Saturday, November 28, 2015

My new spin on notes

Every year I struggle with how to give notes to my students.  I have tired giving students cloze notes, cornell notes, no guides, key word keys and full copies of the notes.  I try to think about the grade level I'm teaching and focus my note plan on that.  Especially with my high school students I really want to teach them the skill of note taking, but then I think back to college and remembered that many of my teachers posted their slides.  I know that was almost 10 years ago, but I'm sure that things have progressed since then and most professors are posting their notes.  So this year, I am trying something new with my 10th and 11th grade chemistry students.  I plan on giving them the slides, but not the full set.  Some slides I include for emphasis or illustrative purposes.  I don't feel that I need to print those slides, but I will encourage students to take additional notes if they would like.  In addition, I will often have problems worked out on my slides to give the solution to a problem.  The student version on the notes don't have the answers filled in so that they can solve the problems themselves.

Click here for an  example of what I'm going to try.  You can see my teacher copy with the full notes and the student copy.  I am going to print out the slides for them in the notes format so that students have room to take some notes.  I also made sure to label each packet with the unit name.  I keep it simple; so for this measurement unit I will call each packet Measurement 1, Measurement 2......  I know that students don't always keep things organized, so if their papers get out of order at least they will know which papers are from which unit.

What are you methods for giving notes?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Freebie for my Fashion Forward Teaching Friends

Hey teacher friends! I know I usually share science classroom tips with you, but this something that I've fallen love with and wanted to share it with you! While teacher manicures might not be traditional teaching tips, I feel anything that makes you feel better about yourself, looks professional, and won't break the budget on a teacher's salary is a great tip. :)

Plus, you have a stressful job! The simple step of taking care of you can not only make you feel better about yourself, but will also translate when working with others and even teaching in the classroom.

In case you haven't heard about Jamberry Nails, they are the newest trend in DIY manicures!

They are special adhesive-backed vinyl that "shrink wraps" to your nails when heat and pressure are applied - and that part is super easy too!

You only need a few items that you probably already have sitting at home!

I wasn't sure about them, but when another teacher blogger offered a free sample (get yours here) I figured I had nothing to loose. After trying them I knew I loved them.  I love having my nails done, but hate dealing with chipped nail polish. I actually HATE painting my nails most of the time because I hate the smell, the dry time, and they tend to last for about 2.3 seconds until they chip on my hands.

But Jamberry was different!  I had a gorgeous manicure that lasted about 10 days on my hands (although some people are able to get up to 2 weeks of wear). When I tried them on my toes they lasted well over a month.

There is no dry time, no smell (they aren't made of polish like other nail strips), and there are over 300 different designs!

I know that you are wondering about getting a sample for yourself.  Click this link and request one right away!

I know living on a teacher's salary can tough, so if I come across a product or opportunity to help - I honestly want to help. It might not be for you, but you can always try a sample to see if you are addicted as much as me. lol!

Have a wonderful school year and stay stylish!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Powtoon $10 Million Dollars of Classroom Accounts Giveaway

I have mentioned PowToon before, but in case you missed it PowToon is a way to create short animated videos. It's a really simple way to introduce things to your students or at a presentation. Well PowToon is Giving Away $10 Million Dollars of Classroom Accounts for The New School Year. All you have to do is go this link and create an account.

This won't last for long, so hurry up and sign up today!

This post also appears of my Educational Technology Blog - The Tech Savvy Science Teacher

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Density of Pennies

This past week my chemistry students completed the Density of Pennies lab.  The one that I used in very similar to this one found here.  We have been working on our first unit which was measurement.  This lab was to help students with the calculations and measurements involved in density.  In addition, I added in a significant figures component as my students struggle with this every year.  If you are looking for a good lab to start the year off with I think that this is a good one.  The hardest part if finding enough pennies (especially the ones pre 1982).

What are some your favorites Chemistry labs? 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Looking for some new science teaching resources? (Giveaway alert!)

Although I am already back in school, I know that some of you are just going back next week.  I am always filled with great enthusiasm at the begining of the year and love having new ideas to try with my students.  I am hoping that one of my products will help you out.  I am giving away a product from my store.  You can check out my stores here (I have a few). Teacher Pay Teachers, Teacher's Notebook, Syllabuy
The giveaway ends on Tuesday, so enter now! :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Back to School Resources on Sale

If you are someone who is looking for new resources for school I wanted to share with you the Teachers Pay Teachers Sale.

