February 29, 2016

Lenten Linky

Teaching in a Catholic School/homeschool poses a few unique curricular issues. We are required to include all of the curricula that our public schools do while being encouraged to integrate our faith within all content areas without adding any extra time to our already packed school day. In my particular teaching area of concentration, English Language Arts, it is a fun challenge to create activities centered on faith and content. With the help of some terrific clip artists on TpT, I've been able to make games and task cards for many of the liturgical seasons and holy days that incorporate grammar, reading, and writing skills. My kids LOVE them!

I know that I'm not the only Catholic school/homeschool teacher who creates fun, faith-filled classroom activities. I would REALLY LIKE to see what kinds of items are being shared by talented, creative Catholic school teachers and homeschoolers so I've set-up a little linky dedicated to the liturgical season at hand: LENT. I've added a few of my Lenten ELA activities and invite anyone who has Lenten items to link them up as well.

February 24, 2016

Headin' to the Fair...

Science Fair, that is! Today was our school's annual Science Fair. All of our students in grs. 4-8 are required to participate. Each student, or pair of students, must select a topic to research, investigate, and report upon. They are assessed according to how well they apply the scientific method to their project and how well they are able to present their information during an interview conducted by a field scientist (chemical engineer, nursing instructor, pharmacist, chemist, science teacher, among others). A criterion sheet is distributed to the students and discussed weekly in Science class with all of the actual hands on work being completed at home. You can download a copy of the criteria HERE.

On the day of the fair, tables are arranged in our auxiliary gymnasium and students are assigned a spot to place their project.
Students, along with a few parents, arrive early on the morning of the Science Fair to set-up their projects.
Throughout the morning, classes are called to the gymnasium for judging. Each project is judged by two different judges who use a scoring sheet developed for the Science Fair. For a copy of the sheet click HERE.

My job during the Science Fair is to collate the project sheets and tally the judges' scores. I am the only person who knows the scores and the winners until after school when all the Science teachers gather in the gym to distribute placement and participation ribbons.

Parents, family members, and friends are invited to visit the fair in the evening to see all of the wonderful projects! Our students are on hand to answer questions and explain their work.

Do you have a Science Fair at your school?

February 23, 2016

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Reading

As teachers we realize the deep connection between reading and writing. However, our students don't often see the importance or make the connection. That's our job. Paragraph a Week (PaW) was one way that in the late nineties a group of connected teachers developed to help our students increase their writing skills. This week's PaW topic celebrates a favorite author's birthday and asks student authors to write about reading. You can download your free topic sheet HERE.

Do you have any topics that you'd like to see featured here on The Teacher's Desk 6? Leave a message in the comments. I will be glad to create a topic sheet to share!

February 21, 2016

Sunday Scoop

What's your scoop this week? Here's mine...

Be sure to stop by the Teaching Trio for more Sunday Scoop posts shared by teacher bloggers.
It's a great way to spend the day!

February 20, 2016

Friday's News

Over Christmas break I had plenty of time to just surf around blogging land and the TpT Forums. I stumbled upon a linky called Friday's News hosted by RclassroomsRus. I immediately began following the blog and looking forward to reading the weekly posts about classroom experiences and activities. This week I finally decided to join in.

This week was a bit chaotic for us. We had Monday off due to Presidents' Day and Tuesday off due to a snow day. Wednesday, however, dawned sunny, clear, yet very cold.

My students, although older elementary, do not perform well without a regular routine. Needless to say, they were energetic this week! To combat all the energy I planned several high energy, engaging lessons.

First was a culminating activity for my fifth grade Language Arts students. They have finished learning and practicing Literature Circles with the book "Stone Fox" by John Reynolds Gardner. Instead of a paper, pencil assessment I asked them to create a story wheel, a retelling in only eight sentences of the entire text they had just completed. Additionally, they must illustrate their sentences. When completed the story wheel will be a sequential record of the plot from beginning to end. They are nearly completed with their task and should finish by Tuesday of the coming week.

My sixth grade science students thrive on STEM activities. I actually did not have one originally planned for the week, but with the disruption to our routine, I sneaked in a quick one that I call Dicey Design.

