Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Peek at My Week - Earth Science

So I realized it had been a long time since I had done a Peek at My Week with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings, so here are next week's activities.

We are still working on changes to Earth's surface. This is a big TEKS for us because it is a readiness standard and can cover so many different types of landforms. We have to cover them all :) I can just see the influx of anchor charts that we will get to create!

WU Soil from Science Penguin's Upper Elementary Weekly Warm Ups

WED Foldable and Activity

WED Foldable and Activity (lab part today)

Writing Science From 5.7D STEMScopes and sharing

Glacier Foldable and Activity

Caves Foldable and Activity

Enjoy your (hopefully) 3 weeks of school until Christmas Break!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful for time to create new activities and a sale!

It is already Wednesday, and I feel like I have gotten so much accomplished since school was out Friday.

So far, I have...

  • created 3 new foldable/activity sets for our interactive science notebooks
  • created 2 task card sets
  • created 3 holiday think tanks
  • made a Robot Researcher station for my classroom
  • baked the most delicious pumpkin cheesecake snickerdoodles
  • went to the grocery store...twice...
  • saw Santa
  • did all the kids laundry (folded and put away!)
  • did my laundry (folded, but not put away)
  • cleaned the entire playroom...twice...
  • beat LEGO Marvels (I snuck in some video game time!)
  • went to the doctor, dentist, and scheduled the eye doctor (what else are holiday breaks for?
  • painted my toes
I am sure there is more, but I cannot think of it all. Thank goodness my youngest still naps 2-3 hours a day and my 3 year old "rests" during that time. 

We are into Earth Science in our curriculum, so here are our newest activities we are using.

I really don't think I like the cover to the WED foldable. Everytime I look at it, it just makes something in my brain go crooked. What do you think?

Oh, and................................................... is having a Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) sale! Many authors are putting their stuff up for sale, too, so you could get up to 28% off all sorts of things! My whole store will be 20% off and then the TpT code on top of that will make my whole store 28% off. Have fun shopping!

Have a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, everyone!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Break is here!

I don't know what I am more excited about...having a week off with my kids to play or having a week off from school to create more activities for my classroom kids and Teachers Pay Teachers!

What am I thankful for this year? I am thankful for a healthy, happy family, great friends, a husband who loves me "just the way I am," and a job I love. I am thankful for a place to find and share great teacher ideas, like Teachers Pay Teachers, where I can get wonderful products for my classroom and share ones I have found or made that work great.  I am thankful for a teacher blogger community that supports one another and affirms that we are, indeed, doing the right thing in our classrooms and lives.

We had a Thanksgiving-themed day on Friday for our team (5 teachers), and I think the kids had a lot of fun. We also had career day that morning, along with the last day for kids to finish their math benchmarks, so we were busy.

In science, I had kids create a soil data disk from a soil sample from Plymouth Rock (our playground) with a brad, cardstock and a paper plate where they had to analyze a soil sample for it color, texture, ability to retain water, and it's ability to support life. Then they had to disguise the data disk to hide it from others at the First Thanksgiving. They came out really nice, and the kids had fun analyzing their samples and disguising them.

For career day, my sister, who is an Animal Behavior Analyst, got to come to my class and share with my kids how she uses data and graphs (yea! Real world graphs!) to analyze the behavior of different animals at the zoo to see how they are doing, what they prefer, and their well-being. The kids really loved seeing her presentation and playing her games and activities she prepared. I think she really is a teacher at heart :)

More bonuses, my sister stayed with us for 2 days, played with her niece and nephew while I put together a set of WED task cards, and even went with us to go see Santa. I love my sweet sister so very much! Here are the task cards I made while she was entertaining the little people.

It is a set of 20 task cards following Santa as he travels through the United States delivering presents, noticing landform changes, and getting a little side-tracked along the way. This is one of the things my kids will do the last week of school in December. Click the picture below to get to the cards.

I really hope my students like it as much as they liked Frankenstein's adventure without electricity for Halloween! I love doing themed stuff to help remind my kids that they can always have fun while learning; it does not always have to be an either/or kids of situation.