300 × 250

The sale is 20% off and many people put their stores on sale in addition to this so you can get up to 28% off your purchase.  Of course, there are plenty of free stuff as well. I'm all about a bargain, so I wanted to share.

Do you have a go to site for free or paid resources for your classroom? 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Organizing your day

As I'm on the topic of organization, I wanted to share with you what I've been doing.  I am not very good with time management and tend to get sucked into the TV.  This is especially bad during the summer as I have no real structure in my day.  I have been reading a lot of blogs and watching a lot of YouTube videos about planning.  Who knew there was a whole planning community out there?!  It seems like a very expensive hobby as these people decorate each page with about 20 stickers.  That is a little too much for me!  It make the page look too busy. 

In my searches I came across the Erin Condren planner.  People seem to love them, but they are so expensive.  They do look great though!  If you do want one, this link will give you $10 off your order.  I had a small 3x5 planner from several years ago, so I took all of the old pages out of it and put in some new ones.  I want something where I can plan my time for one day at a time. Below is what I came up with.

I set it up so that I could do time blocking.  I don't need a planner to tell me when events and appointments are; I have my phone for that.  I want something where I can get into the nitty gritty of my day and plan things out hour by hour.  That is pretty much the concept behind time blocking.  I don't have a lot of lines, because I am just going to time block my time when I get home from school  During the school day, things are already pretty outlined for me.

I am hopping that if I plan out things for when I get home, such as time for blogging, time for cleaning, dinner and things like that I won't get sucked into the tv trap as much.  To help me out with that I'm actually trying to cancel my TV service as we speak.  I say trying because it's always a run around.

Are you a fairly organized person?  What are your strategies to stay organized and not waste time?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Lesson Planning - getting organized

I have mentioned online planbooks before on my tech blog, and for the past two years I have really committed to PlanbookEdu.  At the end of the year they were running a special for a 6 month premium subscription (normally I just use the free subscription), but I figured I'd give it a try.  It was very helpful this past year as I was able to roll over my plans from last year to this year (of course only one course that I am teaching is the same as last year's but at least it's a little time saved).  In addition, I was able to share my planbook with my co-teacher so that she could stay up to date on what I was planning.

I have science classes with labs on various days as well as rotating period for project based learning.  I am able to make it so that planbook automatically grays out the days that I don't have the lab and labels the ones that I did.
Here is a screen shot of what my planbook looks like.  Only two of my four classes are shown because it was just too big to fit on one screen.

What do you use for planning? Do you have any good planning methods you can share?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

BrainFlex - summer practice for students

I just received an e-mail from CK-12 and wanted to share it with you. Being that our school's are already out for the summer (at least in my area), I don't know if you could get students on board with this, but if you are a parent this might be good for your children. I might share this with my parents of my previous classes as there are some who are asking what their kids can do over the summer (especially those who have failed)

Here is the information sent to me by CK-12:
"CK-12’s BrainFlex tool is a great way to help prevent the “summer slide” or supplement year-round learning. It’s a great way for teachers to provide students with areas of focus over the summer, or even a preview of some of the concepts they may see next year. We’ve developed a customizable letter that teachers can share with students and parents.

It allows students to build their math and science skills with daily practice. Here are some highlights:

  • Free to join
  • Self-paced. BrainFlex features a series of tools and lessons students can take whenever the mood strikes
  • Versatile. BrainFlex covers a wide range of math and science topics for students of any age
  • Customized. Pick the subjects you want to study, practice anytime & anywhere, use unique tools to track your progress
Teachers can invite students to join here:"
Do you think this is something that would help students or is it something that kids won't want to do?

Sunday, July 5, 2015

videos from the Museum of Natural History

I previously mentioned that the American Museum of Natural History had created an educational series called Shelf Life.

Since I last talked about it there have been many new episodes.  The latest episode " Voyage of the Giant Squid" is embedded below.

