Wednesday, November 27, 2013

TpT Cyber Monday + Tuesday SALE!

TpT sales are the best! Only a few more days until the Cyber Monday + Tuesday SALE!

The past few sales I have been guilty of buying lots of clip art and graphics (it's all too cute!) and not as many teacher resources. I really need to remedy that during this sale. Most sellers have their stores on sale (myself included), and if you use the code: CYBER, you get an additional 10% off. This mega sale only happens a few times a year, so this is the time to go crazy!

Every sale there seems to be some cute banners popping up, but I'm impatient and excited about this one. So, I happened upon some cute (FREE!) holiday clip art from Cherry Workshop and put together one of my own. Not as cute as what lots of other, more experienced and talented, teacher sellers have put together, but it will do. You are welcome to use it on your own bloggy (please link back to moi, thanks!).

Go fill those shopping baskets!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Simple Machines and Rube Goldberg Inventions

I love science. I love teaching science. But sometimes it takes a lot of extra time and planning to make great science lessons. We are currently working on our Force and Motion unit and we just learned about simple machines. I introduced them with this shutterfold foldable.

Together we took notes on each of the simple machines and coming up with examples of each. Then, I showed them these Rube Goldberg inspired videos:

Honda's "The Cog" video - a Rube Goldberg invention made entirely of (CGI) car parts. 

"The Page Turner"

Ok Go's "This Too Shall Pass" music video. 

And just released this week...
"Girls" from GoldiBlox

I explained to the class about Rube Goldberg and his inventions and showed them his Pencil Sharpener. Warning: some of his inventions are not quite school appropriate (i.e. smoking/alcohol), so preview them before showing kiddos. 

We were inspired to design our own inventions. I encouraged them to use at least three simple machines in their inventions. Here just a few of the creative ideas from my class. 

I was out for two days last week at a district training and my kids finished these up with the (amazing) substitute. I was very impressed with their thoughtful and creative inventions, and they were all excited about them as well. I added the Simple Machines Shutterfold to my TpT store for anyone interested in adding these to their Interactive Science Notebooks.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013!

Well, it's officially November (and almost a month since I last posted - shame on me!), and that means National Novel Writing Month, lovingly termed NaNoWriMo, is HERE! I excitedly blogged about NaNoWriMo last year (herehere, and here), and just wanted to write a little blurb to kick it off this year. This years group of 5th graders is the most excited I've had. Their creativity is just blowing me away, and I'm quite envious of their amazing skills!

What is NaNoWriMo? 
Simply, it is a challenge to write a 50k novel in just 30 days.

Can kids join in?
They can, and SHOULD! The Young Writer's Program was created just for them. They get to decide on their own word-count goal and get their own goodies. Educators get order a free noveling kit for their class, complete with milestone poster and awesome pins!

What about teachers?
If you teach ELA a year shouldn't pass without your class participating in NaNoWriMo! You get bonus points if you participate and write a novel too!

If introduced and supported correctly, it is the most beneficial writing experience your students will ever have.

How do you know? 
This is my 4th year as both a participant and educator. I've had parents tell me that NaNoWriMo sparked something in their child; they were doubtful about their child reaching their goal, but were blown away by the achievements their child made by November 30. My 5th graders from last year are once again novelists this year and catch me in the halls with elated excitement and their teacher glowed with how positive and ready each one is.

What I've seen as a teacher is that students become confident writers. They aren't afraid of taking risks in their writing, they can write more, they can write better, and they no longer think that a 5 paragraph essay is long!

How do you NaNo in your classroom?
As soon as we return from our two-week fall intersession in mid-October we introduce NaNoWriMo and prepare. The Young Writer's Program offers a fantastic and free workbook for students of all grades to get ready! We meet our characters and villains and outline plots and practice increasing our word-count. And then the first few days of November we spend class time jotting like mad! The rest of the month students write daily at home, with some opportunities, like lunch time write-ins, to write at school. Finally, we celebrate a month of noveling with Cafe NaNoWriMo - students bring mugs and hot drinks and we share our wonderful writing.