Friday, October 11, 2013

Five for Two Fridays!

So, I fully intended to write this post LAST Friday! It's hard to believe I let an entire week slip by without blogging at all, but it has been a crazy-busy couple of weeks!

So this might be a little bit more than 5 for Friday...more like the last two Fridays.


Two weekends ago, Killer B and I participated in the Color Run! I've included a before and after picture. It was actually a lot of fun! As far as 5ks go I'd have to guess that it is pretty laid back, but it has gotten me interested in looking into other ones to run in.


This breakout session was on the birth of
the universe. Pretty intense, and WAY
over the limit of what I would need to teach
my elementary students.
Last weekend I attended the PA Earth and Space Science Teachers conference. There's nothing like being paid to attend a conference and getting put up in a suite for free...but I really wish there had been more opportunities geared towards Elementary teachers. That being said, the keynote speaker was great, and he showed us a great activity for getting kids to understand what scientists do. 

These inquiry cubes are placed on the students' tables and they are asked, "What question comes to mind?" Well, of course the first question you think of is "What's on the bottom?" So the kids work together to try and determine what's on the bottom using the clues they gather from what's on the sides. We never got a chance to see the bottom (just like a real scientist will never see the inside of the Earth, or the first stars) but we were all pretty confident that we knew the answer. There were other ways to extend it too, like introducing "new technology" that lets you see one corner of the bottom of the cube. This might make kids revise their theories about what's on the bottom. It was a great activity, and I'm looking forward to using it in my classroom.


Still missing the chiller and the eggs! The foam covers it on
all sides all the time. I'm going to have my kids make some
signage for the front explaining the life cycle and telling
others to leave it alone!
I applied for, and received, a grant last year to participate in a program called "Trout in the Classroom." I've put a lot of work into getting the habitat ready for the eggs. My principal and head custodian were a HUGE help in the fact that I was able to get a sturdy rolling table to put the 55 gallon aquarium on in a nearby stairwell. This giant, green foam-covered monstrosity was kind of a safety hazard and frankly an eyesore. But, now that it has found a home outside of my room, but still nearby, I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when our trout eggs arrive in early November! There's still a lot of work to do, but hopefully I'll be releasing a bunch of baby trout fingerlings into a nearby stream next Spring.


We've been studying Biomes and Ecosystems, so I thought I'd share this funny video that my kids loved. They were singing along with it. From a strictly grammatical standpoint it is kind of funny, but this is science, not grammar...ha. Find the video here.


This week we've been reading Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger. This is a fun book that cashes in on the current popularity of mustaches, but it's also by the same guy who did Origami Yoda, which my kids love. I wrote a novel unit for it! Check it out!

Our CAFE strategy this week (using Fake Mustache as our text) was to "Read with emotion when appropriate." We're preparing for Fall parent conferences so I went with an easy one.  ;)  

Our VOICES strategies (Six trait writing - check out my free CAFE style menu!) this week were "Use interesting words" and "Use powerful verbs and adjectives."  To go with those strategies we read "Come On, Rain" with Jivey's Mentor Sentences, and then I read Crickwing to the kids.

With Crickwing, I have gone through and rewritten the first few pages and taken out all of the interesting words and powerful adjectives and verbs and replaced them with tired words. After the second page the kids have this look like, "What?!" on their faces. I stop reading and ask what's wrong. Before you know it we're launched into a mini-lesson about how impactful our word choice is to a story and why we should pick interesting and powerful words. Then I read them those first pages over again and they really see the difference. I read about half of the story one day, and the rest another day. This book also has a great anti-bullying message too!

Now I'm really looking forward to a weekend where I hopefully can balance having a little bit of a life with getting the work done that needs to be done! I have a full day of curriculum writing on Monday (and I'm missing my class's first field trip, Yikes! Sorry sub!) and this next week is a short week because we have two days of parent conferences at the end of the week! So maybe I'll get ahead of the game again...


  1. Congratulations on receiving the grant. I'm sure your students will love the "Trout in the Classroom" project. Have fun!

    Fit to be Fourth
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  2. I LOVE Crickwing! I will definitely have to try your strategy of replacing the words on the first couple of pages - great technique! Thanks for the awesome idea, Nick!

    Joy in the Journey

  3. congrats on the run! Keep looking for them! I just ran the marathon this past week and now I'm ready to get back out there.

    I've had fish in my room for a few years. not trout, but I had some bass and blue gills. I actually fished them out of a pond and brought them in to my 55 gallon tank. Those guys were great because they would eat live feeder fish all the time. We used to invite kids in, then we would turn off all the lights, turn on music, and sit back to enjoy the fun. Those fish were lightning quick and it was cool to see how they hunted.

    Good luck with yours. The kids will love it and have a ton of fun with it. Glad you found a tank big enough!



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