Stay tuned to see what else I get to create over the break. I am already 3/4 the way done with 2 earth science foldables and have a bunch of other ideas getting ready to roll....

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just a quick update...with anchor charts!

We are done with Physical Science and have moved on to Eaarth Science! There are so many fun labs to do here, and the kids love them! I have new anchor charts to add to my collection, too. 

Formation of sedimentary rocks and 

Types of soil, which we will fill out tomorrow. It doesn't look like much, yet, but this is just the shell I made before class so we can fill it out together. 

Have a great night!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Veteran's Day and Heroes Project

I will be holding a Veteran's Day Sale for my entire Teachers Pay Teachers store this weekend. Sunday 11-10 and Monday 11-11, my whole store will be 10% off. Also, 50% of what I make on these two days will be donated to Heroes Project, a non-profit organization that support veterans who have returned from active duty and need support. It is a great organization and has done a lot for people around me.

I hope you get a chance to honor a veteran Monday and enjoy some smiles with those in your community!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Anchor Charts

How do you do anchor charts? Sometimes I make them before school so all my classes see them. Then they are nice and neat. 

Sometimes I start from scratch and make them with one of my classes. You can tell when I make them while hung up because the handwriting is all slanted 

Other times I make a shell before school... then we can fill it in together in class and match our notes. 

How do you use anchor charts in the classroom?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Bell Schedule and November Currently Linkys

I am joining Thank God It's First Grade for a Schedule Linky. I love seeing how everyone in different grade levels and the same grace levels have completely different schedules.

Here is what a 5th grade science teacher schedule looks like in an intermediate school in Texas.

I have 120 students between 4 classes. One is a regular education class, then I have one pre AP class and 2 co-teach science classes. We had so many SPED kids in the Gen ED setting we had to double up the Science and Social Studies co-teach classes on my team.

Panther time is a 55 minute built in intervention time. I have the kids in my classroom who do not need intervention during the 9 week session so they are doing think tanks in my room. Read more about think tanks here.

I can't wait to see what other teacher's schedules look like!

I am also linking up with Oh Boy Fourth Grade for our November Currently. I think I missed was so long ago :)

Click the picture for a delicious Sweet Potato Pie recipe!

Happy November!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Fun and a Freebie!

Today is Halloween, and I teach 5th graders. I think my team of teachers were more excited about it than the kids! I had all these ideas for today: dry ice flowing out of my classroom, cobwebs everywhere, and all sorts of decorations, but that sounded too expensive for a day of excitement and there would be lots of kids coming through my hall who would not be able to help tearing it down :( I decided a while ago to make them a Halloween themed review activity, so I made a Forms of Energy Task Card set using Melonheadz clip art. I love all of her work!

The kids really seemed to like this. Then as they finished, they went back in the classroom and created a Halloween crossword puzzle practicing their critical thinking skills. It takes a lot of planning to come up with words that can link up, clues that are not obvious, and put it all together without having to fill in letters and erase them. They enjoyed this, too. I think that they were excited to be doing Halloween themed stuff without having to be all engrossed in it because they were "too old for that." I love the crossword puzzle activity for a few reasons. It helps them practice their vocabulary, learn how to plan ahead, and they enjoy trying to solve someone else's crossword puzzle. They don't even have to have that many words on there. Five to Six words done correctly shows they can do it. I never give them a minimum amount on anything or I will have too many kids just doing that exact amount. Here is a freebie for you. It is a crossword puzzle maker set with a planning sheet, instructions, and an example. I hope you enjoy it and can use it for all sorts of things :)

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Depth and Complexity

Just to get my post started (which has been sitting open for 45 minutes now thanks to 2 adorable little ones who want to play with mommy in the ball pit)...

I felt like the day needed an icon to go with it :) Between playing with the kids, breaking up hair pulling fights, trying to clean anything, and the constant question, "When is Aunt Gwenie getting here?" I may never finish this post!

So I have been constantly looking at my classes and students this year to find a way to motivate and engage them. They have needed more in these areas than any group I have had before. One of the things I had purchased this summer was a set of Depth and Complexity Science Task Cards from TpT. I loved them! I could not wait to use them in my classroom this year. Well, here we are at the end of October, and i just got a chance to use them. I knew before we could use them, I would have to go over what the cards meant, the different icons and so on. 

