April 18, 2017

April Show and Tell Tuesday


This month's Show and Tell finds great changes in the weather- we hit a wonderful 80 degrees, yay!- and in the classroom... the year is starting to wind down. Currently, my students and I are on Easter break. When we return to classes next week, there are only six weeks left in our school year. YIKES!

Prior to our Easter break we were actively involved in tons of fun LEARNING.

For the second half of the third quarter and the fourth quarter we turn our attention to Earth Science. One of the first units of study is the structure of the Earth and its system. A fun, engaging (and tasty) activity that our text, Science Studies Weekly, suggests is entitled "Hard Boiled Earth." Students color a hard boiled egg to represent the landmasses/oceans of the Earth's surface, then peel the crust away to reveal the mantle (white), and finally cut apart the egg to locate the core (yolk). When all was completed, we enjoying eating our Earth!

For Show and Tell, I often share STEM activities that my sixth graders experience. The week before our break, my sixers and the seventh and eighth graders experienced the ultimate STEM activity of our year. United Skates of America, located about an hour away from our school, offers a day of STEM and skate, so we took them up on it! For our first hour we learned about "Motion and Rink Design," applying the laws of motion and math to determine the speed of skaters. We also attempted to design a more efficient, safe skating assistant (a support for beginning/challenged skaters). When our lesson was completed, we were treated to pizza and soda, followed by 90 mins. of skating! This was our first time with United Skates but definitely won't be our last; they offer five STEM lessons, so we can make this a yearly activity and experience a new STEM lesson each year.

On the day before our break, we did a little toaster oven science/Religion, making the Christian fish with Chi Rho pendant. We started with a white styrofoam tray and a fish pattern. After tracing the pattern onto the foam, coloring it with the Chi Rho and personal colors/designs, and cutting it out, we placed it in a warm toaster oven and watched the magic begin! First the fish swelled and puffed in the heat. Then it began to twist and curl. Finally it shrunk and layed still and flat, revealing our newly formed pendant. After cooling, we strung the fish on a length of fine yarn and modeled them for all to see.

As always, my last photo of the monthly Show and Tell is of my girls, DaisyMae and Lulubelle. They are seeking each other out more and more... to sleep together and even to play.... only took FOUR years!!!


Be sure to stop by Forever in 5th Grade to read more fun Show and Tell Tuesday posts. They are a great way to keep up with what is happening in the teacher blogging world!



March 28, 2017

Out of the Box: ANOTHER DK Beauty!

What do an adventure castle, a domed den, a balancing butterfly, and loads of creativity have in common? Out of the Box by Jemma Westing, of course!


Twenty-five interactive cardboard model projects that engage kids' creativity and "out of the box" thinking skills through hands-on learning and the application of science-based principles.
Kids can bring old cardboard to life and build recycled creations they can play with, sit in, and wear.
Supporting STEM education initiatives and the Maker Movement, Out of the Box includes 25 interactive cardboard model projects to inspire kids' creativity through engaged and hands-on learning, and, as the founder of Maker Faire Dale Dougherty says, "to realize with their hands what they can imagine in their minds." 
From small-scale gifts to large constructions, author and award-winning paper engineer Jemma Westing uses clear, step-by-step instructions to show kids how to make dinosaurs, masks, race cars, and so much more, and inspirational images encourage them to make their own unique models when they are feeling more confident. The projects utilize only recycled materials, including cardboard rolls and boxes, so all the supplies should be easy to find right at home.
Build something brilliant with Out of the Box. The possibilities are endless!... Amazon.com

I received this beautiful book a few days ago and couldn't wait to tear into it the minute I saw it! Each colorful page contains exciting photos of fun, kid friendly projects, step-by-step directions, and templates with just the right blend of directions and imagination.



Most projects require little planning and few materials: cardboard, paint, tape, scissors, glue... things that are laying around a typical household. However, some projects are a bit more ambitious and require specialized types of cardboard or just LOTS of it!


As a teacher I can see myself placing this book on a table in a corner of my room with all of the necessary supplies in a box under the table, and inviting students to visit the corner during their spare time. Out of the Box is sure to become a great work motivator. Students will want to quickly attend to their assignments so they will be free to engineer engaging cardboard projects.

