Happy Friday!

Happy Friday y'all!

Teaming up with Doodle Bugs again and GUESS WHAT- this post is my 99th Post since I began my blog!!! Ta-da!! Maybe my next post will come with prizes for being the 100th! We will see....
First, and foremost, what is up with the whack-a-doodle weather? I live about 100 miles north of Birmingham and we all (in the state of Alabama)rarely get snow. This year, however, we have delayed the start of the school day due to bitter cold several times. This week we delayed Tuesday and Wednesday since it was FIVE DEGREES outside. 

BUT HERE'S THE BIGGIE! Are you ready for this???

My daughter teaches Kindergarten in Hoover. (Birmingham) School there was dismissed at 10:30 on Tuesday due to SNOW. BUT in a short amount of time there was so much traffic and mess that buses couldn't run, highways were closed, people couldn't travel, people tried to travel anyway and car accidents began to block roadways, people trapped on the interstate were leaving their cars and walking, abandoned cars began to also block roadways.....See the picture:


 at my daughter's school (and MANY other schools) kids were stranded and could not be picked up. Parents COULD NOT GET THERE! 



They spent the night at school.

The kids were fed pizza and goldfish.

They slept on mats in the gym and library.

Are you kidding me?

My daughter was not able to leave school until after lunch on Wednesday. The kids thought it was a great adventure and the only child she had that cried ----he spilled his goldfish snack. She gave him more. 

Oh my goodness. 
You may have seen them on the Today show Wednesday morning. At least now they are famous.

So, how is the weather where you live??

Okay, do you know about this??? Happy Mommy Box

It works like Birch Box and Stitch Fix. You sign up and monthly you are sent a box of goodies designed to make a happy mommy. It does seem quite cute, but my babies are 25 and 28 and I thought I would just pass this on to you guys that do have small kids. Each box contains a goody for the kids, too.

Speaking of Stitch Fix.....(It's a monthly clothing box) I did try that and it was very cool to get that monthly box. It's all wrapped in tissue like a present and someone picked it out just for you....except it is soooooo much more expensive than I would pick out for me. You have to pay a $20 monthly fee whether you buy the boxed items or not and I found myself buying something just to keep from wasting my money. I did purchase some really nice things, but one jacket is still hanging, unworn, in my closet. I may wear it eventually. I mean it was $80 so I HAVE to wear it, right! Anyway, I cancelled my membership to Stitch Fix.
I also tried Birch Box, but was unhappy about paying for samples. So I stopped that, too!

Wish TJ Maxx would start a Maxx Box.....I'd buy that....

So, this week I got a call from my doctor about some blood work I had done recently. Actually, it was the assistant to the doctor. She said, "Dr. Kennedy just wanted you to know you have a low white blood cell count and you should come in for a visit."

Gee, thanks, for that abrupt news. What exactly does that mean? Well, I googled it and it means nothing. I had a doctor's appt. on Thursday already scheduled anyway.

Then I got another call--- "Oh, yes, Mrs. Davis, Dr, Kennedy also wanted you to know that your cholesterol is high. You should schedule an appointment."

Well, I went to the appointment and I have high cholesterol. We are trying some meds for that. The low cell count will require a visit to another doctor. I am going to do some reading about this and decide if it is serious enough to warrant another doctor visit.

It does not pay to get older.


That has to be the CUTEST thing I ever saw. I want one of these. Or maybe this one.....

Or even this one.....


Favorite pins this week:

This makes me laugh:
Ever been on a loooooong road trip with your kids and everyone is getting cranky and then you stop and eat at the worst place imaginable but everyone inhales their food and claims it is the best ever....yep and then all is well again. 

Well, have a great week. I sure hope we have some FULL days of school and the weather brings us sunshine!


Five for Friday and Maybe It Will SNOW!

And that was the temperature yesterday when I was getting ready for school!

8 degrees!

On a happier note....it's time for Five for Friday!!

Thanks Doodle Bugs- join this linky and tell us five random, fun, quirky things about your week!

Here's mine:

Okay, so, one of the biggest problems I have in my STEM lab is that kids are designing things. Well, alright, I get it, sometimes you draw a plan and then when you get started and it doesn't seem to be working you change in the middle of it and alter something. I mean we ALL do that- I do it every morning when I am getting dressed. Jeez, just because I ironed it doesn't mean I have to wear it, right??

Anyway, back to the Lab......students are drawing plans and then not following them. Well, that part I have decided not to sweat, but the part where they are just throwing supplies together with NO DRAWING or PLANNING is a problem.

