Friday, February 27, 2015

STEM Night

STEM Night was a success!  We had over 200 people show up.  We served them dinner and then they headed out to explore the upper elementary classrooms.  Each room had a STEM project in it for them to work on.  Then, everyone gathered in the gym for a brief chat to welcome everyone and thank them for coming.  The families then dispersed to their grade level challenges.  I was in charge of bottle rockets!  They were so exciting!  The families really got into it!  We had one that went 35 feet!

The bottle rockets were made by rolling paper to form a straw.  The kiddos then attached the paper straw to a flexible drinking straw and attached the plastic straw onto a ketchup squirt bottle.  (One with a pointy nozzle.)  The kiddos used card stock to make wings.  We launched them down the hallway and almost ran out of room!

Here is an awesome blog post if you aren't ready to jump in and get the book.



Here are a few of the activities we did.  Click on the pictures to see corresponding blog posts from other bloggers.




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TPT Sale Extended!!!!

Guess what?!  TPT is extending the sale through today!  Scoop up the things you forgot!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Follow Us On Facebook!

I had a request for a Facebook page so that was today's project!  I have thought about a Facebook page for a long time now, but couldn't justify the time commitment.  Leave it to my new coworkers to convince me otherwise.

https://www.facebook.com/whoisonfirst

I promise to post articles that will make you think and others that will make you laugh.  If you don't have a sense of humor and a passion for teaching then this isn't the place for you.

I have been so busy at school!  It is difficult for me to find my place in new situations, but I am trying to make the best of it.

I got to put on my first professional development!  Our school started using Google Classroom and it is awesome!  I was able to modify it for the primary teachers so that even they can use Google Forms.

We had conferences last week.  Every semester I am surprised.  Let's just leave it at that.

Our school is hosting a STEM night tomorrow night and I got to design the posters that we put up around the school to promote engineering.  Making a product for TpT is one thing, but having it blown up on shiny poster paper is even better!  I used images from around the internet so I can't sell them, but I can give you a sneak peek.




We used this book to organize the whole thing:
If you click on the picture it will take you to their website.  The book is filled with engineering activities and the corresponding supply lists.  You can find most of the items as Wal-Mart.

More to come later!





Monday, January 26, 2015

Organizing My Pins On Pinterest

Those 2 a.m. feedings became a great time to plan.  I know it sounds crazy, but it helped me relax because I could either sit there and worry about how unprepared I was or actually get myself prepared.  It also helped me stay awake while I was nursing The Little Man so that I didn't fall asleep and drop him or something crazy like that.  

I had boards that looked like this:


But with over 5,000 pins on my boards, they were not very helpful.  So then, I did this:


I created a board for each standard!  It has made things so much easier.  When I am typing up my plans for the week, I pull up Pinterest and away I go.  What did we do before Pinterest?



Monday, January 19, 2015

How I Plan A Unit

My biggest challenge with starting a new grade level at a new school was not having a plan!  I hate not being prepared well in advance.  Before I left my old school, I had already made all of my copies for the upcoming year so that all I had to do was show up and teach and do a little grading now and then.  I didn't want to waste valuable hours standing in front of a copier when I could be at home snuggling The Little Man.  So, when I accepted this new position I started asking a LOT of questions.  I'm sure I annoyed my teammates, but a girl has got to have a plan.

First, I made a calendar for the school year with all of our days off blacked out.  Then I started plugging in all of my information.  This is what I call a "living document".  I am constantly tweaking it here and there.  (Like when I found out we had guidance one day a week and gifted and talented one day a week, so I could only teach writing three days a week.  Then fast forward to the second semester when I found out guidance was only for the first semester and now I can teach writing four days a week.)  But seriously, it helps my brain.  It makes my brain happy to know what is coming up.  I created a row for each subject that I teach and only plug the subjects into the days that I teach them.  (Science and social studies don't happen on Mondays and Wednesdays because we have computer lab.)  I also included the standard number for math and reading because we only teach one objective a week.  (Oklahoma doesn't do Common Core.)


Here is a close up:


I then plan out my unit.  I count up how many days I am going to teach a unit and start numbering a sheet of paper.  I start at the bottom and work my way up.  I want to focus on my end result and then break it down into each step.  It looks something like this:


For the record, I only typed it for this blog post.  Normally, I grab a piece of paper out of my printer, fold it in half, and start scribbling.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Reading and Thinking

We have a little LOT of trouble remembering what we read.  We tend to recite the words on a page and not bother to process anything.  When the questioning standard came around I scoured Pinterest to find an activity to hold my kids accountable.  We focus on each standard for a week (and then review in small groups of course).  This week, I chose a book for each day and traced these giant thought bubbles onto butcher paper.  I asked my kiddos to come up with a question either before, during, or after reading.  They got so excited when they realized I was writing it on the thought bubble.  They were proud of their questions, and showed ownership.  They were finally listening and thinking!  We put them up in the hall for a while and they had fun pointing out their questions to their friends in other classrooms.  I know it's simple, but it was worth it!  They woke up and realized what it truly means to read.