. I need to get to a point to where I feel 100% sure about what I'm teaching, how I'm teaching it, and how I need to assess what I'm teaching. I think that will come along with more and more practice and time in the classroom. And checking off the aforementioned goals! These are certainly not unrealistic goals by any means.
That is enough of me, me, me and my reflection for the year. I think it's good to reflect. You should dedicate a post on your blog to your reflection, too! It's very refreshing! I'm not sure how helpful this was for anyone out there, but maybe in the least - I provided solace for any other teachers out there that might be struggling with the same things within themselves.

Keep Calm and Reflect On!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary

We can't even begin to understand why something like this can happen. My thoughts and prayers are with these families throughout this unimaginable tragedy.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

So Little Time

And so many fun lessons to teach and talk about. This school year has zipped by me. Completely. I have totally and inexplicably neglected by blog. I have no excuse other than I'm pregnant. And a school teacher.

With that said, I am so sad that I have neglected bloggy land throughout my first year as a teacher. I have to be honest and say that science isn't really what I ever imagined myself teaching. And I'm still struggling to come to terms with the fact that I am really not that great at it...yet. I also struggle finding other teacher blogs that solely focus on science. I have a long way to go in order to feel confident about teaching science, but I have been proactive for next year. I have organized my files and lessons into two categories: Keepers and What Were You Thinking-ers. And then I added a category: Things I Should Have Thought to do Before!!

I am wrapping up my unit on light right now and I have to say that this is definitely the most challenging material I have ever taught - even when I was creating lessons while I was still in school. This material is HARD. There is no mistake about it! It's just very hard. And these kids are in FIFTH grade! I love that their little minds are already soaking up material that is this complex.

I just uploaded some good stuff to my TpT page that might help any science teachers out there that are also struggling with this material. You can click here to check it out. Shortly, I will also be posting a Bingo game that will be a great assessment tool in addition to a great review tool to use before a comprehensive assessment. Here's a little peek:

Here's a tip: making a Bingo game is a big pain in the rear, so please don't waste your time and go buy mine! :) It will have all of the directions, all of the questions, and 18 different game boards needed to be able to play this game.

Hope to be back before or during Christmas break with some fabulous finds or creations. Happy Holiday Break to all of you fabulous teachers out there!! 5 more days!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cell Organelle Facebook Pages!

So last week I talked about my cell unit that I've been working on with my fifth graders. I mentioned something about posting a "Pin the Organelle on the Cell" game. Well, the more I thought about that, the worse it sounded as a good idea. You see, that game wouldn't tell me whether or not the kids knew the functions of the organelles - only that they knew how to determine what they looked like on a cell diagram. I needed something better - something that showed me that they understood the entire concept. That's where my friend Google came in. I literally just Googled "cell organelle activities" and clicked on "images" (I am a very visual person and I hate reading a whole bunch of stuff). I saw a cell on a Facebook page and I knew right away that Cell Organelle Facebook pages were genius. Unfortunately, I can't go back and give credit to whomever posted this picture - because it's just a picture. There was no other post about it anywhere that I could find - so I just made my own criteria and created a sample to show my kids. We had a brief discussion about what was required. I broke them up into groups and assigned each group a different organelle. They came up with cute names such as "Vicky Vacuole" and "Mitochondria Moe" and "Christopher Chloroplast". Then they set up their poster just like a Facebook page would look (using my example, below):

 I stressed that the MOST IMPORTANT THINGS were to make sure that when they created their "statuses" that they had to be related to the function of the organelle and that it had to demonstrate that they understood what that organelle did. They also had to create a "Friends" list and choose four other organelles. Those organelles then had to post comments on their wall (the comment had to have something to do with what that friend's function was). They turned out really cute and I could see that they really understood what each organelle did!!

These are just a few of them. We had our Boosterthon Fun Run on Friday - so it threw our schedule for a loop. We're still working on some of them - but this gives you an idea of how they turned out.

