"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." ---Helen Keller

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fabulous Field Trip on Our Beautiful Coast

Fourth graders at Florosa Elementary are soooo lucky to have Mrs. King as their science teacher. She took students on a field trip that was not only educational, but oh so fun too!!! They visited Gulf Islands National Seashore on Okaloosa Island and studied first hand the environment around them. Many of the students admitted they go to the beach every weekend, but don’t pay much attention to what is right around them. We are so blessed to live here along the Emerald Coast. This field trip will probably make them take notice the next time they are at the beach.

Mrs. King spent a week last summer with the FMSEA learning how to set up an exploratory field trip for her students. After having a blast herself and her mind full of ideas, she came home and wrote a Target grant to fund her plans. She was able to pay for all of her supplies and transportation for three days, so that she could take each of the three groups she teaches on their own day. HOW FUN is that?!

Students were divided up into four stations with volunteers assigned to each group. Mrs. King said the volunteers were awesome! Each student had a clipboard, a hand lens,  and a mechanical pencil to take notes for each station. 
Look!!!! even a field guide book.

            One station had the students wading near the shore and taking turns pulling the seine net with partners, or using the dip nets to catch fish, crabs, and on one occasion an octopus.

Another station had students sifting sand and wading in the shallow water along the beach to identify living and nonliving things hidden in the sand. They found bristle (polychete) worms, small clams, small crabs, rocks, and shells.

A third station had students wearing gardening gloves and pulling apart clumps of oysters. They found copepods, worms, tiny fish, and crabs living in the cracks and crevices.

The fourth station consisted of using field guides and bug nets. The students identified plants and creepy crawlies living near the dune line.

Fun and learning was the word of the day. 
War Eagle!!! I couldn't resist:)

I can't wait until next year. I think this field trip is going to be calling my name!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NANOOZE ----science magazine

Here is a cool website for you and your students.  It is called NANOOZE. It is a compilation of articles, photos, and games all about the latest happenings in science and technology. I spent some time surfing around on it and found several interesting articles on the latest research in medicine.

The opening page...

Welcome to NANOOZE!

What is a nanooze (we say it....nah--news)?
Nanooze is not a thing, Nanooze is a place. A place to hear about the latest exciting stuff in science and technology. What kind of stuff? Discoveries about the world that is too small to see and making tiny things.

Nanooze was created for kids.
Inside, you will find interesting articles about recent discoveries and what it might mean for the future. Look inside and share nanooze with your friends.

It is definitely an intermediate resource. Scroll all the way to the bottom for a digital version of the magazine.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Space X launched today...

A Space X Falcon 9 rocket was launched into space today. Its mission ---to carry a Dragon cargo capsule to the ISS. It is historic, because it is the first commercially based rocket launch.

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off.

"We're now back on the brink of a new future, a future that embraces the innovation the private sector brings to the table," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "The significance of this day cannot be overstated. While there is a lot of work ahead to successfully complete this mission, we are off to a good start."

According to NASA today, Space X, short for Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif., proceeded through a flawless countdown. Liftoff from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida came at 3:44 a.m. EDT, just as the station was crossing 249 miles above the North Atlantic.

I am extremely excited to see us have the ability once again to send cargo to the ISS, but somewhat melancholy over the fact that it lacks the NASA tradition. I am still hoping that this means "better and more innovative". It is just that I grew up in an era and watched with anticipation each launch that made our country great and a world leader.

The cargo is 1200 pounds of supplies (mostly food and clothing) for the astronauts on board the ISS and experiments designed by students. Now, that is exciting.!!!! These experiments were submitted by students through a contest to have student experiments take place in microgravity. Talk about a real world laboratory.

Dragon capsule is lifted.
The Dragon Cargo Capsule

It is an uncrewed vessel that will be connected to the ISS via the robotic arm. It is scheduled to rendezvous with the ISS on Friday, remain there for three weeks, before being reloaded with supplies to come home.

Just writing about it gets me excited. I have to let myself move beyond the past... to look to the future.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quiet in School!!!

After posting about classroom management, I remembered this wonderful video from the 1950's. It is funny to watch, but there is some truth in it. Kids do need structure and a feeling of security.

Classroom Management

I am by no means an expert on classroom management, but after 29 years in the classroom, I can tell you there are some tricks of the trade you learn. I remember my early years of teaching strolling by classrooms hoping that a quick peek in the door might solve a problem I was encountering. From the outside looking in, it appeared as though... those teachers "had it altogether". I remember one in particular…. I just wanted so badly to go in her room and just be the “Fly on the Wall”, but of course when you are young and right out of college you don’t just go in a room where you don’t really know someone and ask them how do they do it. Several reasons probably keep  us from going in there…1) you are trying to present yourself as confident (after all you want to be hired back, 2) you generally ask those on your grade level that you working up trust with, and 3) for me it was that overall timidity. 

This particular teacher…Mrs. Butler was a picture of just wanted I wanted to be. Her students were perfectly behaved, and soooo attentive. Her classroom was neat, not overly fussy, but you could tell it was organized and a place that kids wanted to be. She was friendly, but she stayed on task at work (by no means the lounge lizard), so I would have had to march right in and ask her “the secret” to her success. I also heard parents saying how much they loved her. Many years later after she retired, she taught my daughter in Sunday School and I confessed how much I had loved walking by her room. She was ever so gracious. But I wonder how often we are fighting the same battles, and one of us is holding the key to fix the problem. Makes you wonder if we could all get over pride, timidity or whatever was holding us back and share more, what we might could accomplish?!.

Anyway, I thought I would share some of my favorite books on management that have guided me down the road. Life has changed in my years of teaching, and we definitely have to have more tricks up our sleeve than in the past. The world is fast moving and we have to really work at it to keep the kiddos attention.

One of my favorites is Dream Class by Michael Linsin. 

He has a website with an article a week that he has written over the past three years. I can honestly say just browsing his old newsletters would be great reading even if you didn’t buy the book. The book is great and you will get to know the author as well. I adjusted his three consequences with the clip chart. I am probably just too much a softie or pushover to be as dogmatic as his three consequences (hence, we always have to adjust things to work for us!).

Another of my favorites is the clip chart ebook, by Rick Morris. I really enjoyed the entire book, but I found through trial and error that I didn’t really want to go as far as he did with the rewards. I am a firm believer in that most of the kids are almost immune to trinkets this day and time. They all get so much of that stuff. A pat on the back, the glory of being at the top, a stand up and clap for them at the end of the day is just as effective. However, I did love the clip chart.

Here are photos of my clip chart.

Ron Clark’s, The Essential 55 is another top notch book, very common sense, but worth the read. He has a new one out that I have not read yet, but will this summer.
 The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules For Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child

I love Eric Jensen’s book, Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do about It…. It is packed with some wonderful stuff about children of poverty. What I really liked about this book is that he not only identifies poverty, but gives real solutions of dealing with it in the classroom. His website provides a newsletter as well. 
 Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It

Maybe these would make great summer reads to motivate you for the next school year.

And of course, just when you have one class all figured out, another class comes in that is completely different. They are made up of wonderful kids coming from so many backgrounds and such diversity. We have to remain diligent to our task to teach these children in spite of the negative press we teachers often receive. They are our future.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Writing Menu for Work on Writing with Daily 5

I got this idea from Melissa Forney's book The Writing Menu.

I created a writing menu each month to give students things to write about during Daily 5. This helped the student who had trouble thinking of something to write.

The following is an example.

Sample Writing Menu

I also made a "CAFE" type writing menu for target writing skills.
Third Grade Writing Targets