Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rocks, Butterflies, and Padlet, Oh My!

Just wrapped up our Ecosystems unit and boy, did we have FUN! I sneaked in (sneaked in???)  some rock fun (not sure why, but rocks are included in the Ecosystem portion of the ARMT test at the end of the, I had to slide it in there --I would think that this would be included in last year's big end of year assessment because they learn about Earth's layers in 4th grade, but whatev's) - and we made some of our own metamorphic, igneous, and sedimentary rocks from old crayons. For sedimentary, we shaved some "sediments" from our old crayons and put them in foil. Then we added some pressure by folding it up and stepping on it. For our metamorphic, we put the little ball of foil in some hot, hot, hot water for about 10 seconds to let it "morph". And finally, we let the foil sit in the hot water for about a minute to make some pretty neat igneous rocks as the crayon melted and then cooled down. Fun stuff!! Of course, they had to write about it in their science journals so that they could show me that they knew about each "rock" that they were creating. We did a quick lesson (review from last year) on the rock cycle as well and I had them draw a little diagram in their journals. Overall, it was a great way for them to review what they learned about rocks in 4th grade.

We also played a "Butterfly Blend" game - straight out of my Ecosystem pack to help them with animal adaptations. Each student got a butterfly and decorated it like something in my room. I left the room and let them "hide" the butterflies in plain sight. My job was to find them. Some of these were REALLY good and those little turkeys STUMPED me!!! Check out some of the butterflies that are in PLAIN sight:

These kids are really creative! For some reason, though, I feel like they got tripped up on the adaptations the most! They couldn't get physical and behavioral straight. I ended up telling them to remember what "behavior" means (the way you act, something you do) and to keep in mind that physical is something physically on the animal's body. We'll see tomorrow if it stuck....because tomorrow is the unit test!!

We started our light unit yesterday (which I don't really LOVE teaching...) - and I am so excited because I got a tip from a good teacher-pal from Fifth Grade Flock's Facebook page. It's called Padlet. is basically an online wall that you can build whatever you'd like on it! You can write words, add pictures, add wallpaper, and I'm pretty sure you can post videos. We make a question wall for light (since it's so very complicated!!) -- and we review the questions throughout the unit. I did a physical wall in my room last year and it was a little difficult to manage. It got messy, it was hard to read the questions and answers together -- basically it was a mess. So, I am so excited about this online question wall this year!! Look at all of our great questions already:

I LOVE it!! So much fun happening in my life of science. We had a great Halloween (though it's really, really hard to keep the kids focused) and we are looking forward to having a nice 3-day weekend coming up on the 11th. I hope we all remind our kids why we are getting the day off -- I know I'll be stressing how important it is to thank our veterans!! We also have a big Veteran's Day program here at school and our upper grades perform a little something for the parents and the vets that we invite to come to our school. I think it's great and I'm so glad we continue this tradition.

I hope everyone had a great and fun Halloween and I hope you get some fun Trick or Treating done tonight!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Giveaway, CRAZY Offer, & a Hop!

Have you heard about Educents? If you haven't, you're missing out, my friends. It's basically Groupon for teachers. Educents offers all types of educational materials, bundles, games, and fun teacher-type stuff that all of us teachers love to get our hands on. I am SO EXCITED to announce the latest offering from Educents!! It's a HUGE bundle of over 1,000 fonts, graphics, and digital papers. I seriously cannot believe that I am a part of such an AMAZING offer. If you use clip art at all, then you should definitely check this out. There are TONS of talented artists participating in this and the package includes QUALITY designs that you can use to snazz up those products and classroom materials. Educents has taken products from 19 different artists and bundled them into one big, giant offer for one little, teeny tiny price. Excellent!   

This BIG OLE' bundled offer includes fonts, clipart elements, and background papers from 19 different artists, including myself. I decided to offer my Carnival Pack in this Educents bundle offer. I loved, loved, loved creating it and I am very happy, happy, happy with the way that it turned out. My portion of the offer includes everything you see here, plus 30 cute little banners that match the theme.

There are a total of 1137 graphics, fonts, or papers included in this bundled offer. WHAT!? I know, it's nuts. And I am jumping for joy over here. I can't contain my excitement about this offer!!! Weeeeeeee!!!! Want the offer? Go here!
Wanna see the rest of the goodies that are in this fun little bundle of joy? HOP ALONG!! Click the button below to visit Nikki over at Melonheadz Illustrations to see what cuteness she's included for this bundle.

Wanna Pin It to Win It? Just 'cause I'm so daggone excited about this, I will be giving away any clipart item from my TpT store. Pin any image from this post and enter below to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please check out this bundle on Educents. It'll be available for 12 days and 12 days only. So, don't miss out!!

Monday, October 14, 2013

It's About Time for a Link Up!!