Students, given one sheet of aluminum foil, must design a cargo ship in ten minutes that will carry the most cargo (dice) without floundering. During our testing phase, didn't the fire alarm sound! We will need to complete our testing come Monday morning, which is... you guessed it! More disruption to the routine! Ah well, such is life in a classroom.

Be sure to stop by RClassroomsRus to read more Friday's News from bloggers and TpT sellers.

February 16, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday

If you are looking for the Tuesday Writing PaWs, I'm sorry, but you will have to wait until next Tuesday. This Tuesday is a very special Tuesday.

If you are on Facebook at all then you are familiar with the recipe for Salsa Chicken that has been floating around for several weeks. I had tried to resist watching the recipe video because I knew I would HAVE to make it and it would probably be a one and done event. Most of those recipes look yummy but end up tasting just OK. One afternoon after school, I was trying to figure out what to make for my dinner while I was checking all my Facebook when the dreaded Facebook recipe video flashed by. I succumbed! I didn't have the needed boneless, chicken breasts, but I did have boneless, chicken thighs and sour cream, lots of sour cream...YUM.

 Let me tell you... Facebook Salsa Chicken is my new favorite food and it is super EASY to make.

Just in case you haven't seen it, here's the original recipe for you to enjoy.

Salsa Chicken Casserole
Easy Delicious Dinner http://bit.ly/1Kht7ZQ
Posted by Tip Hero on Saturday, January 30, 2016

If you have followed me for any length of time, then you have probably heard about or actually seen my beautiful fuzz girls, Daisy Mae and Lulubelle. Daisy is old and grouchy (pfft... she was young and grouchy at one point) and Lulie is young and full of it!

Aren't they sweet looking? Hah! Like true siblings, they do love each other, but oh boy! Can they get into it! Poor Daisy got the worst of it this week with a scratch above her eye. Lulie nailed her when they were tussling around the kitchen. Now every time that Lulie comes near big sissy, Daisy turns her back and walks away... sisters!

I would be remiss if I did not share a photo of our weather.

Three snow days, an chaotic early dismissal as well as Lake Effect snow watches, advisories, and warnings along with high wind warnings and wind chill warnings have made life interesting of late.

I am so proud of my students, but one of my boys made me so extra proud. First of all he won our school spelling bee against seventh and eighth graders, all of whom had participated in the bee in previous years. Actually, the last three contestants standing were all my students... proud teacher moment! Our school winner went on to participate in the county bee.

During the county bee, my student was pitted against contestants who had three and four years' experience at this level. It was his first. He held his own though, but the stress got to him in the 25th round when he misspelled a word that he knew how to spell. Look at the wonderful little message he wrote to me the next day. He referenced the word that he missed by cutting apart a portion of one of our spelling lists from early in the year on which the word that he missed appeared. His parent typed a special message to me as well. The two made my day!

Make sure you visit Forever in Fifth Grade to check out more Show and Tell posts shared by teacher bloggers. It's a great way to get to know teacher bloggers from all over.

February 15, 2016

The Magic of Science Day

Last week I mentioned that I was working on preparing a Magic of Science Day. This special day, actually morning, was held on Feb. 15, 2016, for some of our first through third graders. Because it was President's Day normal classes were not in session. Often on federal holidays or inservice days, our school will hold enrichment classes for our young students. You might be thinking, "Angela teaches older students. Why is she working with the younger grades?" Many of my sixth graders have siblings in the lower grades, so when this particular day was announced, since I am known as a geeky, science/STEM teacher, I was nominated by my students' parents to be a resource person.

I immediately jumped in, contacting my Science Coach, Dr. Ann Abraham, chemistry professor at Kent State University, our local branch. She graciously volunteered her chemistry students' help and suggested a few ideas for what we could do for the day. We decided to utilize a "station" format for the day wherein we would set up multiple science activities/experiences that the kiddos could rotate through during the morning.

One thing that I knew that I wanted to do was provide the students with take home science kits so that the fun and learning would extend beyond our morning at school. I had purchased a product on TpT during one of the big sales more than a year ago and had never found time to implement with my own students. You can check it out more closely HERE.

I had my sixth graders help me prepare all the materials for the kits several days before our Science Day. They were a great help! They were also disappointed that they weren't able to have their own kit. Shhh, don't tell them but I'm going to try and do the kits for them for over Easter break.

