Saturday, February 25, 2017

What is STEAM? - Getting Started with STEAM Series

Welcome to my series on STEAM!  This is the first in a series of blog posts that were originally a PD presentation for my district. I have turned them into a series of blog posts to reach teachers who are searching for help with STEAM!  With so many schools going FULL STEAM (pun intended) ahead into the STEM, STEAM world it's important that we know what exactly it is we are doing and that it's not just an acronym or buzz word we throw around!
I was introduced to STEM when I was one of the teachers who previewed the Next Generation Science Standards before they were released to the public.  I have been using STEM challenges for 4+ years so I was asked to lead my school's STEAM team.  We then had a build your own PD day put on by 4 schools in our district with teachers presenting on different topics and I was asked to present on STEAM. 
STEAM is an acronym standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.
Let's briefly look at each of these.
You probably already have a dedicated science time in your day, this is a great time to do STEAM activities or lessons because science is a natural part of STEAM and an easy part to incorporate into lessons!  With the introduction of the NGSS or Next Generation Science Standards, STEAM is easier than ever to incorporate! For NGSS Checklists click HERE.
I LOVE that this doesn't mean just computers, ipads, and more screens!!!!
The engineering process is VITAL to STEAM and is a heavy focus of the NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) if your district has adopted those take a look at them for STEAM ideas!  I will do an ENTIRE blog post on the Engineering Process! - Stay tuned!
The Rhode Island school of design is leading the way to integrate the Arts into STEM creating STEAM.  You can read more about it HERE.  My district chose STEAM so that's what I am doing.  Designing is part of the engineering process so it is very easy to weave the arts at least visual into STEM.  The STEAM initiative takes a stronger approach including music, theater and visual/graphic arts.
Math often tags along with Science but you can focus your STEAM lesson on Math if you wish!  As with Science you probably already have a dedicated Math time in your day, this again is an excellent time to do a math focused STEAM lesson.  Ideally you could have your science and math times back to back and plan your STEAM activities for then.
STEM initiatives have been around since Sputnik, with the launch of Sputnik the US created NASA & an increase in Science, Math, & Engineering across America.  Since then the nation has had a focus on education in those areas. Technology has also grown rapidly. The acronym STEM was introduced in 2001 replacing METS which stood for the same thing. The Rhode Island School of Design began an initiative to have the Arts added to create STEAM which was included in the latest education bill. 

Implementing STEAM is easy, you can start very small such as posters and STEM challenges that you can find on Pinterest!
These are the posters I use in my classroom.
I just put up STEM to start. Next year I will switch to STEAM.
This is my entire Science bulletin board. I have the STEM posters on the right and Scientific Method on the left. In the middle I put anchor charts that we create on our current topic.
You can get the STEM posters HERE.  The set includes A and R as well as a banner and Engineering Process Posters.

Try adding a STEAM extension to a Science activity such as my Peeps Science Activities with STEAM extension.  They are in my TPT store. Click on the picture below to go to my store.
In the next post I will be sharing the 5 components of an effective STEAM lesson, be sure to check back next Saturday!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Word Work Ideas

Hiya! I don't know about you but while I LOVE word work it is ALWAYS my most difficult area of literacy stations/Daily 5 rotations to organize, manage, come up with new ideas. I am here to share Super fun and engaging word work ideas with you today as well as some organization ideas that will have you loving word work!  Instead of searching late Sunday night for "something" to throw in the word work station.  Or having to listen to the kids say "writing our words 5 times each is so boring" because you don't have anything for word work.  Or "rainbow write again?" because you only have that one activity your colleague shared with you. 

My word work consists of 3 main skill concepts. Practicing spelling words, practicing sight words, and reviewing/practicing/noticing spelling patterns.
But keeping it fresh and new can be a challenge!!
I like to give students a choice when choosing what activity to do during word work. I usually introduce 3 or 4 of the easiest ones the first week of school, one a day as we are practicing Word Work as a whole group. I then change out the ones that are skill specific each week, and add new ones and put away older ones to keep things fresh! There are some that never see the light of day some years, you know when you have THAT class?!?!?
But let's focus on the positive! I am positive that you will like at least ONE of these word work activities!
How many?
In this activity students write their word list and count how many vowels and consonants there are. This is great practice for focusing on vowel patterns with out students even realizing it! This is included in my Word Work for any list Activities

Rainbow Write Option 1 - sight words students trace each letter in rainbow order practicing their sight words. This is available individually in my store by clicking on the title.

Rainbow Write Option 2 - this is part of my Word Work for Any List activities. Students write all of their words in the red band in red, and so on.

10 Frame Words
Combine math and your word list! Students write their list and count how many letters and then fill in the ten frame, accordingly. This is included in my Word Work Activities for any list.

