Thursday, October 30, 2014

STEM aligned with Oreos?

My students had THE best time yesterday doing a STEM project! I had searched high and low for the perfect hour long activity to have them do during our half day yesterday. Since it's conference week, I also wanted a minimum prep activity as well. I found this adorable gem on TPT:

Oreo Tower: Engineering Challenge Project ~ Great STEM Activity!

It is the best activity to have the kids thinking outside the box and working together. Since this focuses on architecture, I wanted my students to have an idea of what that might look like as an adult. I found this perfect You Tube video that I showed at the beginning of class:

It was exactly what I needed! The students had a blast working together:

They had to practice a couple of different bases to get the sturdiest.

Lots of different ways were tried until they realized that if they were 'woven' together it created the sturdiest.

This group was the first to really 'get' it.

Until this group blew them out of the water with 17.5 inches! They definitely conquered the challenge to build the highest tower that they could!

Have you tried any STEM activities? I'd love to see them! Leave a link or comment and you could find yourself (and your post) on our Facebook page!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Trouble Student: 4 Things Every Teacher Should Do Before Putting A Child in Time Out

My newest article is up on The Educator's Room. Check it out by clicking through to leave feedback or check it out below:

Trouble Student: 4 Things Every Teacher Should Do Before Putting A Child in Time Out


                 We all have that one student. The one that seems to know just how to disrupt, disrespect, and disassemble a class all without meaning to. They are the ones that, when absent, you tend to get more done. But what are you to do when the are present and ready to disrupt? How do you curb their tendencies and help them work to achieve?
First, take a breath. You can count to 10, close your eyes, remove yourself to the hall for 30 seconds. Whatever works for you to think clearly. Even as adults, we have tempers and we do not always control them to the best of our abilities. The first thing to do, before overreacting to the child misbehaving again, is to calm yourself. This will help you to calmly redirect the child. Remember that speaking positively and clearly will be the best. "Do not talk during class" is going to be a negative that the student probably hears (and ignores) dozens of times throughout the day. "Please listen to this important information that will be on your test" is more specific, shows them the importance, and doesn't tell them 'no'.
                Next, listen to the child. Even if the student is the one misbehaving and inciting the disturbance, pull them aside and ask them why they are doing it. Normally this will involve also talking with the other student who is involved in the disturbance. If you are currently thinking, "That takes away from instructional time." What would be better: taking 5 minutes to solve the issue or having students distracted for the rest of class?
If they haven't listened to redirection or won't change their actions after addressing the issue, move them. I have a student this year in my first period. He is the instigator: yelling out, yelling at others, talking to himself over me, and on and on. When I realized sitting next to someone, anyone, wasn't going to work, him and I spoke during class and selected a spot near no one else. He is now able to sit, listen, and work. This not only helps him, but it also positively impacts the others in the class.
               Finally, if the child still is not responding, create a behavior plan. When I taught Kindergarten, I created a chart for my students that needed extra reminders to behave. It was simplistic: one column for each day of the week, one row for each class period or activity. At the end of the day they had to have a certain number of smileys (older kids could use plus signs or checks), to receive a treat. The treats are tailored to your student: read to the class, teacher helper, treat note sent to parents, a sticker, an eraser, etc.
If nothing above works, remove the child from your classroom. Some times it requires intervention from others. Keep in mind though, start with other alternatives than just your administrators:
- Time out for 30 minutes in another classroom.
- Time out in the front office or Opportunity room.
- Time in study hall during recess.
- Lunch at the silent table.
- Students can call their parents during the day and explain their actions.
              If nothing else works, turn to your administrator. They are there to support you as a teacher. It is part of their job description to help deal with unruly students who interfere with instruction. If you have gone through every other option, documented it, and nothing is working or making an impact, your administrator is your last resource.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Build it and they will learn... (A Make and Take)

Interactive is one of the key words this year. But what if you can't make every lesson interactive simply because you can't afford the copies?

That was the spot that I found myself in last week for our key vocabulary. So, I created a foldable instead! This is probably one of the best times we've had in 5th grade. They did an AWESOME job of following directions. Love it!

If you need a foldable that has tons of flaps (16 in this case) for vocabulary, keep reading!

Starting with 3 sheets of notebook paper, staple them 3-4 times on each side.

Fold it in half hot dog style.

