Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kindergarteners love learning about PARTS!

K1 Plant Parts

K1 is learning about plant parts and planting seedlings  
 for the school garden! I found a few cute surprises when I was looking through their work. We had students construct their flowers first and then gave them the labels to add on. This was an assessment to see if they could identify the plant parts. I had expected students to label seeds by the flower, but this little girl drew seeds under the soil. This makes sense because have been planting seeds in the soil for 3 weeks! In the second picture, the student added details to the leaves and the flower. We have been working on creating observations of our bean plants that include the details of the actual plant. I always model the skills of a scientist for all my students. What a nice surprise to see both students show their understanding.


K2 Animals Parts

In K2 we are studying animals. We started the week with a snail hunt in our Outdoor classroom. Then we watched videos of snails going about their daily routines to observe their structures. After we talked about snail structures and made a model of the snail using a paper plate for the shell, foam paper for the body and bulletin board paper for the shell swirl!
The expectation was for each snail to have a shell, foot, eye stalks, antennae and a radula. The students were so excited to take these home!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Very Late Spring

This year winter seemed to last forever! This is our first week where it was warm enough to venture to the Outdoor Classroom with the K1 students. We have been studying seeds and plants. This was a great opportunity to have a "Plant Parts Scavenger Hunt!" Since we teach 2 classes at the same time we split them up into boys vs. girls. Each stamp indicates that the students showed us that part of a plant. All the plant samples were found on the ground and brought to me by students. This was a great opportunity to incorporate math and practice looking at data with the students. We also had a conversation about why we were not seeing flowers yet.

During our scavenger hunt we found a few surprises. We were looking under stepping stones for roots and found a few snails that had come out of their winter hiding spots. The students were discussing the different sizes and colors of their snail shells off to the side in a small group. This happened naturally because they were in Nature!

 In 5th grade Science, we are preparing for the MCAS. This is our state standardized test. Students are tested in Science for the first time in 5th grade. They are tested on everything they have learned in elementary school! I found out through practice test that my students had some misconceptions about the water cycle. This was the perfect chance to build a mini water cycle model. Below is a snap shot of the lesson using the mini model I created. 

1. Science Probe - Warming Water (by Page Keeley)
2. Build water cycle model
3. Make predictions about what will happen to the water.
4. Record observations each day for 1 week.
5. Complete a visual observation at the end of the week labeling the water with a blue crayon and where we saw evidence of each of the 4 phases of the water cycle.
6. Watch "Water Cycle"

 The bubbles are evidence that the process of evaporation is beginning.

Student Work Sample #1

Student Work Sample #2
It was interesting discussing their observations. Usually students struggle with evaporation and condensation. However, this group was confused with precipitation and accumulation. This led to a whole conversation about where our water comes from and how it is treated. We also discussed desalinization plants which was a great connection to our oceans unit we just wrapped up. 

I love these moments in the classroom when kids are so interested in the conversation we don't need to raise hands we just take turn talking, wondering and asking questions freely!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Where in the WORLD is The Urban Ms. Frizzle?

        I've been on the magic school bus of "life"!!! The past 6 months have pretty much been one ongoing field trip for me. 
        It started by presenting at NSTA (National Science Teachers Association's annual conference) in San Antonio, TX! Boy oh boy, was this east coast girl nervous flying to Texas for a big presentation! I presented with 2 of my colleagues on the topic of formative assessment in the elementary science classroom. We used some questions from a well known science book and the author of the book came to our presentation. She was overjoyed with our use of her work and even put a picture of us on her website! Not to mention we received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the audience! I was lucky enough to visit San Antonio and Austin on my trip! Here are a few pics!


Over the summer,  I worked at a camp for urban students teaching math in a big tent in the middle of the woods. With the short time I had left in August I went oversees for the first time and spent 10 days in Spain!!! I found Spain to be a gorgeous country full of culture, history and very interesting people. I was lucky enough to visit the Aquarium and Science Museum in Valencia, Spain! Talk about a science teacher's dream! I definitely didn't want this magical trip to end.  

                                                                 Check out some pics!!!

        I know I'm a little late on this welcome back back blog post, but I just want you all to know I'm back at school teaching the wee ones science. I finally found my way off the "magic school bus of life" and started another school year.

~Frizzy Frizz!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Falling for Fall

I am falling head over heels for FALL this year! I am originally from Florida, but went to college in Boston and never left. Many people ask me if I miss the weather in sunny Florida? I do, but I have so many new loves in New England. Things like falling leaves, apple picking, harvest festivals, fashionable boots, a wardrobe for every season instead of just one. 
(You get the point.) 

