BTS with Buoyancy!

I just posted a new product Resources for Teaching about Buoyancy. Here’s the link that I included in the product. Check out the condiment diver, it just needs a pop bottle with water and a packet of ketchup. Families love the activity. Floating and sinking paperclips on a sheet of foil* can be a great way to start the year with a simple science activity. You might use this as a team building activity, practice for following directions, or that always fun open house with families as we start our school year. You just needs foil, paperclips, and dishpans of water. …

Halloween Puzzles!

Need last minute puzzles for Halloween? I found a few just for you! Pick the ones that best fit your students interests and abilities at Activity Village in the UK. Stepping Stone Puzzles Complete the Picture Puzzles Cryptograms Dot to Dots Grid Copy Puzzles Mazes Sudoku Puzzles Word Scrambles Word Search Puzzles and More… Click on a type of puzzle, find the one you like and click on the link above that example. The puzzle opens and can be printed or downloaded for printing later!

Check It Out! All Kinds of Minds

You’re coming to the end of the second month of your school year, maybe your first year as a teacher. You’ve gone through many of your strategies to help support a student who might struggle with behavior, academics, or social interactions. You can talk to the student, get advice from colleagues, former teachers of the student, or their family members. What if you need more options, more strategies to support your student? Consider visiting All Kinds of Minds. They have a library that “provides insights into the learning challenges that students face”, including: Thinking with Numbers Mastering the Challenges of Reading …

Mess Up On Purpose!

It’s 1985 and I’m a “new to science” teacher. The principal and the parents haven’t expected me to teach science, just the basics, so that’s what I’ve been doing. Then a life changing event occurs. Marie came to see me to talk about her son and offered to teach anatomy. Sure, I’m not teaching science, why not let her? Students who couldn’t pass a spelling test learn how to spell the muscles she was explaining. (Did you know the levator anguli oris, levator labii superioris, orbicularis oculi, risorius, zygomaticus major, and zygomaticus minor make it possible for you to smile?) Students who couldn’t focus in my lessons focus during hers. I …

Make your spelling program SPARKLE!

How can we support students who may be frustrated with spelling while keeping it fun for the students who find spelling to be very easy? Each week, for my fourth and fifth grade students, I would assign 10 of the 200 most commonly misspelled words. I put the tricky homophones together, like one week was to, two, and too and another week was there, their, and they’re. If I didn’t put them together on the list, it would become “This is the week for two Os in too.” We took a pretest Monday and shared strategies for knowing how to spell words that sound …

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 …

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 …

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 …