Oh! I also have the I Have, Who Has cell organelle game posted up on my TpT page. It's FREE, so click here to download your copy. It's just a quick little game you can use to review.

Up next - ECOSYSTEMS!! Complete with a terrarium/aquarium ecocolumn! Look for that soon!

So glad to be back and feeling like a human again. My fetus is treating me very nicely these days!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Marshmallow Challenege, Cells, and a Baby

Oh me - oh my. Have I been a slacker or what!? These last few months have F.L.O.W.N. by. Whisked away by Father Time. I cannot believe it's the middle of September and I also cannot believe that I haven't posted anything since July. What a loser.  But in my defense. I am pregnant. Ha! Seriously! I'm almost 12 weeks and feeling every ounce of misery that poor pregnant women often go through when they are in the early stages of pregnancy. This is my first pregnancy, so I'm probably just being a whiner more than the experienced preggie would. I sleep all the time, I eat junk like crackers and cheese and frozen yogurt and bread because I cannot even be in the same room as anything else. Smells make me sick. Any smells. Sweet smells, garlic smells, onion smells, basically any food smells - and the WORST. People's breath. I can smell you a mile away if you've had anything remotely close to Italian food and it's AWFUL. So I stay at home all the time and I when I talk to people I can't look at them or be in close "conversation" distance from them, so people probably think I'm just a jerk. But the good news is that my energy is coming back and I am counting down the days until my second trimester starts. Maybe I will be able to eat my beloved Mexican food again. Oh, Chimichanga smothered in queso - how I've missed you!!!

Anyway, so I just wanted to throw that out there and I also wanted to share my first few weeks as a teacher. It's been soooo daggone hard on me. I feel like a terrible teacher because my heart just has not been in it because of how sick I've been. I mean I waited SO LONG to step into my very own classroom and now that's it's here - I can't enjoy it and embrace it like I had envisioned. I am so thankful that I started my plans back in June because having them done has been my saving grace. But it has been really fun and we have done so many cool things in my room already! The first thing we did as a class was the Marshmallow Challenge. I won't bore you with the details of it because you can just click here to read all about it. But I WILL put up some cool pics from our very own Marshmallow Challenge. Have a peek!

They loved it and I highly encourage you to check out the link above and DO THIS in your classroom! They learn the importance of listening to each other's ideas, working together, and most importantly, the importance of PLANNING!! It's really neat to see these awesome, super-tall structures develop and then when they wait until the last minute to put that marshmallow on top..the whole structure collapses. They scramble to get it right - and to make sure it's TALL - when in reality if they stopped and thought about it...they would realize that EVERY group is going through the same thing. All they would have to do to win is create a structure only tall enough so that when the marshmallow is placed on doesn't fall down. We loved it and I'm so glad we did this the first week!!

These next few weeks, we're learning about the parts of a cell and comparing plant and animal cells. I love teaching this stuff!! It's as much fun for me as it is for the kiddos. I found the most hilarious RAP on TeacherTube and they went berserk for it!!! I will definitely be hearing the kids recite this rap for the next few weeks. Check it out here. It's worth a listen!

I am in the process of creating a "Pin the Organelle on the Cell" game in addition to an "I Have, Who Has" game - cell edition. I have used the I Have, Who Has game format for so many things. It's a great go-to game, especially for reviewing. It's also a great way to quickly asses who "gets it" and who needs a little help. Once I have the I Have Who Has Game, I'll post it up along with pics of my Pin the Organelle on the Cell game. has been my best friend this year. There are TONS of great resources on that site. Below is the interactive cell that I found on there. Go check out that site if you haven't already "discovered" it. Ha! See what I did there?

Last thing I want to share is this pre-made cell version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire". It's fantastic!!! I found it here. But look how cool it is!! I am so glad this person offered this for free. I would have at least made five bucks a pop off that thing! I can't imagine how much time it took. Nevertheless, I am thankful for freebies.

