Teaching the Body Systems!

Monday, December 28, 2015
Circulatory System
Circulatory System Introductory Video: Circulatory Video by SCIENCE KIDS
I LOVED using this video to introduce the CIRCULATORY SYSTEM because it was a great way to show the students a red blood cell traveling through the body and back again as it deoxygenates.  This video was short and sweet and a GREAT intro.  Click on the the link HERE.
Circulatory System Foldable: The students used their textbooks and a CLOSE READING article from my Body Systems Unit to fill out the following foldable.  Students reported on the different parts of the Circulatory System to include the HEART, BLOOD VESSELS, and finally the BLOOD.  Students also had fun illustrating the oxygenated blood (red) vs. the deoxygenated blood (blue) on the front cover of their foldables.  Click on the picture below in order to download this FREEBIE!
Respiratory System
Respiratory System Introductory Video: Respiratory System Video by Akron Chrildren's Hospital
This video does an awesome job of introducing the different parts of the Respiratory System while providing great visuals and information with a question/answer format, all while providing a little humor that the kids LOVE! 
Respiratory System Newspapers: One of the focuses in my school right now is to come up with activities that are considered to be rigorous on the Depth of Knowledge scale where the kids can design and apply information that they had learned.  I looked at all of my resources and most of them were just question/answer type formats and I just couldn't find WHAT I was looking for! (I HATE when that happens!!!!) So, I started thinking about having the kids create NEWSPAPER articles about the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM.  I made the following template to help the kids get started.
Student template for students to complete a project on the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM! <FREE> DOWNLOAD!!!
Students researched the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM and then wrote NEWSPAPER articles and drew a diagram all in ONE! DOK 3/4 activity!
Here is how the whole display looked!

Digestive System
Digestive System Introductory Video: This site offers a great intro video to the digestive system (although a tad bit corny!) Also, from the Akron Children's Hospital, click HERE to be taken to the video. 
Digestive System Activity: After completing the CLOSE READ on the Digestive System from my BODY SYSTEMS unit, I had the students illustrate the foldable labeling all of the organs that are involved.  One thing my grade level was having the 5th graders do was write a narrative formatted story about the journey a piece of food takes in your body to be digested. Here is a pic of the Close Read!
Here is a picture of the foldable that I had my students complete last year. You can click on the picture to get this free download.  This is what I had the students do last year, and this year I changed it up a bit! Keep reading below to see what we did...
This year I put my students in partners of 2 and I gave them a blank sheet of large white construction paper and said, "GO TO IT!" The instructions were to diagram the digestive system and to include all of the parts necessary.  Then, students wrote about the journey that a particular piece of food takes through the digestive system on a separate sheet of paper. 
Example #1 
Example #2 
Example #3
Here is a glimpse of the entire display!
If you need articles for EACH body system to build your students background knowledge, click on the pic below to be taken to my pack…Happy teaching! Do you have any unique or unusual ways for teaching Body Systems???


Sunday, December 20, 2015
I am dedicating this post to some FREEBIES and goodies I have for you all so check back from time to time to see what I have added! I like to think of this page as an online file cabinet where you can find all of your goodies in one place! I will be linking this post to the side bar so that it is easy to find!

I LOVE using this HOMEWORK DATA CHART daily with my students.  As soon as the students walk in in the morning they lay out their homework on their desks so that everything is laid out and someone can see that they have completed their HW with just a bird's eye view.  They circle the YES/NO depending on whether or not they have completed their HW and write in the missing assignment(if they have one.)  I walk around to give them a stamp or smiley face to reinforce. On Friday, if they have a perfect homework score, they earn a 20$ bonus with our classroom dollars. They LOVE it! As the year progresses, I choose different monitors to stamp their homework logs.  They LOVE this and it makes them feel super responsible. Also a great tool to show parents. Click on the link below to grab it! 

4th and 5th Grade Common Core Charts
These common core standards charts are great to use when planning! I have even run these off in the past for students to keep in their folders so that students can check off the standard we are focusing on in the beginning of the lesson.  I used these with my state standards far before common core came along and they were a great way for my students to stay focused (as well as myself!)  They also helped me make sure I was "fitting it all in" and were a good visual for myself to see what I still needed to cover!  

