Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Oregon Trail: We're Hungry!

Hey everyone!

My students don't want our unit to end and thankfully we still go until January with it. We've had some wagon misfortunes, close calls, and a lot of fun!

I decided since one of the wagon's oxen died, we had a grass fire, and the whole wagon train came down with measles, we need a pioneer fun day. After all, pioneers knew how to have fun too!

Hopscotch in the class!

Cat's cradle, taught by a student expert :)

Using technology to figure out how to make an old fashioned doll. Past and present collide!

End result! 

Then we learned some more things and we kept coming back to chores from the past compared to today's chores. The kids were loving this topic, so I decided to surprise them with a fun day last week. We mad our own butter! I've seen a few variations of the recipe, but here is what I used.

 I spread a checkered cloth down, had some "hardtack" (aka saltines) and some beef jerky. My lantern added a nice touch!

Students shook for a minute, passed it to the next person, and repeat. We shook for about 20 minutes  (we did use heavy whipping cream, so it may be why it took that long).

End results :)

Kids spread some butter on their crackers and nibbled on jerky. They declared it to be the best butter ever! Then they remember Little House on The Prairie put carrots in the cream to make it orange, after one student asked why ours was so white. Though their butter was completely formed, they scraped in carrots that happened to be the school snack that day (fate?!?!?) and shook and colored their butter. So much fun! I love bringing realia into the classroom. Hands-on makes the learning more memorable. 

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Oregon Trail: Our Journey Begins

Hey everyone!

We began our journey on the Oregon Trail and my kiddos have loved it from the first minute. It makes me thrilled that we expanded this unit into January and give a bigger amount of time of how our state was really developed from this big moment.

Now I love getting into character, especially at the start of any new social studies or science unit. This lent itself beautifully for me; pioneers are a topic I have been obsessed with since I was a little girl. I even dressed up as Laura Ingalls one Halloween.

I started this unit last week. We had Monday off for teacher in-service and Tuesday, the kids learned about Oregon Trail propaganda. I tried to entice them with the "land of milk and honey" poster and a "cooked pigs run free" stuff, but they wouldn't fall for it. They couldn't believe some people headed to Oregon just because of those posters!

They came in Wednesday morning to see me dressed in a bonnet and apron and my trading post ready to go. Toss in some fiddle music in the background, a southern accent (yes I know we started in Missouri and they don't have that accent, but it was about being a different character!) They called me ma'am and I called them sir and ma'am and we had fun. That was until they were told they were at my trading post to go to the Oregon Trail and they now had 20 minutes to decide in wagons (table groups) what to spend their $1,000 on and that it had to be 2,400 pounds or less. 

Intense discussion and agreements going on. Each table/wagon was so into it!
I loved the math talks I heard going on, "Six people with 30 pounds each is 180 pounds. We can afford it too."

This wagon group finished early, so they taped out an approximate size of the wagon, 4 x 10. "Hey Ms. T, that's an area of 40 sq ft.!" Oh a little more math in social studies? Oh yeah!

Sitting in the wagon is a popular thing now in the last week lol.

We're an IB school so I like having it laid all out there for them and myself to refer too. 
Our first key question actually got us talking about the migration happening in Germany right now with refugees.

 The next day they came into class and we had this map and wagon ready to go.

Then on Friday we picked pioneer names and got journals/diaries ready to go. They were so excited!

They loved my pioneer name and journal.

 Yesterday was the best though. We had a wagon council meeting, because on Monday, fates hit them hard. We had sick oxen, fire problems, and some food issues already. I rolled some construction paper, cute flames, threw in some electric tealights and my assistant wrapped tissue boxes in paper for rocks/bricks.

Turn off the lights, put on fiddle music, and project the prairie and it was a fabulous meeting. The pic above has the kids warming their hands :)   We discussed our wagon train business, decided to set up camp for the night, I read by lantern a few pages from an Oregon Trail book, and our time was up already!

I can't wait for the rest of journey to unfold and will definitely keep you posted as we travel along the Oregon Trail!

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Bringing Science Back With KitHub

Hey everyone!

My kiddos love science and they love creating things, so enter KitHub. KitHub has several kits that you can get and then let the kids have fun (while being safe and follow instructions).

My creative Electronics kit came in the red toolbox.

 Loving the photo directions and step by step. Even my lower readers would be able to follow this.
 Here is what was in my kit. Safety goggle too! In the green bag was stuff for building the bots.
One activity is taking apart the solar flower to see what makes it work.  Kids enjoy seeing how things work and being able to take it apart and put it back together helps them make sense of their world.

 Here are I have the bot bot pieces.
Simple motor attached and ready to test!

My dad actually made this, because why should science be limited to just kids, right?

KitHub has lesson plans that come with these kits, several kit choices and different grade levels, and are a great company! These kits are electronic kits for children, designed by STEM experts. 

