Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lung Capacity

How much air can your lungs hold? This is what my seventh graders investigated on Thursday. They took a deep breath, and blew that one breath into a balloon, measured the diameter, and used a graph to convert CM to L. They loved it!

Here are some pictures of my crazy kids, who posed just for you guys!

Blowing up his balloon

He wanted to make a funny face. 

Finding the diameter of the balloon

Lung capacity fun!

I am in the process of uploading this to TPT if you want to do this lab.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fingerprint Testing

We have been learning about the integumentary system this week (your skin). It's hard to come up with interesting, engaging, and relevant activities for this particular system. Normally I combine teaching it with the muscular system, but with Veteran's Day off Tuesday, it wouldn't be feasible to to 2 systems in a week. So I turned to TPT for a new resource and stumbled across this amazing fingerprint lab.

Students make an "ink pad" using their pencil, and take fingerprints of all 10 fingers. They have to identify their fingers, and graph the class results. It was a great refresher for graphing- which kids ALWAYS seem to forget is also a part of science!

My students LOVED this activity! Even my ELL's had a meaningful experience with this lab. Here are some photos of my "crime scene investigators". That's what they kept saying they felt like. I love them.

That's a baby wipe for cleaning silver fingers, not a tissue. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Productive Veterans Day

My husband had to work all day today while I had the day off. I got a TON accomplished, including 2 weeks of lesson planning, laundry, and 20 freezer meals made today.

With the holidays coming up, I spend more time in the kitchen baking which leaves less time for cooking. Hubs and I don't like to go out/get take out too often, so I like to prepare some freezer meals I can throw in the crockpot and let cook all day. The recipes I use are meals I would typically make, but I've left out some ingredients (dairy products particularly) so they freeze well, and warm up well also.

The meals I prepped in just 1 hour are:
2 pans of lasagna, 2 pans of baked rigatoni, 2 batches of scalloped potatoes and ham, 2 batches of teriyaki chicken, 2 batches of taco soup, 2 batches chicken fajitas, 2 batches of beef stroganoff, 2 chicken pot pies, 2 chicken alfredo's, and 2 batches of sweet bbq chicken.

It's a relief when you know you have a busy day ahead that you'll have a nice, home cooked meal to come home to.

I put half in the freezer in our kitchen, and the other half in our chest freezer in the garage. The chest freezer is a great investment, and is great for buying in bulk at Sam's Club. We got out chest freezer at Lowe's- it was a floor model and had a ding in it, so it was 25% off.

Here's what the freezer in the kitchen looks like. I'm glad I still have room for other items.

Don't forget to thank a veteran today! 

Here's some eye candy of my hero:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

FREE Technology Resources!!

I've been trying to move away from traditional paper/pencil activities, and trying to incorporate more technology-based activities in my classroom  Especially since students have their own tablet devices they take home each night.  It hasn't been an easy task, especially because these devices seem to have more problems than solutions... but, we have them and might as well use them!

Here are the FREE websites I've used this year with the windows-based tablets, and last year with iPads. Some work on both devices, some only work on the tablets.

1. Smore
This is a website where you can make free digital flyers.  It's a great way to replace the poster-assignments. It is extremely user-friendly and my 7th graders had no problem working it. When saved, it creates a unique hyperlink that can be edited further if needed, but also sent to be graded.
Please note: This website needs to run through FireFox or it won't always work correctly.

2. Haiku Deck
This is like PowerPoint but BETTER. It limits the amount of text that can be put on each page, which we all know students like to write paragraphs in their presentations. It has fun fonts and backgrounds to choose from, and is a bit easier to use than PowerPoint is. When finished, students can export it as a PPT file, or PDF. One downside is that adding your own pictures is tricky. Once you've exported it to PPT, you can add pictures more easily.

3. Doctopus
If you use GoogleDrive, you need to install this app.  Through this, you can send out digital worksheets to students. You can create different, differentiated documents for your students on GoogleDrive, send them electronically to students through this app. No need to pass out paper sheets. The great thing, you can differentiate sheets and NOBODY NEEDS TO KNOW they have a different sheet! Setting it up take a bit to get used to, and there is a great informational video on the homepage that walks you through the basics.

4. MindMup
Digital mind mapping. Great for connecting big ideas, and visualizing thinking. You can export this to GoogleDrive, as a PDF, and to PPT

What free technology resources do you use in your classroom?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Life in Room E121

MY BLOG DESIGN IS ALMOST DONE!! I got the proofs for the headers today, and they look AMAZING! I can't want to see the final product!

Today feels like a Monday, even though it's Wednesday. I'm not complaining, though!
We had a 1/2 day Monday, and 32/98 kids were absent. That was fun.
After the kids left, we had a PD. It was nice to get to leave at 2:30. :)
My dad was in town, so we went to Sam's Club to get Duraflame logs (since our fireplace is finally safe to use!), and we had dinner at Aunt Chiladas- a YUMMY Tex-Mex restaurant on Hilton Head. It's one of my dad's favorite places.
We then spent about 2 hours in Barnes and Noble drinking coffee and reading magazines. It was an incredibly relaxing evening, and I enjoyed spending time with my daddy. He comes to visit when he has business in Florida, which lucky for me is about every 6 weeks or so.
He and my mommy are coming to visit the weekend before Thanksgiving. I'm really looking forward to that, since we have the entire week of Thanksgiving off!