Okay, that's all for now. I think I've worn off my welcome-back. Now that you know my legitimate excuse, I hope you can understand my lack of posts. I will try to come back next week for more, but I'm not making any promises. It'll be up to my fetus...

Until next time!! Toodaloo! 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Made It!

I love linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for several reasons. One, I get to see {and steal} lots of awesome, creative ideas from literally hundreds of teachers. I love this. Second, I get to be a part of a linky party, which I love. Next, it makes me look forward to Mondays and I've never really been able to say that! And finally, I get to show off some of the stuff I've done. It's just so much fun to share, inspire, and be inspired and I'm so thankful to Tara for hosting these each Monday!

Each of my Monday Made Its are school related this time. I've been crazy busy frantically putting together the small things that will ultimately pull my classroom together!

This is my before and after shelf project. And that's chalkboard paint you see there in the final pic! {the black, not the obnoxious green} I plan on letting the kiddos draw on it or maybe label the stuff I will put on it. We'll see!

I made this absentee folder so that students can take responsibility for what they miss. We do have class jobs and one of those is "substitute". It's their job to fill out the "While You Were Out" form and help out their absent classmates upon their return. {Of course, I do a quick check to make sure that the folder has all materials that they need. But it's mainly up to the students!}

Last, I created my own bulletin board border from my background on this blog. It didn't turn out as cute as I thought, but I still thought I'd share it. :)

So go ahead and link up with Tara on this Monday Made It!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Which Diaper Holds the Most Liquid?

I have been working hard on coming up with simple consumer product tests that my students can do in the classroom. It's harder than you'd think! I thought up a lot of them that can be done over a period of time, but I'm specifically trying to develop experiments that they can do in 1 or 2 days max so that they can practice following through with the Scientific Process and get some practice recording their data in their science journals. Below is a list of tests that you could do in the classroom {with just collecting a few household items - or asking parents to send with their child}.

I'm demonstrating my own test that I conducted using different chewing gum brands. I wanted to see which gum holds its flavor the longest. I will record all of my info in my journal and show it to the students, just as I expect them to do throughout the year as we conduct awesome experiments. Here's an example of how students could record their data {in "Scientific Method" format.}

From the top, here is the critical information that students need to make sure they are recording as they conduct experiments:
Title of the experiment
Question that is being tested
A brief description of the experiment
Data, in chart form if applicable

Communication is not pictured, but implied. Students will always present their results in class.{informally or formally, depending on the format of the experiment and the required assignment}

As the year moves forward,  I will explain to students that to make this a more fair experiment, I would want to do this same experiment at least 3 times and collect the average flavor times. However, this activity is primarily focused on getting students used to the idea of recording their experiment data in an organized way and following through with the scientific process. The following week, I will introduce the concepts of controlled experiments and variables. Students will understand the differences between the types of variables (controlled, independent and dependent} and will know to include this information in their recordings of later controlled experiments. {This information would be placed under Data}

Here is the list of consumer science experiments that you could use in your classroom during the first few weeks of school to get them used to the idea of asking more investigative questions and get them practicing with recording their experiment data.

1. Does bubble gum really produce bigger bubbles than chewing gum?
2. Which carpet cleaner cleans Kool-Aid stains the best?
3. Which stain stick cleans Kool-Aid stains best?
4. Which popcorn brand produces the most popped kernels in X amount of time?
5. Do different brands of bubble gum produce the same size bubbles?
6. Which chocolate tastes better - generic or Hershey's? (This would be a survey experiment)
7. Which permanent markers are the best?
8. Which hairspray holds stronger against wind?
9. Which brand of glue has the strongest bond?
10. Which diaper holds the most liquid?

There are so many more experiments like these that could be conducted over a period of time - such as which freezer bags prevent freezer burn the best? Or which tooth whiteners are the best? And which batteries last the longest? But in order for my students to just practice with coming up with good, testable experiments that are quick - the above work just as well!