Other episodes include: The Language Detective, The Tinest Fossils, How to Time Travel to a Star, Skull of the Olinguito, Six Ways to Prepare an Coelacanth, Turtles and Taxonomy and 33 Million things.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cell Theory and Early Life on Earth

I am currently participating in a product makeover madness.  I really needed this because some of my earlier products need a makeover and this was a great push to get it done.  I just redid by product mini-bundle of Cell Theory and Earth Earth notes and powerpoint.  This lesson goes over the cell theory and the major scientists behind it as well as what the first life forms on life were like as well as what Earth was like in the beginning.

As always, I am offering you all this product for free for being loyal readers to my blog :-)  You can find the product by clicking on the image below.  After Monday it will no longer be free, but it's still only $2.

You can purchase this products at my TPT, TN or Syllabuy stores.

If you haven't subscribed to my blog yet, be sure to do so! ;-) 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Newton's Third Law and some fun

This past week I brought out some Newtonian Demonstrators aka Newton Balls aka the click clacky things.  The students love playing with them so it's a great hook to get them into this lesson.  I used these to demonstrate Newton's Third Law.  Students say that every action had an equal and opposite reaction.  Each time they lifted one of the balls on one side and let it go, a ball went up, just as high on the other side.  Most students expected this to happen, but getting them to explain what was happening in terms of Newton's Laws.  It was fun to have students predict what would happen when one ball was lifted on one side and two balls was lifted on the other side.  Most students were amazed with what happened as it wasn't what they expected.

Of course, with some fun comes some problems.  As you can see the demonstrators often get tangeled.  Most of them I am able to get out in a few minutes, but the one below was a real challange.  It was a little worse before I took that picture, but I got a little bit out.  I tried for TWO days and couldn't untangle it (and I like to think that I'm good at untangling things).  One of my honors 8th graders, who isn't even in the class that I did this in) was able to get it out.  I was truely amazed!

You can download a copy of this activity.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Inquiry Projects - a hands on approach to the scientific method

On of my main goals in my 7th grade science class is to expose students to the scientific method and get students doing their own experiments.  No matter how many time I work on things like variables, controls and constants, it's hard for students to understand these concepts without some hands on experience.  Two or three times a year I have students complete, what I call, an Inquiry Project.  In this project, students get the opportunity to develop their own problem/question to investigate.

I help students to develop a problem/question and then they are to write the hypothesis, procedures and materials by themselves.  In addition, I provide them with some analysis questions asking things about variables and constants.

Below are some pictures of some of the activities that my students were conducting.

How does the amount of baking soda effect how much carbon dioxide is produced when mixed with vinegar?

How does the number of mentos effect how big the explosion is when mixed with diet coke?

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Augmented Reality in the Science Classroom

This weekend I made a presentation about Augmented Reality in the science classroom.  Everyone seemed to really be excited about using these apps in their classroom.  I've posted my presentation below that you can benefit from it as well!  Most of these apps are available for both Android and Apple.

For those of you who aren't familiar with augmented reality, it's a way to superimpose a computer generated image onto a real world experience.  I know this doesn't explain it very well, so I suggest you download one of the apps and try it out.  Here is a quick video demonstrating one of my favorite apps Anatomy 4D.

This post also appears on my other blog The Tech Savvy Science Teacher.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Reading to Learn in Science

Reading to Learn in ScienceA free course from Stanford University Graduate School of Education

Why do so many students struggle to read and comprehend scientific texts? Most science teachers have witnessed it at least once: a student reads from a textbook or article, proceeding calmly and clearly from sentence to sentence, only to reach the period at the end of the paragraph with little comprehension of what he or she has just read. Even children who learn to read quickly—who begin to devour books or blogs, novels or news stories—often seem to struggle with scientific prose. As a teacher, these struggles raise important questions: Which texts should my students read? What should I do if they struggle to understand? Am I teaching a text too quickly? Too slowly? Will more reading become an uphill battle? Will less reading become a slippery slope on which reading becomes even more difficult? This course is designed to address such concerns, giving teachers the tools to help students read for understanding in science.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Crime Scene Classroom

Attribution Some rights reserved by Anoush 

This past week my students have been working on a 3 day long crime scene scenario.  The students had a blast doing it.  I wish I could share the kit with you but it seems that the website is no longer active (I've made some inquiries to see if it's still be offered).  It was a kit called Crime Scene Kids - Anatomy of a Death.  What I like about it is that makes students think critically.  There are some red herrings in there too to throw them off.  This scenario has students reading and analyzing witness testimony, listing to answering machine message, shoe print, fingerprint and handwriting analysis and some "chemical" analyses.

