Sunday, January 15, 2017

IPad Adventures and AirDropping

This year, each of our over 400 students at our school received an Ipad to use at school. This adventure was something my Encore coworkers were ready for. Our Encore is made up of our PE, Art, Music, Media, and Science Specialists!

It wasn't an easy start, but we had to figure out what programs we could use, lessons we would need to teach (we had some regular ed. classroom teachers not ready to dive in to allow the students to utilize the Ipads in their own rooms let alone the specialists' rooms) so we worked as an ENCORE team to help everyone!

Our district controls all apps that are placed onto the student Ipads, so we needed to figure out what we had to work with. Here is what we focused on first:

1. How can we use Explain Everything in and out of the classroom?
2. Is there a way to make the Ipads replace some of my many science worksheets?
3. How can we easily upload those images so that the students don't have to?

Our amazing Media Specialist started with teaching lessons on the apps that we chose to focus one...most importantly Explain Everything so that we could create folders for each one of us.

To deal with the second goal on my list, I wanted to find a way to use the Ipads for assessment, uploading worksheets, and go more paperless.

In the last few weeks of this quarter, I am now savvy enough to make some fun, interactive activities that work along with our FOSS kits. Where some people use Chrome Books or laptops and can have movable parts in their activities, I have learned that with Ipads that doesn't work. What can we do with our Ipads?

Discoveries:
1. I can Airdrop all sheets that I save as a JPEG/PNG to the students!
-swipe the bottom of your screen to open the Control Center
-Tap on the button that says AirDrop
-Chose one of the options (off, contacts, everyone) I always choose everyone when I airdrop to my students. Your students will now need to accept the photos by pressing the accept button.

Image result for insert photo iconNow that they have the photos that I airdrop...it's time to upload those pictures. Some of my friends use PicCollage which is a great free app that could be used instead of Explain Everything.

2. Let's get into the app your kiddos will use to work on the sheets. Explain Everything...PicCollage...The airdropped pictures can be found in Photos. Follow the rainbow...
3. They can then open up Explain Everything, go to + button, go to the top add a photo (we say go to the mountains).


4. They need to now go to see the rainbow on the mountain (okay the photo key) Here they will see the pictures that were airdropped.

Have them pick the one that they want to add to their page. Once it is picked, they will need to press the bottom corner DONE button. The picture will now be there for them to use. Often I have the older students lock in the background.

5. If students want to lock in the background, we go to the i with the dots around it. I say, "Press the I...I want to ...now touch the picture...want this picture....now press the set as background...I want this picture as background...I want this picture...touch the picture again... and say to work with while you press the finger at the top.


           Check out what we are doing to integrate technology!
Find Digital Science Resources HERE!
Want to try it out first? Here is a JPEG for you to upload to your iPads using the directions above to see it in action! I used this with my first graders for our rock unit. We did a "How do we use rocks?" scavenger hunt around the school. We inserted pictures into each box to share how we use rocks in our school! They loved it! You can see one of my firsties using it above!
Rock Scavenger Hunt Freebie
Let me know how it goes! Digital Science Lessons are a great way to add engagement to your school day in a whole new way!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Integrating Science and Social Studies With Success

I am always trying to find ways to integrate different subjects into my Science day, so when our fifth grade teachers asked me if I could add some social studies into science…I took the challenge!

I was a regular Ed teacher for 20 years before becoming a science teacher. I minored in Social Studies so when I taught 5th grade for 15 years of those 20, I loved getting my students excited about something that was often ignored or but on the back burner. When I took the science job, I took on a subject that was often put aside just like Social Studies because the focus was placed heavily on math and reading.

I  actually miss teaching that topic so as three new 5th grade teachers unsure of how to teach the revolution were joking with me in the teacher’s lounge, I took them seriously. Little did they know that I could actually pull it off. I took a look at our new unit FOSS Mixtures and Solutions, remembering that I also had iPads to figure out how to utilize…I looked at any way that I could actually find connections…BAM…What Separates?

Success Strategy #1: Find a common theme

What Separates became my theme! What a perfect way to tie a social studies concept with a science concept. 

Success Strategy #2: Find common words to use

Loyal...Separate...timeline...events...they can be as simple as that. Then figure out how to weave them together. My first lesson was "What separates". We used a list to find ways that we were going to separate mixtures...screen, filter, and evaporation. Then, we made a list of what separates people. We took that list to start the timeline of the major events that led to the revolution. I had then learn the events by working with a timeline that was strung across the room. We then did our separation science lesson!

My second lesson is are controlled experiments always loyal to the outcome or do variables impact the results. Loyalists vs. Patriots...and does loyal always mean loyal...in comes Benedict Arnold next week.

Success Strategy #3: Motivation
I have a chart in my room for points that they can earn. Points can be earned by finishing their science sheets, answering questions, passing a ticket out the door test that is linked to google forms. They seem to work much quicker and with more focus when we have an intensive chart that in the end will get them a little prize...this one is a Boston Tea Party! Tea and Boston Creme Pie! Three classes, three winning groups. 