Words Sort - the students write each word in the box that corresponds with how many letters it has. Another one including a bit of math! This is another activity included in my Word Work Activities for any list.

ABC Order - great activity for any list which includes an alphabet line ON the paper!

Add it up! More math and words! In this activity students write their list, then write how much each letter is worth and add it up and write the total in the oval.

My Word Work Activities for any list also includes labels for drawers or containers!!!

To purchase a similar drawer click the affiliate link below.

All in all there are 15 activities in my Word Work Activities for any list for only $3.
You can save copies by laminating the activities or putting them in plastic sleeves to be used over and over!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Made It - Meme, Marquee Letters and More!

Hiya! WOW! Can I just say what an amazing couple of weeks it's been since my last Monday Made It?!?! I attended the Teacher's Pay Teacher's Conference in Orlando Florida for the first time and it was amazing. Blog post about it coming soon! While I was there I posted a meme that I created which is also my first Monday Made it and on Saturday it went viral! I'm kicking it into high gear as I only have ONE week from today until I report for "New Teacher" training!!!! And I can't get into my classroom yet because the halls were late getting started due to skylights being replaced. Intro the second meme!

First up is the meme I created that went viral! I absolutely LOVE the show Friends and had an idea to create some friends memes. This was one of the first pictures I came across and the idea of teachers trying to get into the building or their classrooms in the summer came to me.

and when they aren't

So there's your laugh for today! So since I can't get into my room I have been printing and laminating like a crazy person at home trying to get as much ready to go as possible. One of my last BIG projects is my second Monday Made It.

Since I first saw these marquee letters I knew if I went back to teaching I wanted to make some for my classroom library spelling out READ.
So I scoured my craft stores and they just happened to have the older style of Heidi Swapp Marquee Letters and some of the washi tape on clearance! 
I came home and found 4 pieces of cardstock that matched my room colors. I always try to use supplies from my craft room before I buy more - it eases the guilt of the amount of stuff up there not being used!

First I traced the letters with the templates they provide. I also made small x's where each light will go.

Then cut them all out.

Then put them inside the letters. Oh by the way I first wrapped each letter in the Heidi Swap washi tape. It was a challenge but I love the look. It would be MUCH easier to paint them!

I then cut slits with a craft knife on each little x I had previously made to make putting the bulbs in easier. It helped but was still tough to get them to go through. My 12 year old was forced to help me! He was good at it, and only complained a little.

Then I stuck the lights into each bulb carefully, the R was a little tricky to get them to fit. Make sure you use the right  set of lights with the corresponding letter!

And voila! There you have it! An amazing set of personalized marquee lights to match my classroom...that I can't get in...which is why these are on my front room floor and not my classroom library!

Here's another view of them! Check back for my classroom reveal to see them IN my classroom library where they belong!

That's all for today folks!

You can grab these marquee letters at craft stores or Amazon by clicking the picture which is an affiliate link below:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Monday Made It - Lightbox and a Freebie!

Hiya! I am back with some more Monday Made It! 
Have ya'll seen the lightbox epidemic on Instagram? I was hesitant at first ... but then it was on sale for half off at Michael's and I got an additional 15% off with my teacher discount. How could I resist? I knew all along that if I got one I would have to customize it! Enter my projects for Monday Made it!  To order a lightbox from Amazon click the picture below. (affiliate link)
So first up I decided to paint my lightbox. I just masked it off and used leftover paint from last week's Teacher Toolbox.

 Quick and easy project and makes my lightbox unique! 

You could also use washi tape - they have large washi at Hobby Lobby, and Michael's  or duct tape around the edge!

So the whole reason I wanted to get a lightbox was to create my own sayings to go in it! I DID buy some letters and even the divider for smaller letters but I really wanted to create my own!
I used the "lightbox" to measure to create a template and went to town!!!! I am having so much fun making my own designs!

First up my TPT store logo!
How cool is that? Neat to have in the background if I ever work up the courage to do Periscopes or Facebook live!
Then Happy Birthday! I can use the individual letters I bought when I purchased the lightbox to put student names in the bottom!

And next, Welcome to ENTER YOUR GRADE HERE.
Yes folks I will be in Sixth grade this year (still coming to grips with that)! But how neat is that!?!?
Then I did one with my name.
I plan on creating some holiday ones and others as I come up with ideas and time!
How would you like the Happy Birthday and Welcome to ________Grade for FREE?!?!?
Just click on the picture below or HERE to grab them from my TPT store. Please if you download leave me some feedback - it motivates me to make more freebies!

That's all folks! I have been working on book basket labels and name plates and a super awesome project made possible by Target Teachers from all over who follow me on Instagram!!! Stay tuned for more projects!