Tuesday was election day, and we were off from school. Hubs, dad and I went to breakfast at our favorite local spot, The Cottage.
After that I literally laid around and did nothing but watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I'm still getting over a cold (I have a cough I just cannot get rid of), and hubs had some yard work to do.

Today my kids started a human body project.
I broke the kids into 11 groups of 2-3 students and assigned each a body system.
They had a choice as to what visual they wanted to create (Haiku Deck,, Prezi, or traditional paper/pencil poster). If you use, make sure you are using FireFox- it won't work on the other browsers.
They have to research the levels of organization within they body system, as well as other facts about their system.
You can check out the full project here:

The kids are really loving this, and it is a great segway into the human body, which also happens to be my favorite unit to teach!!

Linking up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade this week for my currently's

I am obsessed with QVC, especially around the holiday's.  Right now, "Deck the Halls" is on and I might have to hide my credit card. SO MANY THINGS I WANT. 

It was COLD this weekend (like 40's). I live in the south. I moved form Ohio to escape the cold. It's 77 out right now, and I'm glad it's not as hot as it has been- we set a record 2 weeks ago for it being 90 outside!

I've been trying to get over this cold for about a week and a half. I have this awful cough that just won't go away. The nurse said my lungs are clear, and wasn't concerned but it doesn't make my head and chest feel any better. I think I've been keeping Mucinex in business this week...

I could eat Olive Garden's soup and salad everyday. Legit. Like I might go get some for dinner. UPDATE: Totally had Olive Garden for dinner. 

If you love pumpkin pie, you need to order a pumpkin pie chai tea latte from Starbucks. You can get it iced, or hot. IT IS SO YUMMY. You won't regret it.

I love space. I've read most of the astronomy section at Barnes and Noble, and always check it out when I'm there. I just started reading Carl Sagan's Cosmos yesterday, and can't wait to get further in (i made it to page 2 before it was bedtime).

Happy Hump Day!!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

2 Months in One Blog Post :)

This school year has been hectic to say the least.
Between lesson planning, data analysis, conferences, more data, and lots of weddings, I have seriously slacked on my blog.
I don't even know if I have many readers, but here is the past few months of my life.

1. My Students

I cannot gloat about my kids more. This year (student-wise) my kids are absolutely amazing. They are so diverse; I have students who barely speak english, and kids who are testing in the 99th percentile, but are so rewarding to teach. It is amazing to watch them so eager and excited to learn. This is especially exciting since previous years, students have been less enthusiastic about learning, and more concerned about their social status. It is very refreshing!

Here are some snippets of activities we've done thus far

pH Lab
Students investigated the pH values of 10 everyday substances. They loved using litmus paper, pH paper, and phenolphthalean while watching them change colors. They kept saying "I feel like a real scientist!"

 Balancing Chemical Equations
This is something that I struggled with, even in Chemistry. I found a really awesome manipulative a few years ago from (unfortunately the website is no longer active but I saved the files). Too often students try to break apart compounds, and change subscripts while balancing. This allowed students to visually see things, and even my ELL kids mastered this task!

My students love scoot. So much that my ELA teacher started incorporating it into her editing process.
I found a timer online that I don't have to constantly reset every minute or so. It has really been a lifesaver this year.
I could literally leave, go to Starbucks, come back, and my kids would still be scootin' away like I never left.

2. Wedding Season!
October was a big wedding month. The first weekend two of my dear friends from college got married. I remember the first night they met, and now they are married! Zach and I flew to Ohio for a quick weekend.

I got to see my niece and nephew. They are growing so fast! Elise was looking for my brother's car keys and enlisted the help of a magnifying glass, flashlight, and her brother Jack to help. It was adorable, and I miss them.

The following weekend, we made the drive to Georgia to see Zach's best friend get married. We stayed with my mother-in-law and had a relaxing, but rushed weekend. 

The wedding was beautiful, but almost didn't happen. As Torrey learned, the military likes to make things a bit more complicated than it needs to. All that matters is he made it home in time to get married.

How sweet is her veil? 

 The drive home was looooooong and of course there was traffic for NO REASON in Atlanta. Tucker helped keep us entertained. We also learned he can drink out of a cup, and really likes chewy ice.

3. The Halloween Dance
My friend Liz and I are in charge of student council.  Last night was our halloween dance! Despite some issues from our student council members, it was a hit! We had a photobooth, costume contest, light and glow sticks, lots of candy and junk food.  
I dressed up as Helga Pataki from Hey Arnold! and the kids surprisingly knew who I was. 
After a 12-hour day Thursday for parent conferences, and a 12-hour day yesterday for conferences and the dance I was EXHAUSTED at the end of the day. 

4. Data, Data, Data
I am so sick of data.
That is all I am going to say.

I am very much looking forward to the upcoming holiday season! I can't wait to see my family- both mine and my in-laws and spend some quality time with them (and away from data).

Happy Saturday, y'all! I am going to enjoy this chilly afternoon working in the yard. It looks like little shop of horrors in my herb box. :)