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!

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