Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pumpkin Investigation - Making Predictions and Comparing Results

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Happy Fall Y'all!

I don't know about you but I do enjoy the crisp air in the autumn morning and the way the sunshine warms me up through the day.  When I was a kid, we dressed up in our Halloween costumes and paraded around the school before our classroom parties. In my part of the U.S. that is a tradition of days gone by.  No more Halloween parties for us. If you find yourself in the same boat then you know how hard it is to hold the attention of the kids who are consumed with the eagerness of heading home, dressing up, and going out to Trick-or-Treat! 

Back in 2010 I found myself in just that predicament with a group of 3rd grade students.  That's when the a-ha moment happened. Third graders learn about the parts of a plant. The pumpkin investigation was my solution.  With a few plastic table cloths from Dollar Tree to contain the mess and a pumpkin for each student, we got to work. The idea was simple. First we will estimate weight, height, and number of seeds in our pumpkins. Then I shared a method for calculating a more accurate estimate for the number of seeds.  You can see the explanation here. We used a calculator for that part because it involves multiplying the number of lines on a pumpkin by 16.  Then we weighed the pumpkins by first weighing each student without their pumpkin and then weighing the student again while they held their pumpkin. We subtracted the two weights to find the weight of each pumpkin.  Each student also measured the height of their pumpkin. Next we cut the pumpkin open and pulled the pulp and seeds out onto paper plates on the table cloths.  It was a warm afternoon and we were able to do all the messy stuff outside. Students counted the actual number of seeds in their pumpkin and we made a graph.  Finally we came up with an average number of seeds for the whole class. We also checked the research by dividing the actual number of seeds found in each pumpkin by 16 to see if the answer matched the number of lines on the pumpkin.  

I made a 4 door foldable recording sheet to help guide students in the process of recording information.  Some of my students needed extra support, so I made a version that included statements they could circle rather than requiring these students to write their own statements.


If you are interested in trying this project, you can save some time by purchasing my file. I've done a few things to improve the idea over the years, including the creation of separate pages for each step of the project with clear directions. This is great for projecting on a whiteboard.

My plan is to create a Google Sheets file where student data can be entered, resulting in real-time graph creation. I'd like to create one that is editable for individual classroom use and another that is form driven for global collaboration among classrooms that are using my file.  If you are interested in either of those options, please leave a comment below so that I can determine whether or not this idea is worth pursuing.

If you want the file, head on over to my store.


Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

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Fireworks... picnics... parades... shopping???
How do you like to celebrate the 4th of July?

My family will be enjoying most of the above.

I've been a little busy over the past few years working on my doctorate but now that I have "finishEdD"
I have a lot more time to work on providing quality products for other teachers. 

I have been working on updating my calendar classroom packs for the new school year and although they are not all finished, now is a great time to make that purchase.  I update these products every year and once you have made the purchase, you can download the updated version each year.

If you've been eyeing some of my I have, Who has sets, I am giving these a fresh look too.


If you are like me, you are always on the lookout for a good teacher deal.
I hope you will stop by and grab some of the resources in my store while they are marked down.



Monday, June 26, 2017

Flipgrid Certified

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I am so excited to share the news.  I just became Flipgrid Certified!
Fantastic, you say?
Wow, that's great - you say?
What in the world does that mean - you say?

Let me tell you...


Flipgrid is this incredible tool that I was introduced to this past spring.  People are constantly asking me - "where do you find this stuff?"  Typically my answer is "Tweetchats."  If you don't participate in Tweetchats, you don't know what you are missing.  That's a whole other post though.

Flipgrid is a way to give your students a voice and an audience.  It is a way to hear what every student has to say about a topic.  It is a way to increase accountability.  It is a way to engage students with the multimedia that captures their attention outside of class.

Is it FREE? I know that is your next question.
Yes and no. Like all great tech, there is a free level and a paid level.  You can absolutely get by on the free level.  I sure have been.  If and when you become SOLD on the benefits of the tool, you might decide the upgrade is worth it.  I will probably utilize the resources of Donorschoose to seek funding to upgrade for the new school year. That is also a topic for another post.

How do I use it? - you ask...
Start by creating your admin account.  Add a grid. (you only get 1 for free but that is ok because you get unlimited topics) Add your first topic and then share out the code using whatever method you prefer (Google classroom, email, Twitter, Remind101, etc.)

Students use the code to join.  They record their response (up to 90 seconds) and snap a selfie.  That's it!

Here are a few of my brainstorm ideas for using this really awesome tool...
1. Student responses to center work - increase accountability while you meet with a small group.
2. Group storytelling.  The first person to record would start the story. The 2nd person continues from where the 1st left off and so on.  This way, students must watch each of the responses in front of theirs.  This idea takes a little more management because you do not want 2 people recording a response at the same time.  Try giving the code to 1 student on an index card or sticky note and having them hand it off to another student when they finish with it.
3. Reading response. So many possibilities here.  
4. Math talk.  Take it digital. Show the work you did on a dry erase board and walk us through your thinking.

