BAM! So Many Milestones! (And a Give Away!)

First, let me just say that I am humbled at all these numbers!
5000 feed-backs at Teachers Pay Teachers.
Over 600 followers on Instagram.
Almost 2000 followers at TpT.
A little over 1000 followers on Pinterest.
AH-MAY-ZING!

But it gets better!
I am grateful for all those numbers, but the one that just squeaked in is a Teachers Pay Teachers Milestone! I am forever grateful to my STEM friends and TpT customers for your loyalty, your encouragement, and your feedback. I get the most amazing feed back! Thank you!
I am honored by your choices from my store and I appreciate every single purchase.

So, let's wrap this short little post up with a treat for you to celebrate my big TpT Milestone!

Let's have a little raffle!
 If you like Teachers Pay Teachers one of the prizes is a $50 gift card. 
The second prize is a gift card for Stitch Fix!
The raffle has a part where you can opt to leave a comment on this blog post so, let's answer this question: What is the most amazing thing about Teachers Pay Teachers? If you can't think of an answer to that one then here is a second choice: What is the most amazing thing about teaching science?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, seeing my cat pictures on Instagram, liking my Facebook page, viewing my photos on Pinterest, and shopping with me at TpT.
I am truly grateful.

Also, you should hop over to STEM Activities for Kids and check out the Blog Hop!
My STEM friends and I are offering 20% discounts on selected STEM products.
Click on that image to jump right over!

And finally to answer the question that I know is going through your head right now--- YES, that is me in the pink suit leaping out of that airplane!
9

It's Going to Be a STEMtastic Year!

Are you ready to dive into STEM this year? My very good friends from STEM Activities for Kids have created a wonderful opportunity for you!
Here's a way to get going with STEM challenges and save a little money!
That's right! Twenty percent off selected STEM products from eight Teachers Pay Teachers stores!
You save some money, but best of all, just think how excited your students will be as they tackle these problem solving goodies!
Here's what you can find from ME:
The first item is a bundle of three tower challenges. We LOVED doing these and you will, too! Easy prep, easy materials, and huge learning!

Here's the second STEM product for you:
This is a second bundle of three challenges. All of these deal with real life events in which students must make a bridge, or a zip line, or a pipe line! My students LOVE completing tasks that have a story behind them and these three definitely are intriguing!

So, click on the first image above to go directly to the listings for all of our products.
OR
Hop right over to Teachers Pay Teachers and type #2016STEM" into the search box.
OR
Click on either of the product covers of mine to go directly to their place in my shop.

Also, don't forget to check out the bloggers below and see what they are offering you!
Have a STEMtastic year!


2

Five for Friday! December 11

Another Friday is here!
Just one more and we will be on Christmas Break!
How about you?
When does your Christmas Break begin?
So, since it is Friday let's join Kacey at Doodlebugs for: 
 
This randomness this week is brought to you by Instagram!
Oh my goodness, I love my Instagram.
This started as a way to connect with school friends and has grown into a large family of teachers. It is just amazing to read comments and then see posts from others, too! What a fabulous way to stay connected.
So, recently I joined a group of teachers and Kelli Wise with an Instagram Challenge. I watched some videos provided by Kelli (@kelli.alaina on Instagram). She has fabulous, really fabulous photos on her account. You should go look at them. Anyway, I started playing with some apps and photos and thought I would share some tips with you!

Tip #1
Best Phone Photo App Ever!
Rhonna Designs! There are several versions of this, but start with the free one.
Start by making your chosen background square (for Instagram, remember!) and then layer on some clip art and text. You will have to play with this a little to find everything and learn how to insert, but once you get going it is easy to do!
Here's a couple of my first creations!

Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!
Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!


Tip #2
Okay, what if you want to add your own backgrounds to Rhonna Designs app? Will that work?
Of course it will. You can insert your own photos and then layer text to create something. I started with just an inspirational quote, but I will definitely use this for school related things and maybe a cat photo or two! Ha!
Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!

