Monday, March 23, 2015

St Patrick's Day STEM project

So I know that St Patrick's Day was last week but I wanted to share with you some of the awesome projects my students did! While the students were away at lunch a mischievous little leprechaun came into our room and messed it all up! Chairs were upside down, green streamers covered the room and it looked like there was a major party going on! He even left us a note that said if we catch him we would get his pot of gold!

This student drew herself with a net to catch the leprechaun.
Well that challenge was accepted faster than you can say Lucky Charms! So we discussed first what we should do---BUILD A TRAP!!! was the resounding answer. But before we could build something we decided we have to learn more about leprechauns, draw up our plans and create the best trap we could together.

First we used archived issues of Lets Find Out to learn about Ireland and the holiday St Patrick's Day. All week we also researched St. Patrick's Day on PebbloGo and played a fun shamrock game on Starfall. During our research we learned that leprechauns made shoes for fairies, that they are very clever and that they live on the Emerald Isle.
This student used a fishing pole with a fairy tied to the end
(remember we learned that leprechauns like to help fairies?!)
Armed with information I gave each student their own paper to draw what they think would be the most efficient trap. What they came up with was AMAZING!!! If you have never done this before PLEASE do this next year. I was blown away with their designing and engineering skills, not to mention their attention to detail and processing. After everyone finished we did an author share to see what brilliant ideas we each came up with.

We then dug through my cupboards and found materials to create a real life leprechaun trap. Since I was going to be gone at a meeting (wink wink) while they were at specialists we knew that our chances of him returning were greater. Thus our chances of getting his gold were greater too!

This student drew something similar to the trap we created.
Although hers had a cord connected to her iPod
that would trigger when the leprechaun entered the trap set with gold.

Alas, our trap had one flaw, a hole in the bucket. But we did get his hat that was filled with god coins. And not just any gold coins, the most delicious chocolate ever made. Did you know that leprechauns make chocolate---sorta like their cousin E.L. Fudge?

Overall this activity was great. It allowed my students to express their scientific minds in a fun and engaging way! What did you do for St. Patrick's Day?!
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Reading and Math App Choices

Whoa! We had Spring Break last week and now it is already Sunday!! I had the best of intentions of getting these out last week, my apologies! Here are the reading and math apps that my students will be using for skill work for the next few weeks:
Electric Company Word Ball

Electric Company Word Ball. Well apparently this app is no longer available in the US iTunes store. This is a HUGE shame! I love this app for reviewing many phonics rules for early elementary students. My students love this app for its catchy songs and fun features. If you can find this, or already own it, make sure it is on your list to use with your K-2 students!

Word Wagon

Duck Duck Moose Word Wagon. Duck Duck Moose is one of my favorite app developers for K-2. They create fun, age appropriate apps with good content for both literacy and math. This app works on phonics basics as well as spelling 4-6 letter words (which is why it is in our current app rotation!) Students enjoy the choices provided within the apps and the easy to understand interface.

Little Speller Sight Words

Little Speller Sight Words. This has been one of my staple apps for teaching sight words since I started integrating technology into my classroom. To find out how I used it for RTI support click here. It is a basic sight word spelling app. What I love about it is the customization features and how the students are seeing, hearing, and spelling their sight words. MUCH better than practicing with boring old flashcards!

Pet Bingo

Pet Bingo. As I mentioned above, I'm a fan of the app developer Duck Duck Moose. So it is not surprising to find another one of their apps on my March list. Pet Bingo is a fun review app for addition and subtraction (it also has multiplication and division if you are looking for that). Something about the game of BINGO that always seems to draw students in!

Arithmetic Invaders

Arithmetic Invaders: Kindergarten. This app is hands down one of my students' favorites! They LOVE this app because they get to use a laser to shoot at rockets. I LOVE this app because it revisits basic math skills and progresses through harder math concepts---but not too hard for K. They also offer this in other grade levels but so far all I've ever needed is the K version. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!! Especially if you have a space fan or two in your class!

Awesome Eats

Awesome Eats. We recently finished up on our healthy eating focus and this is a fun math app to work on both sorting and healthy habits.  Students enjoy sorting various foods into their correct bins. It is trickier than it looks however, which keeps them coming back for more! By far one of the best sorting apps out there!

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sid the Science Kid & a Star Struck K Teacher!

My science teacher
inspiration Teacher Suzy!
Over Spring break I had so much fun of bringing my own kiddos to our fabulous Children's Museum (only doable thanks to the help of my amazing mother-in-law!) The Minnesota Children's Museum is a terrific place for all kids to visit and I really wish I could bring my Kinderkiddos there. Alas, the cost of field-trips---mainly the busing costs--is too much to make my dream come true right now. One can dream though can't I?!
My family has a membership to the Children's Museum and we try to get there a few times a year. They have terrific exhibits that are there permanently, but they also have exhibits that rotate through and only stay for a month or two at a time.  Right now it is a Sid the Science Kid exhibit and it was AMAZING!!!!

Sid's Science Fair App

I reference Sid the Science Kid frequently in my teaching. It is a cartoon that the students can relate to and it does provide some really good science content.  If you come into my classroom you will find Sid books and apps on our iPods. I really like the Sid's Science Fair app. It works on both science and math concepts like patterns, sorting, sequencing and charting. The students love it and they don't realize that they are exploring while building their budding science skills!

PBSkids also has some really great Sid the Science Kid online games and videos too. Check them out here! I like to link to specific Sid games on our Kindergarten Symbaloo page depending on what science concepts we are focusing on. To see my post all about Symbaloo pages click here. It really is a great way to organize your websites and create an easy way for students to get to the websites that you want them to!

Don't you just love it when science connects to our kiddos in such a fun and engaging way?! I wish we had shows like Sid when I was younger. Don't get me wrong, I loved me some She-Ra and Care Bears but shows like Sid help get our youngest learners down the road towards becoming life long scientists! Please leave a comment if you are a fellow Sid fan or with what other science shows that you love to use in your teaching!

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Starting a New Goal:Educational Leadership Masters!

I am SUPER excited to share that I have officially been accepted to Concordia University in the Educational Leadership Masters course! I'm really excited (and crazy nervous!) about it. I consider myself to be a lifelong learner and being able to work with others on current and impactful educational leadership studies is a dream come true. 

Go Golden Bears!
I chose Concordia because it is allowing me to maximize my time at home with my kids while accomplishing my professional goal of obtaining my Masters degree. Upon completion my goal is to then obtain my Education Specialist degree so that I can (hopefully) become an elementary school principal. Ideally I think I would love an administration position in an all Kindergarten building, given my passion for early elementary education. Although time will tell and right now I am just looking forward to starting this incredible journey!

So I'm wondering, who/what educational leaders do you follow in the blog world and Twitter? I am looking to expand my PLN and would love any suggestions!

Side note, did you know that Amazon has a student Prime membership for free?! That is an awesome bonus I wasn't expecting while price shopping the costs of my text books. Very cool of Amazon! Things sure have changed since I was in my undergrad (which was only 6 years ago by the way!) If you are a college student check it out here for free! Ordering my 2 books through Amazon saved me over $50 [on just 2 books-yikes!] Totally worth looking into. I'm just glad I stumbled across it!

And if you came for more technology and teaching posts, don't fret more are on the way! I just had to get everything figured out for my Masters first (including some new technology!) Stay tuned!