Here is a three sheet freebie for you to see what we are doing in our class and see if you are up to the same challenge! Let's connect!
Social Studies and Science Connections Freebie HERE

Friday, December 30, 2016

Science School Yard Year In Review

I was reading over some fun year in review articles now that 2016 is nearly over and I thought that it would be fun to look back at the Science School Yard and review this year's checklist.




My goals this year were fairly simple...set up a new classroom instead of being in the teacher's lounge...continue to add STEM and a bit of Makerspace into my science lessons, figure out how to use the Ipads that each of the 400 students that I work with will bring to me each and every hour of my school day!

Not a small task by any means, but one that I was ready to tackle. I also threw in a graduate class on Inquiry Based Science, and Positive Growth Mindset...not to mention our district's new programs such as Itslearning and Explain Everything that they want us to use. I am always up for a challenge! I think I did pretty well!

I look back at how clean and empty the room looks, but I was so excited to get my own room after spending 4 years in a small lounge that we called the science room. I might have had only a week to get it ready, but waiting for "real" science tables and chairs was worth the wait!  Now, the room looks lived in and the counter is filled with activities ready to go!

This one was the hardest at first because it was such a huge learning curve~however we have an amazing library/media specialist that worked out a plan to help us implement apps that we could use in our Encore/Specialist classrooms. We started with Explain Everything. Check out the video to see how to use it! (I made a how to video to show others how to use this great resource!)

What I am most excited about are my Digital Activities that I have been making and using in my room! I am using FOSS and going 1:1 and using all those packets and sheets were killing me. So I created packs that would help my classroom teachers and myself to go digital! Teachers can use them on the Ipads or Chrome books that we have at our school! Want to go digital? Check these out!


I even started making packs that I could use along with my FOSS packs so that I could have my students use their Ipads instead of all of the paper worksheets! The students love them and it is a great way to assess what they know! I have even started using Itslearning to add quizzes, tests, and tickets out the door that are automatically graded and put in a gradebook for me. This is our district's new way of housing all of our plans, tests, sites that we use, but in the end if I have to use it next year I might as well start figuring it out now.

My students LOVE STEM. I use this opportunity in all of my FOSS kits to add some hands on learning opportunities as well as team building! We created pipelines during our first two weeks of our water unit to get the BIG picture as to why we need to study and learn about how important water is!

We even found a way to learn about water and buoyancy by building a boat for the gingerbread man!
 Wanting more STEM for the New Year... I have got you covered! There are so many great ways to add STEM into your school day by integrating them with a great picture book...nursery rhyme...or science fun! Find it here in the Science School Yard!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

STEM Holiday Connections

Find the ELF Pack HERE!
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to find a way for all of the 400+ students K-5th grade be able to connect a fun seasonal book to a STEM activity.

Up until this point, we have been able to do some quick Halloween STEM activities, and a few NGSS STEM connections in a few of the classes, however using the FOSS road map that our district has developed is what often drives my theme or lessons. Lucky enough, I have been able to find ways to join some of those lessons together as well as integrate activities using our Ipads...so it allows me some flexibility to add NGSS...STEM...and extra activities that I create that go with our theme.



Find the GINGERBREAD STEM pack HERE!
Here are some tips to integrate any of the fun STEM packs that I have in my TPT store!

Tip 1: Pick a theme

This week's lessons  look like this...

K-weather connections using Three Cheers for Tacky, building a structure for the Penguin to keep him warm using toothpicks and marshmallows and a fun penguin pattern...they sure are Tacky!
1st Grade- How to Catch an Elf...we are learning about size and property words.
2nd Grade-FOSS Solids and Liquids and the Gingerbread Man
3rd Grade-FOSS Water...make a boat to float on water to keep the Gingerbread Man from having to rely on the fox to get across the river
4th Grade-FOSS Human Body and Elf on a Shelf... Mr. Bones style and Elf Traps
5th Grade-FOSS Mixtures and Solutions and Mr. and Mrs. Clause and separating mixtures

 Tip 2: Pick a Picture Book

With the opportunities to integrate some STEM lessons, I always try to find a fun picture book that will help set the tone. Here are some of the books I am using this week.

Tip 3: Find ways to integrate what you are already doing in your classroom...Look at the standards and find a way to incorporate them into a hands-on STEM project! I also challenged my older kiddos to finish something that was in our road map before they could work on a STEM project, and you should see how fast they start to work to get to be able to build!

Looking for some winter or New Year STEM or some Christmas alternatives? Check it out at my TPT STORE. Follow the link HERE.

Hang in there...just a few more days for those of us that have to teach right up until break! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2016

How To Catch An Elf and Elf-tacular Giveaway!

It's that time of year...time for laughter time for cheer! Just this Saturday, I had to read at Barnes and Noble for a fund raiser for our school. As I picked several books to read to the little kiddos that were hanging out in the children's section of the book store, I grabbed one that I thought could inspire me to add it to my right before break STEM activity.