So on Friday, I started my post for Five for Friday...and then never went back to finish it. There aren't enough hours in the day and it breaks my heart. I am having to choose between adding new stuff to my Etsy shop, adding more goodies to my TpT shop, blogging, exercising, family time, grading papers, creating fun and meaningful lesson plans, making homemade baby food for my sweet girl, and trying to keep my house clean. It's exhausting being a teacher, wife, and mother!! But I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

I have been making lots of fun stuff. The first thing I want to share is my baby food. I LOVE making my daughter's baby food. I'm a baby food-makin' machine. I make her food on Sundays and it will typically last at least a week, and sometimes, if I make enough, it will last two weeks. I just freeze it it these cute little OXO containers that I found on Amazon (my 2nd BFF, first BFF being Target). has helped me exponentially with recipes and making/storing my baby food. It's awesome and highly recommended for all you mommas out there!! I just use my food processor and it's really so easy. I usually just bake whatever I am making for her along with my dinner, so there really isn't a whole lot of extra steps to make it. Zip, zap, done!

The next thing I've been busting my rear making is CLIP ART!! Now here's a question - is it clipart or clip art? Who knows. 

I LOVE making clip art [clipart]. I have so much fun finding inspiration through just looking around outside, or on clothing patterns, or in even on some of my daughter's toys. I find inspiration basically everywhere I go. I WISH so bad there was more time to fit in making all of the creations I have in my brain. I have a mile-long list of different clip art packs I would just LOVE to sit down and make. All I know is during Christmas break, I know EXACTLY what I'll be working on!!! I've managed to make a handful of stuff, all of which are on my TpT shop. Here's a peek:

I'm very much obsessed with this new hobby. I wish, wish, wish I had more time. I'd have a gazillion creatives to offer!! There are lots of these in the works, but it's a long process to get them completed and up for sale. I've got a Christmas one, a butterfly one, and about 10 different background packs that I'm working on. Who the heck knows when they'll all be done!!!???!!! 

One more thing about clip art...I got an amazing offer to be a part of an Educents clipart bundle that will be rolling out this weekend. There are over 1,000 clip art elements that are going to be offered in this bundle...and you DO NOT want to miss this offer. It's going to be VERY reasonable and if you are a clip art user (what teacher isn't???!!!) - make sure to be on the lookout for the clipart bundle that will be coming your way this weekend.

Speaking of Educents...have you heard about this? It's basically Groupon for teachers. They offer all sorts of  teacher-type products for a big ole' discount. They've even done bundles of resources from TpT products. I highly recommend becoming a member. They also have a blog and I actually starting following it this weekend. I found a really neat online book catalog resource on there. I made a mock online library to test it out (I will probably not teach science for the rest of my career, so I figured I'd better start cataloging my books now, right?) - and I really love it. So that's my next Made It. My online library. I don't have very many books in there right now, but I will later. Go to to create your own classroom library. It even has a feature to let students checkout the books in your library. All you have to do is add your students' names and then they login in to checkout/check in books that they borrow. I love it.

I really only have these three Made Its to offer, but I will also say that I am working on getting some Common Core resources up on my TpT site. {I know, right? It's about time!!} I am focusing right now on math looks like I'll be teaching math along with science next year! I am very excited about it, but I'm a little overwhelmed with this prospect. I want to really familiarize myself with Common Core, since we are making the ole' switch-a-roo. 

Thank you to Tara for hosting the Monday Made It linky again! 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

eDay with Edmodo

My school district requires an eDay - a day where the students do not come to school, but class is still in session via the Internet. Ahh, the Internet. It's strange that these kids are growing up in an era where not knowing something is unheard of. Need to know when Captain Crunch was invented? GOOGLE IT! Need to know the answer to a math problem? GOOGLE IT! Need to know what kind of rash you have on your foot? GOOGLE IT! I mean, it's incredible - we really do have the world at our fingertips. These kids have no idea how easy they have it!! I mean, remember the days when we had to use a card catalog to find a book? They won't ever know that. Weird.

I really love this idea of having an eDay. But I tell ya, it was really difficult coming up with an activity that wasn't just busywork. Enter Edmodo. Edmodo is the Facebook of the teaching world and I LOVE it. I have only been on a handful of times and I cannot tell you how super helpful it has been.

We are right in the middle of our ecosystem study. I love it. We make ecocolumns, complete with crickets, fish, rolly pollies, and snails. The kids really enjoy it and they love learning about animals and different places all over the world. I have to admit that it's one of my favorites, too! {Properties of Matter definitely steals the show, though.} To accompany our ecosystem study, I wanted to do something related to ecosystems. I have two ideas - the first has to do with going outside and viewing a mini "ecosystem" by walking outside and marking off a 4' x 4' square. Students will be challenged to think about how this section of earth is actually an ecosystem. I have a sheet that students will use to make their observations. They will answer questions such as, "What living organisms can you see?" and "What living organisms might there be in this square that you cannot see?" and different questions that deal with the mini EcoSquare that they've created. It's a great way for students to see that ecosystems can be very small, not just humongous.

Now - knowing my luck, it will rain that day, so I've also uploaded an assignment that they can complete online. I found a great website that has lots of information about food chains and food webs and also has a food chain game that students can play that reinforces key concepts. I think it's fabulous.

I really, really like Edmodo. You can upload assignments, create quizzes, and have students complete these things right there on the page. It's very similar in format to Facebook, but it's for education. I highly recommend it if you are not on there because it's a great place for educators to collaborate. I've gotten lots of help on there, including the idea to use Class Dojo as a behavior management system - which is working like a charm, by the way.

If you decide to join the Edmodo world, look me up! I'd be honored to have more teacher connections on there!!