Wednesday, August 29, 2012

DonorsChoose and giveaway winnner!

First things first:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Jessica. You have an e-mail from me in your inbox.  :-)

2nd great news: KIA Motors matched my DonorsChoose project and paid for half of it.  Yay KIA!!!  I only have $64 to go and I'm so excited!!!  You can check my project out by clicking on the widget on the right of the page.

Time to go to school!  I'll do a better post this weekend.  :-)

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Week Science: Ice Balloons

I'm so excited to have Angi from First-Graders from Outer Space as my first guest blogger.  She is clearly some kind of science rock star!!!  :-)  I just know that these will be great experiments, and my students and I will definitely be playing some cold potato (see below)!!!  Thanks again, Angi.  Without further ado:

Hellooooo Psyched to be in 2nd readers! This is Angi from First-Graders from Outer Space. I was very excited when Molly asked me to be a guest blogger and share some science experiments with all of you! Our first day back to school was on July 31st, so we have already done our first experiment. The kids loved it and I hope you do too!

Before I start, I have to admit that I completely stole this activity from the Exploratorium After School Activities webpage. I fell in love with the activity and modified it for our short, 25-minute, daily science block. You might want to go check it out on the Exploratorium site first, so you get an idea of what I’m writing about. (Psst...there’s videos there, so you can watch the whole process!) After reading here, go back and check out more activities on their website!

I’m very jealous of his balloons...ours never turned out that clear. :( Anyway, now that you’ve learned about the ice balloons, I’ll tell you what I did to modify the activity. 

The activity has been split into three days. Each day I’ve split the class into six groups (because that’s how many flashlights we had on hand). The goal is to get the students to start asking questions, stating observations, and making predictions. I actually take paper with me during this activity so I can write down the great things I hear them say as they work. This allows me to tell a lot about my kiddos right at the start of the year. I can see who works well in groups, who is shy, who the natural leaders are, those who make good observations and who is comfortable taking risks.

Prior to doing the experiment, be sure to freeze your water balloons in the same fashion as in the Exploratorium video. I would say to give yourself more than two days of freeze time. We tried this last year, and one of the balloons that was in over the weekend fell and cracked open. One of the kiddos got splashed with ice cold water. He thought it was hilarious, but others might not! ;)

I stretched each activity to fill a 25-minute block of time. This was done by asking a lot of questions and stopping for good observations that were made. If you point out the great observations, chances are they will start dig deeper when they think about what is happening to their ice.

Day One

You will need:
a large tub for each group
frozen water balloons for each group
a flashlight for each group
toothpicks for each person
paperclips for each person
magnifying glasses
blank paper

  • First, give each group a tub with a flashlight. Have them turn on the flashlight and point it up to the ceiling. Place an ice balloon on each flashlight.
  • Students will take turns using the magnifying glasses to look closer at each ice balloon. After getting a close look, ask them to draw what they’ve seen. You may want to point out spikes, bubbles, frosty areas, or cracks they could draw. (Be sure to be listening for the great observations the kids make!)
  • Discuss the toothpicks and paperclips before passing them out. What are they made of? Which one do the kids think is stronger? What would each of them be useful for?
  • Pass out a toothpick to each student. Give them time to see what they can do to the ice with the toothpick. Ask for observations. Many will notice that they cannot break through the ice (unless they find a crack or close bubble) and that their toothpick starts to bend or break.
  • Pass out paperclips to each student. Give them more time to see what can be done differently with a paperclip. Ask for more observations. Students might notice that they can chip away at the ice better with the paperclip.
  • Discuss the observations and questions the students have after this part of the experiment. Discuss what other items they could use to alter the ice balloon. (Usually they get very excited when someone mentions using a hammer to break it!)
  • If you have science notebooks, you can glue the picture the students drew into their notebooks and have them write about what they did to their balloon. Depending on the grade level, students may write more or less.

Day Two

You will need:
a large tub for each group
frozen water balloons for each group
a flashlight for each group
student watercolor paints
paint shirts
cups of water
magnifying glasses

  • Start just like you did yesterday. Give each group an ice balloon and allow them time to observe it. You will notice that many will point out what is different about this new one. Maybe this one has a huge crack in and their previous one had no cracks.
  • Ask the kids to take out their paint brushes, but set their paint aside. They will use their brushes to “paint” with just water on the balloons. This will take some of the frost off and might make other characteristics pop.
  • If nobody notices it, ask the students to stop moving their brushes on the ice for a while. If they stay still enough, the brush might freeze to the balloon. (Now might be a good time to discuss the dangers of licking frozen poles on the playground in winter! Ha ha...) Talk about why they think this happens and what they can do to get the brush off safely.
  • Last, allow for time to paint on the balloons with paints. Can the students find any holes or spikes to fill with paint.

