Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Science Week Day 2- Favorite websites and videos

I missed out yesterday on favorite science books, but I am linking up today to share some of my FAVORITE Science Websites and Videos. Teaching Science is one of my favorite parts of the school day. I am fortunate to team with another fabulous teacher (author of Learning In 4th).  I get to teach both of our classes Science and she teaches both of our classes Social Studies. LOVE this arrangement!

My ALL TIME favorite website with videos to use is Scholastic's Study Jams

Study Jams has many Jams/videos on a variety of Science and Math topics. Many of the videos have karaoke style songs to help teach concepts. Each video also has interactive quizzes at the end of each segment. My kids love Study Jams and are always excited to hear we will be watching one!

Discovery Education is another favorite! It is a subscription site, but I know many schools who subscribe. This website has thousands of videos! The videos are broken into segments making it easier to choose the exact parts I want to use!

Wonder of the World- has great activities and experiments!

Looking forward to seeing everyone's favorites and adding some new ideas to my Science bag of tricks!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Super FUN Give-away!!

Mrs. Saoud over at Primary Graffiti is having an AWESOME giveaway that I am super excited about! I had never heard of this tool. It is the Easi-Speak USB Recorder! Wow how cool is that???  I can think of tons of ways to utilize this in my classroom! Hop on over to Primary Grafitti and check it out!

Presenting with Prezi

So this past summer I had a short hour long professional development introducing me to Prezi. I am just now getting around to trying it out! My students are studying animal adaptations in Science to help us prepare for our upcoming overnight field trip to the Cincinnati Zoo! (LOVE this field trip!)
Tomorrow we will be learning about behavioral adaptations. I created my very first Prezi to help me present information. I love being able to add youtube clips! It is VERY easy. I found great clips on hibernation, migration and mimicry to include. Check out my first attempt and see how easy and FUN Prezi can be!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fun with Character Traits!

This week we have been focusing on character traits. We have learned that we can identify a character's traits by studying their thought, actions and words. To culminate our week, the students created character trait cut outs. WHAT FUN! ( I am pretty sure I saw this idea on pinterest....I would love to give credit where credit is due!) The students chose a character trait from our character trait anchor chart, cut a large circle for their face in a white piece of paper, titled the paper with their chosen character trait, and finally added thoughts, actions and words someone with this character trait might think, do or say! They got very creative! We took lots of great pictures and even got a few students to do a video portraying a character with their trait. Definately a lesson I plan to repeat in future years. The students really seemd to grasp how to identify character traits! Here are some photos to show off our fun and amazing learning experience!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Site Visits......A Favorite Thing!

Today I had an opportunity to do one of my favorite things.....visit another school in a neighboring district. Our goal was to observe strategies they are using with their ESL population. We have a growing number of ESL students in our district, and were observing to find strategies to help us close the gap. I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to visit other classrooms! I always learn soooo much! I know we are already doing wonderful things in the school where I teach, but there is always room for growth and new ideas! What better people to learn from than our colleagues! If I can walk away from a site visit with one new fresh idea, I always feel like it was worth it!   Guess what... it was worth it!  While many of the things I observed, I already knew, sometimes it's nice to have the reminder and refresher and see ideas in action! The following are a few of the strategies these teachers are using with their ESL population that they shared and feel are the most effective:
1. Build background knowledge
2. Vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary
3. Slow down your rate of speech
4. Extend wait time
5. Peer conversations (turn and talk)

All of these are things I think we know as teachers, but it is definitely nice to have the refresher and see these strategies in action! In addition to seeing ESL strategies in action, I also picked up a new writing strategy/frame I am anxious to try with my language arts class..... The 3.5 paragraph! Be watching for more information on this writing frame as I try it out in my classroom!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A New 4th Grade Blog

A quick shout out tonight to my teaching partner,(and partner in crime) Mrs. Vance!  She has made her debut post! Check out her amazing ideas at Learning in 4th .Welcome to blogging world! Can't wait to see what you have in store!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Science Fun!

Ok..... so yes it has been several weeks since I've posted. No... I don't really have a valid excuse, other than school started! However, I am finally feeling like I am getting into the swing of things! Hopefully I will do a better job keeping up with blogging now. Lots of exciting experiments and fun has been happening in science! (I do admit it is probably my favorite subject to teach.)  I am lucky to get to teach 2 sections of Science!
We began our year with plant structures and functions and have now moved into animal classification.
Our first experiment involved the students creating clay structures to represent vertebrates and invertebrates. Students created vertebrates using clay molded around a straw to represent a backbone, and invertebrates using clay without a straw to mold around to represent the lack of a backbone. They were quickly able to see the differences!

We moved on to classification of vertebrates. I was fortunate enough to find a frog in my coffee pot while camping over Labor Day weekend. (Don't worry...the coffee was cold!) He was the perfect way for the students to make observations of an amphibian! His name is Max...short for Maxwell. Afterall, it was Maxwell House Coffee!  We will be setting him free on Friday!
And if you think that was luck...imagine our surprise when a grasshopper decided to attach himself to our classroom window screen at the precise moment we are completing a compare/contrast activity of insects (a grasshopper) and arachnids (a spider). he only hung around for one class period, but he was captured with my iphone to share with the other class!

                      I LOVE Life Science!

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I have been teaching for 20 years. This year I am beginning a new adventure as I move on up to 5th grade!