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May 30, 2014

It's Summer - and My Garage is FULL!

It's finally summer vacation.  My room is cleaned up, everything put away for the next 2 months.  I'm sure I have forgotten something in my cupboards that I will eventually wish I brought home.  Do you have access to your room over the summer?  We don't.  My little metal portable turns into an oven though, so maybe it's better that I'm not allowed to go in...  In my past districts I was in my room a lot over break, not being allowed to really does force me to relax.  

I did bring a couple of car loads of stuff though (broken up over the past week)... here's what's presently in my garage or sitting behind my dining room table:  

*Teacher Editions - I know what I'm teaching, but I still feel better if they are close at hand.
*Laminating Machine, sleeves, things to laminate, and things that are already done - just need student names.  I already had my home laminator, but for all the summer prep I like having both handy so it can go faster.

*Ear Buds to clean (didn't happen at school)
*My notebooks (Math Notes, Reading Vocabulary, Social Studies, Science, Language) - I always make a notebook with the kids.  This year I want to go through and type some of the notes so that I'm more ready for next year.  Maybe it will turn into a powerpoint that I can use to help walk my kids through the different pages next year, or maybe it will be for those slow workers that sometimes need a writing break.  I mainly want next year to go even smoother.   
*Binders - This past year I printed and prepped as I went along for my interactive notebooks.  This summer the plan is to have everything copied, and then the masters (and the printed sheets) to be in a big binder with sheet protectors.  I printed the copies half size, so when cut they will easily slide into the protectors.  I also am going to have a binder of just reading graphic organizers - everything I've created or bought all in one place for easy copying.  I really wish I would have thought of that years ago!  

*BTSN and First Week Papers - I probably could have left them at school, but then I won't remember that they are already copied.  I brought home a crate that eventually I'll fill with other class sets of papers for the beginning of the school year.  
*HW folders - I tried to get them all prepped this week, but I didn't finish.  My wonderful future teachers put in the sheet protectors yesterday, but there was NO TIME for me to slide in the papers.  This year we put in 4 protectors for double sided papers: CCSS I Can ELA/MATH Standards, Multiplication/Division Fact Practice, Monthly Reading Log/Spelling HW Menu, Multiplication Chart/Cursive Alphabet.   
*Sharpies, Popsicle Sticks, Sheet Protectors, and Dicuts - Every year I almost forget them, and every year I'm always itching to get some random projects done.
*Anchor Chart Paper - I brought home one pack so I can start to prep the beginning of year ones.

I want to thank my fans over on IG and FB.  I was reminded about the anchor chart paper this morning!  

Hope you had a great day!  I think we are going out for dinner in a little bit, my students spoiled me with gift cards. :)  

May 29, 2014

Future Teachers (Helping Prep for Summer and Next Year)

Every year I can pinpoint the kids that will someday make great teachers.  They are always wanting to help do the prep work, the not-always-fun work.  I LOVE having them help.

Usually at the beginning of the year I have to "test" their abilities.  Some kids need specific jobs, some need more training than others - but it's always nice to be asked.  During this final week of school when we have been having a lot of fun, I have a running to do list on the far right of my whiteboard with odd jobs that students can help me with.  They love to help!

Jobs that are perfect for future teachers (or any kids that really want to help prep for summer):

*Cutting out laminated task cards

*Finding all the random staples on the walls and/or pushpins

*Laminating (using a personal size laminator) or prepping things to be laminated

*Sharpening pencils for NEXT year

*Inserting sheet protectors into NEXT year's HW folders

*Gluing on NEXT year's Whole Class Writing Journals

*Inserting binder covers into NEXT year's binders

*Organizing the class library to make it neat, tidy, and everything in the correct place

*Pumping up the basketballs

*Organizing the math manipulative drawers

*Putting all the sheet protector games back into their specific binders

*Tearing off tickets to put in the ticket jar for NEXT year's class

*Cleaning off student whiteboards

*Testing the class markers and pens to throw out old ones

*Hole punching materials to be put into binders

I'm sure there are more, but at the moment my brain is pretty fried.  4 hours 20 minutes until Summer!

May 28, 2014

Candy Science Experiments

Sweet Science: Simple Experiments with Candy

Today my class did the Science Candy Experiments from Stay and Play and they LOVED it!  It was pretty easy to set up, and I planned to do 8 of them.  I love how the task cards explained the reasoning behind the experiments - not going to go into all that detail in this post, just know that it's all on the cards.  We don't have access to a microwave, hot plate, or hot water - so I didn't do those ones.  