Day Three

You will need:
a large tub for each group
frozen water balloons for each group
a flashlight for each group
student watercolor paints
paint shirts
cups of water
magnifying glasses
small containers of salt
a large tub filled with water for each group

  • Start just like the previous days - allow time to observe the new ice balloon.
  • Discuss what students know about ice and salt. Some who live in areas where the roads get icy might know what salt can be used for. (Our kids know that the salt looks like tiny diamonds...they bring it in all winter!)
  • Ask the students to take a pinch of salt each and sprinkle it on the ice. Give them some time to make and discuss their observations.
  • Next, ask the students to paint lots of color on top of the salty ice. They should notice that the melting, salty water has made spots for rivers of color to run down the side of the ice. Allow them to experiment with their paints.
  • Gently drop the ice into the water. Look for any bubbles coming to the top of the water. When the kids pull the ice out, discuss why the mushroom top occurred.
  • Last, let them paint some more on the ice.
  • Make your final observations as a class. Have students write their observations in their science notebooks if they can.

What do you do with all the ice after the experiment is done? Play cold potato! We took our ice out on a warm day and played the game just like you’d play hot potato. The kids had a blast! Then I let them keep them for their recess time...they all got smashed on the blacktop. ;) It’s always fun to play with ice in the summer!

Thanks for letting me be a guest blogger! I hope you enjoyed this experiment!


Friday, August 10, 2012

And so it begins

Hi everyone!!!

School's back in session!!!  (Okay, no it's not, but today was the first day we could enter our beautifully remodeled building.)  :-)  Unfortunately, we're being teased.  We got in today, but have to stay away this weekend while they buff the floors.  Based on e-mails, I was under the impression that our rooms would be A MESS.  I'm happy to report that it wasn't as bad as I was fearing.  This post will have all of the before pictures, and after many days of work next week, I'll post finished ones.  I may do what Christina over at Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge did and post a daily photo update.  While I was there, the workmen got my air all set up (YES, the remodel is THAT good.  Each teacher has her own individual air.).  Okay, here we go with some pictures: 

This is the view from the door.  Sorry for the quality, but as you can see, I get A WINDOW!!!  My fourth year of teaching, and finally, finally, finally I have a window in my classroom.  A WINDOW!!!  Yeah, I'm pretty excited.  I'm a little OCD, so this picture does reflect some "grouping" of desks, chairs, and boxes that I did so I could get a sense of my space. 

This is the opposite view.  One of the workers snuck into the photo accidentally.  :-)  The corkboard over the lockers is new, and I'm pretty excited about it.  Stapling will be oh-so-easy! 

My newly mounted projector and re-mounted SMART Board.  Please excuse the furniture EVERYWHERE in this picture. 

To the right, you can see my new sound box, microphones, etc. on the wall.  My room has its own SOUND system.  This is almost too good to be true!  :-)  In the bottom right, you can see my kidney table that needs to be turned around and scootched into place.  I'll be able to see everything from that spot.  I'm going to load that cabinet up with my teaching things. 

Here's my major shelving for the classroom.  Over to the left, I even have a sink.  I have NO idea what's in most of those boxes.  Some of them are labeled as math manipulatives, but the rest are mystery boxes. 

My kidney table, my sink, and boxes, boxes, boxes.  Not a one of those boxes contains my personal stuff.  That's all in my car, my apartment, and my parents' upstairs storage room. 

Anyway, that's pretty much the gist right now.  Next step, move all of my stuff in, get some butcher paper, and go to town getting this place ready.  I know I promised you a post about birthday bags, but I just finished my summer classes, and I haven't done them yet.  They will probably get made this weekend.  When I get back in Monday, I hope to move in more stuff, unpack the math and mystery boxes, and maybe put up my birthday bags bulletin board and my Daily 5/Cafe Board (Woohoo!!!).  I plan to put my reading corner by the window (pretty right?).  You can't tell from the picture, but the wall by the window is covered in blue cork board, so it should be pretty "user friendly."  I forgot to take pictures of my fourth wall (oops), but it is covered with another white board.  My computers wil go along this wall.  Above the white board is some long skinny bulletin board space that I think will be perfect for birthday bags.  :-)  I'll keep you posted. 

Don't forget to enter my Donors Choose giveaway in the post below (and support/advertise my DonorsChoose project).  I didn't say this before (because it sounds kind of mean), but I will check to see if you've actually done the entries.  If you haven't and you win, I will pick another winner.  Gosh, that really did sound mean, but I want to be fair.  (We teachers always have to be fair, right?)  :-)  Have a great day!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Crummy Week, A Little Goodwill, and My DonorsChoose Project

Hey everybody!

As I've alluded to the past few days, I'm not having the best week (even though I celebrated my birthday yesterday).  In awesome news, my parents bought me an iPad for my personal/classroom use and because of their timing, it came with a $50 apps gift card!!!  So that's very exciting. 

When I'm feeling especially blue, I like to do nice things for others in order to feel better (it ALWAYS works!!!).  While what I'm doing this time is not 100% selfless (I'll be honest and admit I'll benefit a little), I think it can still do some good, and it will allow me to try new things and expand my blog (one way I will benefit). 

What in the world am I talking about?  I want to purchase a $25 DonorsChoose giftcard through e-mail and give it away.  The winner may donate to whichever classroom she or he wishes (including your own).  You DO NOT have to donate to my project (although I won't turn you down).  :-)  I also want to learn the ins and outs of using Rafflecopter.  I think this is a good way to continue to grow as a blogger while I am still far too timid to start creating my own things and putting them on TpT. 

