Teacher Feature: The Simply Organized Teacher

One of my favorite things to do, if/when I get a moment alone in the car, is to listen to podcasts. A few months ago I found this awesome podcast called THE SIMPLY TEACH PODCAST. This podcast is done by Kelly who used to be a teacher in the classroom and she interviews amazing educators and shares organizational tips.

The Simply Organized Teacher Blog

I wanted to add her to my teacher feature this month because she has some great ideas about packing up and cleaning out at the end of the year. She also has some amazing resources for rejuvenating over the summer and starting off the year right. Click the photo below for a link to the show notes from episode #43 –

Simply Teach- a podcast for teachers, by teachers. In this episode we talk about how to pack up your classroom in an organized way.

If you want some one on one help in your classroom she offers coaching sessions along with other resources in her shop.

So, if you want something neat and teacher-y to listen to, go to iTunes or google podcasts and search for simply teach!

End of the Year Graffiti Wall

I had this idea to make huge posters for each of my classes and then have them decorate/design them using concepts we learned in science. The idea included using old magazines and markers to add to the posters.

Unfortunately, I was not able to make this a reality this year, but I wanted to share with any of you who may want to use it.

If your school has a poster maker you can use this to make a large poster for each class or even one for each student to reflect on the year.

Writing - 50 things I love

Field Day 2019

 

 

 

Can I just say that I love field day at my school! It is exhausting and I am super tired when I get home – but we have a ton of fun.

We have houses at my school and we team up for field day with a partner house. So, all day field day we are on either the red or the blue team. Then we travel to stations together and compete in water events, volleyball, track and field, soccer and kickball. At the end of the day, the points are tallied up and we competed in relay races to determine the winner of field day!

This year was even better because my team – Moedige/Shauku WON!! 🙂 What are your field day traditions?

How I Taught – THE WATER CYCLE

I would venture to say that of all the science topics that I teach the water cycle has the MOST resources. If you search for the water cycle on TpT- HUNDREDS of resources will come up at all different levels. This year, I truly believe that I have finally found peace with the way that I teach the water cycle. So many times I think we second guess ourselves (or at least I do) and the way that we present certain topics. However, this year I am very happy with how my lesson on the water cycle turned out.

How I Started the Lesson

I am a huge fan of scavenger hunts and I especially like to introduce a topic using these. The one I have used for the past three years for this topic is great. It has all the key information and a secret code for students to figure out.

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At the beginning of class, I gave the students the scavenger hunt paper and then explained that the cards were all around the room (even under chairs and so forth). I had a prize for the student who found all the information first. Then, once everyone understood the goal I set them loose to run around the room. They had a BLAST!!

Once everyone finished gathering the information, I passed out highlighters and explained we would be using the information they just gathered as our notes. We then read through the information and highlighted key vocabulary. I did have to add a note about groundwater and how that led to infiltration because it is a keyword in our Georgia Standards.

Reader’s Theater

To further expose students to the key vocabulary and how the water cycle works we quickly read through a reader’s theater. I don’t know about you, but my kids HATE reading from the book. However, if I pull out a reader’s theater they volunteer like crazy. Almost every student wants a part!

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Doodle Notes – OF COURSE!! 

After we read through the notes and found out information about key vocabulary. Students completed a set of doodle notes. They had information to fill-in using their notes and a color code to follow.

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At the End of Class – Day #1

At the end of this class period, students completed an exit ticket. It was an old one from what my partner teacher called “The Good Book.” It is an Earth Science book by Carson-Delossa.

LAB DAY!!

Now my lab is a bit different. Instead of making a cloud in the bottle or something like that I have my students go through the water cycle.

First, we read a book together as a class. The book we read is called Drop Around the World. I give each student a different page to look at. They have to tell where the drop journeyed, what step of the water cycle he went through and evidence for how they knew. The cool thing about this book is on every page the drop is hidden somewhere in the picture. It is a big hit!

Image result for drop around the world

After we discuss the book student receive their journey paper and I explain they will now be taking a journey as a water droplet.

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Around the room, I set up stations for different stops along the water cycle. Students start at one point and roll the dice to journey to the next stop. Sometimes they get stuck in one place and sometimes they go to twelve different places. This experience helps students to see that the cycle is not always in three perfect steps (Students collect beads at each location and make a bracelet to represent their journey – totally optional).

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When their journey ends students write the story of their journey. These are always super-fun to read.

Around the Room Circuit

This year to end the lab day students completed an around the room circuit about the water cycle. They did great on this assignment!

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Basically, students start with any question in the room and each answer leads them to a new question. At the end, they should end up back where they started. It is great because students can check themselves based on the path they take.

All in all, I loved my lesson and I really think my students learned the information in a fun and interactive way! Do you want to use some of the ideas I mentioned? If so, just click on any image to be linked to that resource! Happy Teaching!!

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Task Card Games for Middle School

In order to not give my students drones of worksheets, I frequently turn to task cards. Basically, task cards allow me to quiz or question my students while getting them up and moving at the same time. It is more engaging, but I still get to see if my students learned key concepts in class.