I could go on and on and on.  In fact, I will probably dedicate several blog posts to specific Flipgrid topics throughout the coming school year.

Seriously, if you haven't already clicked the link I think it's time.
Go check out Flipgrid now!




Saturday, August 20, 2016

#BTS16 $10 giftcard giveaway for TeachersPayTeachers

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Congratulations  Tina!  You are the winner of the TpT giftcard.  I will be sending you the code via email shortly
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Monday is my first official day back for #BTS16.  I thought it would be fun to kick off the 2016-2017 school year with a gift card for $10.  If you want a chance to win you need to follow my blog and then leave a comment below that answers the following question: How do you plan to use technology in the classroom this year?  Include your email address so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.
One lucky winner will be selected using Random.org  at 10pm EST on Sunday, August 21st.

#BTS16 $10 giftcard giveaway for TeachersPayTeachers

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Congratulations  Tina!  You are the winner of the TpT giftcard.  I will be sending you the code via email shortly.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday is my first official day back for #BTS16.  I thought it would be fun to kick off the 2016-2017 school year with a gift card for $10.  If you want a chance to win you need to follow my blog and then leave a comment below that answers the following question: How do you plan to use technology in the classroom this year?  Include your email address so that I can contact you if you are the lucky winner.
One lucky winner will be selected using Random.org  at 10pm EST on Sunday, August 21st.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Break Out the Fun

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This past year I discovered another awesome OpenSource collaborative project for education and even though it seems relatively new, there are already a bunch of awesome resources available.  The concept is based on the Escape Room entertainment venues that have been popping up in cities all over the place.  It is really a simple idea.  Decide on the content you want students to learn.  Gather/create artifacts for students to use as they learn and embed clues that lead students to discovering the codes to unlock every lock.  Ultimately the students will be able to open a box that will hold some type of reward.

I know my explanation is overly simplified and leaves out details that are important to successfully using the Breakout idea in class but if I gave you enough information to be interested in learning more of the specifics, then you really should head straight to Breakout.edu

Not sure what you think about it?  Let me tell you that I am so sure my students are going to love it that I wrote 2 Donorschoose projects in order to stock up on word locks, number locks, key locks, lockout hasps, and the other supplies I will need.  Now, if you've been a loyal follower of my blog even though I've neglected it for several years, you may remember that I am a HUGE fan of Donorschoose... and with good reason.  My projects were funded within 48 hours of posting!  Amazing, right?!

Of course the locks don't do me much good without some boxes that can be locked up.  Thankfully there is an awesome Facebook group called Breakout EDU.  Someone on there had the bright idea of asking a local cigar shop for their boxes.  I found one locally that was willing to donate 20-30 boxes.  SCORE!  Only problem -- all that advertising.  Obviously taking something with tobacco advertising to school is not happening.  Enter the Dollar Store and some duck tape.  In just a few minutes I was able to transform one of the boxes so that no one would ever know what it was before.




Is BreakOut a new idea to you or have you heard of it before?  Have you tried BreakOut in your classroom?  If so, what works for you and what do you wish you knew before you started using it?  Any tips for the rest of us?

Please share your ideas and questions in the comments below.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Best and Most Linky Party

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I'm linking up with Christina Bainbridge for a fun Yearbook style glance at my TpT store just in time for the big Back to School Sale.  If you didn't know it...the sale begins tomorrow Aug. 18th and I have my entire store discounted by 20%  Add to that the discounts offered by TpT and you will get 28% off everything.

Remember to use the code BTS13 when you check out or the sale prices won't reflect properly.

Now for my Yearbook page.
i have who has game word wall pack nc 5th grade science coach study guide simple machines tic tac toe differentiated learning plan my blog Image Map


You can click on any part of the image to go straight to the product. First up is my Teacher's Pet product - the Word Wall Heading cards.  The pack has rainbow, pets, and a zebra theme included.  If you haven't set up your word wall in the classroom yet, these might be just what you need.  Printing them in color on glossy photo paper really makes them POP!

Next pick is the Most Likely to Help Your Students Succeed on the 5th Grade NC Science Test.  This study guide is aligned to the new essential standards and makes reviewing for the test a cinch!

Finally, the Best Couple pick goes to a pair of products that are great for teaching about Force and Motion.  The "I Have, Who Has" game is a set of review cards that my students beg to play with for vocabulary review and the "Simple Machines Tic Tac Toe" gives students plenty of choices for independent and differentiated learning projects.

Stock up your cart and get these while they are on sale.  Then check out the other teachers who linked up to share their Yearbook picks.

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