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This post is a throwback to some of the fun activities I did when I was still a classroom teacher before my time in the science lab . :) 

 I LOVE FALL!! Everything about fall! I love the leaves changing colors, apple cider, hay rides, corn mazes,  ALL things pumpkin, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the crisp weather, the cozy sweaters and boots...You get the idea :)  

Even though fall has not officially begun aaannnnd it is still 90's outside, I could not wait to kick off the season with some fun, apple themed activities! 

Here are some wonderful read-alouds that I like to incorporate throughout the week.
*Click the cover to find the book on Amazon and learn more about it*

I also found "The Story of the Apple Star" here and read it to my kids. It is so cute! My kids could not believe their eyes when we cut open one of our apples and found that there was really a star inside!

Then we read this little rhyme I found here whole group and circled the rhyming words. In small group, each kid got their own version of the poem and highlighted our HFWs we are working on this week: is, a. Then, they got to use our halved apples to make their own apple stamp. 

For science we made predictions about how each slice of apple would be effected by the air, water, vinegar, and oil and made observations of any changes throughout the week.

We discussed the different parts of an apple as we dissected our own apple.

Then using our 5 senses, we explored 3 different types of apples: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith. We discussed how they felt, looked, and smelled and added our answers to an anchor chart.

Next, we listened to see if we could hear any differences in the CrUnCh when we bit into the apples to do our taste test. :)

Finally, we voted on which apple we liked best. Obviously we are still working on name writing, but it is still early in the year. We are getting there! 

In math we have been working on patterns so of course, we had to use our special star apples to make apple print patterned headbands!

We also weighed each apple using bear counters and a balance scale and compared the weight of each apple. 

During "Science Friday" we made applesauce in the crockpot.

This is one of my FAVORITE things to do each year because the kids LOVE it and my classroom smells AMAZING! Oh yeah, and it's educational...

Next week we will be having even more apple fun (Johnny Appleseed day is September 26th!) and my kids will be working on these cute little apple themed workstations! 

Fill in the missing letter

Write the room

Match Johnny to the apple that has his beginning sound

Spell the CVC word on the apples

And apple themed rhyming puzzles

You can find these activities along with several more by clicking the picture below.

 Apple themed literacy centers

Do you have any special apple themed activities that you like to do with your class? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

5 Senses: Seeing

Well, we have now made it through 2 whole weeks of school! This week we kicked off our 5 senses exploration by using our sense of sight. Since I only see each class once or twice a week, I split the 5 senses up and focus on 1 a week.

We began by playing a game I call "What's Missing?" This is a VERY easy game to set up and play and the kids really enjoy it! To prepare the game, find several different objects and put them on a tray. After students have had a chance to look at all of the objects, have them close their eyes and take one away. When they open their eyes, they have to try and remember what they saw on the tray and tell you what's missing. Here are two little cuties who asked to play the game again during workstation time. 

We also learn about some of the different tools scientists use when making observations with their sense of sight. Students practice looking at objects with magnifying glasses

and I give them Boogie Boards to record their work. If you have not tried these out, they are SO COOL and the kids really enjoy writing on them! You can find them here: Boogie Board Scribble 'n Play

They observed prepared slides using a microscope (you can find a newer version of the microscope here)

and learned about the tools that different kinds of scientists use on Sid the Science Kid - I want to be a scientist

Speaking of science tools, students learned how to use pipettes and practiced transferring water from one container to another.

We also practiced categorizing objects by color on the ipads

and the light table

These little scientist are off to a great start! I cannot wait to explore and investigate with them this year!

"Sun"sational Giveaway - Week 1

If you have been following me on Facebook, you already know that I am teaming up with an amazing group of teachers for the ENTIRE month of July to bring you awesome bargains and prizes all month long! If you are not following along yet and don't want to miss out on next week's savings and giveaways go here and click like! 

This week we are giving away 15 (that's right, FIFTEEN) $25 gift cards! We have 5 Teachers Pay Teacher cards, 5 Staples cards, and 5 Amazon cards!

If you would like to be one of the lucky 15 teachers to win an extra $25 to get ready for back to school, enter below! Good Luck!