Fold it hamburger style.

Hamburger style one more time.

After you unfold, you begin the cutting. This is the make or break part of it. If they cut the wrong piece, they have to start all over... not fun.

Taking only the TOP piece of paper, cut along the line down the middle. Then cut the smaller creases on the sides. This will create the smaller flaps. Once you have the first side done, flip and repeat.

Voila! You now have the perfect vocabulary foldable! Students can quiz themselves with just a lift of a flap. Next time we do it, I'm going to have them put the definition on the outside and the term on the bottom.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Memory Jog, Brain Dump, Fact Slap

How do you have students show what they know? 

Sticky Notes

I seriously have a love affair with sticky notes. In Kindergarten, I didn't get to use them as much as I wanted to. Now that I'm in 5th... oh man! I have created a slightly more interactive way for the kids to show what they know.

Yesterday, after our 3 day weekend, I had the students do an activity to show what they remember from last weekend. You could call it a lot of things: Memory Jog, Brain Dump,Fact Slap, What Stuck with You? 

Simply give the students sticky notes (1-3 usually do it). Have them write the desired content. For example, 'What do you remember about our unit: Changes on the Plains?'

You can differentiate by giving hints, clues, and asking questions.

When they have it written, it goes up on the board around your 'thinking cloud'.

Between the colors, the sticky notes, and getting up to stick it to the board... it's incredibly engaging and makes them want to reach deep down to find what they remember!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere!

Does your school decorate pumpkins? My old school did this every single year. When I switched schools, I offered up the idea to add to our Fall Festival (this coming Friday). Here are the pumpkins that came out... so, so cute!!

Does your school do a pumpkin decorating competition? I'd love to hear about it if they do!!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Fall Happenings

It is starting to look and feel like fall around here. So glad! It's definitely my fav! This weekend we were all hold up on the couch with colds. Which meant that I was able to stay home, hang out, and get my 'fall' on!

I started off with a cake. Growing up, my mom loved to decorate cakes. It was always a big thing around the holidays to see what she would make. I loved helping. Since she's gone... I miss it. It's just not the same with out it. So, I decided that I would make my own kids a great cake:

Isn't he sweet?! 

Speaking of sweet... as in cute. Take a peek at my pumpkin for this year's pumpkin competition.
 I L-O-V-E Olaf! It is too, too cute! Of course, he's 1 of 2 Olaf's in the pumpkin line up this year. No shock there. But I still love this little guy!

Plus, I have a new Donor's Choose project up! Please take a minute to check it out and share it via Facebook!

Classroom Photo

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday

Holla! I'm here! Look at me--- 2 posts in one week... I'm on FIRE! It's definitely been one of those weeks were I'm slowly beginning to emerge from underneath the 'Back to School' haze. You know what I mean... here's what I've been up to lately:

I've been getting my craft on a little bit here and there.. Totally loving being close to home and not being DEAD tired when I get home at night! It's so, so much better!

I've been teaching about Westward movement onto the Great Plains and my rug map has been wooooonderful! I'm telling you, it's the perfect rug for ANY grade level. I use it at least 4-5 times a week.

I've been trying lots of great new teaching strategies too! I love, love this one. It's called a Visual Tug of War. It's a lot of fun to give the kids a question and let them defend their answer. They like to see their thoughts on the board too! If you click on the picture, it will link you to where I pinned the original idea.

I made a new product! Yay!!! I am super duper excited about my newest product. With learning a brand new curriculum, creating has been few and far between when it comes to having TPT in mind. But I am really happy about putting ALL of my Civil War assessments into 1 pack for you!These are great assessments: quizzes, tests. study guides, and even a pre-test post-test.

I updated my Facebook page AND I sent out a newsletter to all of my followers. Make sure to follow me by subscribing at the top (Facebook) or on the sidebar (Newsletter). I love sending out treats and freebies in my monthly newsletter. Can't wait to see those you sign up!! I'll even send you a treat for registering!

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Quick Fall Craft Idea

I got crafty about a week ago. My project turned out so, so cute! I can't wait to show you!

Here's what I started with:

And I turned it into this!

This most important aspect.... they are filled with M & Ms.. YUM! I need to touch up a few last spots and then they are off to school to my kiddo's teachers. 

Here was my inspiration/tutorial:

PS.- Happy October 1st!!

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