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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Making" Blood

We have hit the road sprinting...I was informed of my students' scores on the CST (17/19 advanced/advanced). WOW! I am so proud of them and I am so glad I looped with them once again. We are a little family that works really well together. It is therefore the reason I feel that pressure on me to maintain them there...I will give it my all.

We have been working on the circulatory system. They are all into it. They find it fascinating and intriguing. We have been taking notes, drawing pictures, watching short videos, looking at a heart model and re-enacting the "voyage" of a red blood cell. We have also done some of the ideas found on Pinterest. (Will post pictures from their notebooks later.)

Today was really fun! We "made" blood. I think I also got this idea from Pinterest. We used the following:
  • red jelly beans=red blood cells
  • white jelly beans=white blood cells
  • corn syrup=blood
  • purple tic tacs=platelets
  • salt
  • clear plastic cups
They mixed all the ingredients according to the proportions in our science resources book (math). We discussed the functions of each component and finally they drew a diagram of their end product. They also had a lot of fun eating the jelly beans that were not consumed. When we debriefed they mentioned that they were truly able to visualize the blood in their systems and the importance of each component. I truly believe science should awe and amaze you into wanting to know more, but i also believe it should be fun and exciting...today we had it all.

 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

1st day of 5th Grade!

I had been feeling a little nervous since last week, but everything went really well. My kiddos look so much older AND taller. I am really glad that I decided to loop another year with them.

The day started like all the first days in school: greetings, daily schedule, goals, and photos. In another post, I mentioned that Lorraine over @ Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies has some great activities for the first days of school. I did the puzzle game.

I got the puzzles at Target in the dollar section just like she suggested. I got 5 boxes of the same puzzle for my 5 teams of 4. I told them that the first team to finish first would be the CHAMPIONS of the World. As soon as I said go, they jumped right in to figuring out what to do. What I thought was very interesting, was that the noise level went really high and then dropped as they figured out their roles within the team. I also found it fascinating to see who took charge and delegated politely, my leaders, and who were the team players. I even played the song We are the Champions by Queen. They were so engaged and motivated. I am really glad I did that team building game. Tomorrow we will be doing the other game--Fred the Worm.

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The other idea I "borrowed" came from Pinterest. The only thing I did was modify it to fit my grade level. I love the way the photos came out. I like to use Animoto. It is a free online service that allows you to make short videos/slides.  My kiddos always ask me to display their photos this way.

I really had a great day! I hope everyone else did too.

video



What activities do you do in your classroom that have been successful?

Monday, August 13, 2012

It looks like it will be a great year!

Early this week I posted that Ms. Jessica @ A Turn to Learn  was having a huge giveaway of some of her top items. I am beyond ecstatic to tell you all, that I was one of the lucky winners. I still can't believe it. I must of ran around the house a couple times like a total looney toon. I did mention that I was totally stocked!

Now to my classroom. I have been a busy, busy bee for the last two weeks trying to set up my room. Every year I seem to change themes. I do everything around the class, my newsletters, folders, no homework passes, you name it, with the same theme. This year I decided to do tiger paw prints/college bound theme. My school mascot is a tiger and it will be the last year my kiddos and I are together. I wanted them to have many lasting impressions of their elementary school days.

When I first started two weeks ago, I could not fully visualize my room. I kept moving things around and around. I finally have it the way I like (I do move things throughout the year though). Here are some pictures:

Too Plain!
Tweaked it a little more:

This is how I keep track of who met their monthly reading goal. Those students that meet the goal each month will receive a medal at the end of the year...hence the hanging medal. Great motivator!

This is my library. I have the bins labeled by genre, author, or series.

Early I posted about trying to be organized. Jodi, over at clutter-free classroom, does such a great job at decorating and organizing her classroom and materials. I love to "borrow" her great ideas. This is the before and after picture on her site:





I used the labels provided for free to do my homework boxes, but I did my own labels for my subject boxes. I really like the way they came out.




This year I am going to use the clip chart system. I have been hearing great things about it and it seems simple enough to implement and maintain. I really like that students can move up no matter where they are. ( I am still missing the clothespins.) I got the labels from another site, but I can't remember from where. If you know, please let me know so I can give them credit.


This is the beginning of my college bound board. It will be interactive and constantly changing as we learn about a variety of colleges and universities.  I will add more photos about this bulletin as the year progresses.


