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!