Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!

It's Superbowl time! Hooray! I love the Super Bowl. Not that I have a clue who the heck is playing or anything. But I do love the commercials, halftime show, and {especially this year} - the snacks!! One of my favorite things to do is come up with fun foods that I can makeover to at least be somewhat guilt-free. This year, my line up is Pimento Cheese Sliders (using lean ground beef...that's healthy, right?!), Buffalo Chicken Tenders {a grilled alternative to wings}, Homemade Guacamole and Salsa with multigrain chips, and maybe a little something sinful to throw off the balance. Like gooey brownies or something equally filthy-delicious.

Anyway, the point of this post is not to talk about food {although my pregnant brain would like to think so}. It's to tell everyone about the TpT Super Sunday Sale coming up this Sunday! TpT is hosting their own site-wide sale for 10% off of everything. Just use Promo Code: SUPER. PLUS,, I am hosting my own little sale for an additional 20% off!! Click here to visit my store.


Happy Super Saving!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

MORE Human Body!

I can't get enough. I love teaching this stuff and I'll be so sad when this unit ends. Boo-hoo. I am working on different ways to sneak in assessments without freaking out my kids with tests. One of the things I worked on tonight was a Writing Menu that will allow me to see what they have learned by incorporating a little writing into the mix. Students will be able to choose from this list of lovely writing activities and I know I will have fun grading this stuff. MUCH better than grading standard tests. Wee!!

I am providing students with self-created pamphlets on nutrition and exercise and I will also have books available for them to browse through. Other than that, they will use their creativity to come up with answers to the menu item of their choice. I dolled it up with a fancy "menu" look:

Click the pic to get the freebie from TpT. You can put this in front of your room on the projector or you could print copies for each student.

Hope you can find use for this activity in your classroom!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five for Friday {on Saturday Morning!}

Today I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for this week's Five for Friday! It's been a crazy busy week so I have lots to share!


1.  We have been working so hard on our Human Body unit for the last few weeks. My kiddos are having a blast with learning about the different systems that they are required to know. I posted earlier about our Medical Clinics and they are really embracing teaching one another about their specialties. I love it!! Each group is assigned a different system and they were to become experts in that field. They were required to create a model to accompany their presentation and teach the other doctors in the class about what they learned. So, essentially they are teaching each other and it's such a great experience for them. Here are just a couple of pictures from their projects. These were all their ideas!! All I did was provide the supplies.

2.  Continuing the Human Body theme, we also did some really fun stations on Friday that let the kids explore their own human body systems! We had a Circulation Station, where students learned how to find their pulse and calculate their heart rate in BPM. They also got to perform a series of exercises that got their heart rates up.  At the Respiration Station, students measured balloons to find their vital and tidal lung capacities. We had a strength station where students performed as many push-ups and sit-ups as they could in one minute. 

Then we talked about different ways to keep ALL of our body systems healthy by exercising and NOT smoking. I made fact cards that included different ways to sneak in exercise, facts about smoking, and some fun little trivia facts about bones and muscles. They really loved these activities. I made a packet out of it and it's available on my TpT store. {Click the pic to check it out.}

3.  Girl Scout cookies have arrived. I have already polished off a box of Samoas. I'm working hard to set a world record for eating the most Girl Scout cookies in the shortest amount of time. Update to follow. 

 4.  Yes, I'm STILL pregnant. It seems like I've been pregnant for 10 years! I vaguely remember a time when I could actually see my toes. In all seriousness, my pregnancy is progressing beautifully and I really do love being pregnant. Especially right now. She is starting to get some really good kicks and rolls in there! A lot of women I've talked to think it's alien-like and weird, but I LOVE feeling her move around in there like that. The nursery is coming along just fine and I am anxiously awaiting being completely finished with it so that I can post pics of the final product. Here are a few pics of the prints that I made to go over Olivia's crib. I got them printed at and they did a great job. The colors were EXACTLY how I made them. I will definitely be using Zazzle again.

 I love my little olive's nursery. I sit in there all the time, where it's nice and quiet and just rock in my little glider. May as well enjoy it now while it's still quiet.... I just need a few more little touches and I will be ready to share the pics with the world.

 5.  We're dissecting frogs week after next and I've been snooping around the internet trying to find some good resources to use to start preparing the kiddos for the big event. I've found several great tools, including a fantastic iPad app. I have never dissected anything in my life, so this should be interesting. Stay tuned for updates on that.....Mr. Husband is coming to help {MY HERO}, which should also be very interesting!! Here are the links to the frog resources in case anyone else out there is brave enough to venture into the world of dissection. 

