Sunday, July 27, 2014

Smooth Sailing Back to School Notebook Tips and Giveaways

Thanks for sailing over to The Science Penguin!  Do you use Interactive Notebooks?  I started with them 6 years ago and have learned what works and what doesn't from (a lot of) trial and error.

These are all things you can do BEFORE school starts to make sure you're prepared.  When students see that you know what you're doing, they know you mean business!  Here are my Top 4 Tips to get prepared for using Interactive Notebooks.

#1 Organize students' notebooks by group using sturdy baskets.
Last year, I had 3 classes with 5 groups each, so I had 15 baskets.  If you're self-contained you may only need 5-6 baskets.  Basically, have some baskets.  If one member of each team is responsible for getting the baskets out, then you don't waste time during class passing out and collecting notebooks.

#2 Prepare student materials.
Students are going to needs scissors, glue, and colored pencils.  Make sure you have a way to organize those things and make keeping it clean and stocked a job for a member of each team.  Each table is going to need a tiny trash can for scraps (you'll thank me later!).  Emptying the trash can be another team member job.

#3 Set up reference posters in your class.
Decide what's important for interactive notebooks.  Maybe it's the ABCD Diagram Model.  Maybe it's visual rubrics.  Whatever you want students to reference to increase the quality of work in notebooks needs to be visible in your classroom.

#4 Set up your sample notebook.
You may want to set up your notebook alongside your students, but hear me out.  I like to set up a notebook in advance so I can show students what I'm looking for.  I put my rubric in there, make my table of contents, decorate my cover page, all that jazz.  Then, I set up another one with my classes.  Those extra ones I make can be used for new students who join the class later.

Still want more tips and ideas? {Check out My Interactive Science Notebook.}

The Giveaways
I love the classroom organization materials from Really Good Stuff!  I am giving away a $50 Really Good Stuff eGift Certificate to one lucky winner.  With this, you can get the good quality baskets that will last all year and for years to come.

Your entries here also qualify you for the Collaborative Giveaway where one lucky winner will win nearly $300 worth of intermediate products for back to school!  In the Collaborative Grand Prize, I'm giving away two great Interactive Science Notebook resources, Bonus Interactive Science Notebook Templates and Process Skills Interactive Science Notebook Activities.

Giveaway Rules
  • This giveaway is open only to teachers.  
  • Two names will be drawn at The Science Penguin.  One will win a $50 Really Good Stuff eGift Certificate.  The other will be entered in a drawing to win the Collaborative Grand Prize Package.  
  • The contest will run through August 2, 2014.
  • Winners will be announced here and notified by email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

See all the giveaways!
Stop by each of these blogs, read my friends' tips, and see all the awesomeness they're giving away.  Remember, every giveaway you enter not only qualifies you for that prize, it puts you in the running for the Collaborative Giveaway.

All the Prizes in the Collaborative Grand Prize 
{Click the item to view it on TpT}


Friday, July 25, 2014

Time to Teach Reflection and Refraction of Light

 The next post in my Time Teach Series is about reflection and refraction of light.  I use a lot of hand motions and concrete examples to teach this unit.  We make up hand motions for all of the vocabulary words and practice them.  We identify how light responds to objects in the classroom.  Here's a collection of resources and ideas I've used in the past.  Happy teaching!  :)

Key Vocabulary: 
light, reflection (reflect), refraction (refract), absorption (absorb), transmission (transmit), translucent, transparent, opaque, magnify, wave

These activities can be done in so many ways: mini-lessons, labs, stations, or small group.

I did this activity with my tutoring students last year to help them think about identifying reflection and refraction in real life. 

This is a great station activity since it gives students time to explore, process, and communicate.

This is also a good stations activity because students can explore the types of lenses (which they LOVE) and explain the how and why of what is occurring.

Students complete fold-ups as part of mini-lessons.  These can also be used as "hunts", where students have to find things that are transparent, translucent, and opaque in the classroom to write in their fold-ups. 

Students go through a Light PowerPoint with notes then complete a sort.

The video below was particularly helpful for my students last year.  Many drew the picture shown in the video in their "output" notebook entry.

