Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Simple as That!

We're still chugging along in force and motion. I'm loving it! Today, we started to investigate the six simple machines. Right now, students pods are separated in simple machines. The kids are constantly saying the names of the machines (wedge, lever, pulley, etc.) and I sound like a broken record. In addition to learning the lingo, I gave the kiddos a little task. Let's just say, I fibbed.

I found an awesome webquest for Simple Machines here. In the webquest, students researched the simple machines and shared the information with 1st graders. Unfortunately, I didn't have that much time. We're on a time crunch with the 'ol MAP test approaching. Instead, I modified the webquest a tad and gave my kiddos this project:

In Microsoft Publisher, I made three templates for the kiddos to choose from. That way, I provided some options but made the initial leg work much easier for them. After they got the hang of Publisher, they were changing fonts, colors, adding photos ... the whole kit and kaboodle.

We had a blast. I can't wait for the groups to present their finished projects!

Three Cheers for Teamwork!

Publishing Fun For All!

 Here's the project description on Scribd. The formatting is a little funky - but you get the idea!

SimpleMachinesProjectChecklist (1)

Have a happy leap day!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Forcing It

We're in the swing of Force & Motion. I have to admit, I am extremely excited to be discussing forces, energy, motion, and machines. Maybe it is the nerdy science teacher in me! 

I've mentioned before that I want to find a way for students to enjoy their text book.  Next year, I may have to think of a different name for our text to make it sound exciting. Well, today we had to buckle down and take notes. Try not to boo me! Luckily, after stumbling upon blogs and Dinah Zike's resources, foldables have become a constant in my classroom. 

Our big question of the day was, "What are forces?" Instead of having the students take notes and read the text. We did things a little differently. We read the text together and as we encountered a new type of force (i.e. gravity, magnetism, work, power) we defined it underneath its flap. Of course the foldable wouldn't be complete without a little sketch and demonstration. Let's just say, I was throwing things and running around my classroom all day long. 

Thanks to my new SmartBoard bulb, I was able to put the notes on the board and guide the students through each flappity-flap. For being a day full of notes and reading, it was a pretty fun time! I hope the kiddos enjoyed it as much as I did.

Have you taught force and motion? What exciting experiments and demonstrations have you done?

I know have the greatest job on earth, but I think tomorrow I will be applying this philosophy. I'll be the one in a Spiderman costume.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Seuss Lovin'

I absolutely adore Dr. Seuss. With the famous Dr's 108th birthday approaching this Friday, I know many schools are planning to celebrate Read Across America day. I managed to squeeze in Dr. Seuss fun with my second graders last year, but sadly I won't be able to devote an entire day to Dr. Seuss goodness and fun in 5th grade.

Have no fear! I will find time to wiggle in some Seuss love throughout the week.

First, I stumbled upon two videos that I believe will have my fifth grade boys and girls on edge. Up first, we have the Biebs reading a Seuss classic, "The Cat in the Hat".

Maybe your boys might moan and groan... but wait! Tim Tebow comes to the rescue reading "Green Eggs and Ham"! I'm tebowing in my living room to show my excitement.

I keep pinning and pinning and pinnnnnninggg so many cute Seuss activities. Here are some of my favorites. Click the caption to head to the blog for more information!

Yum! Fancy Frugal Life.
Gobs of Seuss Activities
Throughout my vicious pinning this evening, I kept stumbling upon great quotes from Dr. Seuss. I've always been fond of his way with words and then it clicked! My students are working hard to infer theme and messages from authors. Why not use the Dr. this week? I pulled a few of the most popular quotes and made a little inferring activity for my kiddos. My plan is to just use one a day for a quick think-pair-share inference activity to get our brains thinking for communication arts. We'll see how it goes.

Plus, I feel really awesome because I'm making it available to my friends in blog land through Scribd. Enjoy!


What do you have planned to honor our favorite doctor of rhyme?


