Thursday, October 2, 2014

Currently...October...can it be?!

This school year is flying by! I'm really excited with how far we have come though.  I'm getting my 4th grade groove on and really feeling better about this grade level - it just takes a little bit. has to be a tie! We just did this Monster Genetics Lab and it was FANTASTIC! My students loved it and I got to see their learning in such a cool way!


but celebrating National talk like a Pirate Day, was just plain awesome! You can check out that post and more here.  I love how much the upper grades really get into this!

Thinking: how lucky I am!  So this happened!!! Never in a million years, did I think I would make it there...little old me??  
Be sure to follow on Instagram and FB - had some giveaways yesterday for this milestone. 

I'm completely humbled and blessed by my followers :) 

Wanting: some motivation! This 33 week pregnant lady is tired, and my mind is mush most nights after school.  I have some great projects I want to work on but no energy or time to complete them.  I am enjoying the laziness though and just embracing it.

Needing: to finish up maternity plans and get over this cold! The teacher I took over for, retired, and she is my maternity sub, which really puts my mind at ease but I still want to make it as easy as possible for her and have copies made since the holidays are such a crazy busy time anyway! (Baby E is due 11/ it could work out to have Thanksgiving off and come back after Christmas!!)

My Monster Genetics Pack is on sale! TREAT for you wonderful followers! Also check out these goodies I created last year for October in Kindergarten.  One is FREE!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Monster Genetics: Traits, Heredity, and Fun...ALL IN ONE!

So we just finished a chapter in Science and that means it was time for a lab or experiment.  The last lesson we hit was on Genetics...which can be super tough for 5th! Explaining the concept and having the students truly understand was tricky.

We started out by watching the free Brainpop video on traits and heredity (its even one of their FREE ones) that reinforced our concepts and vocab from the book.  I sometimes do these videos first to introduce a topic or do them after as a review and stop for vocab.  We do the quiz together and reinforce what we have been talking about.

After our big test, I wanted to take it a step further.  My students really seemed interested in this topic so I came up with Monster Genetics!  We did this lab as a fun way to review dominant and recessive traits!

Basically you play "rock, paper, scissors" to come up with which gene you inherit from that parent and then you display the dominant or recessive trait based on the 2 genes (genotype) you have.

My students had a BLAST being so creative while reinforcing what we already learned and using the vocab we covered.

I included monster bodies, directions, lab sheets, Punnett square pages to cross your monsters (for higher level classes), dominant/recessive trait posters, samples, and more.... click any of the pictures to check it out!

It was great so fun to have some theme worked into upper elementary.  I love that I got a chance to do something October related for the season all while connecting it to curriculum.

We've had some more monster themed goodness happening as well....stay tuned...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Talk like a Pirate Day... BEST day EVER!

Ahoy Mateys,

I woke up this morning forgetting all about National Talk like a Pirate Day.  I was stumbling through which prompt would be good for our Fun Fridays that still involved writing when I came upon this...

Can you say perfection?! I knew my students were going to have a ball with this! I went a little farther and even had this message on the board when they arrived :

You can downlaod the free Pirate Name Generator - here. or search on the web there are plenty out there!  I got the Pirate outlines for us to color - here! They turned out to be perfect and students could customize them and we added our pirate names somewhere on the person to identify us!
Onto the writing portion of our day: we used a slip from my Technology Exit Slips because it fit PERFECTLY with the prompt of Technology and Pirates!
I encouraged writing about how a modern day pirate would navigate and what changes would be from the time long ago.
I had this kid friendly pirate dictionary up to include pirate speak in our writing!

We used the map to hide a modern day treasure and wrote a short story about finding it using directions (we covered map skills previously) and then narrative skills including specific language.

Overall, it was one of the most creative and fun ways to combine writing and social studies.  The best part was how excited and engaged the students were! I even let them use their pirate names on papers as long as they had their number so I could identify their work! SO MUCH FUN!

This example from the original site I got the prompt from I thought was fantastic:

Here are some of our finished works: our stories are underneath the map when you lift it up! I absolutely love how they turned out! The maps and our "modern day" pirates were awesome!

For more pirate themed action in your room, check this pack out for the younger grades:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

4 Types of Sentences

I realized I hardly ever blog about grammar.  Hmmm...guess in reality its not my strongest point either but I had to share this idea we worked on the other week! I reviewed the 4 types of Sentences with my students in 4th grade and surprisingly these were new concepts for them.  We dove in and talked about the different types along with practice, practice, practice.  We focused on what punctuation would be important for each as well.

Besides introduction, modeling, and guided practice, I wanted a way that my students could show off their knowledge in a FUN way.  Fun and grammar in the same I crazy? Well check out:

You want a fun quick assessment - this is it!  I love that it literally works for a variety of grades!