I will be adding more soon! 

NEW YEAR 2016!

Saturday, December 19, 2015
Since the year is rolling to an end, I have been working on updating my NEW YEAR'S file for you all!  It is actually ready for you to re-download and have at your fingertips.  If you are not already familiar with this file, I will share with you now what is included.
First, I wrote a poem a few years back about New Year's Resolutions! I like this poem because it is dedicated to teaching the students about what a resolution is in a unique and different way, through poetry!  I also added some complex vocabulary to up the rigor and get the students thinking about how they can change for the better in the upcoming year!!! Some discussion questions to accompany the poem:
#1) What does it mean to be your own opponent?
#2) What does "out with the old, in with the new" mean?
#3) What will make moments in the upcoming year "precious" for you?
#4) What are your top 3 goals for this year?

After the poem, I like to have the students make a list of troubles they would like to "squash" this year. Students write them down and "crumple" them up.  Next, students need to find a partner and tell them one trouble they will "crumple" this year and how they will do that. The students LOVE this of course because they get to crumple their papers….;)  

On the next foldable, students identify their goals/resolutions and EXPLAIN how they will achieve their goals.  This is a great way to incorporate writing into the first day back AND to get the students thinking again about providing details and evidence in their writing! 
Finally, here is a 2016 Newpaper that the kids can fill out. They LOVE this of course because they get to write and draw pictures about themselves…also a great keepsake for parents! I love when my own daughter brings this kind of stuff home, absolute gems to stuff away (and laugh about) later in life!!!

Happy NEW Year to all of you! BEST wishes for a great year ahead!!!

5 "BIG KID" Holiday Projects!

Sunday, December 6, 2015
The holidays are approaching and that means……HOLIDAY PROJECTS!!!! I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you (for the BIG guys!)
#1) Snow Globe Dreams Project With SO much turmoil and negativity out there these days I wanted to create a project that would create positivity and good vibes. Here is a FREE Snow Globe Dreams project where students draw their dreams for the world inside the globe and even have a little space to write about them below. These are great for the main office bulletin board or even in the hallways! Click on the picture below to get the free printable!
#2) All About Me Holiday Ornaments
The next project is great for part of their holiday gift to their parents.  Students fill up 2 sides with "about me" type topics that serve as a great keepsake and will be something that goes up on the tree year after year! Click on the picture to grab this free printable! 

#3) Holiday Wishes Cube Project For this next project, I thought, why not focus on the goodness that the holidays can bring…no matter WHAT holiday a child celebrates??? Whether or not the students celebrate Kwanza, Hanukah, Christmas, Diwali, or St. Lucia……holidays are about common feelings of celebrating goodness, hope, faith, and family!!! So rather than focusing on the holiday itself, I wanted to focus on the feelings and memories that center around the holidays.  Therefore, the HOLIDAY WISHES CUBE was born! Here students can write about their wishes for there family, things they love, express what it is they believe in, their wishes for peace, their wishes for a joyful life, and finally a picture of how they celebrate the holiday.  What a GREAT way to get to know each student and how they will celebrate the holidays.  Also, as a mommy, I would LOVE to have this as a keepsake from my daughter!!! Click on the pic below to purchase this project (it is part of a bundle of projects!)

To make a sturdier keepsake that can be possibly saved for years to come, I thought about using a cardboard box for students to glue each side to instead of constructing the cubes themselves… I found these boxes from THE BOXERY on AMAZON and the boxes were $6.50 for a set of 20…. Click HERE to grab the boxes!
#4) All About Me (Right Now) Holiday Stockings
This next project is a FUN way for students to be CREATIVE! They answer questions about themselves and make a mural type collage of words and pictures.  This is relatively little prep (I just had the stockings pre-cut on large white construction paper.)  The template that I provided in the link will work, but I liked having them do the project on thicker paper so they could add color with water color paints.  The questions are in this download ready for you to go! Click on the picture below to get this printable! 

