Monday, December 23, 2013

Energy in and Ecosystem Poster Flash Freebie

I really should be wrapping presents and cleaning the house!  Here is a flash freebie that many of you will want to grab.  This has been sitting on my desktop for a LONG time and I finally decided to post it today.  I know... two days before Christmas and I'm finishing up a printable?  Actually, it is like therapy for me to take a break from the chaos of the holidays (and the the kiddos) and just get lost in the world of classroom material creation! So here it is...

Click on the image to download:

Oh...and it will be free until the next time I need a distraction from the holiday chaos so grab it right away before it becomes a priced item.

Happy Holidays my friends :) 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Polymer Snowman Science Demo

Here is a fun polymer demo to do with your class on a winter day! 

You will need: 
A surface for building your snowman (Wax paper worked well)
Snowman adornments (I choose NON food items for lab safety reasons.) 

Put the Sodium Polyacrylate into a clear glass container.  Slowly add water unit the "snow" is of the desired consistency.  (FYI- Adding a lot of water will make some SLOPPY snow to work with!) 

A plastic knife makes a good tool for moving it around.

 Have students take turns shaping the snow while you share awesome facts about polymers...long chains of molecules...super absorbent diapers..etc.  Here are a few polymer links you can check out:

Polymer Plastic Bag Trick
Plastics and Polymers Book

Add snowman adornments found around the classroom or in the bottom of student lockers.  Name your snowman and then set him in the classroom for student viewing.  Students can make observations in their science journals before, during and after the demonstration, including in the weeks to follow when the Sodium Polyacrylate crystals will eventually dry off.  (You could probably use them again, but I haven't tried it.) Oh...and I STRONGLY recommend doing this as a teacher demonstration.  I'm all for moving science from the teacher's desk to the student's desk...except in situations like this where a total MESS will be created!

Oh and One more thing.  Did you have a chance to browse the FREE holiday ebooks on TpT this morning?  They are posted in this week's newsletter, so make sure you grab them! Here is one of the coupons from my addition to the book :)

Click to download this coupon and these other fun (and FREE) winter coupons for your class:
Due Date Extension
Late to Class Pass
Bonus Point
20% off the length of an assignment
Seat Swap
Leave class 3 minutes early
Plus four different Mystery coupons (prize revealed when QR Code is scanned)

I hope you are enjoying some REAL snow like we are this week.  Happy holidays to all my online teacher friends!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

FREE Holiday Ebook

Toss out your plan book and get ready to revamp your December because today you can grab a bunch of lessons and activities for FREE!  Today is the day you have been waiting for.  This year's holiday ebook is packed with awesome freebies that you can print and use in your classroom during the holiday season (and beyond).  And...guess what?  One of my free products is featured....YAHOO! (I can't even express how excited I am about this!)

Here is my addition to the book!

Included you will find my Holiday Incentive Coupons for Middle and High School, which you can use as game prizes or cost-free student gifts.  Hey...EVEN the big kids like to have some holiday fun! 

Here are some of my favorite middle school freebies in the book:

This one is going to get lots of use by my math teacher friends!

We did food chains back in the early fall but this is a great way to review them before our midterm exams.

The math teachers will thank me for using this during homeroom!

Ok...I could go on and on, but these will be the first ones that I print and use!  So head on over to TPT and download this valuable teaching resource for grades 6-12!

Oh an remember to give all these teacher-created freebies lots of positive feedback for their great work!  

Happy holidays from my classroom to yours.  Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season...

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Playground For ALL!

I feel so privileged to be writing a guest blog post here for you today. My name is Krystal Mills and I'm a grade 7 teacher-blogger from Souris, Prince Edward Island. I'll waste no time getting to the point: My school needs your help! We are in the semi-final round in a contest to win up to $140 000 for a new, inclusive playground for our school. As with many schools, students who are in wheelchairs have limited to no access to our playground equipment and recess time is not a time where they are physically able to interact with their peers. However, this social interaction is so important to their development and they deserve it! Due to age, and health concerns our current school building will be demolished at the end of this school year. We will be moving into a renovated high school building in the fall of 2014, becoming the first K-12 facility on PEI. Of course, playground equipment is not part of the budget and not covered by the government. So, my community applied for the Aviva Community Fund to help us out and we are SO CLOSE we can taste it! That's where you come in! To get into the final round (and be one of the projects in front of a panel of judges) we need votes and lots of 'em. It takes just a moment to register your email (or you can log in using your Facebook account). After you have registered, voting takes just a second. You can vote once a day from December 2nd to the 11th. Some incredible teachers have actually taken this on as a "Random Acts of Kindness" project and their whole class has registered and is voting for us every day! I'd like to thank those teachers again! If you feel that this is something you could do - it would be absolutely amazing! Also, we'd love your shares via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blog posts etc. Any and all exposure is WELCOME and APPRECIATED! We WILL do this. I know we will. And we need people like you, to help get us there.   Feel Free to Pin!
Thank you so much and I hope to send you an update in a month or two saying," WE WON!"
Lessons From The Middle
Lesson From The Middle

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Cyber Monday Sale Reminder

Just a quick post to remind my friends about the big sale tomorrow!
I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families and are ready to head back to school tomorrow refreshed and ready to brave the home stretch until holiday break.  As you are prepping your lessons for the weeks to come, don't forget about the Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale tomorrow.  Now is an great time to grab all the lessons and materials that could be major time savers in the weeks to come!  (My wish list has been growing for weeks and I'm going to check out tomorrow with some sweet savings.)  Hope you all have a great week.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Middle School Giveaway!