I wanted to share with you the top ways that I “play” with task cards in my room! 🙂

1 The first way is probably the most used way – SCOOT! For scoot you print off your task cards and attach them to each desk in your classroom. Then, you give each student a recording sheet (or notebook paper). They start where they sit and then every 2-3 minutes you tell them to scoot to the desk question. This continues until they have completed all of them.

Recently, I found an awesome freebie to help out with playing scoot. Rachel Lynette on TpT created some mini-break cards. The mini-break cards can be printed out and used along with whatever task cards you are using. This is great if you have more students than task cards!

SCOOT

2  The second way that I use quite frequently is the Boom Game. I do a lot of stations in my room. This is a quick game that I can add to stations and the kids really enjoy. You simply place a set of task cards and boom cards in a container. Students take turns drawing and answering questions. The goal is to get the most correct, however, if you draw a boom card you lose all your points!

This was another product that I have used by Rachel Lynette – she is truly a task card guru! It is another FREEBIE!

BOOM! A Game to Play with Task Cards: FREE!

IF digital is more your style – you can use them online with a new website. Click the photo below for more info!

Boom Learning: A Fun and Effective Task Card App for Tablets, Smartphones, and Computers

3 The third way that I have used task cards in my classroom is by creating scavenger hunts. I just hid the cards in random places around the room and have students hunt for them and answer them. Students love this and really race to get the right answers in the shortest amount of time. This is even a way to introduce new content. Also around Easter, I hide cards in Easter eggs. This is super fun and easy.

Capture The last way that I use task cards is through board games. I found some awesome board games on TpT that you can use with any task cards. All you need for most of them is dice, some sort of tokens for students, the game board and task cards. What I have done is made several copies of the game boards and made kits. then when content changes I just throw in a new set of task cards. This is great for test reviews or stations (depending on the amount of time at each station).

Here are links to the game boards I have used (one if free and the more science-y looking ones are for purchase):

Game Boards

Earth Science Themed Board Game - Pre-Written & Editable Cards

You may be wondering at this point where I get all of my task cards. The truth is I find some on TpT, but most of them I make myself. What I have found is sometimes I want different questions than what is asked on the ones that I find. So I searched for a template on TpT and that is what I use to make my own cards. I will link it below if you are interested.

Task Card Templates - FREEBIE

I really hope that you found some great ideas to engage your students! Let me know in the comments below – until next time…

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March Madness!

March madness is upon us in more ways than one! We have the basketball play-offs going on, but also March sometimes feels like the LONGEST month. So, I compiled a list of some of my favorite March Activities for you to take a look at – Maybe it will give you some inspiration for this long month!

Trashketball Game Template | EDITABLE

This is an awesome review game. I remember playing this when I was in school. Of course, back then it was the low-tech version, which is still doable. However, I really like the set up of this game. It is an investment, but worth it because it is editable and you can use it again and again. So, if you are in the basketball mood and need some review – try out this cool game.

Free STEM Challenge: Basketball Tower

If you are in need of a good freebie and quick activity. Try out this stem challenge. It is quick and inexpensive to do. Plus the resources are free on TpT. Click the picture above to download.

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When I was looking for more neat ideas – I came across this website. If you click the picture above it will take you to the four lessons listed. I have used the bouncing balls of energy in my physical science class. These are some pretty solid resources and they are free!

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Of course, the simplest way to have fun this march is to try and make your own bracket!! I started doing this when I first taught in China. One of our math teachers had an optional bracket competition – we would win a Snickers bar if our bracket was the closest (I never got close). It was all in good fun and the students could participate as well. It is great for building some relationships with your students! I highly recommend it!

What ideas do you have for March Madness?

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Meteorology Glow Games Transformation

Image may contain: 2 people, including Jessica Lynn, people smiling

Let’s be honest – there are only so many Kahoots that you can do to review for tests (don’t get me wrong – I do love me some Kahoot!). When it came time to review for my Meteorology unit, I knew I wanted to try glow games. I had read about this idea on elementary shenanigans, and so I dove in!

The Decor

Now I will admit that this one cost a bit more than I anticipated. FOr glow games I needed black lights. Guys, black lights cost some major bucks. I remember when I was in high school you could purchase them at the dollar tree – well that is not the case anymore. The LED version will set you back about $8-9 at Lowes or Home Depot. That was my major purchase to make things glow. The other main purchase was items for the games (water bottles, glow sticks, spoons, and cones). I asked parents to donate glow-sticks and I borrowed some lamps from different family members.

The Content

Students entered the room and rotated between four different games to review for our test. They had a recording sheet to use as their study guide and they had to complete the study guide in order to play the game.

The Games:

  • Spoons – Find out how to play this card game here– students were able to match four of a kind using our meteorology vocabulary.
  • Jenga – Students answer a question under a color category and then pull that color from the Jenga Tower. The same Jenga rules apply, but you add content questions.
  • Ring Toss – In order to get a turn students to answer review questions.
  • Bowling – In order to get a turn students to answer review questions.

My Product!

I thought that this worked very well, so I made a product that you could use with your students to review meteorology. Check it out by clicking the photo below:

Meteorology Glow Games

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