Holiday STEM In The Spotlight!

Saturday, December 17, 2016 No comments

Find the Elf Pack Here
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to find a way for all of the 400+ students K-5th grade be able to connect a fun seasonal book to a STEM activity.
Up until this point, we have been able to do some quick Halloween STEM activities, and a few NGSS STEM connections in a few of the classes, however using the FOSS road map that our district has developed is what often drives my theme or lessons. Lucky enough, I have been able to find ways to join some of those lessons together as well as integrate activities using our it allows me some flexibility to add NGSS...STEM...and extra activities that I create that go with our theme.

Here are some tips to integrate any of the fun STEM packs that I have in my TPT store!

Find The Gingerbread Pack Here

Tip 1: Pick a theme

This week's lessons  look like this...

K-weather connections using Three Cheers for Tacky, building a structure for the Penguin to keep him warm using toothpicks and marshmallows and a fun penguin pattern...they sure are Tacky!
1st Grade- How to Catch an Elf...we are learning about size and property words.
2nd Grade-FOSS Solids and Liquids and the Gingerbread Man
3rd Grade-FOSS Water...make a boat to float on water to keep the Gingerbread Man from having to rely on the fox to get across the river
4th Grade-FOSS Human Body and Elf on a Shelf... Mr. Bones style and Elf Traps
5th Grade-FOSS Mixtures and Solutions and Mr. and Mrs. Clause and separating mixtures

 Tip 2: Pick a Picture Book

With the opportunities to integrate some STEM lessons, I always try to find a fun picture book that will help set the tone. Here are some of the books I am using this week.

Tip 3: Find ways to integrate what you are already doing in your classroom...Look at the standards and find a way to incorporate them into a hands-on STEM project! I also challenged my older kiddos to finish something that was in our road map before they could work on a STEM project, and you should see how fast they start to work to get to be able to build!

Lots of great winter, Christmas, and New Year STEM ideas for the season. Check it out at my TPT Store!

Hang in there...just a few more days for those of us that have to teach right up until break! Happy Holidays!

FREE Sight Word Resources in English and Spanish

Sunday, December 11, 2016 No comments

Teaching children to read includes three main areas of focus.  

These include 


sight words, 

and reading strategies.  

Help your students learn their sight words in English or Spanish with one of these free resources!


Find other free resources at: 

Thanksgiving STEM and a Freebie!

Sunday, November 20, 2016 No comments
This next week, we have two days before we see a little break for Thanksgiving.The teachers are in their classrooms  writing about what they are thankful for and getting in their last minute tests so that the students don't lose the information while they are on a bit of a holiday.

What a perfect time for STEM! STEM is science, technology, engineering, and math. What is so great about STEM activities is that you can tie in a great picture book along with a hands on problem solving situation. These activities don't have to be complicated, time consuming, or expensive.

Image result for run turkey runTake for example the book, Run Turkey, Run. Have the students use box tops and Jenga, with a little art to make the scenery or setting of the story and you have a great hands-on way to teach a reading strategy. I use Jenga blocks and gift boxes along with a bit of tape and you are set to go!

Time for CranberriesImage result for a turkey for thanksgivingWith my littles, all they need is a book like A Turkey For Thanksgiving and some math manipulative that you already have in your classroom such as 10's and 100 blocks, Unifix cubes, Legos, or even Jenga blocks again and you have a simple STEM idea in the works by having them make a hideout for the Turkey so he isn't eaten on Thanksgiving.

1. Pick a fun Turkey Trouble story where poor turkey might be dinner...
2. Set out materials for them to get or have them ready at the tables...
3. Let them build their own little turkey hide out to help the turkey not be dinner!
4. Place the paper turkey inside the hideout and then...
5. Let the kids share their ideas and reflect with their sheets.

A little writing...a little reading...a little science and engineering! If you like this freebie...take a look at my STEM stations on TPT.

Download your freebie station HERE.

If it's turkeys that you have had enough of, here in Wisconsin we are never short of some fresh cranberries! This fun new book shares with students how cranberries are harvested from bog to berries on your table.

Grab a bag of fresh berries and boxes of toothpicks at the dollar store and you have an interactive way to tie in math structures and shapes. You could also taste test different cranberry products and vote on your favorites. You can also show your students why cranberries float...they have pockets of hollow space just like pumpkins! From craisins to cranberry juice this graphing activity can help you find ways to make learning right before a break fun for everyone! Follow the link for some  Here is the Teacher Pay Teacher link: Cranberry Fun!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May you all find something to be thankful for! I am thankful for all of you!

Spiders In Your Classroom: STEM Fun!

Sunday, October 30, 2016 No comments
This week, I thought it would be fun to focus on how to bring some technology and STEM into your classrooms!  QR codes are a great way to get your learners actively engaged in their learning! Whether it is a scoot activity where they move around the room finding or answering questions. Or using the QR code to link to an engaging website or video found on You Tube! Using QR codes has been a great way to get my learners excited about vocabulary and a wonderful resource for reviewing what we have already learned!
This year, our school went 1:1 and each one of our students has an Ipad that they bring to my science classroom. This makes it easy for my students to access the many QR code readers available and offers a fun way to add technology into our science hour!

What are QR Codes?
Quick response (QR) codes are simply a way to modify and even redefine the way our students can learn. QR codes are machine-readable codes consisting of black and white squares that can store data and information that is read by a camera on your mobile device. You might have seen them on flyers or ads to connect you with more information or even a website.

Why should I use QR codes?
First of all, for STEM lessons, it allows my learners to save time and frustration trying to type out a long web address. The QR code takes them directly to the website.
Second of all, its certainly takes your classroom routine to a different level! You can take your science vocabulary lesson and turn it into a scavenger hunt for the definition. You can have students share a brief description of their STEM project as it sits on display! You could even link them to a video that shares the principles behind how something in science works!

Here are some quick ways that I use QR codes in my STEM/Science Classroom:
- I write a question and have them scoot around the room to find the answer using the qr code reader. (I like i-nigma and QR Code apps that read the codes).
- When students are done with their work, the can scan the qr code to watch a related video.
-Students use it to create a video link that explains their project either through IMovie or an audio that talks a viewer through the engineering or scientific process.
-Students answer questions for a review. When they are done they move around the room and check their answers.
-I tie in a science STEM activity such as my spider STEM lessons, then when they are done they move around the room on a scavenger hunt for facts about spiders as well as our fun Spider STEM lessons we did this week!
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Find this pack here if you would like to add some spider STEM to your day! TPT STEM Spider Stations are ready for your kids to creep and crawl with excitement! 

Want to creep on over for a QR Code Freebie? Grab a FREE QR CODE SPIDER SCOOT right here!

Are QR codes easy to make?
There are many websites such  as that allows you to generate your very own QR code for free. All you do is simply copy and paste a URL address on the line and the QR code is created. You can save or copy the QR code and paste it into an activity page for your learners to access!

For more fun STEM and science activities you can also visit me at Science School Yard.