If you teach solely science like I do, you could also invite students to continue this trend of thinking and create their own long-term experiment on their own time. Then set aside certain days of the month to allow students to present their findings. I call this "Mad Scientists" in my classroom and hope that my students will take advantage of it throughout the year!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Week of School

Ok teachers! It's officially getting down to the wire. It's time to start planning those back to school activities! I love these types of activities, personally, and I am thrilled to be already planning them.

I posted earlier about my Daily Discovery that I will be using everyday as a tool to get my students to come in and get focused. The Daily Discovery tasks will be anything from trivia questions to logic to common sense to just plain silliness. However, during the first week of school, these tasks will be focused on procedures, getting to know each other, and general back-to-school stuff. I just wanted to share these ice-breaker type activities in case some of you out there are struggling to find something awesome and engaging to do during the first few days back.

In addition to the Word Scramble that I mentioned in my earlier post {listed below}, I also plan to have a "Snowball Fight". What?! A snowball fight in August? Yep! Students will write down three things about themselves on a piece of paper that they think is interesting. Then, they'll wad them up and once everyone is ready, we'll throw them around the room in snowball-fight fashion! After a few minutes (or seconds...) students will pick up the "snowball" that's closest to them and introduce that person to the class. Of course, Mrs. Brown will participate in ALL get-to-know-you activities of the week!

Since the first day will be devoted to introducing procedures, the second day will be the day that we make sure everyone understands what's expected of them in my science lab. Hence, the "Around the Room" questionnaire. Day two will also be the first day of real instruction. We don't mess around at BWF Elementary!

By today, we're hopefully on a roll and we understand the way our little science world works. Now it's time to get to know our new friends! The snowball fight provided a mini-intro for each student, but now we want to know lots more about each other. And we'll do that with a Human Scavenger Hunt! This isn't a new concept, but I really like it and think it is appropriate for fifth graders.

Okay, today will be the first "real" Daily Discovery question. But I threw in a little something about myself to make it a little more fun. This task involves putting dogs in order by weight, according to the clues. But the dogs just so happen to be characters from Mrs. Brown's real life! Layla is my dog, Foxie, Sammie and Roscoe are my momma's dogs, and Otter is my little sister's dog. Of course, I will introduce this fun fact after the students have completed the task.

Week wrap-up! By this time, I will be thanking my lucky stars that I survived the week! But I also want to give students the opportunity to reflect on everything that has just been thrown at them. What are the excited about? Nervous about? Want to learn more about? This is the perfect opportunity to implement a "Dear Me" letter. Each student will write a little to himself/herself that will outline any or all of these things, plus anything else they want their future self to know about. I will collect and save these letters and at the end of the school year, I will pass them back out. It will be important for students to have tangible evidence of how much they will have changed by the end of the year! And even though I teach science, I still strive to incorporate all subjects, especially writing. And yes, Mrs. Brown will definitely be writing a letter to herself, too!

I hope these have given you some ideas that you can use during the first few days of school! I would love to hear any new ideas as well! It's never too late to go back and change my plans or incorporate another activity!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Made It!

I'm linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics to share my "made it" this fine Monday morning. I have two Monday Made Its and one is very much non-classroom related. I already posted about my bulletin board, but I love, love, love it so much that I wanted to share it again, with the hopes of inspiriting another science teacher out there! So here it is. My Scientific Method Bulletin Board! I used cardboard scraps to cut out and paint the large shapes - the lightbulb, question mark, eye and the beaker. Then I just used t-pins to give them a 3D effect on my board. I plan on keeping this up all year! {Unless I get tired of looking at it...but the kids will use this process all year, so I thought it would be fitting to keep it up.} Anyway, I just think it's so much fun. AND it's my very first bulletin board EVER in life. {I am going into my very first year as a teacher this fall!! HOORAY!}

My second Monday Made It is a Home Monday Made It. It's my necklace hanger/organizer thingy! I love it! I just bought a piece of a 2x1 (or some derivative of that size), spray painted it with a bronzish/browinsh color that had the hammered texture {Hobby Lobby} and then bought some little drawer knobs. I LOVE the way they turned out!! (I made two since my necklace collection is ridiculous.} Thanks, Pinterest!! Love it.


