Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nature's Classroom

This week I was offered an awesome teacher opportunity.  I got to accompany 120 5th graders on a 4-day, 3-night field trip.  Sounds like a great time, right?!?  Haha actually it was a lot of fun.

We got to go to Nature's Classroom, which is a residential, environmental educational program.  Basically, the students (and 8 teachers) got to live on the campus for the week and learn about science from the leaders that work at the site.  I really wish I had taken more pictures, but I have about 3, which I posted yesterday.   I'll just have to tell you about it instead!

The kids arrived at school and we loaded them onto the bus.  We loaded all their stuff onto another bus.  Yes, their luggage filled an ENTIRE school bus!  They had to bring really warm clothes since they were going to be outside for almost 12 hours each day and it's only about 40 degrees here in New England.

When we arrived at Nature's Classroom, all the leaders were there to greet us as we pulled in.  They jumped on the bus with this incredible energy.  I want to know what is in their coffee since they kept this energy up ALL week - it was amazing!  The students got off the bus and formed a line from the bus to the dorm and unloaded the luggage assembly line style.  So funny to watch!

The students were assigned "field groups."  There were about 12 students to each group and one Nature's Classroom Field Group leader.  They would meet with their field groups a few times a day to hike through the woods and learn about nature.  They learned about animal tracks and sounds, how to build shelters, how to camouflage themselves and much more!

In the afternoons, the students got to pick classes to attend.  These were also taught by the field group leaders.  They got to do the coolest experiments!  For example, there was pig, shark and turtle dissections.  One class was how to make hot air balloons (then they got to actually fly them).  In another, they got to make a maze for a rat and then tested it with a real rat - so cool!

At all the meals, there was one student in charge of each table (they signed up a for a meal at the beginning of the week).  They were called waitrons.  The waitron was in charge of bringing the food to the table (served family style) and cleaning it up when the meal was over.  If a student wanted to get up to use the bathroom or to get a drink, they had to ask their waitron for permission.  It was great to see the students have so much responsibility!  Each teacher and field group leader chose a table to sit at for each meal.  It was a great chance to interact with the students and learn about their day.

We had a great time and the kids talk about it for weeks.  I definitely didn't do it justice with this post.  If I get to go again next year, I will bring my camera and be sure to take lots of pictures!  I highly recommend this program if you are ever given the chance.

And don't forget!  Today is the start of the Spring Cleaning Sale - clean out those TpT wish lists!  My TpT store will be 20% off today and tomorrow.

My friends are also having sales!  Check out their great deals!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five for Friday {Linky}

Yay for Friday!  And yay for a Friday off!  Since it is Friday, I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for Five for Friday, where I share 5 random pictures from my week.

I don't have any pictures from my classroom this week since I was out all week.  I got the awesome opportunity to go on a 4-day, 3-night field trip with the fifth graders in my district to Nature's Classroom.  If you haven never heard of it, I highly recommend it!  Tomorrow's post will have more details  but here are a few sneak peeks!

1. The motto of Nature's Classroom is IALAC - I Am Loving and Caring.  Or you can make up your own phrase to fit the acronym. I Am Learning And Curious was mine.  The teachers and leaders wore these pins all week.

2.  At Nature's Classroom, the students are constantly learning (they just don't know it).  At mealtime, the students learned about ort.  Ort is leftover food from a meal that isn't compost.  Here's a picture of our compost plate from lunch.

3. At each meal, the students got to be a waitron.  They were in charge of getting all the food for their table during that meal and cleaning up afterwards.  They loved the responsibility!

4. While the students were in their groups, the teachers had a little downtime.  We decided to go for a walk and came across a part of the town that had been destroyed by a tornado in 2011.  Most of the houses had been rebuilt, but we saw the destruction of the trees.  New England rarely gets tornados, so this was an eye-opening experience for me.

5. And last but not least, tt's time to clean out those TpT wishlists!  I'm having a Spring Cleaning Sale!  Everything in my TpT store is 20% off this Saturday and Sunday!

Happy Weekend!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted Linky

Latoya is having another Let's get Acquainted Linky Party.  I missed the last party, so I thought I would jump on board with this one!  This time we are playing the noun game.  Favorite person, place, thing and animal.  So fun!

Favorite Person:
The award goes to my husband!  We've been together almost eight years and married for one and a half.  We are a great balance of each other and he always makes me laugh!

Favorite Place:
We visited Hawaii this past summer for our honeymoon and I completely fell in love.  It's beautiful and we spent the entire time outdoors.  It was amazing.

Favorite Thing:
My Iphone.  It's odd for me to say that because I have never been a phone-talker.  My husband and my mom are really the only people I talk to on the phone.  The funny thing is, talking on it is probably the thing I do the least!  But I have that thing on me all the time (maybe too much).  It can do anything!  

Favorite Animal:
I was never been much of an animal person...until I got my puppy.  And, c'mon, how can you not love him??

Friday, March 22, 2013

Five for Friday!

Yay it's Friday!!  Here are five {very} random pictures from my week!  It sure was a busy one.

1.  We have been getting more of our postcards from around the United States in our mailbox!  We have been adding them to our wall next to our big map of the country.  Learn more about our postcard exchange here.  The students are loving it!!  They really enjoy learning about each state and then finding it on the map.

 2.  I finally finished my Blog Planner and started using my fancy pens.  It is so much more fun to write in color!

3.  We started measurement this week in science.  We started out by measuring objects around the room in inches and in centimeters.  Look for a full blog post soon!

 4. March Madness has arrived!  I am very much a sports fan, but to be honest I don't really pay attention to college basketball until March.  Sometimes I totally rock the brackets and sometimes I just hang my head in shame.  So far I'm not in last place...yet.

