Thursday, May 12, 2022

Spring has sprung!

Today is a beautiful day and our district is shut down for utility issues.  It feels surreal.  Days off were historically cold snowy day.  Then we had periodic pandemic shut downs.  Not sure if I have ever had a utility issue day!  

I will take the blessing of a day to recuperate.  As a fellow teacher said - it is the universe saying that we need a BREAK.  What do I do today?  Travel, binge on netflix, clean, etc... I am starting with my blog, writing some thank yous, and helping my tween/teens with their rooms...we shall see how the energy bus goes.

So what is new?  I am one of 3 - CS for ALL Exemplary teacher of the year in Pennsylvania!


Here is some information about this award and process!  I will know the outcome in late JUNE.

CS for ALL

CS stands for Computer Science - so I am one of the top 3 Computer Science teachers in Pennsylvania!!

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Pumpkin Jack 


Pumpkin Jack sprouted and was replanted!  He is still thriving :)

   

  



Thanks to the Cadette Girl Scout Troop for helping with the re-planting!  

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Earth Day - another busy work day Earth Day happened at the school garden.  The big push was creating a butterfly/pollinator plant area!  It was a long wet morning with so much done!  





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Some of our STEAM fun lessons:


Kindergarten - Indi Cars, engineering centers, and more!  We borrowed the Indi cars from IU5 .  They were so cool and have so many possibilities.  They are part of the Sphero line - Indi cars
I would use them again!


 


 

 


1st grade has done some engineering and coding as well as working on bird kites - I will post about the kites when all the groups have finished!  The favorite choice was Tami's Tower about engineering!  



Second grade - learned about SPACE and NASA - it is always fun to explore new websites.  Plus we learned about Artemis.  

Plus Code.org...there is so much to explore on NASA's website!  Here is a link about Artemis and also NASA

Third and Fourth grade are doing electricity - we discussed Benjamin Franklin, the history of the light bulb, and the basics of circuitry.  They also used Little Bit kits as well as Snap Circuits. 

Here are a few pictures of the work in 3rd and 4th grade.  


 

  

     

     

Plus we 3rd grade learned about the Purple Martins.  I am learning along with them.  I need to clean out the nest and update the caller.

    




So much going on at this busy time of year...look for kite updates and more soon.



 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Crayon Day

 I was looking for some new ideas for STEAM lessons for my students.  I do repeat some favorite lessons but the last two years, we have not been in school in late March or near Easter time.  This left me looking for new ideas and inspiration!

I found this video with ideas Facebook event link

I quickly went to work figuring out what I wanted to create for the day...

Here is the 3 activities that we did and how they went:

Grade K - Watched the Crayon Man -  You can use this video below or this link - Crayon Man LINK


Then we peeled and melted crayons.  I found a cool tutorial on Instructables!
THESE WORKED SO WELL!


We also tested to see if crayons sink or float...most sank even in salt water!

Tie dye crayons, rainbow crayons, etc... were a huge hit.  Each got to keep 1 mini muffin crayon.  It worked except for 5 individual pieces that I just pulled out of the melted circles.  I had to pre make the 1st batch.  

The clean up wasn't too bad either.  I used up all our itty bitty old gross crayons in this process too!

Grade 1 - Listened to a classic Mr. Rogers video on how crayons are made from PBS.  Mr. Roger's video
Then we colored a classic crayon picture from Crayola.  Crayon coloring page

Grade 3 - learned about the history of crayons then upcycled crayons!    I also found the video on this link - Crayon History


I loved watching them creating, designing, and being creative with old broken crayons!

The set-up!

Beach

Basketball hoop

Crayon made out of crayons!

Person 

FLOWER!


Plinko GAME!

I LOVED THIS LESSON - I PLAN TO REPEAT THIS EVERY MARCH with 3rd grade :)

Saturday, March 12, 2022

STEAM fun

 One thing that STEAM has been missing for 2 long years is centers, group work, team effort, etc...

The pandemic has made me re-write my curriculum and keep thinking outside the box.  As mandates are lifted, student desks return to pods in classrooms, and more, I feel that I can start to do more and more collaborative activities.

Plus I am adding a new book study to my activities.  I tried one in the fall that just wasn't a good fit.  I found this new book through a group called PAECT (PA Association for Educational Communications and Technology).  Book Club information - PAECT Book Club  or direct link Book website

I have enjoyed the first 10-15 pages so far.  


Now back to what is going on inside the walls of the STEAM room.  First, PUMPKIN JACK!  Remember him from the fall?  It was featured in "Fall Fun".  Well, we have been watching and on Thursday March 3rd, a student in third grade spotted our first sprout!  Then this week, another sprout slowly emerged.  It was a great conversation this week.   I honestly thought it was dead and a failed science experiment, but if you search #pumpkinjack in Instagram - most are just starting to sprout too!

 
January 26

March 3rd - we have a sprout

Another angle

March 8 - added dirt and water

The life cycle continues!

Kindergarten has been learning about patterns LOOPS.  The lesson in Code.org was not meeting the students needs so we are using a Brain Pop Junior video.  It has been a technology heavy week with no pictures.  Last week, we read "Pattern Fish" and did a pattern worksheet.  This prepares them for the idea of loops.  Here is the video - and a link to the worksheet - Patterns


1st grade learned about the author Dr. Seuss on Brain Pop Junior.  Then made Dr. Seuss inspired patterns with Legos.  Then this week, it was a return to STATIONS!!  Yes real life organized centers for learning.  Our four stations were - Keva Planks (Engineering), Polyhedron Blocks (Engineering), Playdough (art), Pattern Block reflections (math)
Here are some fun pictures! 


  

Polyhedron blocks - book fair profit item!

Learning to create a reflection

More block fun!

Keva plank maze!




2nd grade has worked on a two week project called "Think Like an Engineer" from Sci Show Kids.  Week 1 is watching and listening then creating a PLAN.  Week 2 is construction then taking a video on Seesaw since they have to deconstruct their product.  They have to make a back scratcher with playdough, a fork, ruler, pencil, cardboard tube, and tape!

Here are a few examples:
     






3rd grade is working on Ozobots - both online and offline.  They are great for teaching debugging, problem solving, and creative robotics.  I need to update my markers for the offline portion, but have not done this yet!  The online portion was a challenge to get approved.  It ended up being a blessing in disguise.  Students now have access to a portal of activities not just one activity.  Plus, I added a video of Grace Hopper from Brain Pop.  You should google her and see how she changed the world of coding!  If you want to explore Ozobots online - here is the link!  Ozobots



4th grade is working on digital citizenship lessons embedded in Code.Org.  Week 1 was being a SUPER DIGITAL CITIZEN and week 2 was PRIVATE VS. PERSONAL INFORMATION!  Great conversations and very timely with students being online more and more!


   

Hope that you are inspired by our activities and see the variety of learning opportunities that occur in a STEAM classroom.  Look for more fun as the days getting warmer.  The garden is calling me!!!  Purple martins need attention!!!  So much more :)