I hope to be able to update this post with a link to the fun activity.  Maybe this is an opportunity for me to create my own crime scene activity to share with all of you!

Do your students enjoy crime scene activities?  Do you have a fun one to share?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Density Labs

Density is a topic that always shows up on our state test and one that students seem to always have trouble with.  These labs were developed to help students understand density as well as practice their skills determining mass and volume.  Students will have the chance to use a balance to determine mass as well as determine volume with a ruler, graduated cylinder and an overflow can.  As with everything I have created I wanted to share it with you! (it's free for the next 24 hours).

I hope you find this helpful.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me.

This product is listed for sale at Teachers Pay Teachers, Teachers Notebook and Syllabuy.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Shelf Life - videos from AMNH

Shelf Life is a new monthly video series from the American Museum of Natural History.  The AMNH is sharing its vast resources with everyone, and you don't even have to go to New York to see them.  Most of the videos are on rarely-seen items from their collection.
"Dive deep inside the Museum's collection to discover the past, present, and future of its approximately 33 million artifacts and specimens in this new series with original monthly videos." - AMNH

Right now there are 3 episodes out, with a new one being posted each month.  Episode One is entitled 33 Million Things and gives you a glimpse at all AMNH has to offer.  Episode Two, Turtles and Taxonomy, talks about the science of classification.  Six Ways to Prepare a Coelacanth is the third episode.  This one focuses on prehistoric fish.  Episodes to come include: Skull of the Olinguito and How to Time Travel to a Star.

This post is cross posted on my technology blog, The Tech Savvy Science Teacher

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to Create a More Effective Lab Safety Program - Webinar

The Laboratory Safety Institute (LSI) was founded to provide safety training for secondary school science teachers. 

LSI is hosting a webinar entitled "How to Create a More Effective Lab Safety Program."  It will be held on Febrarary 10th from 7-8pm EST.  To register go to: 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

BrainPop meets primary sources

Take a look at this post from BrainPop about how they are connecting primary sources to their movies.  Right now about 20 of their videos have primary sources attached to them, but more are being added.  To access the primary sources simply click on the activities icon from the main topic page and then you'll see a tab for primary sources.  Once you are on that page there is a worksheet that you can print out and then a link to the primary source.  If you take a look at the images below you will see the link on the Galileo page to the primary source, which in this case happens to be another quick video to watch.  I think this is a great way to connect subject areas.  Many students associate primary source documents with Social Studies, but now they can see that primary sources are in all subject areas

This post is crossposted on my technology blog The Tech Savvy Science Teacher

Saturday, January 17, 2015

EdTechLens is looking for pilot testers for its new program, Rainforest Journey!

While not for secondary teachers, you might know someone who can benefit from this.

EdTechLens is looking for teachers of grades K-5 to pilot their new program. In exchange for participation you will receive a license to use Rainforest Journey for a full year. This online program engages students with the life science portion of the science curriculum through a trip to the rainforest. Vibrant images and video combined with leveled text in this standards-aligned program can be used with a range of learners. Rainforest Journey contains lessons, assessments, hands-on activities, 3 types of primary sources, and a student blog. Teachers can track student usage and grades. Students can learn in teacher-led group lessons at a digital whiteboard; individually or in small groups at a computer; or individually on a tablet.

Visit them to learn more.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Ravenous - a game to teach animal behavior

Excited about games and STEM education? The Educational Gaming Environments group (EdGE) at TERC and New Knowledge Organization invite you to participate in a National Science Foundation study to measure how free-choice video games can support STEM learning.

They are looking for high school biology teachers to use their new game Ravenous. Are you a high school biology teacher who is planning to cover animal behavior in 2015? If so, please apply using the link below.  Don’t let this opportunity (and its handsome rewards) pass you by!

Click here to learn more and apply today.