Friday, February 22, 2013

Dontcha Love Density?!

We are right smack in the middle of the best unit EVER, both to teach AND to learn about - Properties of Matter! Love.

I've been working hard on getting a really nice packet together for TpT. It's gonna be HUGE - jam-packed with experiments, record sheets, teacher notes, slides for student notes, quizzes, informal assessment ideas, and learning targets. Fun stuff! Should be about 50 pages once I'm done and I CANNOT WAIT to share it. I am SUPER excited about next week because we are diving right into chemical reactions - and I have some really good stuff to share. For now - I wanted to offer a sneak peek FREEBIE from my Properties of Matter packet.

We made density columns this week and I did not anticipate it being as popular as it was! The kids LOVED it and were so excited that it actually worked. There are all kinds of "recipes" out there for density columns. But the main point to creating density columns is so students get a sense of what density is. Instead of just giving kids the densities for each of the liquids, I had them calculate it for each of the 4 liquids that we used. In our density columns, we used:

Water (with food coloring)
Alcohol (with food coloring)
Dawn dish soap
Corn syrup

And the students ACTUALLY calculated the density for each. It's simple! Just ask my students. All we needed was a beaker, a balance, and our brains. To calculate density of a liquid, all you need is the volume and the mass. You place the beaker (with the liquid) on the balance and record the mass. Then, empty the beaker and find the mass of JUST the beaker. Subtract that number from the mass of the liquid and the beaker combined and you have the volume of the liquid. Find the mass of the liquid by simply looking at the beaker! Then it's easy:

Density = Mass {DIVIDED BY} Volume

Viola! You have the density.

We used this simple sheet to record the density of each liquid before we started building our columns. Click the pic to download this FREEBIE!!

Here are a few fun pics of our density columns. So much fun!! 

Alright! That's it for me this week. Looking forward to getting my MATERNITY LEAVE PLANS DONE this weekend and sharing a few tricks and tips for taking standardized tests. 

6 weeks and counting for my little Olive's arrival!

Link up your freebie with TBA's Freebie Friday!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Human Body is Over, A Kid Fainted, and An AWESOME Resource

I have officially finished teaching my Human Body Systems Unit and I was so sad to see it go. We went out with a BANG and dissected frogs last week to wrap up the Human Body study. I have four classes so we separated our dissection into two days. My first day was FANTASTIC - all of the kids joined in, they were engaged, no one got sick, and we truly worked as scientists in a science lab. Even big ole' preggo Mrs. Brown had no problems dissecting those little suckers! I had never dissected a frog, so I was a little worried about it, but ended up being okay with it.

I wish, wish, wish I could say the same thing for my 2nd day of dissection. Poor little buddy. Had one bite the dust, I'm afraid to say. And it was so weird how it happened. Let me lay it out for you, my dear reader. My little friend (who was a male) came to me and asked to go to the bathroom. Of course, the first thing I asked was "Are you going to get sick?" When he replied yes, I had him immediately take off his gloves and I told him, all in one word to "HURRYANDTAKEYOURGLOVESOFFANDRUNTOTHEBATHROOM!!!" Because I cannot deal with vomit in my classroom. Can't do it. Especially not with 18 other students and 9 dead, open frogs in the same room. It'd be like a domino effect, I just know it. It never even once occurred to me that he was feeling faint. I mean this is a kid that I picture going on hunting trips with his dad on weekends. He's just not a "fainting" type of kid, you know? So when I was trying to hurry and shew him out of the room so he wouldn't barf all over me or my room, I was perplexed as to why he was moving so slowly! WHAT ARE YOU DOING, KID?! I mean seriously. I kept telling him "GO! GO! GO!", as if he were in some relay race and needed motivation. "GO!!" So, he's making his way out of the room and the next thing I know, he is stumbling back in the room. Now this is when I finally realize that this kid is going to pass out. I am trying my damnedest to get to this kid so he doesn't bust his face and it's too late. The last thing he says is "Mrs. Brown...." and then SPLAT. Down he goes. Right in front of me. The only thing separating me from him was a stupid little chair. The only thing keeping me from leaping over that dang chair was my sweet, unborn daughter. Had I not been pregnant, I know I would have been able to catch him. But I didn't. And because I didn't, this sweet boy had to get 5 stitches in his chin.