Umm...I only have four good pictures this week.  Four for Friday sounds good too, right?

 Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We are Scientists!

I have shared some information on our new science kits here and here.  It's a lot of fun so you will probably be hearing a lot more about it!  There are so many experiments and it incorporates reading and writing as well.  It's a little overwhelming since there is so much to the kits, so I haven't quite figured out how to schedule it all in at the appropriate times yet.  It's a work in progress!

Since we have become scientists, we need a place to record our notes from all of our experiments!  Some schools that use the kits, use composition books for the students as science notebooks, but our school didn't order them.  I contemplated asking the students to bring one in from home, but we are only doing one kit this year so that wasn't worth it.  I'll put it on their supply list for next year though!  Instead, I just created books for them using good-ole-fashioned card stock and paper.  Simple!

 Inside, we place our charts that are provided with the kit:

 Right now we are completing the charts together as a class as the students get used to the program.  Eventually, they will be doing this on their own.

As I mentioned before, there is also a writing component.  Each experiment comes with an essential question, which we answer at the end.  Here is our first one that we did (not much writing though):

Then last week, we did one on the towers that we built.  We incorporated a lot more writing into this one.   This was the start of it:

Again, we've done the first few together, but the students will become much more independent with this.  My students are loving science!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Too Tall Towers

Last week's science experiment was all about what materials make the tallest towers.  We discussed how a tower must have a wide-base in order for it to not tip over.  We came up with some important properties for towers such as; rigid, strong, solid, and tall.  Then we became engineers and created our own towers!

Some of the materials that the students were able to use included 2 paper cups, 2 pieces of cardboard, a straw, an elastic band, tinfoil and a popsicle stick.

Their towers were very unique:

Some got a little distracted and started "decorating" their towers.  We had gardens, draw-bridges and guards.  I quickly roped them back in and explained that we were trying to make the tallest tower, not the fanciest one!

I wish I could share the pictures I have of the students.  Their faces are priceless!  I caught some photos of towers as they were falling.  Luckily, there were no tears!

Monday, March 18, 2013

What's in the Box??

In my Five for Friday post last week, I mentioned that I got a box in the mail:

I LOVE getting mail.  Sometimes I order stuff just so I can have something to look forward to on my front steps!  The anticipation is just so exciting.
I was contacted by MPM School Supplies.  They asked me if I would go shopping in their store in exchange for a review.  My answer?  Of course!  Is there anything more exciting for an elementary school teacher than shopping for school supplies?!

The prices at MPM are so affordable.  They offered me $25.00 and look at all the stuff I was able to get!

My students love to play games in our classroom.  Luckily there are a lot of games involved in our math curriculum!  However, those dice?  They are LOUD!  I hear them bouncing across desks...onto chairs...and onto the floor.   Then I discovered these foam dice from MPM School Supplies.

 And they came in their own ziploc baggie for storage!

I have started hanging up my pocket charts on my {magnetic} whiteboards.  Pocket charts can be a tad heavy, especially when there are things in the pockets.  I've been using about 5 magnets per chart to hold them up.  I ran out of magnets!  So I searched for some magnetic hooks and I was pleasantly surprised with the colorful magnetic hooks:

Nothing says "elementary school" like some bright colors!  When they arrived, I couldn't wait to try them out.  Of course it was a Saturday and I was nowhere near school.  So I put it to the test with some household supplies.  I hung up my {very} heavy wintercoat and those things did not move an inch!

I will warn you, though, not to put them too close together.  I did...and then I couldn't get them apart!  They are that strong.  Husband to the rescue!

One thing that I use all the time in my classroom are lined notepads.  They are perfect for sending notes home to parents.  They are smaller than notebook paper so it's easier to store.  I am pretty picky, however, and I need to have lines on my notepads.  I found the perfect one from MPM!

I seem to have developed a new love for anything puppy related.  And how cute is this Paw Prints Notepad??  The website also has a lot of matching teacher supplies!

Magna Borders are my newest favorite teacher supply.  They are borders that are magnetic!  I bought them over the summer at another teacher store and covered my back wall in them.  I was missing a few feet, but I just used a desk to cover up the missing area.

Then I discovered that MPM had the same exact ones!  I was so excited!  My whole white board is finally covered!

The MPM website is extremely easy to use.  The search engine was my favorite part.  I was able to put in an item and the results were exactly what I was looking for.  The website is organized by department making it easy to find an item.  The shipping was free and quick!  My items arrived in less time than I thought -awesome!

Now here's a little treat for you!  10% off the first 10 orders!  Go grab this deal quick!!

Also, have you heard of Educents??

Starting on April 2nd, they will be featuring daily deals on education-related products for 30-90% off.  It reminds me of Groupon, but for educators!  Sign up today to get a $10 gift card!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Five for Friday {Linky}

It's Friday!!  Time to share my 5 most random pictures of the week.

1.  I got a box, I got a box, I got a box hey hey hey!  Stay tuned to see what's in the box!  There may even be a surprise for you in there...

2.  In attempt to hurry spring along, I decided to finally take down my winter decorations in my classroom.  Bye, bye penguins!

3. We did Acrostic poems this week.  Here is our class example (seriously, winter, go away!):

 4.  We made towers in science this week (I'll share more later!) and today we wrote about them as a class.  I love, love my projector and my Elmo!

 5.  Last Friday night, I went to Drink and Dabble with my friends.  The concept?  Drink a little and dabble with some paint.  Now, I have never painted in my life.  Ever.  The closest thing I've ever come to painting were those painting books that already had color, you just had to paint with water.  Remember those?  Anyways, I had a nice tall glass of Coca-Cola with lemon and came up with this:

What do you think??  I'm making my husband hang it up in the house somewhere.

How was your week?  Go share it with Doodle Bugs!


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