Several of the projects would be terrific whole class STEM activities. One in particular that I plan on utilizing with my sixth graders is the "Balancing Butterflies" found on pp. 22-25. This simple, attractive project combines spring butterfly art with the concept of center of gravity and will make for a nice art craft activity and a quick informative science lesson.

Published by DK Books, Out of the Box by Jemma Westing is available for purchase beginning April 18, 2017.

March 21, 2017

March Show and Tell Tuesday

It seems like I just blink and BOOM... there goes another month, and it's once again time for my favorite linky.

First up for this month is another STEM activity. We try to include at least one STEM activity every other week. It's something that my kiddos and I look forward to. For this STEM activity we were investigating the elements of flight. Our challenge was to create an paper airplane that would carry the most cargo (plastic metric weights). I couldn't believe that one group designed a plane that was able to fly with 63g of weights on it!


It just wouldn't be Show and Tell without pictures of my kiddos playing ZAP! ZAP! is hands-down my classes' favorite game EVER! 

On St. Patrick's Day my fifth grade Language Arts students enjoyed a Go 'Round with four ZAP games. One helped them practice alphabetical order; one had them identifying nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs; a third  had them identifying declarative, interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory sentences; and the last game had them practicing independent and dependent clauses. Never played ZAP? Check out more than 100 ZAP games that I have featured in my TpT Store; a few are even free!

I NEVER make New Year's resolutions because I NEVER keep them! This year I broke my NEVER and made two. One, I was not going to let dishes pile up in my sink anymore. So far, so good. I've been washing the dishes after every meal. The second resolution was that I was going to do more home cooking. I HATE to cook for just myself, but eating out is just not the healthiest nor the most economical.  These are just a few of the dishes I've made this past month: chicken, green beans, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes with balsamic glaze is a Facebook recipe; the Zuppa Tuscana is an Olive Garden fakeout dish for which I didn't use a recipe; the baked penne was made with leftover sauce from my nephew; and the choo choo wheels and kielbasi with peppers is something my sis made when her kids were little. So far, so yummy for resolution two as well!

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Finally, a pic of the fur babies, or in this case, just sweet Miss Lulubelle. She was half asleep but kept reaching up and trying to pat my face with her paw... so, so precious!

Be sure to stop by Forever in 5th Grade to read more fun Show and Tell Tuesday posts. They are a great way to keep up with what is happening in the teacher blogging world!

February 25, 2017

Mardi Gras and ELA Fun

Where does the time go? I was thinking I still had plenty of time to prepare myself and my class for Lent, March 1st was still a ways away... We already had our school Ash Wednesday liturgy planned... and then... I saw Katie's posts from Look to Him and Be Radiant with her always awesome ideas for the upcoming Lenten season. Egads, I realized that I had to get busy!

MARDI GRAS fun comes first...

We celebrate Mardi Gras as a last blast of excessive fun prior to the solemn season of Lent. I looked through my Mardi Gras material to use on Monday and Tuesday of the coming week. We will use a scoot activity in fifth grade that incorporates Mardi Gras with Language Arts class. Scoot is such a fun activity since it incorporates English skills, such as practicing alphabetical order, while letting students get up and move around. Can't beat that for a class activity! Click HERE for more about this set of scoot cards.



I needed a bit more Mardi Gras fun for my fifth grade Language Arts students. We've most recently been studying adjectives, in particular, the degrees of adjectives: positive, comparative, and superlative. I decided to whip up something fun to help my students practice this somewhat ho-hum skill. Thanks to Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah Designs and a brand new FREE product, Mardi Gras Color By Code Clip Art set, I was able to craft a fun, engaging color by degree of adjectives Mardi Gras worksheet. Click HERE to read more about this worksheet or grab your own copy.


