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Showing posts from January, 2018

How to Make 💩 a Hands on Digestive System Lesson

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Middle Schoolers love gross and fun (so do I). This Poop Lab modeling brings all of that together in one amazing hands-on lesson, that they will never forget!







My 7th graders need to know the digestive system function, and the organs that aid in digestion. This lab uses all the primary organs of digestion, and the digestive juices from the secondary organs. I usually have the students do a writing activity based on the digestive system, a few days before the lab to lay a foundation. That assignment prepares them for the quickness of the lab.  The most time consuming part for the teacher is prepping the lab. I have learned to have students help. Together we can complete the lab set up in 10 minutes. Alone it takes me over an hour to set it up.

For set up, each group gets a station with all of the materials. You can see below what I use for each organ. In addition to those materials, you will need a sandwich. I use white bread and refried beans. This ends up looking like ja peanut butter …

How to Turn Learning Science Vocabulary into a Colorful Project

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If there is one thing that science has a lot of it is vocabulary.  I teach 7th and 8th grade science, and the amount of vocabulary words I cover is massive. My first year of teaching, I gave out vocabulary sheets to help the students learn the words. Boring I know, but I thought it was the only way.  My second year, I  created games online to help the students study. This year, I thought of a new way to help the students learn vocabulary by creating their own colorful booklet. They still get the handouts and online games, but now they create a visual on their own. Below I will tell you the steps I use to make these awesome vocabulary projects.


1. Make a list of all the words you want the students to know for the topic. I create my list of words by looking at the state department's standards for science. As I read through the standards, I write down a list of all the vocabulary words I will need to cover. For my classes, I bulk the words together by test.

2. Open a new Google Doc o…

How to Do Flexible Seating on a Budget

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When I decided I wanted to incorporate flexible seating in my classroom, I needed to figure out how I was going to do it. I was still a first year teacher, and I was not going to be able to cover the cost of it one my own. In this blog, I am going to tell you how I did flexible seating on a budget.

1. Share the good news. The first thing I did was send out an email to all the parents. I let them know what flexible seating was, why I was doing it, and the kinds of things I was looking for. I received so many donations from parents! I ended up with bean bags, a small table, rugs, papasan chairs, and chair cushions. This just lit the fire in me to do this even more, and I was so blessed to have the support of the parents. Number 1 make sure that you let people know what you are doing, why, and what kinds of things you may want donated if they have them.

2. Thrift stores. I started thrift store hopping. I decided to do flexible seating in May, but I didn't want to fully incorporate it…

How to Use Screencastify and Edpuzzle in the Classroom

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I am currently on my third year teaching. My first year I discovered how much teachers have to work just to be out. Whew! I had a Sub Tub, but the materials in it were not on the content the students were currently learning. I was stressed just to be out, because I didn't want to lose days on my
content. My second year, I started looking into flipping my classroom. I noticed while researching, that I could take those tips and apply it to sub plans. LIFE SAVER!

My second year, I started using Screencastify to record the screen on my computer. This program records my lesson on the screen, and my voice as I teach. After doing that, I would type up a worksheet for the students to do while they watched the video. Then, I would attach it to a post in my Edmodo Classroom, and BAM! My plans were complete without having to go to my classroom.

I started realizing that the students were not watching ALL of the lessons. They were just skipping around to find the answers to the worksheet. Ag…

The Positive Reinforcement Classroom for Middles

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I remember being in 1st grade and having the behavior wall. It had all these little card holders, each one had a students name on it. The inside of each card holder had three cards green, yellow, and red. Each day we started with our cards on green. If it was still green at the end of the day, we got a star sticker to put on it! However, if we had a behavior issue we switched our card to yellow, and then red. At any time during the day, we could see who the "good" students were, and who the "bad" students were. At the beginning of each day, by looking at the stickers, we could see who the "great" students were. I loved this when I was in first grade!  Now, as a teacher who knows that all kids are good kids, I hate it.

I really started to find out how much I did not like negative reinforcement during my undergrad time. I went into some schools that only focused on the negative; stop talking, pay attention, keep your hands to yourself. Finally, my last plac…

Pros and Cons of Flexible Seating (Mainly Pros)

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I incorporated flexible seating during my second year of teaching. My first year, the classroom was so cramped I usually walked across the tables to move around. You can see the amount of space it had in my before picture, to the left. Near the end of my first year, I read article after article about flexible seating. I also asked other teachers, in my PLN, about it. Then, the following summer I completely redid my classroom. Now, it wasn't a Fixer Upper style remodel, but it made me just as happy. Below, I will share the pros and cons of a year and a half with flexible seating. *I also used this during state testing, and it was not a problem.




Pros

1. Space. I had so much new space to work with. I felt like I could actually manage and move. I have a very student led class, and I need to be able to get to each student. Flexible seating made this possible, and made me love my job even more. It also gave the students more room to move, and find better spaces to work on projects/labs.