Quick Science: Walk through Paper

Do you have a pile of scrap paper, scissors, and a few minutes for a quick science demonstration? Challenge students to figure out a way to walk through the paper. If you have any students familiar with the activity caution them to explain after the demonstration. They might have a variation to share like a spiral cut or be able to help classmates with the activity! Fold a sheet of paper in half along the dashed line and then make the vertical cuts along the solid lines. Cut the center section of the fold itself along the heavy solid line. …

Find a File Folder…

Choose a favorite color or decorate it so it is easy to find. Keep it close, maybe in the front of a desk or file cabinet drawer. When there’s a breakthrough for a student who struggles, a great reaction from the class to an activity that took a LOT of planning, or an aha moment for a capable student who may be hard to challenge, jot a quick note to yourself, add the date, and drop it in the file. When a student or parent sends a positive note, add the date and the student’s full name (if it’s not in the …

Routines, Procedures, and Expectations

  Establishing clear procedures is key to a successful classroom. Every class of students is a bit different so having a variety of options for this will give you an advantage as you support your students learning.   Here are resources I think you might find useful as you collect options for setting up routines and procedures: Dr. Fred Jones – proactive versus reactive management Scholastic – check out the narrated slideshows with images of a variety of great suggestions! Fern Smith – she uses a “Yes Line” to get students from place to place Denise Young – a quick checklist of what and when This …

Any Skeletons in the Closet?

You might be surprised at what has been stored in bins, boxes, and closets from past science adoptions. It takes a bit of snooping and a willingness to sort through supplies that might be unfamiliar to you. I am amazed at the materials I have collected for my science class! The title of the post is a reference to an actual skeleton we found in a box. A bit of wire (unbent paper clip) and a cleaning and it was a great greeting when students came into our classroom! If you find supplies that may not be familiar to you, check with colleagues, the company online, …

Put Your Team on Display

It’s the first day of a school year or the first day with a new group of students. Routines aren’t set, classes like music or PE haven’t started, and you don’t want to spend every minute explaining expectations. What to do with this initial time that’s provides you with information about your students, gives them a chance to be creative, and begins the process of building a team in your classroom? Have your students make people to be posted on the wall. Maybe up high, above your bulletin board? You have a chance to talk to students as they decorate their person. You might have …

Trouble with Tattling?

Do you have students who aren’t clear about the difference between reporting and tattling? Is tattling driving you and your students crazy!! I searched for resources you could consider using in your classroom to help students understand the difference between being safe and getting a classmate in trouble. I also found forms and created a couple more that you could use or adapt for your classroom. I tried to make a primary form that doesn’t require words and a form from students who are able to describe the situation in writing. Let me know if you have suggestions for modifying …

Need Even More Time for Science?

Who doesn’t need more time? There are many ways to integrate science and writing. Obviously, read and answer questions. OK, describe how to do an experiment and write an analysis of the results. Sure, but can science be used to encourage reluctant writers? You bet it can! I’ve had more than one student tell me they’re working to be better at math and writing because that’s what scientists do. Some students respond when there’s a reason to write clearly and solve math problems correctly. Here’s a few suggestions for integrating writing and science: Writing Clear Directions for making a peanut butter and …

Need More Time for Science?

Is your day just too short for science? Busy teaching reading, writing, and math and feeling a bit guilty because there are other subjects you want to teach but that dismissal bell keeps ringing too soon? Consider ways to integrate math and science. Students practice their math skills and you have a few more minutes each week for science. Students see the connection between math and science. Seem simple? It can be with some planning. Here are suggestions, with resources, that can get you started. Graphing – Oh Deer! Line graphs – temperature change Bar graphs – precipitation Symmetry – light reflecting using mirrors Angles and measurement …

Need Desk Tags?

Oops, I forgot to post about desk tags after the “It’s Just the ABCs” post. These desk tags are FREE or a few dollars. The free desk tags feature colors, two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes, a number line, an alphabet, and left and right hands. Choose from the Century Gothic font or the D’Nealian font. The desk tags that are a few dollars have been saved in a Word™ document so you copy and paste your class list into the document. Every name is placed on a desk tag. No need to write each student’s name. It’s great if you have a new student …

Can’t Read Their Handwriting?

So you have an alphabet on the wall or on their desks. You just can’t quite read their handwriting. Consider having students practice their handwriting skills a few minutes every day while you walk around the room checking their posture, how they hold their pencils, and if they’re forming their letters correctly. More than a few minutes and your students tend to lose interest in working carefully. This can result in sloppy handwriting habits. I explain it by comparing practicing good handwriting to practicing a sport or a musical instrument. Do it well or not at all. I also try to emphasize that people …