Saturday, August 19, 2017

7 Back to School Read Alouds

Hiya! Today I'm sharing my favorite read alouds for Back to School.  These are 7 of my favorite books to read aloud the first few days of school. There are so many good back to school books but these are my top 7 in no particular order. (this post includes Amazon affiliate links, which means I get a tiny amount if you click on one of the books and choose to buy it.) Just click on the picture of any book to add it to your Amazon cart.
1. Pete the Cat - Rocking in my school shoes. What could be more fun than the cool cat, Pete showing you around the school?
2.  How I Spent my Summer Vacation by Mark Teague - a fun take on the traditional How I spent my summer - sure to lead fun writing assignments.
3. Lily's Purple Plastic Purse - show your students why not to bring toys to school in this fun book by Kevin Henkes.
4.Chrysanthemum - another from Kevin Henkes to teach your students about kindness and compassion as well as a great starting point for talking about names and letters.
5. The Kissing Hand - It wouldn't be a back to school book list without the Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn from handprint activities to cookies there are all kinds of activities for this back to school favorite.
6. First Day Jitters - this surprising tale will delight all ages of students.  This book is great to introduce a discussion about how students feel about their first day of school.
7. Giraffes Can't Dance - Teach your students the power of YET with this fun animal story about a giraffe that wants to dance and finally gets some help from a friend in this rhyming story!
I hope you found a book or two to add your back to school ready aloud list.  Leave me a comment what your  favorite back to school read a loud is!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Monday Made It 6/12 STEAM, Handwriting and Snow Dough

I am so super excited that Monday Made It with 4th Grade Frolics is back for the summer! It always motivates me so much to get things done for my classroom and I love sharing them with my blog readers!

I have my last week of summer school this week and next week is the last week of my first masters class! Whew it's been a crazy, busy summer so far but I have managed to get a few things done so far.

I am super excited to be moving to FIRST grade next year!!!! However that means I have a LOT to do to prepare for those little darlings!

First up Snow Dough another teacher at summer school made this and my own children begged to make it at home. It is super easy and so fun!
It's just 3 cups of baking soda to 1/2- 3/4 (depending on the consistency you want) of conditioner. I got both of those at the Dollar tree so only $2! 

Then of course my daughter wanted to add glitter which is totally optional but definitely fun! You just mix it all together and PLAY. 

It's about the consistency of moon dough and I made my kids play with it outside cause it's a bit messy! But it smells amazing. I like the conditioner I chose because it gave it a bit of a blue tint. How fun would this be to make in the classroom and send a bit home with each student?

Up next is another super cheap inexpensive activity that is great for STEAM! Our summer school this year was STEAM focused district wide.  I had incoming first graders so I had lots of activities for them to build and create.  This was one of them that I will also use next year! I bought rainbow craft sticks and velcro dots at Dollar Tree.

Then I cut the velcro dots in half  and put them on the ends of the craft sticks. Easy peasy!   

My summer school students had a blast playing with them.  We first use them to create 2-D shapes but then they got some free exploration time as well! 

Finally I have actually managed to do some creating of activities for my classroom next year are also available on TPT. I knew I would need handwriting review at the beginning of the year so I created a capital and lowercase scoot handwriting review to put in a station after all the letters have been reviewed in whole group.


Just click on any of the pictures above to grab them from my store!  I hope you've had fun checking out my Monday Made It's and be sure to head over to 4th Grade Frolics to check out the rest of them.  Have a good summer, see ya next week!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Essential Engineering Process