I have been busy taking my little ones outside to collect leaves and observing the trees in the midst of the seasonal changes.  

                      We used paint and foam stickers to document our observations in early fall.

        We also put our leaves into groups by color and talked about how scientists organize data.
Beach Pails For Collecting Samples

Leaf Data Grouped By Color

We have also been collecting other things that come from trees like bark, sticks, twigs, and seeds for other fall projects. 

We made trees out of tree parts! 

Lastly, we made pictures of FALL!

    I have been having a blast inside and out experiencing Fall with my Kindergartners this month!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Forest/Pond Themed Classroom

    After a wonderful summer it is time for a new school year. I love teaching because it has a beginning, middle, end, and a summer vacation every year! I love starting fresh and feeling refreshed every September. I've been officially teaching for 5 years unoffically a little longer. This is the first year I will have my own room. I am so appreciative that this dream has come true. It might seem small or like a basic necessity like bread and water, but in urban education having your own space is few and far between. 
Before the students came I spent many hours on Pinterest, Schoolgirl Style, and the internet looking for ideas. I also shopped the clearance section at Michaels and Dollar tree. I have a pond themed rug I received from DonorsChoose last year and some nice book shelves from Ikea that I got after Thanksgiving for $20.00 each that make up my library area. I also decided to put my fish tank in this area since it was the aquatic side of the room. I added Lily pads that came with a bulletin board set. I wanted to give the area some texture so I added some silk ferns and potted gerber daisies that were in the clearence section at Michaels for $3.00 each! At Michael's I also found bright orange baskets that pop against the dark wood bookshelves and polka dot plastic containers to organize my library.

I have a massive bulletin board in the front of my room with a SMART board. Schoolgirl Style is where I got the idea to add the large trees to either side of the board. I added silk leaves in addition to the leaves it came with to help make it look more natural. I added brown bulletin board paper under the trees so I can add roots to the big bulletin board display to help my students visualize what's going on in the soil. In the clearance section at Michael's, I found felt flowers and plastic butterflies to add as finishing touches to the bulletin board display. Currently, I have blank pocket charts on the board (the tri-colored one I bought at Michael's for $9.99 on clearence) that I will use for a K-W-L exercise to start off each unit. 

The back of the room has a white board and a storage area. The silver shelf came from Target for $40.00. All of the green bins were $1.00 each at Dollar Tree. The labels came from the TPT seller Fancy Dog Studio and I laminated them at home. The beach pails on the bottom shelf are "Tool Kits for Outdoor Learning." I take the students outside frequently for observations and to collect samples. The beach pails were 30 cents at Michaels!

This classroom is definitely a result of at least 2 years of shopping sales and clearance sections at my favorite stores Michael's, Ikea, Target, Dollar Tree. Here are some pictures of the whole room from different angles.

-Fresh Frizz

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summer Professional Development Can Be Fun!

Every summer I usually take as many classes as I can. I load up my schedule until August. Then I go the beach with my bestie for 2 or 3 weeks in August till I have to go back and set up my classroom. This summer I was asked to co-instruct a course that is part of a program fro science teachers to learn more content knowledge. I have spent the past 4 years taking many of the courses offered through this program. Naturally, I was honored with the opportunity. This course was a Biology 2 course focusing on "Ecology and Evolution" topics. As an elementary teacher, I was able to bring a unique perspective to the table. We were lucky enough to charter the UMass Boston boat for a trip to the Boston Harbor Islands to collect data on invasive and native species of crabs. 
We took the boat to Lovell's Island which is one of Boston's Harbor Islands.
On our walk to the research site we saw our first invasive species Klamath weed also known as St. John's wort.
We weren't looking for Hermit crabs, but we found so many of them! These 2 were battling over a larger house!

 The crab in this photo has a large egg sack. This was so cool to see up close. I have never seen anything like this before. 

Everyone in our class said the field trip was their favorite part of the 10 day intensive course. Many participants suggested that we camp out overnight next year! I learned so much and this made me really want to find a a way to bring my students to the Harbor Islands. This also made me think about field trips in general. In 5 years of teaching, I have only organized 1 field trip. I was able to secure funding for a bus and admission to the Museum of Science in Boston. I also needed 3 other teachers to help me organize permission slips, lunches and other paperwork. However, that day was one of the best we had all year. I was proud of my students ability to ask and answer questions at all of the exhibits. They were so thankful that we were able to visit the planetarium  and shared this experience with the younger students at school. I have to remember that even though field trips are so much work they are such a rich learning experience for kids and adults.
-Summer Frizz