Sunday, November 20, 2016

Assessing the NGSS Standards

I have been working on some new assessments for my classroom and decided to put them on TpT store so I could share them all with you.

Our school has just officially embraced standards based grading.  We have been using 4-1 (Exceeds, Meets, Partially Meeting, and Does not Meet the standard) for a while, but also gave a corresponding letter grade to go with standards based grades.  The letter grades made it so that no one fully embraced "meeting the standard."  This year we got rid of the letter grades and are changing the mindset of our students, teachers and community.

That is a huge task, even if you're on board.

So I've started slow with the NGSS standards that I am currently teaching.  I've use a template of Marzano's scale and the NGSS standard to create an assessment.

Hope you find this helpful!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Clipart freebie

A passion turned into a resources I can use.... how exciting!

So I love to draw!!! But now I've found a way to take those drawing and incorporate them into my teaching resources digitally.  That's AWESOME!

So, here's what I've been up to:
1. I found this great blog "A Turn to Learn," which gives you direction in how to turn your drawings into clipart.
2. Drawing!  I do this anyway...
So with the combination of the two... I created some clipart... because it's the first (hopefully of many) that I've created I am giving it to you for free.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Top 5 Reason Why You Should Do Dissection in Your Classroom (and a Freebie)

Whew what a busy week!  It's nice to be back after April vacation but it's always the longest week.  Before break we were dissecting frogs as a culminating activity on the human body.  If you're not sold on dissecting... here are the top 5 reason on why you should do dissection in your classroom.

#5 Hands-on Learning!  
This is the obvious one... students can apply what they learn about the human body and see it first hand on the frog!

#4 The Smell! 
I know... I know this one doesn't seem like a reason to convince you!  However... if you did any dissection in high school or in the middle school years you remember how horrible the smell was.  However, now you can order frogs that are not kept in formaldehyde... so the smell isn't so bad.  The activity is worth the minor smell for a few days!


#3 The Curiosity that Comes Alive!
My rule for dissection is that students don't have to be the ones to cut, but they do have to observe.  I tell them that if they don't want to cut they need to find a willing buddy to do the dissecting part.  It's amazing because by the end of class every students is involved and curious about the dissection.  This year I used a paper frog first, which generated a ton of curiosity with students.  The one I used is from Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy, it was easy and the kids LOVED it!  The picture below shows the kids dissecting with their science notebooks open to the paper frog they had made before hand.

#2 This can be done as a large group or in small groups
There are few lessons where you get to choose large group or small groups and still have every students focus and engaged.  In my classroom we are able to get enough frogs so that students can choose to be in groups of two to four.  Most of my students picked to be in groups of twos or threes.  However, this activity could lend itself to do it as a large group.  You could purchase one frog and dissect it under a document camera.  I would still allow students that wanted to do the dissecting, that way it still gives them some hands on experience with the frog.  Another bonus to whole group means it can still be done even if you don't have funding for every two to three kids to have their own frog.
#1 It aligns so well with the Human Body!
And here is where my freebie comes in... Dissection Organization at it's best!  I did two days of dissection and the first day I didn't use this sheet... For the second day I found this idea on Pinterest,  there was no link just a picture, so I created a sheet my kiddos could use.  Check it out in my TpT Store.  It gave the space for the kids to find all of the organs and allowed me to do a quick assessment that they were able to see it all.  At the end of the day were were able to do a gallery walk and see everyones dissections and how the organs differed in different sexes, as well as different specimens.

I am hoping this helps you and that you'll be willing to try dissection in your classroom.
Let me know in the comments if you have any great tips when you're dissecting.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Racing Through Physics!

Are you teaching force and motion in your classroom?  I've been teaching at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics STEM Educator's camp this past week and this is my powerpoint from my class.

This powerpoint includes resources for friction, potential and kinetic energy, Newton's Laws, simple machines and more.  Each topic/slide includes multiple resources and videos to use in the classroom.
At the end I've even included a force and motion car building project.

Hope this helps in your classroom!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Applied Learning Project and Capacity Matrix

This is my first year teaching 7th grade and I'm in a fabulous place where I can grow and learn as a teacher.  One of the things we are doing to engage our students is to have our students applying their learning.  I start with a capacity matrix and end with a project to apply students learning.  The first project that my team is doing is a film festival.  Students are learning about both science and social studies concepts and have to make a 10 minute film to show their learning.

