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, Smore.com, Prezi, or traditional paper/pencil poster). If you use Smore.com, 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:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Human-Body-System-Organization-Project-570218

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


Listening
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. 

Loving
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!

Thinking
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...

Wanting
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. 

Needing
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.

Reading
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!!