Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Happy New Year's Eve! Thanks to Christmas break, I've been able to get caught up on reading - for fun! Here's a look at what I've read and started reading...

The Husband's Secret

Good Reads

I spent my entire Saturday reading and finished this book with my mouth wide open. As more secrets were uncovered, I kept gasping with pure shock. From this point on, please don't tell me any of your secrets - pretty please?

Good Reads
I am on the road traveling quite frequently, so I began Semple's book as an audio book this past Friday. Now, I find myself reading the iBooks version because I can't wait to find out more about Bernadette and those darn gnats from down the road. 

What are YOU reading over break? 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Year in Review

 Happy December 30, 2013 folks! It's hard to believe that 2013 is coming to a close so quickly. Since I've had some free time the past few days (bless you, Christmas break!) I have been having fun with social media tools.  Through #flipagram, Vizify, and Statigram, I have been reviewing my year through social media. If you're a Twitter and Instagram junkie (I mean that in the nicest way) like me, I encourage you to do the same. It's quite fun! 

Click here to watch my Vizify 2013 Twitter round up. 

#students #Chip #MIZ

Are you on Instagram, too? It's one of my favorite social media tools. I even started using it with my students! Here's a snapshot of my year on Instagram: 


Wishing you all a wonderful 2014! Here's to another great year!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Bringing DIY to my Classroom

To say that our classroom was filled with Christmas cheer this week would be a mild understatement. For one of our activities, I had my students create an ornament with their big 'ol 5th grade smile tucked inside for their families. Last year, I made a few ornaments for my own tree that you can read about here. It was fun bringing the spirit of DIY to my classroom and equally exciting having my students create a gift for a family member - now I'm just hoping that gift made it home and found its way to a tree. :)

For the project, we used a ball-shaped ornament, and a photograph to roll up and stick inside. The end result was pretty stinkin' cute. 

Stuffing the Ornaments
What holiday crafts did you complete with your students?

Happy weekend! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Here Comes 2014!

*** Update! Since this was posted on WeAreTeachers Facebook page (hooray!), Eve over at Science Notebooking created another version on the document swapping out the resolutions for "1" and "4". You can find her file here.  ***

The new year is approaching and today my students and I talked about our resolutions for next year. In class, we have talk tremendously about the value and purpose of goal setting - especially setting attainable goals. This was just another great exercise in setting practical and reachable goals... even for myself! 

Through Pinterest, I stumbled upon a great foldable from 2013 at Frugal in First and gave it a little facelift for 2014. (Side note: the foldable doesn't match up exactly but it's still pretty fancy!)

Download the file here from Google Drive.

Happy last few days of school!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Living in Space, Uh... I Mean 5th Grade

'Tis the most wonderful time of year because of the approaching holidays, time spent with family, and of course teaching Outer Space goodness to my 5th graders. I've decided to compile a few of my favorite resources and lessons we've had over the past few weeks. December has been an exciting month in 5th grade science!

While searching for more interactive and engaging ways to learn about the Moon, I stumbled upon The Science Penguin. To put it mildly, I'm her biggest fan. I've snagged several goodies from her Teachers Pay Teachers store and my kids are smarter for it!

Last week, after spending extensive time discussing the differences between the Earth, Sun, and Moon I was stuck on how to continue our conversation and take our thinking a step further. Thanks to one of the resources I purchased from The Science Penguin, we were sorting out characteristics of the Lunar Cycle, Tides Cycle, Earth's Revolution, and Day and Night. 

A few popular videos and songs we've discovered this year are:

A classic for the ages, Mr. Parr.... 

Throughout the unit, I've pulled my various outer space books from the nonfiction shelf. While chatting about various aspects of our universe, I have referenced pages from a few notable titles. It's been a great teachable moment on accessing nonfiction in a different way than we read fiction. I've been able to model using the index, table of contents, and whatnot to gain certain information. 

Seymour Simon

When we return from the holidays, we are moving on in science and I'll have to wait another year to teach outer space. Which means, I'll have another year to find and develop new and exciting lessons for my students. :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Poetry in Science

It's possible! It's true! 
A few weeks ago, prior to starting our Solar System unit, I updated the display on our classroom door to a poem titled, "A Galaxy". 

I found the poem in Douglas Florian's book, "Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars" and decided it would be the perfect teaser to our new unit. The best part was watching students turn their heads and read the poem as they enter and exit the classroom.

If you're looking for a new book to add to your classroom collection, I highly recommend this one. I have read a poem daily from its pages to bring a little poetry to our science classroom. 


Comets, Stars, the Moon, & Mars: Space Paintings and Poems by Douglas Florian
Buy it here

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Providing Evidence

We just wrapped up an awesome Book Advertisement project in 5th grade. I snagged the idea from The Common Core Lesson Plan Book by Gretchen Owocki (buy it here). I took the idea of students creating an advertisement for a book and ran with it. Within the advertisement, I wanted my students to focus more on demonstrating their inferences and analysis of the book rather than a summary of what happened. 

One of the requirements for the Book Advertisement was to provide two quotes and provide evidence as to how this was important to the entire story. (This goes back to CCSS RL5.1) Needless to say, this was rather tricky for my students. Students were able to find key quotes in the story, but explaining their meaning, purpose, or importance was rather tricky. 

I knew they could tell me why it was important, but what was holding them back from writing it down?? For example, I would sit and conference with my students about the quotes chosen in the story. I would ask why this quote is important, what it means to the story as a whole, and so on.. and they would give me beautiful verbal answers! I would, often, exclaim, "YES! That's it! That's what I'm looking for!! Write that!" Then, they would put pencil to paper and look at me and say, "what do I write again?" 

Oh vey!

I began digging through the internet to find SOMETHING to help my kids get their thinking on paper. Then I stumbled upon Pencils and Pancakes blog post on providing evidence. She gave her middle school students a simple, but extremely wonderful, foldable to help them stretch their thinking. I quickly changed my lesson plans for the morning (yes this was all happening during my plan time at 8:30 AM), and gave it a-go during reading time. This graphic organizer was very powerful for my students in providing evidence and proving to myself and other readers the importance of specific quotations and parts from the story. 

To get my students started with this graphic organizer, I modeled my own thinking using our previous read aloud, "Out of My Mind". That book has come in handy quite often! It was the perfect example because all of my students were familiar with the text and could follow my think aloud. 

I'm testing out sharing documents via Google Drive (Google Docs), if you click here you can download the graphic organizer my students used to stretch their thinking.

Later this week, I'll share our Book Advertisement project!

Happy last week before the holidays!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What I'm Reading Wednesday

Currently, I am experiencing book withdrawals. You know, when you finish a book and you aren't ready to start another one but you have the longing to be wrapped up in the story line and drama of another piece of literature. Yes, that's me right now. 

On Monday, I finished reading/listening to (I did a combo this month) "The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling). Near the end of the story, things started escalating and I actually shouted out loud, "WHAT!"  Rowling's book follows detective Comoran Strike as he investigates the mysterious death of famous supermodel, Lula Landry. I have a sneaky feeling we might be hearing from Strike again soon. I can only hope!

 Buy it on Amazon here

In my classroom, we just wrapped up Out of My Mind and have moved on to a new pick by Gordon Korman titled, "Ungifted". We are only about 20 pages in, but the kids seem to really enjoy the story so far.

Buy it on Amazon here.  

What are YOU reading this week?
Happy Wednesday!

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