#5) Holidays Around the World 3D Globe
This next project is a FUN way for students to be CREATIVE! The students will read an informational passage about 6 different holidays people celebrate from around the world. They include Diwali, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, St. Lucia's Day, and finally Las Posadas!  The students will the write and draw key facts about each one.  In the end, they will have a beautiful 3D globe that look GREAT hanging in the classroom! I made this little video below to show you what they look like! (Although it got cut off at the end….RATS!) :)
Click on the pic below to be taken to this holiday project (part of my Holiday Project Bundle!)
I hope you ALL have a WONDERFUL holiday! Happy Holidays from me to you!

Division Division Division!

Saturday, December 5, 2015
DIVISION is a STRUGGLE to teach. It is such a hard concept for the students to learn! Why? Because often times we (or maybe it is just me???) want to just show the students how to do it, step by step, and expect the kids to just GET IT! But that definitely doesn't do it! Another challenge? Often times we introduce division and the students STILL do not know their multiplication facts. Sound familiar? How many times have you told a parent that the child needs to work on mastering their multiplication facts??? I know I have felt like a broken record with that one.  Now to top it off, common core math stresses the dreaded "alternate strategies" for a concept that was tricky and confusing to begin with.  Now, students need to know the "regular" way AND some other funky ways.  This is for sure how I felt until I actually taught those other funky ways! The funky ways (I keep that term to myself;)) actually made ALOT of sense to the kids! First let's start with the algorithm.  I like to try to make the algorithm FUN because, let's face it….it's NOT.  So, to let the students practice the algorithm in a fun and engaging way, I have them play Division Tic-Tac-Toe.  Here the students FEEL like they are playing a game when actually they are practicing their skills.  The best part? You can pair students that would be able to act as "peer tutors" because they watch each other complete the division problem with a fine tooth comb-wanting to catch errors in their partners work (and helping each other as well!) It is a WIN WIN!!! Download this game for free by clicking on the photo below.
Now let's talk about the FUNKY strategies… :) 
Funky Division Strategy #1) Partial Quotient
This was just confusing to me.  It sounds impressive and looks impressive and rigorous…..but what does it actually mean???? I'll try to explain it….here it goes! For the partial quotient strategy, students need to constantly ask themselves WHAT NUMBER can I MULITPLY the divisor by to get to the TOTAL dividend without going over.  Why do I like this strategy? Because they do not need to break up the quotient to do this (like in the algorithm.)  They treat the quotient as a total number and I just think that is an easier concept for students to grasp. They repeat this until they can't subtract anymore.  If you are a visual learner (like myself) take a look at the visual below to see this strategy in action.

I also have the poster seen below in the room:
Funky Division Strategy #2) Area Model
Area Model. This took me a while! Am I the only one? If I, the teacher are a tad confused with this, imagine how the students feel? I just kept reminding them…..you will get through this!!! With the area model, it is actually very similar to the partial quotient strategy…just written down in a different way. I think you actually need to just look at the model to figure this one out.  They start by drawing a box and write the dividend.  They write the divisor on the left side of the box and then go through the steps seen on the poster.  See the poster below that I post in my room.
Culminating Activity
To display all of the strategies as a culminating activity I had the students PROVE to me their knowledge. I let them choose a partner.  Partners equal IMMEDIATE fun in my room, even if it is for DIVISION (hee hee!) Partner pairs had a job to do.  They needed to CREATE their own division word problems.  (and write them below on the green post-it note) The only restrictions? I told them that they needed to have a 4 digit dividend and a 2 digit divisor.  Students LOVED writing the word problems since they could "personalize" them. Next, students showed their work using 3 strategies that we had focused on.  They needed to show their work as seen below. The best part? If one of their answers didn't match the others, they knew that they had made an error somewhere and needed to go back and check their work.  Finally, I made them write to explain how they solved the area model and partial quotient.  Most groups divvied the work up and each partner worked to explain.  This was great because they were really more inclined to use their academic vocabulary in order to explain the dividend, quotient, etc….
Again, click on the picture above to get the labels for this activity.
Do you have any tricks for teaching division?

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