Not so long ago, my dear friend Ali (follow her blog here) tried to convince me to eat spaghetti squash. She told me how delicious it was and it was a great alternative to noodles. I thought she had gone crazy! Spaghetti from a SQUASH? I said, "Girl, you've lost your mind." (I'm 75% sure that's an accurate statement)

Well, skip forward two and a half years and guess what I tried out last night? Yes, you guessed it! Spaghetti squash. How did it taste? Not too shabby! It was the perfect dish for a dinner date after a beautiful day of Polar Bear Plunging!

I found a recipe on Kraft Foods and modified it just a tad. The original recipe for Cheesey Spaghetti Squash can be found here.

Whoops! Forgot the Squash.


  • Spaghetti squash (we used two!)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Parsley or Italian Seasoning
  • EVOO (as Rachel Ray says) 
Make it!
  • Microwave your squash for 10-12 minutes. Make sure you stab it with a fork a few times to allow for steaming. As demonstrated below. :)
  • Cut the squash in half and pull the seeds from the insides. Use a fork to scrape the sides of the squash to form spaghetti-ish strands.
  • Throw the strands and your ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss 'em up!
  • Enjoy with your date!
Take Out Your Anger on Some Squash!
Dinner is Served!
Our dish was complete with a side of asparagus. Thanks to a suggestion from Pinterest, I seasoned the asparagus with olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Then, I stuck them in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes!

I think it's about that time to enjoy a little nappy-poo, Netflix, and my couch while I mentally prepare for a spectacular night of television. Yes, I'm talking about The Oscars! 

A Marvelous Mess

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Wreath For Your Thursday!

Bless you, Craftaholics Anonymous, bless you. Not only did you come to my rescue and save my naked burlap wreath, but you are the queen of quick and simple seasonal wreaths. Your gift is appreciated here!

I pinned this little gem a few weeks ago and thought it was the perfect solution to my poor pitiful wreath. Let me back up, about a month ago I attempted a craft night. Instead, I had a great evening catching up with a friend and all I managed to do was wrap a straw wreath in burlap. Now you're up to speed on my naked wreath.

Back to business! My new favorite blog, Craftaholic's, gives a great description on how to make very simple flowers from felt, buttons, clips, and glue. See for yourself!

Here's what I used:

  • 1 naked burlap wreath
  • felt
  • buttons
  • clips (I'm sure there is a more scientific name for them)
  • hot glue

Originally, I wanted to make my very own St. Patty's Day wreath but as usual I ran into a few obstacles. This time the obstacle was the color green. Yes, that green button is shining visibly in the picture above - but did I notice that last night? Of course not. I was extremely convinced that I did not own any green buttons or fabric of any kind.

Naturally, I moved onto Plan B. What colors are never out of season? Black and gold, baby!

Does anyone watch "The New Girl"? This week's episode was precious and about a situation in Jess' classroom. Check it out!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

S'More of What?

I wanted to make a little Valentine's Day treat for my valentine, and lucky for me... this idea fell into my lap thanks to Facebook!

Crazy Domestic posted her brilliant idea to make Valentine S'More bites using heart shaped marshmallows and chocolate.  I imagine many of you sitting at your computer saying, "yuuumm." I know I did. 

First, I headed off to HyVee to pick up a package of heart shaped marshmallows. Did HyVee have these mysterious heart shaped marshmallows? Of course not. I had to settle for a bag of regular 'ol marshmallows.

Then, I went home to find that itsy-itsy heart shaped cookie cutter hiding in my drawer. Do I own one of those? Of course not. Strike two! Have no fear, I worked around these obstacles and was able to create a delicious little treat enjoyed by all. :)

S'More Pops!
  • 1 1/2 graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • Dipping chocolate (I'm a BIG fan of Bakers because it's simple!)
  • Marshmallows (any shape will do!)
Click here to follow Crazy Domestic's step by step guide to making your own little S'More pops! 

As always, I don't always shoot for the most beautiful creations... just the yummiest! 

