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Monday, January 15, 2018

Scrambled United States

Have I mentioned before how much I love teaching social studies? It is pretty much my favorite! I love teaching about our country, the world and our history. This year I have been teaching science and social studies which has been a pretty fun job. I funded the garden that I blogged about in my last post and have been working hard to bring more authentic projects and resources for my classes. Social studies also lends itself to dressing up for the lesson. This is one of my favorite things to do since I read Dave Burgess' Teach Like a Pirate.

My Uncle Sam Outfit for the Day.

This week we visited all 50 states by having our own version of the Scrambled United State.

 This lesson was great but took some pre-planning. About a month ago we reached out to the tourism offices for each state. It was a bunch of emailing but so many states sent travel information to us. We received brochures, magazines, lesson plans and maps from 35 states.  I filled the other states up with information that I already had. Each state ended up with a large envelope full of information about it. I finished the envelope with a map of each state.

We started our lesson by watching the video for the book.

After the video each student was given the task to travel to three different states. They looked through the state envelopes (This was a lesson for my first and second graders who I have for 50 minutes.) They were to answer the following questions:

Which states did you travel to?


What new information did you learn?

Which of these states would you like to visit and why?

My students were all over the room reading maps and planning their future trips. I think that this was a fun and hands on way to learn about the states. The students were able to self guide their learning through choosing their own states. The cost of the lesson was pretty low because I used youtube and the travel brochures that were sent to us.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Project Based Learning Garden

This year I am teaching Project Based Learning to first through fourth graders. I am incorporating the science and social studies standards for each grade.

So far we have traveled to each continent, created maps, explored energy and the states of matter. The rest of the year we will be focusing on school garden. I can't wait!

We are starting with an interactive lesson on the life cycle of a seed through the Douglas County Conservation Group. They are teaching through song and movement. I can't wait.

Our next step is to research the best spot for sunlight and write a letter to our administration about it. (I have already got the approval.)

Then we are going to research the best plants to grow in our area and start the seeds in the classroom under grow lamps.

After that we will clear the space and get the ground ready. Finally we will plant and care for the garden. I plan on creating a sign up for people to come care for it during the summer and to plant in an area that already gets watered.

To prepare for this project I have reached out to local hardware stores and nurseries. I have also set up a Donor's Choose for this project.

Continue to check back for updates on this project.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Halloween Costume Fun

I love a chance to dress up! My girl's feel the same way! They love Halloween because they get a chance to dress up and show their costumes to all of their friends. We received the costumes in exchange for our honest review.

Although they are twins my girls could not be any more different. This year Lexi wanted to be Princess Tiana and Lili wanted to be the Pink Power Ranger. We were in luck because Oriental Trading had both of these costumes. My models were a little sillier than last year! After a dozen or so takes I hope you can tell how adorable these costumes are.

The Pink Ranger  came with a mask and a suit. The mask has been worn non stop and even was brought for show and tell. It has still held up to it all. Its nice to find a costume that is durable. 

Princess Tiana came with a dress, a crown and a slip to make the dress have a little extra pouf. Lexi loves how pretty the costume is and she loves dressing like her favorite princess. 

I recommend Oriental Trading for all of your costume needs.  I know I will be checking back through out the year when I need to dress up.

Monday, October 9, 2017

October Teaching!

I love teaching in October. I think there is so much fun to be have with pumpkins, bats and spiders! I enjoy spreading some of that fun with my students. This year I added some festive fun to my classroom with the help of Oriental Trading.  I received these items in exchange for my honest review.

You can enter my classroom past my Laboratory sign. I thought this sign was perfect for my science classroom.

After the sign I have a creepy spider! He is a class favorite. He shakes, his eyes light ups and he a makes screaming noises.

Last I wanted to hand out something that all of my students can have. With food allergies it is safer to hand out some fun erasers instead of candy. Plus they will get plenty of candy on their own.

I recommend checking out Oriental Trading for your Halloween needs in and out of the classroom.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Learn 365

Did you know that Oriental Trading has an education site? Learn 365 is a great spot for affordable resources for your classroom! I received the items below in exchange for my honest review.

We started school off with a fun activity cracking geodes. You can find the geode kits on Learn365. Most of our geodes were easy to crack and the students loved them. I used a hammer on a cinder block to crack them open and I did it under my doc cam. I can't wait to do it again!

We looked at the geodes with the class set of magnifying glasses and the microscopes. The class set of magnifying glasses are good quality and durable. They enlarge items 4x. The students loved getting their hands on the microscopes. These are a great kid friendly set of them. I like that you can detach the viewer to look at objects that don't fit under the microscope. They also come with a tray to hold specimens.

Next we used a set of Map Skills Posters to help us better understand how to use a map. I really like this set of posters. It really reinforces what I have been teaching and they are a great visual. I really wish I had them before!

I really recommend checking out Learn 365 for your own classroom needs.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

My New Classroom

Last year I went from teaching on a cart to teaching in a garage. This year I have a classroom! It was so fun to decorate for my new job. I wanted to tie in science and social studies in my room and make it bright and cheery because I don't have any windows. Last year I really wanted to decorate with pom poms so I may have gone pom pom crazy. I got them at Dollar Tree and the Dollar Spot so I really felt like I couldn't have too much. But you can be the judge. Here is a peek at my new classroom!

This is what I started with. It is a big space and way bigger than last years cart and garage! 
My table groups are labeled as the continents and oceans. By referring to the groups by continent names and ocean names I am hoping the students really learn them. 

I love Social Studies but I really tried to incorporate science in the room too! I put bugs and magnifying glasses on my door. 

Small pom poms....

 Lots of poms!

I got this giant world map decal from Amazon and I love to refer to it as I am teaching! Here is the link if you are interested! I hope you enjoyed my classroom tour! 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Back to School

I have missed you my blog friends! I struggled to keep up last year with my new job and going back to working full time. Then we remodeled our house ourselves, sold it and moved. It was a bunch of work but worth it because we love our new house and we are only ten minutes away from where we used to live. I am NEVER going to move again.

In the middle of settling in I found out that they cut my position. So again this year I am doing a new job but at the same school. I am teaching science and social studies to first through fourth graders. We are calling it project based learning and it is fun!

I look forward to keeping you up to date on what is happening in my new project based learning classroom. My goal is to be way better about blogging than I was this year.