Thursday, April 24, 2014

Science Penguin's Science Plans {Week 30}

Science STAAR is over!  Scores will be back in one month.  Fingers crossed until then.

Things are going to be a little different for the next two and a half weeks.  In Texas, 5th graders are required to pass math and reading STAAR in order to be promoted to 6th grade.  Therefore, the students who did not pass will re-take STAAR reading, math, or both on May 13 and 14.

Leading up to that, students will either receive accelerated intensive instruction or enrichment in each subject.  I'll have different groups of kids most of the should be a nice way to switch things up this time of year.

Here's how our day is broken up.

7:15-7:45- Students arrive, breakfast, get socializing out of the way
7:45-9:45- Reading Block
There are 3 classrooms with reading enrichment.  5 other (classroom and intervention) teachers will be working with small intervention groups.
9:45-10:15 Begin Math block.
There are 3 classrooms with math enrichment.  5 other (classroom and intervention) teachers will be working with small intervention groups.
10:35-12:00 Finish Math block.
12:00-12:35 Lunch
12:35-1:35 Science and Social Studies with homeroom teacher (science one week, SS the next week)
1:40-2:35 Specials

During these two weeks, I will have a 2-hour block for reading and a 2-hour block for math.

Here's what we're doing.

Week 30: April 28- May 2

In reading, we will have a daily routine that incorporates a read aloud with word study and fun challenge, literature circles, and independent reading with a focus on informational text.  We will read The Gollywhopper Games as a read aloud.  I've never read it, but a colleague loves it!

Introduce expectations and procedures
Read Aloud- The Gollywhopper Games (include word study)
The Gollywhopper Games riddle or challenge
Set up Literature Circles and explain jobs
Read in groups for 30 minutes, then work on group job for 15 minutes, then hold group discussion
D.E.A.R. Informational Text

We are focusing on problem solving with multi-step problems.  We are going to take some time at the end of math each day to work on the Angry Birds project invented by the fabulous Jennifer Runde.  

1. Math Review
2. Multi-Step Problems (Project a problem, students work with their teams to determine which operations are needed to answer and hold up the card.)
3. Give students the answer (9 penguins) Students must create a multi-step problem with that answer in teams. Then, switch problems and work on another group’s problem. 
4. Angry Birds Cube #1- determine volume

1. Math Review
2. Multi-Step Problems Gallery Walk (Students complete 12 higher level questions at different stations in the room)
3. Angry Birds Cube #2- determine surface area

1. Math Review
2. Go over problems from gallery walk (Teams present 2 problems each after having time to make a presentation)
3. Angry Birds Cube #3- determine perimeter of the bottom (triangle)

1. Math Review
2. Problem Solving Poster

1. Tying It All Up Test
2. Angry Birds Cube #4- determine volume

Social Studies
This week, we will be watching video clips about the Civil War and making timeline foldables for the important events.  We will do science next week.

I will post about the next week's plans soon.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

Radioactive Alien Goo

Need a "following directions" activity with a clear reward for following the directions correctly?  Alien Goo is just for you!

By popular request, here are the directions for making radioactive alien goo.  This is taken from a soon-to-be-released pack on Alien Science.  If these directions are not followed exactly, you get a liquid-y mess.  Sad face. If you follow directions, you get super fun alien goo!

This was originally intended to be a fun review activity, but it became more of a "following written directions" activity.  This would be excellent for the first couple weeks of school!  We had a lot of fun and the kids learned a very important lesson about reading and following written directions.

Click the pic to download the file from GoogleDocs.

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 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 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.

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