I sobbed the entire way home. I have never felt so bad about anything as a teacher. I called his momma later that night, who was so sweet and understanding about the whole thing. He was fine -  up and playing around by the time they got home. It did make me feel better to know that, but I just couldn't shake the thought that I could have prevented the whole stitches thing. It's one of those moments that I will always look back and say "if only I could've...." and I am just going to have to learn to deal with it. The next morning, I grabbed this little guy, squeezed his neck, and profusely apologized to him. He looked at me like I was nutso and laughed at me, saying "Mrs. Brown, I was never mad at YOU." Ha! What a sweet kid.

The fainting incident triggered a whole line of other students getting "sick"....meaning they stopped the dissection. But interestingly enough, it was the BOYS that stopped!! All of my girls were TROOPERS and not one single girl bowed out or got sick. Ha! Take that, boys.

So anyway, there's that. I'm trying to put it behind me and move forward. I have A LOT to do over the next few weeks, so my posts may be few and far between. I'm gearing up for this little big deal. Just giving birth to a human is all. I've been planning my maternity leave lessons and it's no easy feat. But at the end of it, I will have at least 2 big packets, complete with FULL lesson plans and activities to share with the world. One will cover Properties of Matter, which is quickly becoming my favorite unit thus far, and the next will be Energy. I MIGHT have a little packet for Newton's Laws and Levers and Pulleys, but I don't know how that will turn out yet. We'll see.

Finally, I just want to share a really fantastic resource that has been my saving grace while I am planning my Properties of Matter unit. While I am taking some of the ideas from here, I am mostly using the site to teach myself about this stuff. It's awesome. Click on the pic to check it out:

Hope this helps. Be back soon!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday Made It!

Linking up again with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics on this fabulous Monday for this month's edition of Monday Made It! And how is it already February? Seriously.

I have been diligently preparing for the arrival of my first little baby and I have made LOTS of stuff for her nursery. I will share that first and then I have a little frog dissection presentation I made for school that I will share. 

Let me just do a little plug for I had these three little prints printed from them and they did a fantastic job. I drew/traced these using Adobe Illustrator and picked my own custom size and sent the digital files to Zazzle and they printed them for me. Let me just say that they did a fantastic job and I think I only spent about $20 for all three of these, including shipping. These hang right above my Little Olive's crib. Love. I also did one for the bathroom with little rubber duckies, but it hasn't come in yet.

Next is this fun little O. I love this. It was so easy and fun to make and I got so lucky with the yarn color! It looks like it was meant to go with my nursery set and I am so happy with how it turned out. I picked up a letter, the yarn and those fun little flowers from the great Hobby Lobby and a half hour later, I had this final product. I also tied that ribbon there about that little mirror. This is right above the changing table. I'll get to check out how amazing I look every night while I'm changing poopie diapers. Well planned. At least it's cute in there!

Anyway, that does it for my home edition of Monday Made It. On to school. As you may or may not know, we are dissecting frogs this week. Yep, in the FIFTH grade! I am so excited for these kiddos. They cannot stop talking about it. Anyway, I made a little presentation for it so that they can follow along whilst we are carving our frogs. Below are some snap shots of the best pages, but if you happen to be dissecting frogs and need a presentation companion, click here to download the entire file. It's a "PDF Presentation", meaning that I created it in Adobe InDesign and exported a PDF because I absolutely refuse to use PowerPoint. You view it the same way you would a PowerPoint - but just with Adobe Reader instead.

I love Monday Made Its and I look forward to it every month! Head on over to Tara's blog, check out all the fantastic Made Its, and link up!

Pin It!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy Love Month

I LOVE any holiday in the classroom. I LOVE my kiddos and I LOVE teaching fifth grade, but one thing that I do miss about teaching younger buddies is being able to do cutesy little crafts with them. My fifth graders would rather eat cupcakes or have a party, which is precisely what we will do this Valentine's Day! I know we will have a great time swapping LOVE notes, eating sweet treats, and enjoying some down time.

I just wanted to share one of my favorite things from last year that I did on Valentine's Day with my 3rd graders during my student teaching. We made LOVE FUDGE right in the classroom - using just a microwave! And then we did a little writing activity that required them to put the steps of the recipe in order. I LOVED this activity and am hoping some of you out there can use it in your lower-grade classrooms this Valentine's Day. {Click here to check it out on my TpT page...It's only $1.50!}

Happy LOVE Month!!