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.

Thursday, June 22, 2017


This school year was full of new opportunities for me. I went from teaching 3rd grade to teaching character education and digital citizenship. I really enjoyed integrating some neat technology in my lessons. One of our final projects was to create claymation videos to teach about digital citizenship.

My students wrote a short script and then started the animation. I was fortunate to receive the supplies needed from Oriental Trading in exchange for my honest review.  I used Crayola modeling clay so that clay creations did not dry out. Then I got clay shape cutters to help the students with the process of creating.

We watch several how to tutorials from YouTube and learned about the history of claymation and stop motion. The students loved Art Clokey and Gumby! This project involved a lot of creating and it was neat to see the student's imagination come to life. 

The videos that the students made were short because animating each change is a bunch of work. Some students amazed me with how much they were able to do. We used our iPads to create this project in iMovie. We took still shots and edited them to be 0.4 seconds long. Then we added voice and sound effects. 

The Crayola modeling clay and the clay cutters from Oriental Trading really helped make this project a success! The clay which is only slightly worse for wear (after two hundred students using it a day for two weeks) will be able to be stored and used next school year! Now for my example stop motion claymation debut: 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Moana Birthday Party

Every once in awhile it is neat to see the blogger behind their blog. Today I am going to give you a peek into my family and our recent 4th birthday party. Throwing parties is definitely something I enjoy doing!

My girls love Moana and we were looking for a birthday party theme that would appeal to girls and to boys. Thats when we decided to do a Moana party.  The catch is that Moana has not been marketed like other Disney Princesses and there is not much out there in the way of party supplies. Thats where Oriental Trading came in with some great "Moana" themed party decorations. I was given the decorations in exchange for an honest review of them.

We did the best to set up an island feel in March in Colorado! Here are some of those accents.

We asked everyone to dress in island themed clothes but just incase we gave everyone flowers or shells when they came in. They were a hit!
Moana flower selfie with one of the birthday girls. 

We tried for island themed treats too. No Moana themed party would be complete without coconuts and a party full of young kids needed drinks with lids. Oriental Trading had the perfect coconut cups. 
One of the birthday girls enjoying her coconut cup. 
 We had a ton of fun! We had face painting, a piñata and a special guest, Moana! We filled the piñata with some great non- food goodies and candy too!

Everyone left with their own small beach balls too! The kids loved them! 

Thank you to Oriental Trading for making my girl's birthday extra special! I have included a few of my other favorite pictures below!

Make sure to checkout Oriental Trading for all of your party needs! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

St. Patrick's Day in the Classroom

I was given the opportunity to review these products in exchange for my honest review of them.

I love to celebrate holidays in the classroom. St. Patrick's Day is always a fun one! My students love to wear green because they usually have to wear a uniform. Plus it is always fun to throw glitter everywhere and trash the classroom because of that sneaky leprechaun.

This year my leprechaun is bringing some great treasures thanks to Oriental Trading . I love all of the cute gold coins and even the edible spray painted Oreos that I did that year but, this year I have so many food allergies I went food free.

To start I found rainbow crayons! The kids will love drawing rainbow pictures. The crayons are bright, colorful and a good consistency. They held up well as I colored and did not crumble. If you hold them straight up and down you get all of the colors together. If you hold them on the sides you can use the outer colors.

Next we used shamrock shaped scratchers. The students will love scratching off the black to reveal the  rainbow colored design underneath. They come with a string to hang them and a scratch pen. The scratch pen has two different sides so the design can have different shapes. 

Then everyone will receive green plastic beads. They come in multiple shades of green and the students can wear them with their green clothes. 

I even hung up some shamrock shaped lights. My students love these! I hung them around my temporary white board and it looks so cute! (Please excuse my terrible white board!!!) 

If you're looking for some great treasures and decorations for St. Patrick's Day in your classroom, I recommend that you check out Oriental Trading. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cheap "Doc Cam" Stand

I work with some very talented people but I have to credit my coworkers brother for this one! PVC pipe doc cam stand. You simply lay your ipad on the stand and work underneath it. The iPads camera app will zoom for you and you can even record it for those kiddos who missed!

To make this you need glue and a PVC pipe. The cost for materials was around $7.00. The cheapest I could find online was $80!


Do you have any cheap tech tips? I would love to hear them and I will keep sharing mine as I find them! I hope you found these last three posts helpful! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cheap Sound Booth

Here is another cheap high tech idea! Sound booths made out of boxes and mattress foam. I love having my kids create videos to show their learning but when 30 kids are recording it gets noisy so our Apple Education Rep gave me the idea to create sound boxes. My initial idea was a large box you could stand in. It seemed like it would be hard to store in my already crowded tiny classroom. So I made smaller sound boxes for a really reasonable price!

You will need boxes big enough to have the iPad stand in (I had several sturdy moving boxes given to me.) packing tape, hot glue and mattress foam or sound panels (I also had several of these given to me.) I found brand new mattress foam at Goodwill (They have so much new stuff donated from Target!!!!)

Tape the box together and then measure out your foam sides. Hot glue those in and you are in sound booth business! I added some contact paper I already had to a couple of them. I made eight sound booths with the out of pocket cost to me being $18.99.
Your students just lean in to record their sound. It is crazy how much sound these drown out! 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Cheap Green Screen

This year I am all about high tech lessons on a tiny budget. One of these is my cheap green screen and the fun we have had with it.  I grabbed some bright green fabric from Hobby Lobby and used the 40% off coupon for extra savings. It cost around $20 for five yards.  I have had my students use it a couple of times so far this year. Once for Halloween when they laid on it so they could do any pose and once for our holiday open house. For the second project they used props and made winter scenes.

We are an iPad school so we used instant alpha in keynote to create our pictures. Here is the how to video I made for the open house.

Here is my own green screen pictures! 

By using a native app to create the photos and cheap fabric you have a green screen for around $20 (minus the cost of the iPads HA!) If you want something even cheaper you can do instant alpha on a blank wall or butcher paper.