Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TeachersPayTeachers Cyber Sale - Monday 12/1 and Tuesday 12/2!

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Take advantage of this wonderful opportunity on TeachersPayTeachers - for two days Mon 12/1 and Tues 12/2 - you can save 20% off each item in my TpT Store plus an additional 10% off your total shopping cart when using the code TPTCYBER at checkout!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Classifying Elements, Compounds, and Mixtures {Think, Pair, Share} Sneak Peek

Watch the sneak peek above to see if this activity would be a good fit for your classroom.  If so, you can download the interactive SMART Board file, student handout, and detailed lesson plan in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Click here to visit my store!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Great Pumpkin Slinger - Fall STEM Activity

Students in 4th Period collaborate on a pumpkin slinger prototype.
Students got ready for fall while designing their Great Pumpkin Slinger!  Students followed the design process steps, which prompted them to find a solution to a problem while given limited time and materials.  Students had to design a pumpkin launcher that would catapult the pumpkin peep the farthest distance using rubberbands, craft sticks, a straw, paper cups, index cards,a plastic spoon, and some masking tape.

This is a sketch that a student in 4th period produced to help build the prototype.

Students worked through the design process and were given certain amounts of time to finish each section.  Limited time was given for students to sketch and design, share with others, and then decide and sketch a final design.   The students then had to list materials and procedures as well as build the prototype.  Then, we launched the pumpkin slingers in the hallway.  The best yet was a sling shot model that launched the pumpkin peep 1,407 cm!

Would your class find this interesting?  Find the lab handout, a teacher lesson plan, and a corresponding SMART Notebook file in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store - ON SALE NOW!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The 21st Century Classroom: Google Classroom

Have you used Google Apps in your classroom?  If not, you should start soon!  I had started using Google Apps as a collaboration tool within the classroom.  The students could share a document with the people in their groups, which would allow them to work on the same document at the same time no matter their location.  I encouraged them to set a meeting time to log onto the computer at home where they could brainstorm and work together.  Google Docs would show who was typing what (and even allows them to type at the same time on different parts of the document).  The best part is that Google Docs always saves your work automatically!  There are no more of the: "I can't find that file" or "I must have forgotten to save that yesterday" excuses that delays productivity.  The students could even share the file with the teacher to grade in a paperless fashion.  I thought that was so awesome...that is until I saw this video on Google Classroom, which is new for this 2014 school year!

This video shows how you can set up a class within your Google Apps, add students, send class e-mails with one touch, create an assignment, and enter grades and feedback for the assignment.  What an efficient and paperless way to run your classroom!  You can post the due dates for the assignment and monitor how many students have submitted (or have yet to submit the assignment) easily.  Google Classroom will then organize the submitted assignments (by assignment and class) rather than having you search for whatever the students saved the document as in your Shared Documents using the old Google Docs method.  Watch the video below to see how you could utilize this in your room!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Re-thinking E-mail: How do you come across?

How many e-mails do you receive a day from parents?  Do you receive e-mail from your students?  Teachers in the 21st century are blessed with the opportunity to immediately be in contact with parents and students, but it can also be a very delicate process when responding.

What do I mean?  I know how exhausted you are when you get a few free minutes - at lunch, prep, or after school.  You have a million things on your to-do list and want to accomplish as many things as you can in the teeny breaks you do have during the day.  One short sentence would allow you to cross that task off your list.  But, did that one sentence convey what you intended to your audience?  Think about your students, who may send you cryptic e-mails as if they were texting one of their peers.  Your well-written, professional response will model how a student should be corresponding.

Here are some examples.  This video showcases a frustrated professor tearing apart an e-mail written by one of his students.  How could this professor have modeled appropriate correspondence with his student?  This could have been a valuable learning experience.

This blog article written by Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) gives some excellent tips on how to craft a professional e-mail.  Her blog post entitled "8 Great E-mail Etiquette Tips for Educators and Everyone" even provides some helpful phrases that you may want to utilize when communicating.  Designing a communication plan for your classroom will save you time in the long-run and ensure you are conveying what you truly mean with your words.