It's Wednesday and Labor Day in the Hamptons..... is anyone else so excited for Revenge tonight? I can barely contain myself. Let's hope I don't fall asleep before 9:00!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Spinach Wrapped Goodness

How was your Super Bowl Sunday? Mine was spent snacking on delicious goodies and mingling with great friends. Not too shabby for a Sunday afternoon if you ask me!

Of course, the Super Bowl was the perfect occasion to test out a new recipe on a few willing guinea pigs. As you may (or may not) know, I'm a big fan of crescent rolls. Who knew those little wraps were so versatile? On Pinterest I found a recipe for a spinach and cream cheese pinwheel but then it vanished. I couldn't seem to track it down again. After wayyy too much searching, I had to rely on that other search engine, google.

Taste of Home has a delightfully simple recipe for Spinach Cheese Pinwheels.  I modified a bit.  Here's how to make these little goodies on your own:

Fits in the Palm of Your Hand

Spinach Cream Cheese Pinwheels

  • 1 tube garlic butter flavored crescent rolls
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • frozen spinach
  • (optional) meat or veggie of your choice!
Make it!
  1. Separate crescent rolls into four rectangles and seal the perforations. (Yes, this step took me awhile to figure out)
  2. Spread cream cheese on crescent rolls. Top with spinach, ham, and veggies (if you so choose!)
  3. Roll up each rectangle up jelly style and cut into slices. Don't forget to pinch the edges to seal!
  4. Cook for 8-10 minutes on 400 degrees.
  5. Enjoy!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Flippyity Flaps

Warning: I went a little crazy with hyperlinking. Once I started... I just couldn't stop. You've been warned.

One of my goals for science is to make using our textbook more exciting.  It's common knowledge that textbooks don't possess much of that "cool factor".

I've always been a fan of Dinah Zike's Foldables, but until recently I hadn't quite figured out how (or when) to use them.  Then, my wheels starting turning.  As part of of plants chapter, I wanted my kiddos to be able to recognize the process of photosynthesis, but I didn't exactly have gobs of time to spend on it. I knew in my mind, I wanted my students to create some kind of photosynthesis foldable. After a few failed google searches, I decided to use my own noggin.

Using an awesome foldable resource I snagged from Pinterest, I decided on a "Six Door" foldable.  A Teacher's Treasure has several great options and ideas for foldables here.

In the top three boxes, students listed the three things necessary for photosynthesis to occur: water, sunlight energy, and carbon dioxide. On two of the bottom flaps, we wrote what plants produce as a result of photosynthesis: oxygen and sugar. One of my students even suggested writing "produces" at the bottom to remember! Brilliant!

Finally, in the last box we wrote the definition of photosynthesis.
Not too shabby!

On the inside of the flaps, using our books as a resource, students described what happened with sunlight, carbon, water ... and so on and so on.  My kids loved it! It was probably because they got to fold, cut, and color. Oh well, I'll take it!

I've been a follower of Eve's Science Notebooking blog for awhile, but it took my brilliant coworker to stumble upon her Flip and Flaps post for the lightbulb to turn on!

As I mentioned earlier, I am always looking for ways to make the textbook seem "cool". Although, one student DID tell me that he took his book home every night to read... I'll assume he is the minority.

So! After reading this post on Flip and Flaps, Erin (my brilliant coworker) and I put our heads together and whipped up some flippity flaps for the week! Using Microsoft Publisher as Eve suggested, I created a little interactive textbook activity for lesson four. I asked my students today what they thought and I received cheers! Let's keep in mind... they got to color and glue again.

On the cover of the flip flap, I created a parts of the flower review based on this photo.  On the inside, students sneakily had to reread the text to fill in the blank and answer various questions.

I'm Learning So Much about Flowers!

How DO plants grow?

Erin (my brilliant coworker) recreated this leaves, stems, and roots flip flap for our kiddos to review the functions of each. Once again, my kids were in love with science (or their scissors, colors, and glue).

Now, before I part for the evening I must inform everyone of something extremely important happening this weekend. The University of Missouri will be playing the kU jayhawks (yes, that is grammatically correct) at THE MIZZOU Arena this Saturday. There's only one thing I have to say:


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