Sunday, April 13, 2014

Candy Test Prep Review {After School Tutoring}

Tomorrow, we have our final after school tutoring session before Science STAAR.  I've met my 8 students 8 times so far this semester and it's time to wrap it up.
The kids have done a good job mastering the concepts the day of tutoring, but have trouble remembering the concepts over time.  The long-term recall of concepts is the main issue I'm seeing, so I want to give them experiences they will remember next week.  (Next week!?!?  Already?!?!)

My final effort to help them remember the different concepts we have worked on it to use candy.  I went to the candy aisle at HEB and the candy bins at Central Market and looked around to see what I could possibly connect to science.
Here are the 6 candies and the concepts we will review with each.

1. Sugary blue and red strips (I have no clue what they are called.)
We are going to review how sedimentary rock is formed using Whole Brain techniques and review the lab we did a few weeks ago.  We will also review the vocabulary: cementation and compaction.  Then, we will lay out the trips and use compaction and a little cementation with water.  Finally, we label.

2. Orbit Gum
I wish it was called "Revolution Gum", but we'll go with it.  We will use our kinesthetic, visual, and model review of revolution and rotation.  On the paper, we will "orbit" the gum.

3. Cherry Gummy
There isn't a peat shaped gummy, so this will have to do...it is a plant at least and it's an excellent opportunity to discuss limitations.  We will do our Whole Brain review of fossil fuel formation, then PRESS the gummy into the paper and heat it with our hands.

4. Rock Candy
In our second week, we determined the physical properties of rock candy.  We are doing to review the physical properties of it and how we tested for each.

5. Gummy Worms
We are going to act like decomposers, breaking down dead plants and animals and returning nutrients to the soil.  Then, we will do the same with our gummy worms.  I have no shame.

6. Sour Patch Kids
This is our opportunity to review learned behaviors and inherited traits.  These kids are still struggling with the difference.  We will identify the traits and behaviors of ourselves and other animals and plants.

Wish us luck!

P.S.  I'm going to tell the kids to explain the page to a family member before they eat the candy.  I may give them a little to hold them over in tutoring.  :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Blogger and the Teacher


This morning I have been thinking about how my alter ego as a blogger has impacted me and my students.

1. Blogging has inspired me to be a better teacher.  Seeing the awesomeness that goes on in classrooms all around the world is amazing.

2. Taking so many photos for posting has decreased the amount of space on my phone.  I'm constantly having to clear out pictures and videos to fit more in.

3.  The pressure to be amazing increases.  I feel like I'm a good teacher, but I am not amazing at all times.  I have bad days.  I get irritated.  I don't make the perfect connection with every student.  Not all parents love me.  I am late on paperwork.  I run last minute copies.  Not every student passes the state test.  I have PILES!

4. I have made amazing friends that I talk to regularly.  The teacher-blogger community is awesome and I love the opportunities I have to meet up!

5. It has turned me into an idea machine.  Sometimes the machine needs to be repaired for maintenance...like right now.

6. By selling resources, I have been able to provide my students with experiences and resources they would not otherwise have access to.

7. My students get the best of what I have to offer.  I make everything with them in mind.  What would interest them?  What do they need that doesn't exist?  How can this concept be taught in the best possible way?

8. My living room is a mess.  There are scraps of paper, laminating, paper piles, books, Solo cups, eggs, inflatable aliens, and Peeps scattered around the floor and tables right now.

On that note, I should probably clean.  I'll at least put away the Peeps.
This should explain some of the things lying around my living room.    No crazy themed parties here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Last Week

Here's a little about my week.

Last week, we took our fifth graders to camp.  Most of our kiddos have never had a chance to do something like this, so it was a really great opportunity for them.

I had a great cabin of girls that I got a chance to bond with and have some fun with.  I wandered from activity to activity, participating and taking photos.  I spent a lot of time at the ropes/rock wall because it was so fun to watch the kids try something completely foreign to them.  It was a really phenomenal trip.
Clearly, I had to participate on this activity.
And this frightening challenging activity.  I'm on the left.
I regret the decision to make the trip Monday-Wednesday because Thursday and Friday were rough on all of us.
On Thursday, we discussed the science at each activity the kids did, then each student made a poster describing 4 activities.  (Disclaimer: I hung these up around 5PM on a Friday, so it looks pretty terrible.  The posters are good though.)
Posters about the Science of Camp
On Friday, students took their final assessment before STAAR so I could see how they are doing after several weeks of review and make my groups for intensive instruction next week.  Some showed SO much growth after just a few short weeks of review!  After debating back and forth, I have a group of 6 kids in 2 classes I will meet with next week and a group of 7 in my third class.  

I gave them a few minutes at the end of class to color their rockets to decorate our room for Reach for the STAARs Week.  I hung up the ones that finished and I am owed quite a few more on Monday morning.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Alien Invasion! Science Review {Limited Time Freebie}

Hi Penguin peeps!

We are getting so close to our Science STAAR test.  If you've been following my weekly plans, you likely know that I only have 2 more days of test prep left to post, so here they are!

On April 21 and 22, we will keep with our Reach for the STAARs theme and do some space-based games and activities.  You can download these activities as a Fan Freebie on my Facebook Page!

We will also play some space-themed games, do a craft to decorate our room for testing, and get pumped up!

In this activity, students analyze the alien food web and make predictions.

 Students are going to make inferences about the aliens' home based on 6 cards that give them information.  I ordered these fun aliens from Amazon.  The package comes with 18 aliens, so there's enough for me and my teammate.


In this activity, students identify the inherited traits, learned behaviors, and adaptations of each type of alien.

This file is offered as a LIMITED TIME freebie on my Facebook page.  Please stop by today and download.
Click the pic!
If you're having trouble, make sure you "like" The Science Penguin.  Then click on the pink box above Fan Freebie.

Friday, April 4, 2014

10 Things I'll Miss About Teaching


 This may be true for you as summer, retirement, a break, or the end of your teaching career creeps closer and closer.  I'm taking a year off from the classroom next year and have been thinking a lot about the things I will miss... and the things I won't miss.

The 10 Things I Will Miss About Teaching:

1. I won't get to practice "holding it" for 5 straight hours every morning.  Stamina is supposed to be a good thing in schools, right?
might as well hang these in every school
2. I needed those 4 hour chunks of time actively monitoring to do calf raises and squats.  There goes my fitness for the year!

3. I was kinda relying on kids' extra fruit from the cafeteria for nourishment.  If I'm not getting my calf raises in, I at least need to eat more tiny apples.
4. I'll have to find new people to give me stomach bugs, viruses, and headaches.  It can be difficult to find such a dense concentration of germs.
Standing in a classroom for 10 minutes = Licking a doorknob at the airport
5. If I don't give a standardized test at the end of the year, how am I supposed to know if I'm succeeding at life?

6. Girl Scout Cookies will no longer come to me!  I will have to go to them!  Noooooooo!

7. I can't get TV and movie recommendations from my students.  Sons of Anarchy, Teen Mom, The Hangover...thanks, kids!
8. Being the boss of the applesauce in my classroom.  Cats just aren't as fun to boss around.
9. There will be no one to giggle when I talk about stars being "giant balls of gas".  Double whammy!

10. I'll miss seeing the satisfaction students get when they've worked at something and they finally get it.  I like it.  A lot.

What would you miss?

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