So this week I did something truly


First, EVERY student had to draw a version of the Egg Drop---more about that below----

Then, groups had to confer and draw a group plan:

That's pretty good --although drawn with a sharpie, which I totally don't get...

NOW, the EVIL part---I made the groups trade papers and they thought for about five minutes that they were truly going to have to create the Egg Drop using another group's plan. It was SPECTACULAR!
Groups were angry because they couldn't read handwriting, two groups were mad because the plans did not follow the design constraints, and the rest were upset because they thought their plan was better than the plan received. We talked it all out and then traded plans back.
Personally I think it was a LESSON well learned- Well thought out, well drawn, neatly written plans are BETTER!

Back to the Egg Drop....

That's one group with the passenger cars poised at the top of the bar ready to ride! I have already blogged a little about this activity {HERE}-- basically kids are designing a way to get those three cups to drop WITHOUT letting the passengers pop out. The passengers just happen to be eggs....We have already completed this design's first step and now classes are redesigning. The most frustrating thing is that designs will work perfectly UNTIL the groups demo for the rest of us and then it will fail! Hey, that is REAL LIFE, people.....

That being said......my fourth graders are totally doing a study of energy and motion that I completely invented- by gathering a multitude of resources and making it my own....so after we finish testing it all out I will be able to share that at TPT....here's a peek or two:

Energy Task Cards with Rotating Stations- it included rubber bands, bouncing balls, fizzing, ramps, and more!

That's a test tray for the Chemical and Physical Changes study my third graders are completing. 

Next up is Elephant Toothpaste! Yep, that's right!

My favorite part of Five for Friday is MY favorite pins or quotes of the week:

To be honest....this might have happened to me.. once.

Okay, I have sweaters like this one. Now I just need the pink pants.

Have a great week- it's now 28 degrees in Alabama- but snow is in the forecast!

Five for Friday!!!

.....And yes, I know it's Sunday!

I've been busy..... what can I say?

Besides, you can join this linky whenever---it's 

Thank you Doodle Bugs for this weekly wonderful way to connect and think randomly! Ha! My fav thing to do....

Here goes this week:

Best of all randomness this week I rearranged my craft nook and made it my TPT nook! Years ago, before the digital age hit us,I was  very much a scrap-booker. I had ten tons of scrapbook supplies, embellishments, ribbon, papers, and twenty seven zillion containers for all that stuff. I spent hours making gorgeous scrapbooks of my children and they are priceless........then the digital scrapbook became available. Now, you upload pictures and make wonderful collections, bind them into books and so .....what do you do with all that leftover scrapbook stuff????

I boxed it up and turned by craft desk into an office desk...
That great printer in the picture belongs to hubs and it's his for printing amazing photos. Guess what else it prints in vivid color------task cards!!! This little corner is a work-in-progress (and if you focus really hard you can see Doodle Bugs website on the computer....)

Oh my goodness, I had a request from a Teachers Pay Teachers buyer to combine some things I have been working on and it made so much sense. It was also relatively easy so I squeezed together some combo packs.....

The first set is one I LOVE! It is also something I used in my classroom all the time! Kids are reading articles (I wrote them) from magazine pages! The magazine pages I designed have articles of varied lengths. They include graphics, tables, charts, graphs, and more. The set also includes differentiated task cards that ask basic comprehension questions, but also ask the students to identify non fiction text features.

The partner set has word wall strips about the Polar Regions, vocabulary flash cards, and graphic organizers for vocabulary. 
The two are great separately, but also designed to work together!

Thank you to the buyer for suggesting this. There are two other combo packs as well! It has been really fun to develop these task cards sets.....working on a new one (in my new little office nook!)

My favorite moment of the week was the look on  some faces when the expected outcome of an experiment did NOT occur. It was priceless--- true discovery and likely to be remembered....my fourth graders are learning about roller coasters. After much discussion of how potential energy turns into kinetic energy and only gravity makes a roller coaster car continue on its track, I posed this problem: What if the second hill of a roller coaster is taller than the first hill? Will it still work? 
Here's a group trying the task- using a foam tube and marbles. Elaborate two hill designs were built and, sadly, none of them worked! We did, however, learn a ton! We even experimented with making the coasters have loops!

Speaking of task cards.....

Look at this mess:

You would think I have never laminated anything in my life. But I was at home, using the SUPER DUPER photo printer, and did not have any card stock. I could have used photo paper, but it's a little expensive, so I just used regular copy paper..... Glued it to construction paper.....laminated.....cut apart....

Threw AWAY..

and started over:

Much better, right?