Vocabulary Chart:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Five Resources to PREP Your Room!

It's about that time of year.  One of my favorite things has always been getting my classroom ready!
If you teach science, I have some amazing resources for you to make what you put on your walls purposeful and attractive.

Let's get started!

#1 "You May" Board
This resource (shown in the photo above) was so useful to me last year with my 5th graders.  When students finished their work, they could choose from the activities on the board.  I put velcro on the cards so I could change out what I wanted them to choose from, too!

Click the pic to download from GoogleDocs.  

#2 Lab Team Roles
Oh my gosh, I thought the "You May" Board was really useful, but I could not LIVE without Lab Team Roles.  This kept every group assignment meaningful, my classroom clean, and students WORKING.  I hung the posters on the wall, then made the small ones into necklaces for team members to wear while working.

Click the pic to download from TpT.

#3 Big Money Words
These 28 word cards were used all year in my classroom.  Students started out slowly, but by the end of the year were using the terminology regularly and comfortably.  You can't beat that.  These come in two color themes to match your room style.

Click the pic to view on TpT.

#4 Mad Science Room Decor
This is the big one!
It includes:
- Think, Explore, Discover, Observe, Create Posters
- 3 Choices of Rules Posters
- Science Tools Posters
- Lab Teams Roles Posters and Information
- 6 Group Numbers (for hanging from the ceiling or labeling tables)
- “You Need” Visual Supplies Signs
- I (heart) Science! Letters (for a bulletin board)
- Scientific Method Posters
- Objectives Sign
- Engineering Design Process Posters
- ABCD Diagram posters

My room looked amazing with these resources last year!  Adults and students would always comment about how beautiful it was...and it was.  These resources served as a year-long reference for students, kept us organized, and provided a clean, bright look for the room.

Click the pic to see it on TpT.

#5 Fun Science Posters
These didn't serve much of a purpose, but they looked great in my room over the sink!

Click the pic to download from GoogleDocs.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

NEW Interactive Science Notebook Website

My new website is ready to be unveiled.  Welcome to My Interactive Science Notebook!

This website is a user friendly way to access ideas and photos for Interactive Science Notebooks.  I don't know how this site may evolve over time, but I hope you enjoy it!


Friday, July 18, 2014

4th Grade NGSS Interactive Science Notebook

Hello again Penguin Friends,

After completing the 5th grade NGSS Interactive Science Notebook, I made the 4th grade version.  I'm pretty excited about this one!

Which states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards?
California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, DC, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Vermont

Can this be used if you teach in other states?
It's really up to your professional judgment based on the standards that you are required to teach.

What does this resource include?
There are 29 activities to help prepare students for the 4th Grade Performance Expectations.  The activities combine hands-on experiences, inquiry, research, mathematical thinking, vocabulary study, and visual representation to address the standards.

What topics does this resource help us teach?
Speed and Energy
Energy Transfer
Sound Waves
Reflection of Light
External and Internal Plant and Animal Structures
Nervous System
Physical and Topographic Maps
Fossil fuels
Alternative Energy
Resisting Earthquakes

Does this include all the engineering and inquiry activities I need for the year?
No, it doesn't.  Part of NGSS is generating questions and testing them.  A prescribed program for inquiry and engineering doesn't necessarily fit with the intent of the standards.  However, ideas for the performance expectations are included.

How long did it take to make this?
I'm glad I didn't count the hours, but I would estimate anywhere about 60 hours due to the research required.

Are examples included?
There are recommendations for use and sample photos of my notebook for all activities.

What is required?
Computer access for students or a computer hooked up to a projector will be very helpful.  Basic lab supplies that I would find in my science closet are included, as well.  You can use less paper on this if you have students write their own information for some of the activities in their notebooks and just use copies to help students with an IEP or 504.  I also recommend having Snap Circuits available for an activity.

I don't care about 4th grade.  Are you doing this for other grades?
There is one available for 5th grade.  I am not planning to make one for any other grades yet.  All NGSS resources can be found in my TpT Store.

I need it!  Where can I get it?
This resource is in my TpT Store, The Science Penguin.

Click the pic to check out this awesome resource.

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