Virtual Frog Dissection -

{Click the pic below to go to the app page.}

Hope you've enjoyed my random Five for Friday. 
Happy Saturday! Link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share your randomness! 


Friday, January 18, 2013

Mrs. Brown, Um...That's Not Right

As a new teacher of science, I have spent many-a-nights reading and writing notes on all of the subject matter that I have to teach. Plain and simple: it's NOT easy learning 5th grade science all over again. Or just learning it period. Lots of things are confusing and it takes reading and re-reading and re-reading again to "get it".

Case in point today: I was so excited about the little foldable that I had all put together and ready to go for our shortened day today (late start due to "inclement weather"). So, I'm up, I'm teaching - we're labeling together and it's going great. Until it's time to start explaining how blood circulates throughout the heart. I'm fine until I get to the pulmonary veins, which I then realize that we have labeled completely incorrect. Ok, no problem - let's fix that. So, we fix it and I'm going on and on about how oxygen-rich blood enters the left and right atriums from the lungs.....and then one little friend walks up to me and quietly says, "Um, Mrs. Brown. That's not right." I look down at my diagram and realize that he is 100% correct. It's NOT right. And I'm dumb. In front of my kids. I have now managed to completely confuse them on something that is already confusing to comprehend. And, to make matters worse, we ran out of time as I'm standing there dumbfounded, so I won't even be able to fix this mess until TUESDAY! Yikes.  I wonder how many emails I will get from parents over the weekend asking me why I am confusing their children!?

I love these teacher moments. For one, it lets the kids see that no matter who you are or what age you are, you're still very capable of making silly mistakes. For another, I get to laugh at myself and how much I DON'T have it together. Ha!!

The diagram on the foldable is supposed to look like this when it's filled out correctly:

{I'm departmentalized and luckily, I had this moment of stupidity during the first class, so my other three classes were able to actually do it correctly....}. We are not finished with it, but once we are, the little flaps on the outside will list the correct steps in the circulation process. I really thought I had a good grasp on it - and in reality, I do - but when you make one mistake in front of the entire class, it kind of snowballs out of control. And really, when you think about it, there aren't really "steps" to the circulatory process. It's a cycle that goes round and around and around. No beginning. No end. Always happening. And that's difficult for me, because I have to have a list of how things work. Otherwise, it doesn't make sense to me. So below are the "steps" I came up with and if you click on the image, you can download yourself a little freebie. All you do is fold on the vertical dotted lines and cut on the horizontal dotted lines. On the outside, label the flaps 1-8 and then list the steps on the inside of them. Hope this helps someone out there not have a dummy moment like I did today!!

1. Oxygen-rich blood comes into the heart from the lungs through the pulmonary veins.

2. Pulmonary veins pump the oxygen-rich blood through the left atrium and to the left ventricle.

3. Once the blood leaves the left ventricle, it travels to the aorta, where it is then pumped all over the body through arteries.

4. Arteries all over the body branch into tiny vessels called capillaries. Here, the oxygen in the blood is exchanged for carbon dioxide.

5. Oxygen-poor blood travels to the right side of the heart through veins.

6. Oxygen-poor blood enters the right atrium and passes through the right ventricle.

7. The right ventricle pumps oxygen-poor blood through the pulmonary arteries and then to the lungs to get oxygen.

8. The pulmonary veins carry the oxygen-rich blood to the left atrium of the heart and the cycle starts all over again.

Today's moment of idiocy brought to you by:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Totally Not School Related

But, I'm pregnant and I'm HUNGRY! So, cheers to Julie over at My Journey to 5th Grade for hosting a fantastic recipe swap linky party! I'm in.

I cook all the time and I'm completely and totally obsessed with organizing lists and making sure I know what's going on the table on any given weeknight. I have spent countless hours making sure I have the best system for making my grocery shopping as easy-breezy and as organized as possible. I can't say the same for my pantry right now, which DESPERATELY needs an organizational intervention. Anyway, I use GroceryIQ, which syncs with my iPhone, my iPad, and my husband's phone. So I can make lists on my computer, iPad, wherever and it will automatically sync with all of the aforementioned devices without me having to do anything. Love it. I know that has nothing to do with a recipe, but I wanted to share anyway.

