Monday, December 31, 2012

First 12 Posts of 2012 Linky Party

Here's a fun linky party that Lorraine over at Fabulous 4th Grade Froggies has come up with! Take a look back to the beginning of 2012 and list your first 12 posts of the year.  After you create your post, add your link to Lorraine's post, then go visit the other links and leave comments!

1. Ironically, my first post for 2012 was a linky party!
Top 3 Posts for 2011 Linky

2. Spin, Roll, Slide
3. Flattening the Classroom Walls Through Skype
4. Our First Skype Session and What We Learned
5. Pristine Classroom vs. Environment for Independent Learning
6. Learning About Mardi Gras Via Skype
7. I Hereby Grant You Permission to Pin
8. Pros and Cons of Social Media in Education
9. Patterns, Patterns, Patterns!
10. Inspired by Eric Carle
11. Guest Blogger Kendal: Skype!
12. Blogging: How to Write an Amazing Comment

Friday, December 28, 2012

Sponge-Painted Poinsettias

Make these gorgeous poinsettia sponge paintings!
I have a wonderful friend, Brenda, who comes to my class occasionally to do art with my students. We don't have art at the elementary schools in our district and it is hard to work it in. Having a friend plan and teach these projects allows my students to experience art without adding more to my already overflowing plate! Thanks Brenda!

For Christmas we made these sponge-painted poinsettias. The idea came from Deep Space Sparkle. This is a great place to find all kinds of art projects! Brenda made a PowerPoint so the students could see all of the steps from start to finish.  It was a lot of fun and the paintings turned out fabulous!
Cut foam sponges into the shape of the flower petal.

Make 3 flowers in a diagonal across the page. 
Add dark green leaves using a smaller sponge cut in the same petal shape. Using a Q-tip, add yellow dots to the center of the flowers.
Paint the white areas with a glittery wash made by watering down lavender  paint and adding glitter.

Tasty Geometry

Learning about sides, vertices, edges, and faces is so much fun when we use marshmallows! We started by building 2-dimensional figures like triangles, squares, pentagons, hexagons, and octagons. From there, we built prisms and pyramids by adding more marshmallows and toothpicks. This is a great hands-on activity that allows the students to explore and compare the attributes of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes. Students will have to "visualize" the faces and they will also discover that they are unable to make a rectangle or rectangular prism because the toothpicks are all the same size. Small straws or stir sticks could be used to make these shapes. 

Let's Celebrate a Few Blogiversaries!

Brian over at Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings is celebrating one year of blogging by giving away one of his best selling items. Hurry on over and get the download!

Cynthia over at 2nd Grade Pad is giving away her whole TPT store!  Hurry and enter to win some really great products!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Project Announcement: Mystery Skype

Mystery Skype!

global logo.png HLWLogo.pngGVC_GSBI_LOGO.jpg
Mystery Skype is becoming a popular activity now that more teachers are using Skype in the classroom.  Mystery Skype is a great ice-breaker for classrooms. Students can guess each other's locations and then share about their countries, cities, schools, cultures, etc.  These initial contacts can turn in to year-long classroom relationships that will promote sharing and collaboration.

Earlier this week, I was chatting with a group of educators on Skype Instant Messaging, and we came up with idea of creating a place where teachers can sign up to make connections. Teachers who are new to global collaboration and Skyping will be able to find contacts who are located world-wide. The list also includes experienced teachers who are willing to share their expertise. 

This project is a collaboration between members of The Global Classroom Project, Hello Little World Skypers, and the Global Virtual Classroom.  Please complete the form on any of these sites. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Perfect Teacher Gift!

The Prefect Christmas Gift for the Special Teacher in Your Life!

I am not a fan of electric pencil sharpeners. They are noisy, messy, and they don't last very long. I have very strict rules in my classroom about pencil sharpening. My students are allowed to sharpen 1-2 pencils first thing in the morning before 8:00. They can also switch un-sharpened pencils with sharp pencils. The rest of the day is pencil sharpener-free.

That means I have to make sure our sharpened pencil can is always full. My old electric sharpener allows me to sharpen about 10 pencils before it heats up and stops. Now that I am using my Classroom Friendly Supplies Sharpener, I can sharpen enough pencils at one time to last several days! It comes with a mount that can attach to a table, counter top, or shelf so it stays put while sharpening. Best of all, it's VERY quiet! more frazzled nerves form the noisy electric pencil sharpener!

