Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What is a Scientist?

There are very few careers where wearing a wig and causing a ruckus is acceptable from time to time. Thankfully, I've got the kind of job that supports my wacky ideas and wig purchasing obsession. If you've been a follower of my blog, you may remember about my Isaac Newton experience here. At first, many thought George Washington was wandering the halls but I quickly informed all that I was Isaac Newton. 

Fast forward to today: I decided to dress up like a mad scientist to play on the stereotype of a "scientist". As one of our beginning lessons in science, we ask the question, "What is a scientist?" The students draw a picture of their mental image of a scientist and then we share the responses. MOST of the time, students are drawing pictures of wild looking individuals in laboratories blowing things up. I'll admit, I participated in this lesson in college as an undergrad.... and I drew the same thing. 

Today I decided to really play up that stereotype and perform it live. My little show involved kool-aid and alka-seltzer tablets as well. There was red foamy water overflowing everywhere! Before Professor Magnifying Glass ran out of the room screaming about an invention (after climbing on tables), "he" gave the assignment to draw a picture of a scientist in their notebooks.

Professor Magnifying Glass

When I returned to the room a minute later, I instructed the students to draw their mental image of a scientist. Yes, many of them were thinking of Professor Magnifying Glass! After students had time to draw, we met on the carpet and started talking about our sketches. 

Next, we started listing other careers and fields where scientists work - hey! It turns out, we're all scientists in 5th grade as well. Several students were explaining how their parents and family members use science on a daily basis as well. 

Tomorrow we'll continue our discussion about scientists and spend the next two days talking about Galileo and Newton. I think I'll leave the wig in the drawer tomorrow. :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back to School - Setting Goals!

Wow! The first week went by so quickly. By Friday I felt like we were getting into a groove for the school year and my new crew was coming out of their shells. We even had several moments of dancing as a group. Talk about a good week! 

The entire week was devoted to getting to know each other as a classroom community and becoming one big happy family. An activity we did involved goal setting and decorating pennants. I can thank my wonderful friend/coworker for giving me an idea on how to get us started thinking about goals. Here's how the activity played out:

My entire class is standing in the grass on the playground in a straight (horizontal) line. I looked at them and said, "Are you ready?" I got blank stares. I said, "Are you READY???" Then I said, "GO!" No one moved. I said.. "GO!" I heard several confused responses from my class like, "huh?" "where?" "are you serious?". Then I said, "RUN!"

Next thing you know my kids are running all over the place. No one had any idea where to go, when to stop, or if they could start playing kickball. It was quite the mess of 5th grade confusion. I rallied everyone back to the grass and gave them a goal. I said, "Run to the soccer net!" My kids took off running with an end result in mind. Once everyone made it to the net, we began having a conversation about the purpose of setting goals, how we can help one another achieve our goals, and how we all reach goals at different times - and that's okay folks! 

After our chat, I instructed students to come up with two goals for themselves academically.  Each student was given a pennant (that I modeled after one I saw in a magazine and recreated on Word). The pennant was to be decorated to their liking, have two goals written, and their picture would be placed in the circle. 

All the pennants are done and goals are set.  Now they are proudly on display in our classroom. (Side note, another goal of mine this year was to incorporate more student photos around the room. I think this will add to the ownership factor of our classroom. It's their home away from home, might as well feel like it!)

How was your first week? Hopefully wonderfully! Share your fun ideas with me as well. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Back to School!

My morning started at 7:00 blasting "It's a Great Day to Be Alive" by Travis Tritt. The lyrics of that song rang true all day long (except the growing a beard part...and the rice in the microwave... oh, and that tattoo. I suppose it's more of the message of the song that rang true. hah!) and I'm still on cloud nine after meeting my new students today. I had several former students come in and visit too - I was handing out hugs left and right!

This year will begin my fourth year of teaching and I'm still as giddy and excited as day one. I think that's a good sign! It's going to be a great year. I can feel it. 

C'mon in, folks! It's time for another year! 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nuts & Bolts of 5th Grade

Bulletin boards are one of my favorite parts of preparing my classroom for the school year. I spend, way way way, too much time sketching out my ideas and pinning pictures of what inspires me. 

If you're a follower of my blog, you may have read about my Reading Graffiti board here. On black butcher paper, my students pulled favorite quotes from their personal books and wrote them on our class graffiti board. At the end of the year, we had compiled incredible quotes from many different genres of books. To start the year, I am going to use the same graffiti concept except begin with student's pictures instead of quotations. On the first day of school, I will photograph all of my students and print the pictures. Once I have the pictures printed, I'll stick them on our "Nuts & Bolts" bulletin board. I will give each students a metallic sharpie and let them write their name and write a little tid-bit about themselves on the board. Viola! We have our bulletin board full of cute faces and smiles. 

Pardon the crease. :)
What bulletin boards do you have planned? Do share!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Building Community with Padlet

I've started planning my first few days of school and my mind has been spinning with ideas. My mind is racing so much that it's started to affect my dreams. Each night they get a little weirder and complicated. Once, I dreamt I arrived at school to find the entire hallway decorated like a farm. Everyone was dressed in farm attire with cows and goats. I missed the memo and barely remembered to put on pants! I was distraught because my classroom looked nothing like a farm... Weird, huh? 

Back to planning... :)
In one of my Specialist classes this summer, our icebreaker activity was to post on the discussion board a photo that represents us and write a brief explanation. Why not have 5th graders do the same? Since I don't use a discussion board format, I thought it would be fun to get a jumpstart with Padlet (formally Wallwisher). This activity will introduce my students to the functions of padlet: uploading images, writing text, and posting on the board as well as introducing themselves to one another. Not too shabby if you ask me! 

I've started our Padlet wall with my own intro and image. I'm excited to see what unique posts my students create!

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