Welcome back to my series on STEAM.  To read the first two posts you can click the links below.
What is STEAM?
5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson
Ah the E in STEAM, the Engineering Process, to me this is the most integral and essential piece of STEAM.  Science, Technology, Arts and Math are all options to pull in but the heart of STEAM lies with Engineering.
As I mentioned in my 5 Components of an Effective STEAM lesson the engineering process is essential.
I like to introduce the Engineering Process with a book (I am an ELA girl at heart), Rosie Revere, Engineer. The book is about a little girl who loves to invent crazy gadgets and gizmos. She collects "stuff" to make her creations, one day she makes her uncle a hat which he says he loves but he laughs at it and it hurts Rosie's feelings so she hides her inventions away until one day when her Aunt Rose comes to visit.  Will Rosie be able to create a flying machine for her aunt?  Or will she give up? I absolutely LOVE this book, it actually made me cry the first time I read it because it is my middle child to a T! He is my inventing, junk collecting, tinker!  You may have a "Rosie" in your life or classroom!  
Click on the picture to go straight to put it in your cart on Amazon! (Affiliate link)
We read the book and do all of the great ELA activities I created to go with it!  These are just three of them! There are several more including sequencing, beginning, middle, end, a Venn Diagram and more!

Then we start talking about the engineering process!  How engineers solve problems and they create solutions and test them out and then make them even better!!! The kids really get it using this book! I have included and Engineering Invention planning guide for you to use with your students as well! It really gets them thinking about the Engineering Process and Inventions.

We also do our first STEAM challenge after reading this book.  The challenge is to create a "Flying Machine" just like Rosie does in the book.
If you would like to grab this Reader Response Unit to introduce the engineering process you can click the picture below.

This really sets the tone for the year with our STEAM lessons including the Engineering Process and using a Growth Mindset all year long!

I have the Engineering Process up on our STEAM bulletin board as well.

to grab it and the other STEAM posters click the picture below!

Be sure to check back soon for another STEAM post! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

5 Components of an Effective STEAM Lesson and a freebie!

Welcome back to my series on STEAM! If you missed the first post What is STEAM? Check it out HERE.

Has your school or district gone full steam (pun intended) ahead with STEM or STEAM but isn't providing training or a framework for what exactly makes for an effective lesson?

Well that is where my district is currently by requiring summer school courses to be STEAM based. Sadly, this seems to be a common problem for districts.  

 What I am sharing with you is from a Professional Development I did for my district on STEAM.  It is five components of an effective STEAM lesson.  These are the five components you should STRIVE for in a STEAM lesson.  However if it doesn't include all five you can still do the lesson to begin to infuse STEAM.

There are 5 components of an effective STEAM lesson

STEAM lessons should always be working to solve a problem.  There should also be criteria to meet.  Criteria is anything students must include in the final project.

STEAM lessons should always use the flexible engineering design process.  This allows students to approach the task with a clear plan and look for solutions.  The steps may vary slightly based on grade level or what resource you use.  The Engineering design process is essential to STEAM. It is the only letter that should ALWAYS be included!
To learn more about the Engineering Process check out the next post in this series.

STEAM lessons should generally be partner or team activities.  The students should always be provided with materials to create something (a solution) whether real or digital.  The lessons should not have a “right” answer or a “correct” solution. The more open ended the better!

STEAM lessons should always have a science or math objective. Include meaningful vocabulary, ELA, social studies & art standards where appropriate.  Math and science are often related so both will usually appear in STEAM lessons. This is excellent for students to see that they are not isolated subjects but they and other subjects often work together to solve problems.

STEAM lessons should allow for redesign and reflection.  Redesign is SO important for students. The first product engineers create is never their final product so why would we expect students to do this?  Build redesign into your STEAM lessons by including it as a step and or saying ”ok you have 30 minutes until we test so you can redesign”.  Students should also be allowed to reflect on the entire process. This can be written, as a presentation (video etc.) or simply turn and talk to a partner.

If you have made it this far CONGRATS!!! I hope this helps in planning an effective STEAM lesson!  And I have something to help you even more.............

Click HERE to go to my TPT store for the freebie to help you both evaluate STEAM lessons you find and a guide for planning your own! You can also click on the picture below.

Forever Freebie STEAM, STEM Lesson Evaluation Lesson Plann
This includes an evaluation for lessons you might already have to see if they are meeting the STEAM components and also an area for you to plan ways to help add the missing components. There is also a lesson planner to use when planning a STEAM lesson.