So head on over to Tara's blog and link up with her infamous Monday Made It!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Wizard Challenge

I have finally completed my Wizard Challenge! I have to admit that this was a challenge even for ME! I had to look up a ton of science stuff and then I had to determine which questions should fit into each level and THEN I had to make sure I knew the answers to my own Challenge Questions!! Ha!!

I mentioned this Wizard Challenge in previous post. This Challenge was adopted and adapted from Mrs. Heather Renz - a teacher in Oregon who implements a "Mastery Club" in her classroom. I love the idea of this and wanted to use it in my science classroom for those students that find themselves wanting more of a challenge. Our Wizard Challenge is a collection of questions that are categorized into three labels: Junior Wizard • Wizard • Senior Wizard. Each level has 25 questions, all of which get progressively more difficult. Students that wish to participate in the Wizard Challenge will be allowed to do so on their own time. Students will be quizzed either at recess or lunch, or any time that the class is not involved in other projects or instruction.

I plan on allowing students to decide whether or not they want to participate in the Challenge. There will not be a grade for this, but it is a great tool to use for those students that finish early and announce "I'm Done!" I will have this along with other options (which I will post about as the year moves on) to cure the "I'm Done" epidemic in my classroom.

So without further adieu, here are the Challenge questions! I hope this may provide some inspiration for you!

Ohh! One more thing. I started my very first Wiki. Check it out here! It will soon be moving to my school system's domain, but hopefully, you can still get some good ideas from it while it's floating around in public land for now.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bulletin Boards Galore!

I finished the three main bulletin boards that are in my classroom over the weekend! I am so happy with the way they turned out.

My first one is the Scientific Method bulletin board. I wanted to put something up that would remain permanent throughout at least the first half of the school year. This is something that the kids will use daily in my science classroom. I took some cardboard and cut out the shapes (well, my buddy Deanna did...) and then we painted them with just acrylic paint. I used t-pins to stick them up to the board to give them a 3D effect.

Next is my Let's Talk Science (Word Wall). Incidentally, I'm teaching The Scientific Method the first 2 weeks of school - so I've placed the unit title in the middle. I will change that page out as we go through our different units of study. I am going to pin up the words by just writing them on oversized index cards and using regular push pins. This way, I won't have to change out the background (unless I get tired of it halfway through the year.)

Finally, my Wizard Challenge Wall. It's missing the Challenge Rules there on the left where that black page is - but they will be posted soon. Then I will stick the challenges in those blue folders. I will be writing a whole post that will be devoted to explaining {and sharing the contents} of this challenge wall. I mentioned it in an earlier post, but it's similar to Heather Renz's "Mastery Club". 

Hope you find some inspiration in these!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Teaching the Scientific Method

First week of lessons are officially ready to G.O. Check. In the BAG.  I am super-duper ahead of myself and guess what?! -- it's very liberating!!

My year kicks off with an in-depth look at what the Scientific Method entails. It's very simple to understand, but I think it's extremely important for my scientists to understand WHY it's necessary to develop your own logical and pensive hypotheses and then follow through with the rest of the process. It's also beneficial to see that this scientific method isn't just "more work and writing" for them to do. Because it's REALLY not.

And what better way to kick off the school year than to show the Scientific Method in authentic form?! {Que MythBusters music}. Yes. MythBusters. They are hysterical guys that definitely define the Scientific Method in each and every hilarious episode. I love that show! And I will be playing a portion of one of the episodes for my 5th graders the second day of school. [Note: sometimes, these guys have to be censored for their whoopsies, but you can still show the meat of the episode. Just skip over the whoopsies and play the portion of the episode that shows the question, the hypothesis and then the experiment. MOST episodes don't get crazy until after the experiment is over and then they go berzerk. Those guys!! Ha! Here's a clip from the Mentos and Coke myth.