So, here's a tutorial on laminating task cards:
1. Print on card stock.
2. Trim off the white edges.
3. Laminate.
4. Cut.
OR Just take it to STAPLES- they will do it all for you. For not much money.....

Here's my random Funny of the Week
 and it made me laugh a lot and you will too, because we have ALL done this and we totally get it:

Thanks so much for the linky Doodle Bugs... Y'all have a great Monday off and a great week ahead!

Some great ideas for you:


A Day My Way!

What an interesting Linky! Amelia at Where the Wild Things Learn is inviting us to share a day's events. She is so correct when she says we all have different demands, testing preparation, and standards--- so how do we get through the day?? It has been really fun to read the daily schedules of several teachers.

Before I share my schedule I have to tell you that my classroom is NOT normal. I am a STEM Lab teacher. I see every class in my school (17 of them) for a 45 minute block once each week. I only work with science and math related topics so I won't be sharing how I fit reading in or read aloud times, center times, or all the ten trillion other things you guys have to fit in.

This sums it up nicely, don't you think??

 But anyway---- I have ten tons of preparation and must flip between grade levels and get new supplies, folders, graded papers, and things ready quickly.
 So......here's a sample day:

7:15- 8:00 Okay let's start with room prep! Here's a panoramic of my lab:

It's huge! Clean up is constant. Prepping for three grade levels and three different studies is a major job. So I get to school early and WORK!
But the hard work is okay, really. I know you agree and I'm sure you have seen this pin:

(Sorry, I digressed again.....I love quotes and I love pins....probably need therapy)

8:00-8:30 Intervention group: I have two little third graders that come to me for reading intervention. This is due to the fact that I do not have a regular classroom and do have chunks of time where I can do extra. During other open times you may find me helping the lowest math class in fourth grade (where they have leveled math groups) or helping out in any area needed. Next week I am scheduled to help third grade classes plant seeds for a study on plant growth.

8:30-10:00 This is my fifth grade block. We are currently learning about egg drops.....yep......eggs. Here's their first design challenge:

They are designing a model of an amusement park ride. The passenger cars of the rides are represented with Styrofoam cups. The passengers are ping pong balls and the PVC pipe is the ride itself. When the cups are dropped from the top, of course the passengers bounce out. So, here's the design part for the kids: Use a folder, two sheets of copy paper, straws, and tape and make a braking system so that the passenger cars stop one inch from the floor AND the passengers stay inside! When I introduced this premise to this class, one little voice said, "Mrs. Davis! No Way! That's all we have is paper and straws!"

(Well, you have to admit that quote is appropriate....)

Well, back to the STEM lab, guess what, most of them successfully designed a way to make it work!  

NOW SWITCH GEARS--- two third grade classes follow that!

10:00-11:30 Third graders! Now, I taught third grade for 18 years so I completely get this age. They never cease to amaze me though with how little they are and how you canNOT assume they know things. It's especially hard to go from fifth grade talk to third grade talk!

So, what are the third graders doing right now !!!!

Have I totally lost it!?

No, third grade just completed a regular classroom study of chemicals and we are simply extending that learning in the lab.

Besides, in the lab......are you ready for this???

We wear lab coats and safety goggles:

Anyway, we are learning about chemical changes, which just happens to be something I have worked on many times!

And it is a super duper really fun study with elephant toothpaste, Instasnow, and sodium polyacralate.......I know, that sounds very impressive, but I cannot tell you what all that stuff does because then you would not have the fun of discovering those chemical reactions on your own!

11:30-1:00  LUNCHTIME! And planning block and this is when I clean up and get ready for 4th grade, grade notebooks, make copies, laminate, and all that other stuff we do that most people have no idea about!

1:00-2:30 FOURTH GRADE!!!!!! And here is what they are doing:

They have been working on Energy Task Cards. We spent some time reading about kinetic and potential energy and they are rotating through task card stations doing a variety of tasks that are one of the forms of energy. The premise of this study is HOW DO YOU BUILD A ROLLER COASTER!!!!! Well, we did build a two hill roller coaster out of foam tubes first.

The idea was to make the second hill larger than the first and see if it would work. Some of them felt sure it would work! Surprise! 

After doing some labs on bouncing and friction we will finally build a roller coaster  model from foam tubes!

2:30-3:00 BUS DUTY! I have to call roll for one of the largest buses (probably 50-60 kids), but it's fun! I check off their names and escort them to the bus and then go back to CLEAN up the lab again! I usually spend a little time getting ready for the next day--- cause you never know what is going to happen the next morning!

There you have it---- a typical day! In a STEM lab anyway!

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