Middle School Giveaway

5,6,7,8...Who do we appreciate?  YOU! 

Krystal from Lessons From The Middle and I have teamed up to create this giveaway just for middle school teachers.  Let's face it, middle school teachers are sometimes overlooked.  Well, this giveaway is just for you!  

There are over $150 in middle school teaching resources up for grabs here and they are grouped by subject so that you can win the prize package that will be most helpful to you in your classroom.  

So let's get started...

Middle School Giveaway 
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway
Middle School Giveaway

Thanks so much for joining us for this Give Thanks Middle School Giveaway...Good Luck!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

QR Codes For Middle School

Locker Clipart created by The 3am Teacher 
Forgive me if I'm starting out too basic here, but this is for my non-techie colleagues who are exciting to try something new but don't have a clue where to begin.  (You know who you are...Ann!)  However...If you are a seasoned QR code user, scroll down a bit for some simple strategies to use in your classroom.

How do I create a QR Code?

Click the image below for a simple tutorial for creating QR codes to use in your classroom:

QR Generation links to explore: 

What apps are needed to scan a QR code?

There are many choices for QR scanning apps.  You will need to choose one that works with the devices your students will be using (ipads/phones).  Here are a few of the more popular ones to consider:

QR Reader for iphone
QR Reader from Kaywa
Qrafter- QR Code reader and generator (iphone and ipad)
Quick Mark (for desktop PC)

Okay...I know how to create and scan them, NOW what?

QR codes are fun because they make simple tasks interactive.   Here are some ways to get started using them right away in your classroom:

Science Labs:  Ever feel like your students rush through a lab procedure, omitting important steps?  Turn each lab step into a QR code.  Scanning each step will force your kids to slow down and process the main idea.

Study tools:  

  • Pass out QR codes at the end of a lesson for students to include in their notes.  (Print them on labels to save time!)  Students can visit the QR code for homework to view a short video, visit a website or access an important document from home.  Did someway say flipped classroom?
  • Do you teach in a classroom with ipads?  Create short tutorials using the SHOW ME app on the ipad and then have kids glue them into their notebooks.  This would be awesome for math!
  • Review Question Hunt: Put problems as QR codes in numbered Easter eggs or other small containers hidden around the classroom or outdoor area.  Kids can complete the problem and then scan the answer key (posted on the wall of the classroom) to see if they are correct.
  • My students are always asking for "review sheets" when a big test is looming.  How about creating an interactive review using QR codes?  Here is one I made for Ecology and Energy in an Ecosystem:  (Feel free to use it in your classroom)

Self-checking answers:  This one is so easy to do and encourages independence!  You can take any existing worksheet or task card set and turn the answers into QR codes for self-checking.  

Bell work or Question of the Day:
Post a question or task as a QR code projected on your board to immediately engage students when they walk into the room.

Learning Centers:  Post a QR code that will link students to the directions for a learning center.  Students can scan to find out the required tasks at a learning station.  If you are using ipads, include QR codes to videos and interactive websites as well!

Absent Work: Did we do anything when I was absent?  Don't you just love that question.  Use QR codes on a calendar to help students keep pace with your class when they are out.  If you post notes or activities on your website, use the QR code to direct them to the specific materials they missed.

Bulletin Boards:  Encourage interaction with your bulletin boards by posting QR codes that link students to more in depth information!

Posting important information outside your classroom door:  You can do this for events, clubs or your teacher contact information.  (Generate a ME CARD at
Create a digital business card for free at!

I'll stop here, but I could go ON and ON!  QR codes have so many possible uses in our classrooms.

Do you have a clever way to use them in your class?  Please share! 
I love comments and new followers :)

Happy Teaching...

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall For a Good Book Freebie for the I'm SO Thankful Blog Hop!

Tis the season for gratitude, which is a the theme of today's exciting blog hop and giveaway.  There are so many awesome freebies to be gathered and some pretty fantastic blogs to discover.


We are celebrating all that we are thankful for and that includes teachers!  We want to show all of you how much we appreciate you.  Teachers do so much and this is our time to give back and say thank you!  Thank you for following!  Thank you for participating!  Thank you for collaborating!  Thank you for sharing!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Looking for some fantastic fall resources for your classroom and some superb teacher-bloggers to follow?  Well...Here you go! 

How it works:
Join us by hopping through each blog and gathering lots of Thanksgiving and autumn freebies.  In each freebie you will find a picture of a pie with a word on it. That word will tell you something that teacher is thankful for.  Record all of the words on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

You may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go here.  This is also where you will go in the end, for the giveaway!!

You have made it to blog stop number 20!