On to my recipe! I am going to share what I am getting ready to make for dinner tonight, once I can peel myself away from my blog stalking. I recently found another fab app/website that I can use to search for recipes to use for inspiration: BigOven. I NEVER follow recipes down to the last ingredient. Never. Mostly because most recipes out there include unnecessary fat and I know ways to eliminate - or at least reduce - the amount of fat that is included. Case in point: below is my updated version of this recipe that I found on BigOven.

Spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta

1 lb. chicken tenderloins, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 package of Jennie-O smoked turkey sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 lb. whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti
1 roma tomato, diced
Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons LIGHT butter
1/2 to 1 cup of 2% milk
Season the chicken with Old Bay and cook through along with the sausage. Set aside. In a large sautée pan, cook onion and peppers in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender. Add butter and melt. Add flour and cook flour for about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Slowly add milk and whisk continuously. The goal is to make a nice thick cream sauce - without having to use heavy cream. Hooray!

Cook the pasta according to directions. Add the meat to the cream sauce/veggie mixture and stir in your pasta. Allow flavors to marry and get happy over low heat for about 5 minutes. Top with diced roma tomato and VIOLA! Dinner is served, with significantly less fat than necessary.

Hope you enjoy your dinner tonight, whatever you may be making. Kudos to Julie for this yummy linky!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Progress Monitoring in Science

Progress monitoring in general is difficult for all teachers. There's really no easy way of doing it or organizing it. Especially for 5,000 different learning targets and even more especially when you have 72 kids. I struggle with maintaining a good progress monitoring system {DAILY.} I write notes that I keep in a binder, I have notebooks, I tried printing out individual pages and keeping up with those...they are all difficult to manage! It's just always a work in progress, but definitely necessary to make sure your kids are getting what you are trying to teach them.

For my human body study, we have LOTS to learn. And everyone needs to learn all of it eventually, even though we are taking turns learning about the different systems. They will be responsible for teaching one another about the system they learned, but I still have to do my job in making sure that they are learning the right stuff. I created some very basic Progress Monitoring sheets for each human body system {circulatory, respiratory, immune, digestive, muscular/skeletal, and nervous} and wanted to share in hopes that it would help another teacher out there that struggles with this as much as I do!! They aren't beautiful {I really hate that!} - but I think they are efficient, which really, when it comes to PM, that's all that matters! Here's a preview, but click here to download this freebie.

I hope this helped! I'm sorry it's not something cute. Maybe next Friday, I'll link up something cuter. :)

Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Human Body & a Freebie!

I'm up and running with my Human Body study and these kids LOVE learning about this stuff! I can't say that I blame them - this stuff really is fun to learn about. And definitely fun to teach - especially the way I've decided to teach it. My kiddos are conducting Medical Conferences throughout this week. My classes have been divided into three different Medical Clinics, each with six types of specialists. The specialists are all coming together to form their Medical Conference, where they are teaching one another about their specific specialty. I really love giving students the freedom to own their own learning. It's definitely building their confidence levels and they don't feel like they're being forced to learn things they don't really want to learn about.

With that being said, of course I have to have a way to make sure they are learning what they need to be learning! Hence, the creation of these lovely "Medical Charts".

I tried to make it look professional and medical-looking. The kids LOVE their medical folders that I made for them and I've heard a lot of them referring to one another as "Dr. So-and-So". It's so cute and it's neat that they are taking this so seriously. And I really do think that it has everything to do with making it authentic with these little touches like this.

I made a medical terminology sheet for each of the six human body systems that we are studying. You can download those here. Once they have all the necessary information to truly become experts in their specialty, they will take their board exams. Upon passing, they will be able to reconvene with their original medical clinics and teach them what they learned so that ultimately, all students become expects in each field.

I also made a sheet that will allow students to summarize each system on one page:

 You can download this freebie here.

Tomorrow, we are starting to talk about the models, diagrams, or demonstrations that they might want to do for their presentations (for teaching the other members of their clinics about their specialty.) I am SO EXCITED to be able to come back and share on my blog what they come up with.
Pin It!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Made It!

I'm linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for this month's Monday Made It!

I made lots of stuff this week - gearing up for Back to School {from the break, that is...} It actually feels like we've been out for much longer than 2 weeks! So I made a little slideshow that includes a few reminders for some of the things that may have been forgotten. Here's a peek! Hope you find some inspiration in it.

