Sunday, May 20, 2012

Planning for Next Year - Science

Ok guys, I need your help.  I'm trying to plan for next year and I want to incorporate more science lab type experiments.  You see, we have to give a science assessment to our firsties twice a year.  Now, let me give you a little background.  We were supposed to get a new science series this year.  We studied the choices, voted for our favorite, and then were told that there was no money for first grade or kindergarten to get the new books.  So, that was bad enough - then we go to take our first Performance Matters Science test only to realize that it aligned with our new science series (you know, the one we didn't get), not the old one. 

So now that we know that there is a lot more emphasis on understanding the scientific method and what happens in each step, we need to start finding lessons and activities to help the students not only understand our standards, but also how to complete a science inquiry activity.  I'm thinking about having "Mad Scientist Mondays" where we complete a science lab/hands on type activity that goes along with what  we're learning about.

Here's where you come in.  Do you know of any good websites, books, etc.  that I could use to plan these lab activities? 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Hold on a Minute...

Ok, I know that I've been counting down to the end of the year just like everyone else, but apparently, those numbers weren't really sinking in.  I sat down today to write my lesson plans and it hit me that we only have 1 full week left (then we have Memorial Day week which is filled with lots of activities, and 2 days the next week).  What? Really?  Already?  Wait...I'm not ready!  I'm only on Chapter 9 (out of 12) in math (you won't tell on me, will you?)!  The year can't be over!

I have to say that I really love the class that I have this year.  It's been a while since I've had a class that I've loved this much.  I'm going to be really sad to see them go.  We do have some fun activities for the end of the year, though, and I thought I would share.

First, we always take a walking field trip to Wendy's in town (yes, there are advantages to living in a small town) for those students who have consistenly met their AR goal.  The kids love this and always feel so special. 

We also have a movie day.  Each teacher chooses a different movie to show in her room.  We try to pick new ones, but last year we went back to the old Disney classics and the kids loved it.  We print out tickets for each room and the kids get to choose which movie they want to see.  We take their tickets and they get popcorn and juice while they watch the movie.  Fun and easy (and it gives me a chance to work on getting my room put away).

Finally, we have a game day where each child brings a board game from home.  We set them up around the room and just let them play all day.  We usually do this the day before the last day so all the tables and desks are already put away.  LOVELY!

So, what do you do for your end of the year activities?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I Scream, You Scream...

I scream, you scream, we all scream....because the kids are driving us crazy!!!!!  Oh yeah, and some ice cream would be nice right about now.  I don't know how y'all are doing, but OMGoodness, I'm 'bout to lose my mind.  19 more days, 19 more days, 19 more days...

So I know that some of you have just a few days left (and yes, I'm jealous), so I thought I would share my end of the year game.  You know how long it takes to pack up your classroom and put things away, so a few years ago, I came up with the "What's Missing" game.  Basically, the game works like this - each day after the kids leave, I take down or put away one (or more) items.  It can be part of a bulletin board, a poster, a tub, some books, etc.  The first person I call on that can tell me what's missing gets a little treat (usually an M&M).  The kids think this is the coolest game ever and it gives me the chance to get a head start on putting things away!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bugs, and Fruit, and Jackpots, Oh My!

Please, please, please tell me that you took advantage of the Teacher Appreciation Jackpot yesterday!  OMGoodness, it was AMAZING!!   Thank you to all of the wonderful, generous teachers that gave away items for free.  Some of the items were even on my TpT wish list. 

So, the end of the year is crazy (as I'm sure you all know), so I  haven't been the best blogging buddy lately (sorry)!  So let the sharing begin!

I recently downloaded this super cute number comparison game from Sharing Kindergarten:

Buggy Number Comparison Freebie

The cards are adorable, but I sort of waited until the last minute to download them and so I was scrambling around trying to get them laminated, cut out, etc.  I realized then that the kids didn't have any way (other than writing on the cards - which drives me crazy) to show the greater than, less than symbol.  So, here's what I came up with:
I had a bunch of red, white, and blue straws that had been donated to my class.  I was going to use them to make pinwheels, but...that never happened, so we used them here.  I just cut the top of the straw right below the bendy part and voila - greater than/less than manipulatives!  Too cool, huh?

This week, our story is A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds.  I needed a patterning activity for my math stations, so I created this "Fruity Patterns" activity.  Basically, the kids just choose what fruit they want to use in their pattern, cut the pieces out, and glue them on.  Then, they name their pattern.  Here you go if you want to grab a copy:

Fruit Patterns

Fruity Patterns

Well, I'm off to write sub plans for tomorrow.  I get to go to a workshop on Common Core!  The best part?  I get to try to wake both my kids up early and get them to school by 7 so I can make it to the workshop by 8.  Usually, we're struggling to get to school by 7:45, so this oughta be interesting!  Wish me luck...