Monday, December 31, 2012

Getting Organized This Year! Desktop Checklist Freebie

There are some days that I know I can be more efficient, but I get wrapped up in the details of a project and planning period is over!  I made this sheet to keep on my desk on those really busy days.  Happy New Year to my super organized teacher friends.  Let's hope I can get it together in 2013!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Guiding Questions Great Idea!

I just had to repost this from one of my favorite blogs.  I'm thrilled to have stumbled upon a middle school-minded blog with some creative flare!

It is such a clever idea.  A piece of ribbon, some glue and a few clothes pins can go a long way in making a classroom functional and stylish!  Check out other great ideas at  and some awesome middle school science materials at her  TpT store.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Student-led Conferences Support Self-Reflective Learners

We held our middle school student-led conferences in December which meant lots of preparation during an already busy time of year.  Feeling crunched for time, I set out to create some new student forms that would guide my 6th graders through the self-reflection process.  The timing works out pretty well, since we all try to do some self-reflection at the start of a new year.  Although I used this in December, I think it would fit nicely for a New Years Reflection project during the first week back from holiday break.  I can think of a few resolutions I wish my students would make!!

 Using four forms that had a newspaper-style appearance, we created "Middle School Me" booklets using 11 x 17 paper.  The booklet then became a portfolio folder, in which we collected some work samples to be discussed at the meeting. Students looked forward to completing and coloring their booklet, and I certainly appreciated all the information being in one location come conference day.  Check it out!

In the past I would often dread the student-led conferences.  I always felt that it was a little awkward for 11-13 year olds to lead a discussion about their social and academic progress.  After this year, my opinion is starting to change.  Now I'm curious...What strategies are other schools using to make the student-led conference process more rewarding and meaningful for students, parents and teachers?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Volume Practice Freebie

I hope you all had very Merry Christmas! I just posted some volume review worksheets that I created for my students.  As always, I'm going to send them to a few new followers who leave their email address for me in a comment.  If you are interested, sign up to follow this blog and leave me a comment including your email address.  I'll send the file to you within a day or so!
Download a preview at

Monday, December 10, 2012

Measuring Mass Worksheet and Flipchart Freebie

If you are teaching mass and how to use a triple-beam balance, these review sheets and Promethean Flipchart might be helpful.  I used them to support a lesson on mass recently and it seemed to help my kids understand the concept.  We talked about the meaning of mass, created a web of main ideas, learned the names of the parts of a balance, practiced reading the three beams and then spent time measuring the mass of small classroom objects using triple-beam balances.  Wow...that is the quick snapshot of a lesson plan!  I know how hard we are all working this time of year, managing our homes, kids and classrooms, so I thought another freebie might be helpful.  Happy Holidays from Kate's Classroom Cafe!

Here are the links to download these classroom materials for free:
(mass notes link)
(flipchart link)
(Front cover if you are creating a booklet for a science journal)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Metric Ruler Freebie!

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be stressful and exhausting!  Here's hoping a little blog therapy is just what I need to take the edge off.  (Probably not, considering I should really be cleaning my house, decorating for the holiday, and writing out those Christmas cards!)

Enough about me.  My 6th graders are beginning a short unit on measuring physical properties, which is a fancy way to say we are studying length, mass, volume and density.  I noticed right from the start that these kiddos had NO CLUE how to read a metric ruler and knew that this would be a major road block to getting any kind of  decent lab results.  So, I created this freebie worksheet to ensure they had the basics.  It is very simple and straight forward, which is what I feel kids need when it comes to measurement!  I hope you can find some use for it in your classroom!  Happy Holidays.
A little early holiday gift from my classroom to yours!  


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