I got rolling on my Human Body Unit that I am *SO ECSTATIC* about teaching for the next four weeks. I can't think of a better way to start off the 2nd semester!! I am using the Code Blue Medical Simulation package as a starting point, though I am steering off the path quite a bit. {Click here to see the sample pages of this simulation, created by} I love the idea of the medical simulation, but I wanted to put personal touches on the lessons. Basically, the gist of simulation is that the class is broken up into groups of six, to form a "Medical Clinic". There are six doctors in each clinic: a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, a gastroenterologist, an infectious disease specialist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a neurologist. Once the groups are together, they create a name and a sign for their clinic, and then each doctor goes to his or her "specialty conference", where they become experts in their field. They are each required to pass a board exam and once they do, they reconvene with their group and train one another so that ultimately, every member of each clinic is fully trained in each and every specialty.  THEN they will all take a Physiology Test, which will actually cover everything. Once they all pass that test, then they can treat patients. More on that later!!

Throughout the medical conferences, I will be mostly encouraging students to be creative in coming up with ways to teach one another about their specialty. I have lots of ideas for activities, though, so if they get stuck, I will be there to guide them.They are all required to create some sort of model that will demonstrate how their specific system works. My kids are exceptionally creative, so I am really looking forward to what ideas they come up with. I'm hoping that none of my ideas have to be used!

In order to make this authentic for the students, I made medical folders for each student, complete with personalized labels. {Each student will be referred to as "Dr." for the unit's entirety...just for extra fun.} Included in each folder are the following items:

• A Welcome letter that congratulates them on being accepted to medical school
• A detailed explanation of their specialty {these I did not make..they came from the simulation package mentioned above, so I didn't include peeks of them}
• A study guide for their specific board exam
• A diagram of their human body system

Here are some peeks at the folders and their contents that I created:

I put 72 of these bad boys together {since I'm departmentalized, I have 72 kiddos} - and all I can say is Praise the Lord for my sweet husband because without his help, I'd STILL be working on getting these together. But I say TOTALLY WORTH IT because these kids will definitely remember this unit of study AND I really think that having something like this for them will get them even more excited about learning the material.

So as you can see, I've been hard at work getting ready for this incredibly fun unit. I cannot wait to start. I am super excited to see what types of models and diagrams the kids come up with. I will be posting weekly about the progress of this unit, including the models they come up with and any/all the activities that we do throughout this study.

One last Made It...I created several Pinterest boards that might be helpful to any of you out there that might be getting ready to teach this same material. Click the logo to see them:


Thanks for stopping by! Link up with Tara!!
Pin It!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Currently...January 2013!

Welcome 2013! I never thought I'd see you, being as the apocalypse was scheduled for December 21, 2012. I guess it's been postponed. That works for me!

Today I am one happy gal to be linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade. Check me out!

My husband and I are so ecstatic to be expecting our first Little Olive (Olivia, that is) in April. APRIL!! Oh my. I am very happy to hear him singing and happily putting together our baby girl's crib. I am SO very thankful that he likes doing that kind of thing because I LOATHE doing things like that. He has a name tag on that says "Bob the Builder". He's asking if there is anything else he can put together!! Love that guy.
I have loved being on Christmas break for almost two full weeks. I visited lots of family, had a baby shower, rested up, and got lots of work done. I am loving this last day of my little vacay, but I am also loving the fact that we are going back tomorrow.
I cannot STOP thinking about the Human Body unit that I am starting up on Monday. I have LOADS of activities that I am working on and I can't wait to share everything that we do here on my no-longer-neglected blog.

I have all of my ideas done and ordered for the nursery. It's just a matter of putting furniture together, buying the little knick-knacks I still need, and getting it all into place. I absolutely cannot wait to get it done. I am toying with the idea of starting a "Mommy Blog" (except I will refuse to call it that...) and if/when I do, I will post pics there. Otherwise, I will have to write a non-school related post to share them with the world. 

Confidence. This is my new word. I posted a big ole' rant about all of the things I need to work on last month and this word sums it up. I am no longer going to allow myself to dwell on decisions I make or ideas I have. I'm going with my instincts and learning from my successes and my mistakes in 2013. And that is ALL about confidence.

And last, I {FINALLY} finished my Cells Alive activity packet. It's humungo and I am super happy with it. I love having all of the activities for the units that I teach all in one place. It's lovely! Head over to my TpT page to check it out. Here's a peek:

Link up! It's 2013!