I'm also in a portable that does not have water access, so I lugged in 3 containers of water to use for all the experiments.  I only used 2 for the in class experiments, but needed the 3rd to hose down the cement after the Mentos explosion.  I also pulled out plastic cups, bowls, spoons, and paper plates, and we reused them when possible.  Sorry I didn't take pictures - it was kind of nuts setting them up and then monitoring.... not nuts in a bad way - just so engaging!  

Here's what we accomplished and my shopping list:

#1 - Pop Rocks
Pop Rocks Candy
My own boys still had lollipop pop rocks that the Easter Bunny brought (but they hadn't eaten and had no interest in eating) so I used those for the experiment.  The kids worked in groups to hover over a plastic cup full of water.  The kids took turned dipping the lollipop, watching the bubbles, and hearing the crackling noise.  They also thought it was cool how the water turned the different shades of pop rocks, and the entire room smelled like candy.     

#2 - Wintergreen Lifesavers
LifeSavers Mints, Wint O Green - 50 oz bag
My room doesn't get super dark (even with the lights off, blinds closed, etc) so the kids sat under their desks and watched each other's mouths as they chewed the lifesavers with their mouths open.  Each kid participated... one package was enough for my entire class  It was gross to watch, but the room smelled minty.  Not everyone saw the sparkles, but most kids did.  It might have been something with how big their partner opened their mouth.  

#3 - Skittles
Skittles Original Bite Size Candies, with Green Apple - 14 oz bag
Each group received a paper plate with the 5 colors of Skittles.  They placed them on the plate, making sure they weren't close together.  Then they took a clean cup of water with a spoon to add little drops of water on top of the candy.  The outside candy shell dissolved into the drops of water, turning them into different color dyes.  I took out some coffee filters from my cupboard, and they added the dyes to the different sections of the filter, then stuck the corner of the filter into the cup of water to make the colors blend together.  It was tie dye!  

#4 - Starbursts
For this experiment each kid received a square of Starburst, which they unwrapped and stuck into a bowl of water (each group shared the same bowl of water).  Over recess the candy sat in the water, and then afterward they came back to take it out to mold it into different shapes.  Most had to add pressure and heat to form the different shapes, but they were all able to stretch it.

#5 - Pixie Sticks
With Pixie Sticks the kids worked in teams (using the same plastic cups and spoons from the Skittles experiment), and dumped the Pixie Stik in the water.  They swirled it around to make it dissolve, then I added a spoonful of baking soda.  They were pretty amazed about the bubbles it produced.  We had a good talk about acidity and the reaction of any acid with baking soda.  

#6 - Chocolate Mini Bars
My teammates thought I was a little crazy wasting candy bars on this experiment, but it really was only 4 mini bars.  I filled 4 cups with the same amount of water and the kids predicted if the candy would sink or float.  I unwrapped each of the candy pieces and gave them a little squeeze before dropping them into the water (cracking the chocolate shell).
What happened?
Twix - sunk
3 Musketeers - float
Milk Way - sunk
Snickers - sunk
Then we had a little talk about why they thought only one floated and the kids came up with the marshmallow and all the air pockets inside the 3Musketeers must be the reason.  My little scientists...

#7 - M&Ms
The M&Ms was my favorite experiment of the day.  The kids worked in partners, each team with a cup of water.  They got situated around the room and put their cups in a safe place.  Then I went around and dropped in a single M&M.  The lettering was face up so they could watch.  Within a couple of minutes all the candy shell had dissolved, and the letter "M" had floated to the top.  The kids were SOO excited to see the floating "M".

#8 - Mentos and Diet Coke
Mentos Candy Rolls - Mint: 15-Piece Box
After lunch we had our final experiment.  My husband came to visit and he so nicely dropped the Mentos into the Diet Coke (and then ran backwards).  I love him!  The kids oohed and ahhed, and then wanted to do it again (but I had only brought enough for one explosion).  I did check the direction the wind was blowing, and the kids sat pretty far back so they wouldn't get wet.  Then we took that extra jug of water and hosed the area so it wouldn't be sticky later on.  

All in all it was a great day! 

Here's what I got on my shopping trip for my 31 kids-
Mentos - 1 package (only used 4 of them)
Diet Coke - 1 Two Liter bottle
Skittles - 2 packages - only needed 1 1/2 of it
M&Ms - 1 package - only used half of it
Lifesavers - 1 bag - still had leftovers, each kid had 1
Starbursts - 3 packages, had a couple left over, each kid had one
Pixie Sticks - grabbed 5 (one per table) out of my own kids' Easter candy stash
Pop Rocks - used 3 packages (3 lollipops each package) - used per team
Chocolate Mini Bars - only needed 4 little mini bars, different kinds
**Also brought in baking soda and pulled out coffee filters.

  1 and a half day left until Summer Break!