This is the one bulletin that is up and running from day one. My calendar board is a critical and integral part of our math block. I have to change some items tomorrow morning to align to CCSS.


Wow! It was never my intention to be so wordy, but I hope this helps.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Huge Giveaway!

I have been sooooo busy in my classroom this past week trying to get ready for my kiddos who arrive on Tuesday....ahhhhh! (okay not that bad, I am almost done). I will be posting some picturse later in the week when I finish up.

Now to the great/huge giveaway! Ms. Jessica @ A Turn to Learn is celebrating 600 followers on her blog by having a huge giveaway on a whole bunch of her awesome TpT items. She also has a whole bunch of other great ideas and resources on her site that you need to take a look at. Even though she is a kinder teacher and I am a 5th grade teacher, I always find great ideas that I can modify for my kiddos and her Technology Tuesday Posts are always a great help.

So head on over to Jessica's and enter for a chance to win her huge giveaway.
Congratulations Jessica!

A Turn To Learn

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Team Building Ice Breakers

It can get very difficult to come up with fun and engaging ideas for the first day of school...especially if most of my students have been with me for a couple years (since 1st). Now that they are the "5th graders", I feel even more pressure to not only captivate they minds, while making sure the activities are grade appropriate. One of my fav blogs that I follow is Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies (I Love Frogs!). Lorraine has posted two great activities do with your kiddos for back to school: Puzzle Races and Saving Fred. The puzzle races has students in groups trying to complete the 100 piece puzzle the fastest.  You could always get puzzles with fewer pieces for the lower grades. She uses the same puzzle for each team (good idea-it avoids possible problems).

The Saving Fred also has kiddos in teams. You will need paper clips, see-through cups, gummy worms and rings. The purpose is to get Fred, the worm that can't swim, to put on his life preserve, the ring that's under the cup, without touching any of the items with your hands, hence the paper clips. This sounds like a lot of fun, while at the same time challenging. I can't wait to try both of these activities.

If you need better further clarification, head on over to Lorraine's Blog and read her post. Check out all her other great stuff/ideas.

If anybody tries these out, let me know how it goes. :)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Free Math Posters!


Guided Math

After spending, and spending, so much over the last two weeks to get ready for my kiddos, I love to find some great resources that are for FREE. Mary, over @Guided Math, has some wonderful math posters that you can use in so many ways: Displays, bulletins, small groups, whole, anchor charts...you name it. I love the fact that she defines the term, provides both a clip art and real life image. She has all of the following sets available (for Free). Download the ones that you need and check out her other resources. There is definitely no need to reinvent the wheel, when somebody has a perfect one. ;)



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Free Calendars!



This will definitely be my last post for the day...
I love themes, color combinations, and things that look cute. I always have a hard-copy in my teacher binder for easy reference and jotting. Later on, when I have time I transfer info over to my goggle calendar. Amy, at The Resource(ful) Room has posted a couple of different calendars in a variety of colors that you can download for FREE. They are really nice. I downloaded the blue/black one. (I love black!)

Thanks a bunch Amy!
Button

Amy has the updated 2013-2014 version at the link below. You can also purchase an editable version from her TpT store.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8PtrZ3awA1tQmNNVW14cmZyQ0E/edit?usp=sharing

Notebooking

I am so excited! I love making notebooks with my students. I love the content that can be included, the interaction, the different modalities that can be addressed, the differentiation, as well as the versatility with creativity. Today, while looking for MORE ideas on how to make my students' notebooks a little better better and at the same time giving them a little makeover, I came across The Notebooking Fairy (literally!). Jimmie has a ton a great ideas, how-to's, information, resources, and free reproducibles.   Her Notebooking Success is also on sale right now. Go on over and check it out...I'm really glad I did.
The Notebooking Fairy -- printables and how-tos with a pinch of pixie dust


Getting Organized...in Style!

My organizational skills need some fine tuning. Jodi, over at clutter-free classroom, always has some great ideas on how to stay organized without breaking the bank. I really need that right now. This is the before and after picture on her site:
 

She has step-by-step directions with photos on her site. You can even download a copy of the labels for FREE. 
As for my organizational boxes, they never, ever, looked quite so nicely as hers. I usually had one box to put all my copies for the week. As you can imagine, it wasn't very organized or clutter-free. Well, I have put it on my to do list for this week as I get my classroom ready. I will post a before and after of my boxes...talk about pressure.

Children...

By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
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