**I was sent this kit by KitHub for a review. All opinions are my own>**

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

You Are That Difference

Hey everyone!

I had the complete intent of writing a different blog post today, but felt compelled to write another one.

There's a little kinder kiddo that I've noticed at school. Cute little guy, full of energy, yet quiet at times. I've noticed him spend lunch several times in the office. I jumped to the conclusion that this kiddo must be quite the character if he has spent so much time in the office.

Today as I was finishing up lesson plans for next week, I saw a streak of red run past my portable window, accompanying the thuds up the ramp. I peered outside to see our little friend run and hide by the bushes of my portable, a quick glance at me as he ducked further. I first thought he was part of after school club, but nope, no one was looking for him. Except then came my assistant principal and I pointed in my little friend's direction.

She went to one side of the bush and I the other. After a "You can't catch me!" and then him deciding he'd go in the school after all, I just went back to my business. I later found out that he did not want to leave the school. Home life...well... School is his sanctuary. His teacher, the specialists, the admin, they are his lifesavers. You may not know the impact you make in a child's life, but believe me, you are making a difference to someone. You may not know their background, or understand why they behave certain ways. I shouldn't have judged so quickly, not knowing his full story.

I can tell you for sure, that any time I ever see him in the hallway or anywhere at school, I will say hi and smile. I will look him in the eyes and let him know that he is cared for, even if he isn't my student yet. My school believes that we are all in this together, a team no matter what grade you are. I want him to know that there are many people that are here for him if he needs us.  Just a smile can make the difference. YOU are the difference.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Learning Targets and Essential Questions

Hey everyone!

Today I'm sharing about math and language arts learning targets from Carson- Dellosa.

I received a box for grade 4 and love that I can switch to essential questions or "I can" statements (which I'm required to use). Sometimes I can't think of the exact math or reading standard I want to write, so these are helpful in this case. 

On one side are the I can statements and the standard written in the corner.

 On the other side, there is an essential question, also the standard written in the corner.

 I really love that you can organize the standards with tabs, it's already come in handy!
You can fit the cards in pocket charts, or if you have a whiteboard spot like me, I like clipping the targets to a magnet.

These learning targets have already made my life easier and saved me time from writing them out!

Review Disclaimer: I participate in the Brand Ambassador Program for Carson-Dellosa and have received this product for free to review.

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

First Day Photo Booth

Hey everyone!

We've settled into the swing of things at school, as we get ready to start our third week.My class has been working hard with place value, learning about Oregon Native Americans, and writing narratives.

Flashback to the first day of school. I wanted to rev up our first day with a photobooth and the kids loved it!

I just found some props on line and cut them out. Super simple. Grabbed some dowel sticks and taped them on.

They stood in front of the frame with the hashtag in the back.

By far my most favorite pic ever!!! Mustache man haha!

I printed out their pictures and put them in both of the black framed cabinet doors. The kiddos look at them and smile all the time.

It was an easy thing to do, took only a few minutes for pictures, and the kids will definitely remember the first day of school!

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Friday, August 28, 2015

Classroom Reveal 2015-2016!

Hey everyone! I am ready to reveal my 4th grade classroom to you! I kept meaning to bring my nice DSLR camera but forgot, so there are some darker pictures, but you'll get the picture (pun intended!).

 We are an IB school, so we have to have the traits and attitudes displayed. The one on the left I made and the one on the right I got from TpT.

 We also want to start using the 7 habits. 

 My still in progress area behind my desk. I'm loving have the M-F tubs though!

 My little corner. 

 The front of my room. The empty space is our meeting area.

 My objectives board with magnetic strips from Teacher Created Resources. My school uses math strategies from the Teacher Development Group and then I made my own accountability bubbles.

 Student display with clothespins from last year. Black and white rug from TJ Maxx.  My I wonder wall and "Read all about it" display.

 IB science/SS wall ready for student work and my temporary book boxes until mine come in from back-order!

 Storage bins from Walmart.

 Student resource area and paper turn in.  Evidence posters from Leslie Ann.

 Favorite part of my room, my vocabulary board/library. Already have my currently reading books posted. Ikea lamp and frame.

 My library that I absolutely love! Black bins from Walmart, green bins from Dollar Tree. Rug and pillows from Walmart and map pillow from Target. 

 Nonfiction section and book recommendations box.

 My series books. Don't worry, I wiped down the top of the bookshelf and taped up the Junie B. Jones box after this picture!

 My fiction and genre section. Signs from Marshalls and TJ Maxx.

 Quotes from books.

Lantern from Dollar Tree and bunting made by me.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my portable classroom. I tried to make it feel like a calm, homey place. My students that came to meet the teacher absolutely adored it and went straight for the library which made my heart melt!  Can't wait for the rest of my kiddos to see the room on Monday, our first day back!

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