I'm not sure if you've used capacity matrix but it's awesome and really allows the learners in my classroom to be independent and direct their learning.  It also allows students to each have a different learning path. This school has some example of capacity matrix.  In our classroom we are doing it a little different.

We have four columns: 1. Learning Target (this is what we want the students to be able to do). 2. Input Resources - these are what information the students needs to receive in order to understand a concept. These input resources can be a teacher lesson, a video, a prezi - anything where students are getting the information. 3. Evidence - this is an activity, worksheet or exercise which students are able to practice and improve their skills and show proficiency.  With the evidence there is a place for students to correct their work.  If students are stuck their should be an opportunity in this column for extra practice.  This is also where the teacher can check in and provide mini-lessons for students that are stuck.  4. The last column is the check in.  This is a mini "quiz" where students are showing that they have mastered the skill.  Students do this and then check in with the teacher.  If their check-in is correct they can move onto the next standard.

This is part of our capacity matrix for the standards we have in our applied learning project:
(I have taken some of the links off because they are attached to my school google drive for my students) So I would normally have all of these section filled in.  This particular matrix has six learning targets.
Use these to get information when you are working ahead or when you need to review a skill or concept.
Do these activities and practice exercises to improve your skills and show proficiency.
Do these to show you have mastered a skill.  These should be printed and then check in with a teacher.
7BE.2 I know the various resources which organisms compete for in different biomes.

7BE.2a I can name 7 major biomes and generally locate them on the map.
Biomes Map - make sure you read about the map too!

Biome MAPS - make sure you read about the map too! Click on a section to see where your specific biome is.

Must Do
Map - print and correct

More Practice
Map - print and correct

One of the activities I've created for students is a sorting activity to go with biomes.
Check it out here!

Hope you find this helpful and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Now Serving: Deli Number System

I am currently team teaching in a large classroom with doors that slide open.  My teammate and I have decided to leave our doors open all the time and teach teach the entire year!  I love it and are kids are amazing!  However there are some things about student management that needed some help.  Although there are two of us we still wanted to give every student a voice.  Another teacher in our building was using a number system with the dry erase board.  However that required going up to the board every time you needed to switch the number. I decided to have some fun with PVC pipes and create the system below:

I got the PVC pipe, along with pipe cutters at Lowes Home Improvement Store.  The guys at the store were pretty helpful to get the stuff we needed.  I had actually purchased the cutters for a project I had done previous.  The piping and joints were about 7 dollars for the whole project. I also purchased spray paint.
In order to create this project you will need the following PVC:
1/4 inch PVC pipe (make sure you have room to fit it in your car)
2 corner joints
4 T joints
and 4 end caps.
The basket, and the zip ties that attach the basket came from the dollar store. Then the O Rings were purchased at Walmart.
First Grade and Fabulous gives a tutorial for a larger version.

I have created the numbers for system, check them out on TpT.
Our students loved the system.  They take a number from the basket and when they see that the sign says their number they come up and put their ticket back and get the help they need.  Students have reported they like it because it give everyone a chance to get help from the teacher.  I am also seeing students that wouldn't normally raise their hands or come up to me to ask for help take a number.

Hope this help with management in your classroom!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Narrative Writing Diamond Freebie

I have been teaching my students to write narratives. Wow! They have some great imaginations. It just takes a little bit to shape their great ideas into stories. So far we've worked on Entertaining Beginnings and Elaborative Details.

I have two resources that I'm currently using to help me with this process:

1. The Most Wonderful Writing Lessons Ever, By Barbara Mariconda. This book goes step by step through the writing diamond and has helped me to get great products out of my students.

2. Empowering Writers Website is an awesome resource too. Here they have a whole narrative writing program you can buy... it is pricey for just one teacher - if you're school is willing to purchase it, it might be worth looking into. However, there are many great resources at the website that you can use that you do not have to pay for.

Here is a link to my TpT store for a freebie. I have typed up the writing diamond so you can put it together on a poster board. Check out mine below:

Good luck putting yours together!