While I had fifth grade planned for some Mardi Gras fun, I still needed something for my sixth and seventh graders. Art with Jenny K. came through for me! I just love her material, as do my students! She and Brain Waves Instruction have been creating Reading Comprehension/Art passages for students in grs. 3-8. Just this past week, the duo offered a set with a Mardi Gras passage... PERFECT! Students read a passage, answer comprehension questions, then use the answers to help color a pop art Mardi Gras design. Check out this terrific set HERE; you'll be happy that you did.

Finally, I recently created a brand new ZAP! game to help my students celebrate Mardi Gras while still practicing their ELA skills. You can download this recent addition to my growing cache of popular ZAP! games HERE.



Meanwhile if you use brag tags in your classroom, HERE's a fun freebie Mardi Gras tag for you to share with your class(es) for the upcoming holiday. ENJOY!

Watch for Lenten/ELA activities posted shortly after Ash Wednesday.


February 21, 2017

February Show and Tell

It's time for my favorite monthly linky!

Shortly after last month's Show and Tell party, we celebrated Catholic Schools Week. Part of the week was lost due to three snow days, but we still managed to squeeze in a bit of fun. Students in grades 3-6 traveled by deluxe coach to Peak and Peek Resort in upstate New York for a fun day of tubing. Here you see everyone getting into their snow gear ready to hit the tubing run. I stayed warm and snuggly in the lodge, keeping an eye on personal belongings.


Our Valentine's party is the LAST "party" that students celebrate. When they enter junior high there are no more "parties" for the holidays. Our Valentine's party was full of fun games and yummy goodies. Our second grade buddies even came to visit and deliver special cards.


At the end of last school year I received a wonderful FREE kit from Scholastic and Nascar. Students build their own Nascar racers and explore science concepts such as aerodynamics, gravity, motion, friction, energy, and more. Here you can see our sixth grader racers, parked and waiting to be put through the paces!


Finally... a pic of my fur babies... This month is a picture of just Lulubelle. I came home from grocery shopping this past weekend, dropped the bag in my utility room, and began putting away my items. No sooner had I stepped away from the bag then there was Lulie! Nothing in my house is safe from the girls!


Be sure to stop by Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell blog posts. 
It's a great way to keep up with some terrific education bloggers.

January 17, 2017

January Show and Tell Tuesday

Can it be that January is more than half over already? Love when time flies by so quickly; it means that I'm busy, productive, and happy! I'm very happy to be joining Forever in 5th Grade for her fun, monthly linky.
First up are two pics from our school's annual Science/STEM day. Budding scientists in grades K-3 are invited to attend a morning of fun, educational, and engaging science activities. This is the second year that I have chaired the event. My sixth graders helped attend the stations and guided the younger students through the activities, among them: hoopty gliders, Avogadro's rockets, cluck in a cup, balancing peacock feathers on your finger, boinks, reaction rockets, tower building, and MORE (there were 22 stations in all).



We FINALLY finished our marble runs last week. What a fun and engaging STEM activity it was for my sixth graders. They practiced and implemented so many scientific principles of force and motion while having a great time and being creative. I was smart this year. Instead of doing this STEM activity in the spring like I normally do, I decided to do it during the pre-holiday chaos of Christmas program rehearsals and December snow days. No matter how crazy my kiddos got during this time, the marble run brought them back to work in a jif!

The objective is to build a marble run that causes the marble to take the most time to travel. It had to be at least two feet tall, be portable and able to be carried by one person, have an open section in the run, change direction 180 degrees at least once, and have a cup in which the marble ends. The only materials they could use were that which I placed in the marble run box (cardboard tubes, card stock, cups, cardboard sheets, and masking tape) and their own duct tape. 

If you look above at the first picture for #1 you will see the marble runs; they were a big hit on Science Day. My kiddos were so proud!

This was the winning run by .53 seconds!

Finally, my fuzz girls are always the last picture that I share each Show and Tell. I purchased a small "security" camera last year from Amazon. Yes, it is a security camera, but it's more for me to check in on Lulubelle and Daisymae. I had stopped at the grocery store the other day for a few items and decided to check on my girls after I loaded up my car. I caught them staring at the front door, waiting for me to come home. I swear these two can tell time.


Hop on over to Forever in 5th Grade to read more January Show and Tell posts, It's a great way to keep up with the teaching blogging world!