Here's the premise: "You lost your pet and need to created a Wanted Ad to post to get him back.  Use the 4 types of sentences in your ad and create an eye-catching picture to accompany your ad."

I let my students even use imaginary animals (after all...I was grading just their grammar) we had wanted ads for Unicorns, Robo-dogs, and some regular pets as well.  They had such a good time flexing their creative muscles while working on grammar.  I gave points for the 4 types of sentences and punctuation plus it made a great and engaging hallway display!

If you are interested in doing this in your room: click the pics for more info: 

- 6 differentiated templates
bulletin board letters
posters for 4 types of sentences
sample/example to show students.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Latitude and Longitude

Whew...I feel like we have done so much but and I have so much to share but school and life are getting in the way :(   I just wanted to drop by and show you a latitude and longitude QR activity that really reinforced the concept with my students.

We started off with Brainpop as a quick introduction and practiced the concept in pairs with a worksheet as well.  ABCya has a great game to go along with this concept too!  Most of my students picked up on it right away, but for some I wanted a little more reinforcement.

I came up with this activity since my students were SO  interested in Google Maps during our study of maps and geography.  Anyway I could incorporate them and I knew they would be hooked!

My students loved checking out our town, local city, and close places they knew from a satellite view so I knew this would be a hit.

There are 20 Task Cards and QR codes of famous US and World landmarks that students guess based on their latitude and longitude.  A recording sheet is included.  Students can use their books, computers, devices, or the suggested printable to make their guess! 

then they check their answer using a QR reader! 

This can lead to some great discussions in your classroom about landmarks and about using maps!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grandparent's Day in Upper Elementary!

We had a fantastic Grandparent's Day Celebration last Friday.  Sorry I'm a little late with my post but hopefully some of you might be able to use this or store if away for next year!

I was a little scared going into Grandparent's Day since I was with a much older grade until I remembered the "Old Fart Booth" app on the Ipad - we used for 100th day in Kindergarten but I thought it would be great for this as well - my kids LOVED this!! Best of all it is FREE!

It is basically an aging app and you can add accessories.  I limited my students to 2 accessories so that you could still see them.  They turned out hilarious!

The top left one is me....sadly I didn't even smile for my picture and I will look extremely stern when older apparently!  I discussed previously with my students what would change when they are grandparents and we recorded those and used this sheet below.  

They had a great time filling them out with their grandparents and it led to discussions of how today is different than when their grandparents were in elementary school. 

Here's a view from our hallway: 

The grandparents got such a kick out of these and the students loved working on them together with the grandparents as well! It worked out to be a great way to connect and discuss about the past and the future.

Click on the picture above to get a recording sheet for your room! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Technology Exit Slips = GAMECHANGER!

I'm so excited to share this with you today! This has been quite the labor of love and has already had some great reviews from students in my room this year! Starting a technology theme in my room this year I already had...


I wanted a twist that would be more fit for my upper elementary students and then .....

     was born! This twist on exit slips can once again be used for ANY grade and subject and I put in plenty of ideas to help get you started! 

It contains: 

1. Complete Bulletin Board Set
2. App exit Slips for 17 DIFFERENT APPS
(full and 1/2 page versions)
3. Create your own app ideas for community building in your classroom and school!

Check out the bulletin board! Its hanging up in the hallway right now and it definitely gets some attention! I love how interactive it is and can be changed depending on what we are focusing on.  I even added an app for our school at the bottom - your students can design one to be included on your iPad (template included!) 

All these apps are included with ideas of how to use each with full and 1/2 page templates.  Let me tell you the tech theme is enticing! My students are immediately engaged and I love how I can connect it to each subject no matter what we are teaching.  

It is so easy to grab a template and go ... it truly is a product you can use ALL YEAR LONG!

Using the Trip Advisor page to rate a recent field trip location! Using the FB page to get to know students but could easily be adapted to characters, historians, or scientists! - so many uses out of each template. 

Using messaging, emailing, or Instagramming to show learning in across any curriculum area! Writing about math, reading, or science - doesn't matter because students are engaged in the process and you can see what they learned.  EXCELLENT FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT!

We first tried Mind Maps this year and it went over SO WELL.  One of my students even said "this is fun, can we do more?" You bet there is more coming! They had to document learning from last week across all subjects and then color code the map and make a key.  I love how creative some of their answers were and they had to think and provide examples and connections from what all they have learned!

Click any of the pictures to check out this pack for your room - it is perfect for upper elementary and middle school grades! With 100+ pages you will find TONS of templates to last you through the year!