So you see - they're pretty good to use to demonstrate the Scientific Method. I also created a worksheet that can basically be used for any MythBusters episode. Click right here to download it for yourself.

Just wanted to share because I really thought using a MythBusters episode was a terrific way to show kids the Scientific Method in action. Hope you find it useful!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Daily Discovery

Still getting geared up for my very first classroom! I'm so excited because this weekend - it's going D.O.W.N. I finally get to get in there and start putting up some of the stuff that I've made. I cannot wait to see how it all looks once it's up!! Here's sneak peek:

These are the contents of two bulletin boards, actually. And it's only a small fraction of them. I really can't wait to see what they are going to end up looking like. {Probably like NOTHING I had in mind, but the effort is the thing that really counts...}

Moving on! I have been working on the first day of school stuff. You know, the getting the kiddos acclimated to my obsessive-compulsive requirements, showing them around the room, and scaring the bee-gee-zees out of them with all of my rules and warnings.  I'm trying to thing of cute activities to do with them {or have them do together as groups}. I've found a few things, but I really love the Saving Fred activity. Have you seen this? Too cute! AND they get a candy snack on the first day. Who's their new favorite teacher? That's right. I am. I stumbled upon this blog and found the activity, though I have NO IDEA how the heck I found it. I do that a lot. I actually had to dig into the search history of my computer to find something just tonight that I could not re-find if my life had depended upon it. It took about 45 minutes, but I found it. And now I've forgotten what it was all over again. Good thing I Pinned it. Sheesh.

Speaking of StumbleUpon - have you been there yet? DON'T DO IT. It's like Pinterest, but worse. Once you're sucked into the abyss of that mess, you'll never make it out. The other night I was on my iPad and it had a full 100% charge when I started. By the time I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer (some 5 hours later) - my poor iPad had 11% battery left. And let me just say that I only charge my iPad about once every week and a half, normally. Steer clear of it, friends. It's like a drug.

I'll leave you with this spectacular idea that I thought was my own creation. Incidentally, lots of teachers out there like to start their day with already having something for the kiddos to do when they barge into their quiet haven at 7:45 in the morning. Who'd a thunk it?! It's like "morning work"...only not. It's for "grown up" kids. Introducing my take on morning work...Daily Discovery! Kiddos will answer trivia questions that will require more thought than trying to solve a simple math or science problem. These will just be brain busters, and sometimes they will be related to science, but mostly it will be a "brain break" for them that won't have anything to do with anything. I'll put it on the projector every morning {and throughout the day, since I'm departmentalized} and there will be something different each day. I have the first five days set up already! Woo!! Here they are, in case you want to see the format. I got the trivia questions here. EXCELLENT resource!! I've also found SO MANY new and extremely useful resources over the past few weeks. Go to my Pinterest board called "Science Wizards." You'll be so glad you did!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Template Time

OK, so I have been known to totally and completely spazz out when it comes to lesson plans and how to organize them and where to keep them, blah, blah, blah. Last semester I went through 30,000 different ways to keep myself "organized". It was a disaster. So, I am vowing right here and now to come up with a simple plan, follow it, and stick to it throughout the year. {Talk to me in May 2013 and see how that went for me...}

Anyway, so as a first year teacher, I know that I will need a set of weekly plans to use as a gauge and I know myself well enough to know that I will also need to use some sort of detailed planner for the first month or so, until I get my bearings.  Below are what I have developed for myself. The weekly one is so simple, I didn't think I needed to include the download of it, but if you want it, leave a comment and I'll send you a link. Here is the more detailed plan. Just change the information to yours, obviously. Hope it helps!

Share what you use to organize your weekly lessons! I always love ideas.