All About: Science!

Happy Saturday!

Today I’m going to take a bit of time to discuss science teaching that I have been doing. I am now entering my third month of full time student teaching. I am finishing out my time in the science/math fourth grade class before transitioning back to ELA.

For our teacher prep program we are expected to create and teach a unit–no big deal right? Well most of my cohort is teaching social studies. In our placement district, social studies can only be taught at the end of the third marking period and fourth marking period, so they have a bit more time to plan and carry out their units. I however, am in the midst of finishing up my science unit! I spent a good portion of my winter break planning and prepping this unit and boy, is it a relief to be almost finished.

My unit is on weather and climate and my students are rocking this unit! I started out the unit with a pre-test to gain some baseline data about what they did or did not know about weather. I will give the same test–with a few added questions–at the end of the unit (aka THIS FIRDAY!).

Topics we have covered include:

  • What is the difference between weather and climate?
  • What do climatologists and meteorologists do?
  • Where are different storms (tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and blizzards) found, what are the dangers, and how are they formed?
  • Land vs Sea Breezes
  • Fronts
  • Convection Tube Investigations
  • Water Cycle
  • Clouds
  • Hurricane Katrina

All we have left is a guest visit from a local meteorologist, our mini lesson on Hurricane Katrina, a review day, and the final assessment!

*PAUSE for a hot second*

My students were not alive for Hurricane Katrina. This is insane to me. The were all born a year later.

*UNPAUSE*

I am so impressed with my students. This unit had a great deal of group work with our investigations and my students were able to work well with their assigned science groups and with randomized groups. I think that they enjoyed some of the things we worked on, especially the punk stick inquiries where we were able to view the convection process happening, playing catch with the world to show the ratio of water to land that covers Earth, creating a weather forecast and presenting to the class, and finally making clouds out of cotton balls. When we finished our cotton ball cloud activity I had two students who normally don’t participate in class or stay engaged for even half a lesson come up to me and say thank you for planning such a fun activity. I took a look at their clouds after school, and it was some of their best work!

I really hope that when I gain a permanent teaching position I am able to teach a weather unit!

Do you have a favorite unit to teach? It doesn’t have to be science related. Comment below! Sorry this post was basically me rambling…but I hope you enjoyed!

-O

 

 

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“No Candy” Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is approaching this week! On Tuesday boys and girls everywhere will be handing out cards and sweets treats to their classmates. Couples everywhere will be celebrating their love.

This year at my student teaching placement, we are passing out Valentines on Tuesday on the “real” day, but having our Valentine’s Day party on the 16th as this is the last day before our long President’s Day weekend.

I spent part of last weekend and this weekend making Valentines for my students. I have 42 students, so this can be time consuming. This year I decided that there is enough candy being passed around, so I wanted to give my students a candy-less treat.

On Pinterest, I found a wonderful idea! See image below:

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I found packs of 16 bubble tubes with little hearts on the top at Target. They are the Spritz party brand. I then printed the tags, wrote my name, and used ribbon to tie the tag to the bubbles. I bought an extra pouch of the bubbles as well to add to my prize box!

I can’t wait to see my students’ reaction to their treats. What is a Valentine’s Day tradition you have or what is your favorite Valentine you’ve ever received–comment down below.

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!

-O

 

All About: Student Teaching

Wow! It’s been a little over two months since I began my “pre-service” student teaching. I’ve been going to my placement twice a week since my students started school at the end of August. When I return after winter break in January, I will be working with the same students and mentor teachers but I will be there everyday of the week!

But a bit more about my placement: I am working with two wonderful 4th grade classes & their teachers are my mentors. The elementary school I’m placed at is a K-5 building and is very local to my university so I will be staying here next semester (unlike many of my classmates and friends). At this school, the fourth grade departmentalizes which means that out of the two classes, one teacher teaches English/Language Arts/Reading & the other teaches Math/Science. For the first seven weeks of this fall semester, I was placed in the ELA classroom. I have just recently switched over to the Math/Science class for the remainder of the semester and for the first 8 weeks of next semester. There is also a co-student teacher from my university who is in the other 4th grade class when I’m not there.

One of my first lessons in this new class was a science lesson highlighting the Engineering Design Process and working with circuits. This was the first time that I had ever taught a science lesson that was longer than a day or two. I taught this during the full week I was in the school–last week. It went very well I only taught one of the classes as my co-student teacher taught the other class.

I also am already planning my first full unit for after January. It is all about weather and climate. I’m excited to plan some exciting, interactive activities for my kiddos to do. I’m thinking of having a “meteorologist” each day and one student will help record the weather data and then at the end of the week we’ll average the temperature and look at the trends throughout the entire unit. Was it getting colder or warmer? Did we have any snow? How much? 

I really enjoyed helping to start the first writing unit when I was in the ELA room and I look forward to going back in the spring and helping with writing again and book clubs.

I’m really thrilled with my placement & I’m excited to get on with next semester!

If you’re student teaching right now, tell me what grade/classes are you teaching? Do you love it!?

-O

 

 

Spook-tacular Boo Pops!

Happy Halloween! (okay this is late….sue me)

This year Halloween fell on a Monday. It also happened to fall on the first day of my first full week of student teaching. I’ve been in the classroom for the past ten weeks on Tuesdays and Thursdays in 4th grade. But this week we are at our placements for the full week to give us an idea of what “real student teaching” is like. My students had a Halloween parade on Friday afternoon which I unfortunately couldn’t attend as I had my block classes during that time but I thought I would still make them a special treat for Halloween.

I decided on what I’ve dubbed as “Boo Pops”. They are lollipop ghosts!  These were so simple to make which was awesome because I had to make enough for two classes ( I actually ended up making 50 total to give to other student teachers/paras).

Materials: Lollipops, tissues, ribbon, sharpie

All you do is wrap the tissue around the top of the lollipop and then hold it in place with a ribbon. I chose orange and black for “halloween colors”. Then I took a black sharpie and drew eyes on the ghost.

My kiddos loved them–I passed them out to both classes while they were away at special. Two of my students however don’t celebrate Halloween, so I just gave them the lollipops! I realize this is controversial and some might say I shouldn’t do anything for the holiday then, but these two students understand and so do their families and were happy to still be included in the candy count!

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But in my opinion, THANK GOODNESS Halloween is over. Let’s get on to Thanksgiving!!

I hope everyone had a spooktacular day….

-O