Dr. Abraham brought seven activities along with her college students. She had peacock feathers for our budding scientists to explore the center of gravity and balance. She had a cotton candy machine and a sno-cone machine to explore chemistry, taste, and colored dyes. She also had the children make simple bottle rockets (this one I'm having my kiddos do in a STEM lab). Other stations that Dr. Abraham set up involved investigating objects via UV light and designing a UV bead bracelet. The kiddos also were able to create sand sculptures in a test tube.

My contribution to the day, besides the take home kits, was the chemistry of play-doh. I saw this terrific video on Facebook a few weeks ago and had saved it.

Make Your Own Playdough
SUPER EASY Playdough recipe for kids!
Posted by Whizkidscience on Saturday, February 6, 2016

I got the bright idea to convert the names of the ingredients to chemical formulas and rewrite the recipe. Confronted with this Chemist's recipe, our young scientists had to follow the formula to successfully make a batch of play-doh. Here's the recipe I presented to the kids.

The very last thing that our young scientists did for the morning was to fill their take home kits. My student helpers took charge of this activity.

My helpers were thrilled that they were able to make their own kits, too.

One thing that we could do to improve the event is to include about three more activities. I forgot how quickly younger students will go through an activity. My older students would've investigated deeper and asked a multitude of questions about everything. We finished a little early and had to invite the children to revisit their favorite stations. Over all, however, the day was a success, and I'm looking forward to next year's Magic of Science day.

February 14, 2016

Sunday Scoop 2.14.16

Time for this week's scoop!

Be sure to stop by the Teaching Trio to read more Sunday Scoop posts by awesome teacher bloggers.

It's a great way to spend a Sunday.

February 12, 2016

Five for Friday 2.12.16

Once school starts for the year I rarely find time to join one of my favorite linkies. You ALL know how busy a teacher's life really is. However, today is a Friday off, a comp day for our parent conferences a few weeks ago. My fur girls woke me EARLY today and being wide awake I thought, "Do it!" So here I am, joining Doodle Bugs Teaching with Five for Friday.

FIRST... My favorite television show returns this Sunday. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting since LONG before Christmas for season six to continue. Its return is my Valentine's Day present.
I am so happy at its return that I am celebrating by offering all of my TpT cute zombie items at a discounted price. There's even a FREEBIE tucked away in the group. Grab them HERE until the start of the show when they will return to their regular price.

SECOND... We had the most wonderful Valentine's party at school! My homeroom mothers are THE BEST that I've had in over 35 years of teaching. From tasty treats to awesome Minute-to-Win-It games the party was a hit from start to finish!

THIRD... I was a bit crafty this week! I actually fashioned a wreath for my Religion bulletin board and transformed it from New Year, New You to Lent. I also made my sixers' Valentines this year based on a wonderful idea that I found on Pinterest. The finished product allowed me to do a Religion lesson while my sixers had a sweet treat.

FOURTH... My seventh grade English students participate in our schools one-to-one laptop program. As a result we do nearly all of our lessons, practice, writing, etc. on the computer. One of our favorite uses is practicing our weekly vocabulary words before we take our weekly test. If you have never used Quizizz with your class, check it out! It's well worth the effort FUN!

FIFTH... This coming Monday, President's Day, we have no school. However, we do have a special day of learning planned for our young scholars (grs. 1-3). I have the reputation for being a geeky, Science teacher so my parents nominated me to host a Magic of Science day. With the help of my long time Science Coach, Dr. Ann Abraham, a chemistry professor at a local university branch we have planned a day full of COOL science activities. Dr. Ann has enlisted the aid of her chemistry students and I've enlisted my sixth graders to help make the day run smoothly. There was a lot of prep work to do. 

My sixth graders helped me organize, sort, and pre-package the materials for a Send Home Science Kit, an idea I borrowed from Teach-a-Roo.

I am REALLY looking forward to Monday's science fun; we've never done anything like it. There are about 30 students signed up to participate in the learning fun. I plan to blog more about the Magic of Science Day next week so please check back for more information and photos of the experience.

I had the BEST week this week! The best of all is that I was able to share it with you! Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs for Teaching to read more Five for Friday posts by teacher bloggers.