Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I'm really excited because I just finished working on a WILD about Food Chains and Food Webs activity that I used with my class last week. Two different sets of cards allow students to build food chains and then create a food web.
One of my students said "This is really hard...but really fun!" Since I'm just getting started in the land of blog, I'm going to offer this 24-page document FREE (I have it for sale at my TpT store) to the first person who leaves their email in a comment about this post. Happy teaching!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
3 plastic cups
A dark closet and a window sill that gets some sunlight
Plant all three cups of grass seed using the same amount of soil and seeds. Water them throughout the experiment as needed. Place two of the cups in a dark closet and one on the window's edge for one week. (I did this the week before my photosynthesis lesson so that I could show the kids the results immediately.) After one week, observe the differences in the vigor of the plants growing in the two different locations. Move one of the plants from the closet to the window. (I spend two days teaching photosynthesis, so it worked out to be a Friday and a Monday. It worked out perfectly to reveal the plant experiment on Friday and discuss how it relates to photosynthesis and then make some predictions about how the plant being moved might change over the weekend. Checking the plants was a great springboard into Monday's lesson.)
Update! Looking for an INB printable to go along with this? You might like...
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I reused a Pepperidge Farms cookie container to hold them when they are not in use. It is the perfect size!
My students enjoyed discussing the results from their lab, and I really feel that they were better prepared to participate in whole group sharing after having time to chat in pairs. If you like this idea, you may be interested in my scientific processes unit on TpT. It includes every lesson that I use to help my students build scientific writing and thinking skills. Check it out here:
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
My students loved this! We played ECOSYSTEM SPLAT last Friday as part of an introductory lesson for our upcoming ecology unit. The purpose of the game was to activate student prior knowledge about ecosystems. I intended to post this as a Freebie Friday item, but I decided to take the weekend to spend with my family and not my computer! Anyway...here it is:
Just in case you are interested....
Here is a little more information about how I used this in my classroom: I started my lesson with an Activote (electronic clicker) survey that asked the kids how confident they were about having background knowledge for our new unit on ecology. As I predicted, many students rated themselves very low! I wanted to encourage them to think more carefully about their elementary science lessons and other background experiences relating to ecosystems. During the game many students had “ah ha” moments as they recalled things they knew about the ecosystems. To enhance the game for one of my high functioning groups, we turned and talked after each round about the ecosystem that was SPLAT during the game. It was amazing how many things kids recalled from their grade 3-5 reading and science experiences! (Way to go elementary teachers!!) After this 10 minute game, I asked students to define what an ecosystem was…and they nailed it! Examples do wonders for helping kids conceptualize science terms. After the lesson, students reassessed their readiness to start the unit and there were major changes in student responses. We often use games for review, but in this case it was a great way to activate prior knowledge. I hope you find it as useful as my students did!
Download the teacher directions and ecosystem clues for FREE at
Friday, October 5, 2012
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Middle school kids LOVE to use and abuse the classroom lavatory pass, leaving teachers frustrated with the revolving door. I've tried "is it an emergency" and the typical sign out sheet, but neither seem to reduce the requests. SO... This year I've started a new policy and I want to post it because it is working wonders. Students are issued 3 departure tickets per marking period (10 weeks). In order to use the lav pass, they need to rip a ticket out of their science journal (kept in the classroom) and hand it to me. At the end of the marking period, all unused passes are put in a drawing for prizes (homework passes, bonus booster points, redo coupons…etc.) Before this policy, I had on average 3-5 kids per 40-minute period asking to use the restroom. Now I have less than 5 kids per day. More time in the classroom = more learning…VICTORY!
Monday, October 1, 2012
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