It's really easy to use too. Here is a how-to video:

Free shipping!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Interactive Thanksgiving Turkey

Susan Oxnevad created this turkey using ThingLink. This site allows you to make pictures interactive by adding links to pictures, videos, websites and more! Just click on the dots and you will be taken to Thanksgiving links!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Magnet Stations!

Today we spent some time in the science lab exploring magnets by making predictions, testing, and playing with magnets! We used ring, horseshoe, and several bar magnets of different strengths.

I love this science unit because magnets are so fun and engaging. The students were especially fascinated by the compasses and how they changed direction depending on where they put the magnet.  

I haven't used our science books for the past few years since our district adopted C-Scope. The exemplary lessons and resources are such and improvement over our 10 year old textbooks! There is nothing better than hands-on learning!

Station 1: Predict how many paper clips a magnet will pick up. Test the actual amount of paper clips a magnet will pick up.

Station 2:  Predict which items will or will not attract a magnet. Test which items will or will not attract a magnet.

Station 3:  Experience "Attract" and "Repel" by placing same and opposite poles together on different types of magnets. It was fun to watch the ring magnets dance!

Station 4:  Guide a paper clip through a maze using a magnet under the table. Only the strongest magnets worked for this one.

Station 5:  Explore magnets using manipulatives:  Soda bottle filled with cut-up pipe cleaners, a sealed plastic container filled with sand and iron filings, and compasses.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

T is for Turkey!

Looking for a cute and easy craft for Thanksgiving?  I have 2 wonderful friends that came and did a craft with my students today.  The idea came from a t-shirt on Pinterest.  It was an easy craft for my 2nd graders to do too!

1: Trace the parts using pre-cut templates made out of heavy cardstock
2. cut, arrange, and glue pieces to brown paper


T is for Turkey! on PhotoPeach

Monday, November 12, 2012

Good Morning Indonesia! Goodnight Texas!

I was just finishing up a session on GlobalEdCon and contemplating going to bed, when I got a message from one of my Skype contacts in Indonesia. It was morning there and her class wanted to Mystery Skype! I started out by giving them the clue that I was located in the Western Hemisphere. They quickly guessed Europe and Africa, but when I told them to go west, they guessed America! Unfortunately, they were unable to locate my state because they ran out of time.  Hopefully, we will be able to finish our session later this week!

I love that no matter what time of the day, there is always conversation and collaboration happening on the Global Classroom and Hello Little World Skype Instant Message board. The contacts I have made there have truly opened the world to not only my students, but also to me. I am not a world traveler, but over the past two years I have learned so much about other cultures and have come to appreciate global education in a way that I could never have fully understood without having involved myself in this global community of educators.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Teaching Geography and Mystery Skype

In second grade, we learn about maps by using worksheets with maps of neighborhoods, states, and countries. We also learn to use a map key and compass rose.  This year, I am taking this a step further by doing Mystery Skype sessions with classrooms around the world.  

During a Mystery Skype, students will ask questions and try to figure out the location of the mystery skyper. Mystery Skype requires students to use their map skills to quickly locate areas on the map. We use an atlas and start on the page with whole world. Once we have pinpointed the continent, we turn to the page where that map is located. Some classrooms, who have access to iPads or laptops, can find the location using Google Maps. 

After we find the mystery location, I put the school address in Google Maps and we zoom in and take a look at the street view of the location. This helps the students generate questions about the other school and extends the conversation.  

To find classes to connect with, just use the #mysteryskype hashtag on Twitter and you will find many educators who are looking for classrooms to connect with. You can also join in on the Global Classroom Mystery Skype Project. Educators around the world are seeing the value of this simple but powerful learning activity!

Here is a typical Mystery Skype session:

Clue:  We are north of Texas
Q: are you in Oklahoma?
A: no
Q: Are you in Kansas?
A: no
Q: Are you in S. Dakota?
A: no
Q: Are you in the United States?
A: no. Great question!
Q:  Are you in Canada?
Clue: We are East of Alberta
Q: Are you in Saskatchewan?
A: No, we are further east.
Q: Are you in Quebec?
A: No, we are west of Quebec.

Q: Are you near Hudson Bay?
A: Our province touches Hudson Bay
Q: Are you in Ontario?
A: YES!!!!
Class Response: WooHoo!
If you have further questions, please leave comment!