Well, a friend emailed me this news story Friday about a small town using reflection to help their city get more sunlight, and I thought this was a great chance to get started with depth and complexity. 

 Depth and Complexity (developed by Dr. Sandra Kaplan) is a way to integrate higher level thinking skills into every day learning. It is geared towards GT studies, but I think it has a purpose for all students.I loved that there were so many ways for students to show they understood the material. My first impression of depth and complexity was that it had to be based on a reading selection. Now that we used it, and I researched more this weekend, I can see its use on just specific topics that we are learning. I found lots of great resources that all sparked ides. There are a bunch on Teachers Pay Teacher and at, and you will start to see some pop up in my TpT store soon, as well. In the meantime, if you get a chance, take a look at Depth and Complexity and see if it is something that would benefit your kids. 

If you want to start using Depth and Complexity, I recommend these resources to get started.

Activities from TpT:
How do I use it?

On another note, I posted some new physical science interactive notebook foldables and activities. I hope you find them useful!

FYI: I was able to write the last 85% of this post because Aunt Gwenie and Grandma did indeed get here. Thank goodness for them :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Physical Science Anchor Charts

Here are the anchor charts we have done so far for physical science. I love making these with the class. 

As we make more, I will post more!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

500 Sales Sale!

I just saw that I have sold over 500 items in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store, so I am saying a huge thank you to everyone who has found my products useful! I am having a 10%off sale for the next 2 days to celebrate. Had your eye on something just sitting on your wish list? Now is the chance to get it!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Peek at my Week and New Think Tanks

Welcome to another week of 5th grade science!

Last week we had a fabulous time at camp, going to the UTA Planetarium, and lots of great activities. Now it is back to the normal routine of science :)

So first, a Peek at My Week with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffins Laughings.

WU: Seeing Science Structures Physical Properties
Forms of Energy Foldable and Scavenger Hunt

WU: Seeing Science Structures Physical Properties
Light Energy Foldable

WU: Seeing Science Structures Physical Properties
Light Rays Slow Down (AIMS)
Just Passing Through (AIMS)

WU: Seeing Science Structures Physical Properties
CBA (district created testing)
Reflection Refraction Choice Board

WU: Seeing Science Structures Physical Properties
Present Choice Board products
Bill Nye Light
Warm Up Wrap Up

Our district requires us to use think tanks during our intervention block, and since we are about to start a new six weeks, I needed a new set. So I have posted my 6 newest think tanks in my TpT store. I also included them in a bundle. I like the bundles. Maybe when we finish Physical Science, I should put all my interactive notebook entries in a bundle...hmmm...

Enjoy your week!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Busy, Busy with Physical Science and Peek at my Week

Wow! I guess I am not going to get the chance to blog but on the weekends with school as busy as it is :)

As many of you have read, I wanted to redesign our science interactive notebooks this year. I had seen how many other teachers had done it and how I was currently doing it. We don't really have a textbook for 5th grade in Texas that is useful (ours is from '00-'0ish and still have some VERY old standards in it), so our notebook is what we create as our resource. Most students take a lot of pride in making it nice and neat and accurate. So this year I am doing a left side/right side notebook. On the left we put notes, foldables, observations, and then on the right we put diagrams, data tables, graphs, and write out answers to questions that show what we know.

With this new style, I am having to re-write EVERY single notebook entry, which is worth it, but very time consuming. Since I do most of my planning with my teacher buddy on Thursday, and we almost always have notebook entries on Mondays, I am always typing away on the computer during my kids nap time on the weekends or on Sunday evenings if we just had too much fun playing.

That being said, here are two new ones for forms of energy and light.

I won't really have my Peek at my Week because...we go to camp next week for 3 days! Woo hoo!

We will be watching The Incredibles this week on Monday and Tuesday analyzing superpowers to help us collect some info for our Physical Science Superhero Project. Are you doing the same? Here is the page I made to go with the movie, just for you!