How to make science is "snow" much fun! (no cold weather required)

Here in Texas, is seems like we get about 5 days of winter...total (and by winter I mean it gets below 65)! Now, we have read about snow in books, discussed it when talking about weather, and even sang about it in songs like "Frosty the Snowman" but  a majority of my students have never actually seen snow. If I could not bring them real snow, I wanted to at least let my deprived little Texans experience fake snow by incorporating it into a science lesson. It was a huge hit and an experience the students will not soon forget! 

We started the lesson off with a simple experiment about absorption.

I began by asking the students if they knew what the word "absorb" meant and while there were several guesses, nobody had a clue! I told them instead of telling them what it meant, I would show them with a science investigation.

Materials needed for the investigation:

-Paper towel
-Tray (optional but recommended)

First, I poured some water onto the tray and ask students where the water went. They all looked at me like, "Is this a trick question?" and of course answered on the tray!

Then, I pulled out the paper towel and asked them to hypothesize what would happen to the water when I placed the paper towel over it. Would the water move to the paper towel or would it stay on the tray?

Most students have cleaned up a mess before (or at least seen someone else do it) so a majority of them confidently guessed the water was going to go on the paper towel.

I then asked, "Where did the water go?" and they were able to explain to me that it was inside of the paper towel. I told them this is a perfect example of the word absorb! Something absorbs when it can soak up water! I then asked, "Can we get the water back out of the towel?" and they were all about to tell me if you squeezed the towel, the water would come back out!

Other questions:
  • Did the tray absorb any water?
  • Do you think the sponge will absorb water?
  • Will a (pencil, block, any non-absorbent object) absorb water?
  • How are the objects that absorbed different from the ones that did not absorb?
Now here comes the really fun part! I explained that we were going to use our new learning about absorption to make our own snow! Students helped me measure out the snow powder on a tray and we described the characteristics of the powder.
Then, students predicted what would happen if we poured water over the powder.

Just 1/8th of a cup turned from this

to this!

They were so excited to each get their own bag of "snow" to take home. 

As an extension or an independent activity, I put several objects in a muffin tin (some that absorb and some that do not) along with a pipette and a small glass of water. Students tested the objects to see which ones absorbed and which ones did not. Then, they recorded those objects on a t-chart.

If you would like to make snow with your students, you can find the snow I used by clicking the image below.

This bag makes 10 GALLONS of snow which is enough to send some home with students and have plenty left over for a sensory table or have students "finger write" in workstations or centers.  

Meet the Teacher: Printables, Ideas, and Tips!

We all know that first impressions are important and Meet the Teacher is no exception! A well thought out and organized meet the teacher gives parents a wonderful first impression and helps reassure them their child will be in good hands.

For meet the teacher, I like to do stations this has parents spread out around the room as they trickle in instead of clustering around 1 area. When parents arrive, I hand them a poem that leads them through the stations.

Next steps
I know how hectic back to school can be and there is a lot of pressure on making a good first impression during meet the teacher. To relieve some of that stress, I have created a product that has EVERYTHING you will need for a successful Meet the Teacher night!

With this pack you can print and go or use many of the editable pages to customize signs, forms, etc. to meet your classroom's needs.

This product includes:
-A parent handout
-Station Signs
-Sign in sheets
-Transportation sheets
-Student information survey
-Teacher information card template
-A family project for students to turn in on the 1st week of school
-Volunteer sign up forms
-Apples for the teacher's wish list
-And several more ideas!

To check out this product, click the image below!

One more tip: During your presentation, encourage parents to sign up for Remind. Remind is an app you can use to text parents (either individually or as a class) without giving out your cellphone number. It saves time, paper, and is a great tool for parent communication!  There is a sheet on the website you can print out with your classroom code on it and you can include that in your folders at station 2 so parents can easily sign up! You can find out more about it here https://www.remind.com/

One more suggestion: Meet the teacher is a time to meet your students and their families, ensure students that you are not a big scary monster, and ensure parents that their child is in great hands and will be getting the best education possible this coming school year. That being said, meet the teacher is also a time to set expectations with both parents and students. While explaining all of the things you are going to do this year, don't forget to take this time to be very clear about what you expect from the students as well the parents.

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