Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Scent Of The Season!

Hey Science Friends,
Now is the time that we all are thinking about the sights, sounds and scents of the season. So many different ways to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. One of my favorite scents this time of year is peppermint. It is clean and crisp. It just smells like the holidays. Each time this year I make sure I have plenty of peppermint extract on hand to add to paint and play dough. It is clear and won't stain and it is pretty easy to find. You know, just right there by the vanilla extract in your local grocery store.
Just a few drops will transform some dough into a sensory experience sure to get anyone ready to start talking about this fun experience. What I love is that this time of year you could use any color of dough. I have a stockpile of dough that I am ready to use now and toss when we are finished! And what a great way to set the stage for describing properties of objects?
 Who knew Science could be seasonal and fun?
This is such an easy way to grab a quick checklist, engage in a little sensory language and check those items off the assessment list. Can you imagine the words used to describe the dough? What will the scent remind us of? What about the opportunities for comparative language? It's not so hard to think of a little twist to make Science a little seasonal and get our goals accomplished too!  
Have fun investigating!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Science Newsletter Template!
Hey Science Friends,
I have been working on newsletter templates since the summer and have been using them for a lot of different reasons for parent communication this year already. I did not know how much time it would really save me by having a template to organize my thoughts but it really has.
These have been a huge time saver for me.
The biggest reason they have saved time for me is because before I had a simple template, I would spend a lot of time formatting and decorating the newsletter. Now my time is spent on the content of the newsletter. Another reason this has been so helpful for me is because the space it limited and because of that my message is more focused on the content rather than the fluff.
Until now, I have not had a reason to use page two of the newsletter. That is simply because I have not sent any Science news home this year and I had a little more to say. I can easily print this and copy on the back of page one for a two sided letter. If I want to send these as attachments I can send both of them as well. What my experience has taught me is that if I need more space than a front and back newsletter provides, then I need to probably communicate...more often.
I want the message short, simple and to the point because I want the reader to read it and act on it!
The editable weekly newsletter templates are each the same format and have been changed using seasonal graphics because I didn't want to get lost in learning what I could and could not do within multiple different templates because that would defeat the purpose. The purpose is direct and to the point, frequent communication with the families that I serve. When I was goal setting this summer, more frequent and relevant parent communication was on the top of my goal list. And the main reason I didn't do enough of it last year was largely due to feeling like I did not have enough...time. I had to simplify the process so that communicating with parents was less time consuming for me and the template did just that. The seasonal graphics just made me want to send newsletters...more. All in all, this has helped me work towards reaching my goal of more frequent communication and bought me some time to focus on something else!
So, if you are like me and need to take a bite out of parent communication just click on the images above. Until then, have fun investigating!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last Call!

Hey Kinder Friends,
Don't let a chance pass you by!
Let's talk shopping! This time of year we are all doing a lot of shopping for the Back to School season. So if Back to School shopping has you frazzled, me and my friends at Freebielicious have you covered! To help with your last minute shopping, I am so excited to be giving away a $25 gift card to my favorite online store...AMAZON!
I am thrilled to be able to help you complete your last minute shopping list with Amazon. For me Amazon is the biggest time and life saver throughout the year. I am an Amazon Prime fan for sure. One of my favorite ways to use Amazon for the classroom when I am lesson planning. When I am at the computer the week before my lesson plan is due, I look at my plans and order any books and small supplies I might need from Amazon. I love Amazon Prime and their two day-no limit super fast shipping. With a click of a few buttons I am ready to go straight to the classroom...prepared! No more running around to different stores just for those small items or books. Amazon has given me time back to spend in other areas! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win the Amazon gift card so you too can just click away and be ready for your favorite lesson!
But wait, it gets better. If you hop over to Freebielicious, you have more chances to win a $300 Visa gift card and lots of other great gift cards from my friends at Freebielicious! Seriously, these girls have you covered for some fabulous and fun Back to School shopping so check it out!
Have a great school year kinder friends!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Crisscross Applesauce!
Hey Science Friends,
Happy B2S sale shopping! I just love this time each and every year. And after all the sales are final and you are in our room the serious work begins...teaching. So many things to think about and consider before you dive right in and teach. And you know no matter the subject, listening is crucial. It has to be taught and expectations have to be set for the year ahead. It doesn't have to be hard or difficult but it as to be taught.
I found this book to go along with my discussion on listening. I put this to good use a time or two last year. With a lot of modeling and role playing, it helped to set the stage for our discussions and provided an atmosphere where we could learn, participate and respect each other. I made some printable posters that I could hang in the area where we have our discussions and that is where it stays for the entire year. When needed, I simply point to he poster as a reminder. If I need to use it for a lesson when new students arrive, I can. If you are interested in your own printables jut click on the image below!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Are You Living?

Hey Science friends,
I am so excited to finally finish my I Can Be A Scientist~Learning About Living Things. In the previous years my students have really enjoyed slide presentations mainly because of the images. I don't blame them because I do to. Real images of living and non living things in our world can be breathtaking. As I have spent the summer camping in state parks in Texas, I am amazed at the beauty of nature that often we simply ignore. But when you have time to really look around there are beautiful shapes, colors and textures all around us but sometimes we are just too busy to notice. Considering I have spent the summer really observing living and nonliving things I was really excited to work on this project.
This PowerPoint Presentation is full of slides and guided questions to help aid in discussions of living and nonliving and basic needs. When I am teaching Science, I love to have real life images and books that support what we are learning but that has been a challenge to find over the years. And because of that, I began to collect images.
The presentation has several rounds of high quality images that will go along with what we are learning and discussing in class. The guided questions are there to help scaffold the learning of new concepts. After a few rounds, the children are encouraged to justify their responses.
I know a plant is living because...
After we have spent three days of learning, discussing and notebooking about living and nonliving things and basic needs we move on to sorts. These can be printed, laminated and stored in Science centers or take home bags. We discuss and sort. When the children are using these independently or in small groups I get a chance to observe and listen and make note of any misconceptions. So while they are busy, I am busy assessing as I roam around. It is pretty simple. To conclude the unit I have enclosed printables that the children will use to record their thinking about living and nonliving things and basic needs. These printables serve as their documentation of learning.
And if you are anything like me and you love the ease of PowerPoint, you can add, delete or multiply slides. You can create more rounds of each series of slides because the kids will always ask for another round. If you need more information just click on the images above! Have fun investigating friends!


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