I'm so glad that you have stopped by Kate's Classroom Cafe on your turkey trot from blog to blog!  Today I'm giving away one of my favorite reading lessons for grade 6 "Fall for a Good Book."  I use this lesson when helping my reading class make "just right" book choices for independent reading during reading workshop.  The purpose of the lesson is to encourage students to test drive a book before deciding whether or not it is a good choice for them.  I hope you find it useful for your classroom!

Click the image below to download your freebie as part of the blog hop.  
  (Please note, this is a limited time giveaway.  The link to this document will expire after this blog hop is over!)

Now hop over to the next stop on your journey:

Thanks for visiting and happy teaching...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Astronomy Flip Card Flash Freebie! Grab it before it is gone!

I'm so excited to post my new Flip Card set for Astronomy....(I think it is pretty FLIPPING awesome!)  There are so many terms to learn in science class and students are often not sure HOW to study.  Kids love these cards because they are self-checking which allows them to study independently!

Since this is a new product, they are posted for FREE for 24 Hours Only! 

Click the picture below to grab this limited time freebie!  It is always nice to get some feedback when posting a new product so if you download it PLEASE remember to leave feedback!

Happy Teaching!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chalkboard Art and other October Favorites

This October Favorites link up with I Teach What's Your Super Power is just what I need on this cold fall morning!  This is such a beautiful time of year, but it seems to fly by with all the chaos of back to school.  Here are some of my October favorites...ya know...things that help me slow down and appreciate how awesome this month really is.

1) Chalkboard art is all the rage now, so I decided to give it a try on the board I painted near our garage entrance.  Here are my first attempts!

I saw this saying on Pinterest and decided to give it a whirl!

Here is my second try...

This chalkboard stuff is therapeutic.  I guess the teacher in me misses the good old days of writing on the blackboard! Oh wait a minute....NOPE...I don't miss the chalk print I would always get on my butt from leaning up against the tray.  How embarrassing with a class of middle schoolers!

2)  I love to decorate for Halloween!  Here are some of my latest additions...

We took apart our chandelier and made some spooky alterations. (Temporary of course!)

My husband is a pumpkin carving god.  Check out these number pumpkins he did!

3)  Goodbye summer salads and hello hearty fall food.  This month I made this delicious apple granola. It was super easy!

OK...Don't laugh but I thought it would be a good idea to buy a 50 lb bag of organic rolled oats.  What can I say, I like oatmeal!  Anyway, it turned out to be A LOT of oatmeal so I've been getting creative trying to use it up.  Here is one of my October uses...

Apple Cinnamon Crunchy Granola!

Something I love about granola is that it is pretty hard to mess up.  There are so many options and add-ins that the possibilities are endless.  Here is the recipe that I whipped up for this batch:

4-5 apples (from our neighbors trees) 
2 pounds organic rolled oats (not the instant ones folks)
Approximately 1/2 cup of honey (maple syrup works too)
1/4-1/2 cup canola oil
Cinnamon and nutmeg (however much tastes good to you)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flax meal or wheat germ (optional- but makes it more healthy)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds (whole or chopped)
Dried cranberries or raisins

Puree the apple in a food processor or blender (peel on or off depending on your preference).  Add oil, honey, sugar and seasons.  Mix together by hand.  In a large bowl stir together the puree, dry oats and flax meal.  Try to mix until all the oats are coated with the sticky apple puree.  Spread on baking sheets (I like to spray mine with a little olive oil first) and cook 1-2 hours at 300 degrees.  Stir and flip the granola every 20 minutes to ensure even cooking.  When all the moisture seems to have baked off, the granola is done.  I've made about 10 batches following this recipe and it takes a different amount of baking time each round.  So, check it every 20 and when you go to flip it, look for steam or moisture.  Once there is none or very little, the granola is probably done.  Let it cool on the cookie sheet for about a half hour before storing it in an air-tight container.  Some people say refrigerate, but we don't have room in our fridge and it gets eaten within a week so it stays fresh.

4)  My fourth and final favorite for October is Ibotta.  This is a money-saving grocery app for your phone.  As much as I try to do coupons, I'm always rushing and don't seem to ever have the right one on hand!  This is a much easier option for me.  

Here is how it works.  You get offers on your phone and then you earn $ by buying the items in the grocery and then scanning your entire grocery receipt.  They give you a certain amount per item but then give you bonuses for redeeming 5 offers in your first two weeks. You don't have to buy a lot of junk either.  I earned 50 cents just for buying a gallon of milk (any brand).  Cool!   I used it during two shopping trips this month and earned $26.50....which was deposted right into my Paypal account.  Whether you are an extreme couponer or a super lazy couponer like might want to give it a go!

I hope you all had a great October with your students, friends and families.  Thanks for checking out my October favorites and be sure to check out Megan's at I Teach What's Your Super Power.

Oh...and one more thing.  I'm putting together an awesome Middle School Giveaway for mid November along with my friend Krystal over at Lessons From The Middle.  The theme is GIVING THANKS to all of our hardworking middle school colleagues!  If you are a middle school teacher-author-blogger please consider joining in on the fun!  Click here to sign up:

Happy Teaching...


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