You can see where this is going...Time to trap an elf! As I read the story to the kids surrounding me...I was already formulating my own plan to trap some elf trap makers right before the holidays!
Using everyday items such as cardboard boxes, cups, foil...your learners can try to catch an elf, too!
Here are some of my littles and their creations! This activity is good for all ages! Right before the holidays...it is always great to find a way to channel their excitement!
Catch Your Own Elf Pack HERE!

Another way to add a little excitement into your life, join our ELF-TACULAR GIVEAWAY!


 My friend, Nikki, over at Teaching Autism has organized a fun little hop for you to participate in!

Hop on over to each and every blog post within the loop. Gather a new letter at each site. Follow the rafflecopter to enter to win a great TPT Gift Certificate just in time for the holidays! Here is my letter to add to the others...

Now, it's time to click on the picture below to head to the next blog, Scissors and Crayons for another
letter! Thanks for joining me...and good luck!
  

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Saturday, December 3, 2016

Science Rock and Roll

It was that time of year...time to finish our FOSS Earth Materials Stations...Moh's Hardness scale... Calcite Quest...Properties of a Rock...It isn't always the most exciting and at times it loses the kids. The kit can be loooonnnnggggg.

I know I am not alone. We all have units that make it hard for us to keep the kiddos attention. Units that we have to follow because of district initiatives. We follow the plans...we try to add a fun twist...we think "how can we shake it up a bit?"

To finish up on the Rock Cycle lessons that I added, I also mixed it up with a little "ROCK" and roll. QR codes are a great way to get kids actively engaged in concepts such as vocabulary, studying for a test, and reviewing concepts.

Sometimes my students scoot around the room....sometimes they have the cards at a station...other times like this we make it a competition.

Here is how it works...
1, Playing some rock instrumental music sets the mood. I just have it playing in the background lightly.
2. I share with the group that they are going to be rock stars today. Each time they pick a new card, that lead rocker will read the question, working as rock stars to try to figure out the answer.
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Rock Cycle Questions and Record Sheet...my students ROCKED IT!
In a group of 3-4 they take turns reading, having everyone record, checking the qr code for the correct answer, changing it if they are wrong,  and passing it to the number 2, then 3 rocker.... Each leader must also make sure that the same process is followed each time. Read, record, check, correct, pass to next rock star!


3. When each box is filled in with the correct answer, the band of rock stars must come up to me and show me that they rocked it out together. If they are all finished...first...I give them rock candy and a polished rock.
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The Rock Stars LOVED the candy rocks! 
4. We finish up by reviewing the Big Ideas of our FOSS unit and I continue to find other students that are "rockin' it" with sharing what they know about the scratch test...vinegar test, the difference between a rock and a mineral...

Here is a link to your own Rock Star Rock Cycle Review Freebie!
Rock On My Friends...we all can be rock star teachers and get our students to be excited about what we are teaching! Sometimes it's nice to get a little help from your back up band (with a freebie!)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

TPT Wish List Linky and $100 Give Away!

Since Teachers Pay Teachers LOVES the teaching community so much, they are throwing a Cyber Monday, November 28th through Tuesday, Tuesday, December 29th. This starts tomorrow so get your shopping lists ready! I am linking up with Daisy Designs to help you with your list and share some items that buyers have loved in my own TPT Store: The Science School Yard!
 With over 155 Science Products to choose from...here are three of my favorites that I want to share with you...
 This pack includes four stations with very simple supply lists. Packaging Presents requires some typing paper, tape, scissors and packaging peanuts for filling...

Gumdrop Chimneys need toothpicks, gumdrops, measuring tape, and a Santa to see if he will fit...

Santa' Treat Table needs newspaper, tape, scissors, a plate picture that is provided and a school carton of milk for weight (you can always use a glass of water...)

The Mystery Bag Toy (so love this one especially when we do the gift exchange) needs items you collect such as toilet paper rolls, yarn, buttons, colored paper, or cheap items you can  get from the Dollar Store such as pom poms and pipe cleaners.

This pack is great for all ages and after using these ideas for two years, I love the excitement my students have when they are creating!


 For those of us that are implementing NGSS into our classrooms, but don't have any curriculum that was given to us...this pack has been a great way to teach animal adaptations. My store has a variety of NGSS inspired products that help make this a bit easier for you!
As a Science Teacher that has to teach K5 and over 400 kiddos...I was always trying to find one way to build STEM activities into our existing FOSS curriculum. I also wanted to try to figure out a way to reward hard work and I know that STEM is always a success! Not only can I teach positive growth mindset, but we can teach the engineering process, team building, and presentation skills! These 32 activities allow me the flexibility to use one or more ideas for one or more grade levels! With the 28% discount this $21 product is now quite a reduced cost compared to other STEM packs with fewer activities!
video

These items not what you are looking for right now? Take a look at the STEM video and some other great STEM packs to get you through the winter!

I have also partnered up with TPT and several other amazing Teacher Authors to help you win something really amazing... Jump on over to my Instagram Page for your chance to  win a $100.00 TPT Gift Card for the BIG SALE!