There are many different ways you can enter, and I'll leave it open for about a week.  FYI, my DonorsChoose widget with my project is at the right of my blog (you need the link for my project for a few of the entries).  My project can also be found here.  I'm asking for a subscription to TIME for Kids to enhance my social studies curriculum.  The reading in these issues also really challenges students and exposes them to nonfiction, which is a HUGE benefit!!!  I'm also asking for a book of graphic organizers to help us make sense of these difficult texts as well as support our district implementation of Thinking Maps.  I'm asking that you comment with your favorite first week of school read alouds/literature units since I'm still trying to decide what I'll do.  Don't forget to include your e-mail.  I'd especially love some 2nd grade specific suggestions.  :-) 

You can earn more entries by blogging about the giveaway and/or my DonorsChoose proejct (your choice), tweeting about it, pinning it, etc.  The only really selfish entry I included is 1,000% optional.  If you donate $1 to my DonorsChoose project you can earn an entry.  This is the only one that is available daily (you could earn a total of 7 points with this option), and I assigned it a really low point value, because I didn't want to "pressure" anyone into supporting my project.  I'm really just trying to get the word out so that I can recruit some support for my project. 
Finally, I want to end with a huge thank you!!!  This thank you goes out to all of you, my readers and "blog buddies."  I have learned so much from all of you, and I'm so thankful for all of your support.  I can't wait to see who wins my giveaway!!!

P.S. Even though you can get my button on the right, I've included it here for your convenience also.  :-) 

psyched to be in 2nd!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Loose Ends, Another Year Older (yuck!!!), and a Birthday Wish :-)

Hell-ooooooooo readers!!!  :-)

Warning: This post is going to be all over the place (hence the loose ends mentioned in the title). 

My new place has internet, and I am loving it!!!  Sort of.  Most of my time (including what should be right now) is spent working on finishing up my summer school class.  I'm all moved in to the new place, and I am enjoying it so far.  I do have random teacher stuff in the car still.  The guy at the Honda dealer asked me if I was a teacher when I was there the other day for my oil change.  :-)  After I get this class done, I'm going to get serious, starting with making my students' birthday bags.  I'll share them as soon as they are done (grad school is kind of slowing me down).  Since my school is under construction, I hope to get as much work done from home as possible. 

Today, I'm ringing in the big 2-6.  Many of you won't think that is too old, but I've approached birthdays in a careful crisis mode ever since last year when I turned 25 and had what I refer to as my "quarter-life crisis."  Mostly, I find birthdays and receiving gifts and extra attention kind of embarrassing.  I'm hoping to use my birthday for good this year and encourage some donations to my DonorsChoose project as well as any others people are so inclined to sponsor.  I've got a few ideas, but I wanted to start small and see how things went.  So far, it's going slowly, but I'm still optimistic.  :-) 

Anyway, birthday celebrations will be pretty quiet.  I already had dinner with friends last week.  Tonight, my parents are taking me out to dinner, then we will enjoy my favorite chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  This afternoon, I'm working on wrapping up some grad school assignments.  I can't celebrate too much tonight, since I have all-day in-service tomorrow.  :-) 

How do you celebrate your birthdays?  How do you celebrate student birthdays? 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not teaching related at all, PLUS my absence from the blogosphere

Good afternoon!

This week has been nuts (and not in a fun way)!!!  I have moved and to keep it short and sweet I'll just say that it didn't go well, and it hasn't been fixed yet.  I've spent the last 3 days on the phone.  I'll be happy when it's over, and I will never use a certain moving company again. 

In other news, also moving related, Time Warner cable is apparently in very high demand.  So for right now, until Saturday, I'm Internet and cable free.  This post is being brought to you courtesy of a local Starbucks.  I can't wait to be "connected" again. 

From here on out, things are getting busy!!!  First up, my birthday is Sunday.  While I am still in my 20s, I've reached that point where birthdays are kind of horrifying (ANOTHER year older, etc.).  You know what I mean.  I am hoping to get some DonorsChoose $$$$ from family, though (if only I were BFF with Oprah or Stephen Colbert-my classroom would be so lucky!!!).  :-)     

The celebration of my birthday continues Monday with a day spent in district in-service.  No, we won't be celebrating my birthday.  We'll just be in an all-day meeting that I'm not particularly excited about.  I do hope that the math Investigations mystery will finally be unraveled.  I still have NO CLUE how that will work next year, and it makes me antsy to be so uncertain.  It will be nice to see some coworkers and my principal, though. 

Shortly thereafter (I HOPE!!!), we should receive news that our building is ready to be opened up to teachers.  From that point on, school will essentially be back in session...lots to do to get ready for another fun year!!!  (I do have a quick driving trip to Oklahoma planned though, so that will be fun!) 

To give you something teaching related, I will tease my birthday bags.  Once I have Internet again, I'll share them with you.  I think they will be a fun thing for my students' birthdays.  I love the birthday "balloons" that I have seen on Pinterest and some of your blogs. 

How are you spending your last few days before returning to work?  If you have already gone back, how is the new year going for you? 
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...