Rock Cafe Room Transformation

The inspiration for this room transformation came from an old lab/demo that my partner teacher and I did a couple of years ago (it had been done for years – the copies we had looked like they had been made using ms-dos…if you remember what that is…). Basically, in the lab demonstration, we would cook fudge, pancakes and use snickers to model the process of creating each type of rock. The kids always loved it because they got to eat yummy food while learning = win, win!!

This year instead of just doing the same lab, I decided to kick it up a notch. I donned my chef’s hat and transformed my room into the Rock Cafe!

20181204_173548

Set-up for this was super easy! I put my desks together and added a tablecloth. I also put flowers in the middle I found some cheap vases from amazon.¬† I then made some cute cafe signs and printed them ūüôā

My favorite part of my set up was my cake display. I borrowed some cake trays from other teachers and put some of my nicer rocks on them. Similar to the cakes sitting on display at the counter of a cafe. I know I’m a Nerd!! Here is a picture:

20181205_091300

A few years ago I typed up all the directions and the student sheet for this activity and placed it in my TpT store. It does not have the cafe signs and such – if you are interested let me know in the comments below and I can send them to you!

If you would like to use this in your class, click the link below to be directed to my TpT store:

Capture1

Thanks so much for reading this post. Don’t forget to check out my other room transformations – linked on the sidebar!

signature

 

 

A “Rock”-ing Autobiography

Recently there has been a push to add more writing in all content areas. Being from an ELA background I have welcomed this with open arms. I love writing and being able to see the creativity of my students through their writing.

We just finished a unit over the rock cycle, and to close our unit I created an assignment. My students had to pretend they were a piece of sand at the bottom of a river and write about how they became a rock and went through the rock cycle. They had an option to write a story or create a comic strip. I am very impressed with what they came up with. I had some stories about the sediment floating by SpongeBob’s pineapple and others about the rock being crushed in Super-Mario.

Here are a couple of examples that I thought really displayed their understanding of the rock cycle!

Story Choice

Comic Choice

If you think you would like to use this in your classroom, I made a downloadable product on TeachersPayTeachers. Just click the picture below:

Rocking Autobiography - Rock Cycle Writing Task

 

Where do you grade papers?

With the start of a new year comes many new students for this teacher. I thought about it the other day, and for every year I have been teaching the number of students has went up. In China I started with around 60 students, and that went up to 80 in Mississippi. Then my first year back in Georgia it raised up to 100 students. This year I have almost 150. For me it is a huge learning curve in how to grade, what to grade, when to grade, etc.

20160813_201411.jpg

I came home this weekend with two assignments to grade. One was a quiz, which students self-graded in class. Another was a writing assignment about “What is a Scientist?” I am sure most teachers who grade their papers find a comfy place in their home, perhaps around the kitchen table. However, I am not your typical teacher. This week my papers were graded at the drive-in movies under the light of the moon, meteors, and truck lights. I didn’t get them all done there, but it was nice to be productively relaxing.

SO my question to you is – Where do you grade your papers? Do you take them to exotic locales or stick to home/school?

 

 

A Field Trip and Farm Animals

Yesterday I had the opportunity to go on my first field trip of the year with my students. It was so much fun. The field trip was an incentive for students who had excellent behavior in December and January. Our first stop on the field trip was the bowling ally. Many of my students had never been bowling before. It was fun teaching them how to bowl and celebrating when they finally scored a strike of a spare!

IMG_20150130_120326 (1)IMG_20150130_114545

After the bowling alley we went to the local mall. The students got to choose what they wanted. A lot of my girls came with me to the chinese place in the food court. We ordered and I spoke Mandarin with the attendant. My students were amazed to say the least.

When we were pleasantly full from lunch a few of us decided to go to build a bear. One of my students started lip-syncing to “Let it Go” They helped me to stuff and wash my build a bear – Olaf. Then we named him William-Olaf-Sullivan after our school. He is now our class mascot!

IMG_20150130_130151 IMG_20150130_130844

~ All in all we had a WONDERFUL field trip!

FARM ANIMALS – This morning my student, who is in 4-h, had a cattle show. Unfortunately I arrived late, but I did get to see him with his cow and his awards. He won first place and I am so proud. Next week he is going to the state competition and I hope he does equally as well.

IMG_20150131_095109 IMG_20150131_094950

So those were just a few of the highlights from another week in Mississippi! It has been exciting and amazing to see my students doing awesome things!

Wow for Writers Workshop

This semester in one of my classes I have started using Writers Workshop. So far it has worked out great. My students are excited to have a few minutes each day set aside to just write. This class is the last class of the day and I think the students find relief in just writing for a few minutes. I have used the following ideas in formatting my Writers Workshop:

Mini-Lessons РEach week I teach two mini-lessons pertaining to problems that students have in their writing. So far this has included subject/predicate agreement, run-on sentences, and sentence fragments. After our break we are going to complete mini-lessons on formatting an essay and narrative writing. These mini-lessons do not last the entire class period (only 15-20 minutes), but include practice for the students to do in class or for homework. I also ask for student recommendations for mini-lessons. Usually they can pinpoint ideas that they need help with and we can complete a mini-lesson to review in class.

Conferencing –¬†I also have conferences with students each week to talk about¬†their¬†writing. Before they come to conference they must pick out one thing they are finding difficult and one thing that they really like about their writing. We then discuss these two items and attempt to make their writing better.

Peer Review –¬† Students are required to complete a peer review for their writing each week. This is something we have talked about a lot. Especially how to complete a helpful peer review.

Sharing –¬†One day a week we all share what we have been working on. Everyone reads their writing and we give polite feedback.

Modeling¬†–¬†During this part of the day I write with the students, unless I am conferencing or teaching a mini-lesson. I work on my own writing and share with the students. It is important that they see me writing so that they see it is important to me as an adult.

Music –¬†I have started to play music during writers workshop. It is strictly instrumental, but I heard from another teacher about a really neat group. Vitamin String Quartet actually transposes modern music into instrumentals. My students love it!

Eraser and Pencil

Maybe these few ideas will spark some inspiration for your class as well. I hope to add some of my mini-lessons to TpT soon, so be on the lookout!

Valentines Day 2013

Love is in the air! I have always loved Valentines Day. My mom and granny always worked very hard to make it a special day for me. However, one thing I have realized is Valentines day is one of those holidays that many of my friends don’t appreciate. Keeping that in mind I try to add humor into my classroom on Valentines day. I use cheesy pick-up lines to play a game or to create writing prompts. They work really well with my ESL kids, because they have an opportunity to understand different figures of speech.

Here are a few ideas for using them in your classroom:

Option 1: Cut apart these cheesy pick-up lines and put them in a bowl. Students should draw one line and try to act it out with a partner. You can choose whether students should look at the line before the scene starts or not.

Option 2: Charades. Have students act out the line without using words. This could be really tricky!

Option 3: Have students choose one of the lines for a writing prompt. They could invent the history of this cheesy line or write a letter to a special someone.

Be sure to stop by my store and pick up my Valentines Day Freebie!

Untitled