That gorgeous photo was taken by my son! It's a shot of the river that runs right beside my little town.

Tip #3
Ok, so then I thought....what if I wanted to just layer text onto something for Christmas. And maybe get a little fancier than the ones above. So I came up with this:
Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!

I liked it, but the free backgrounds are limited unless you spend some money for additions to the app.

Well, I didn't want to do that.....soooooooooo
keep reading for tip #4

Tip #4
What if I used a screen saver photo or background? Would that work?
So, I went to those apps on my phone. I have about 15 screensaver apps. I am fairly obsessive with changing my screensaver...just sayin'
So I went to one of them and found this background:
I inserted that in Rhonna, made it square, resized it and moved it around to the best position, and then added some words! Take a look:
Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!

Do you love that? I do!
Here's another one that I adore!
Here's the background first:
And here is the finished Instagram shot:
Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!

Beautiful!


Tip# 5
This one is totally not my CREATION and I take no credit for this. 
I have been seeing these amazing short clips of products being shared on Instagram. The little clips are made by Danielle Knight from Study All Knight. I wanted to know how she was making these and figured it was an app. Nope, it's all done in Powerpoint.
And then, wonder of wonders, she made a blog post tutorial to show us how to make these.
Click on her button or right {HERE} for the tutorial.

Here's my first little video:
 


You should check out my Instagram. I have more little clips already and more planned cause I think they are so fun!

 While you are there FOLLOW ME. It's a fun little adventure and a place I share all kinds of things. Here's a recent shot of my favorite cat:
Tips for Your Instagram photos: This post is all about making those Instagram images really pop! Take a look at it and find out how to use my favorite phone app to create images and add text!

He's a reader, just like me!
Have a great weekend!
Do some Instagramming!

I am taking the next two weeks off from blogging to celebrate Christmas with family. Meet me back here the Wednesday after Christmas for another version of "What's Going on the Lab". In the meantime check out this blog post (of mine) on STEM Activities for Kids:
Just click on the photo or right {HERE}!

Have an amazing Christmas!
4

What's Going on in the Lab? Little Flippers!

Okay STEM and Science Friends!
Have I got something to share with you??!!
The other day I saw a photo of a flip book. Now, I have done these in the past. We used to stack paper and then move the edges of the papers about an inch apart, fold the stack in half, and then staple it at the top. This made the flaps of the flip book. (Say that threes times fast!)

Anyway, I saw these little flip or flap books, but they have little tabs on them! So, they look like file folders. It took about 2.5 minutes for me to draw some templates and then the next day we tried one of these with my third graders.
THEY LOVED THEM!
Take a look:
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
  This is just the most fun! We started with a set about the Scientific Method. And quickly added a set about STEM and then the Engineering Design Process.

For the Scientific Method we talked about each step of the method and why it is used or needed. Then kids were able to decorate their pages.
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
 Can you see that the scienitst pictured above is saying, "Hmmmm.....". She is thinking about her hypothesis! Too creative!
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
 Above is a scientist that is thinking about the questions of his experiment. The one below is the same page!
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?


STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
After going through all the pages of the flipper here is the easiest part of all. The next step is to cut the little pages out.
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
Super easy cutting and then to put them together all you need is a STAPLER! NO GLUE!
Oh my, you had me at "NO GLUE!"
I really dislike glue.
But these little flippers are just stapled together.
I'll pause while you mull that over.....
No glue oozing out. No glued together pages.
No glue on the desks.
No glued fingers.

Here's the other versions we tackled:
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?

STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?

STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
Those two sets were related to STEM.

And then you have to see this set! Oh my, I really love this one.
My third graders are studying about rocks and minerals and I just happen to have a set of 12 different rocks that I use every year to teach the rock cycle.
So, of course, I made a flipper about that!
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
 We watched a video about the rock cycle and then stopped to color and write about Igneous rocks.
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?

STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?

STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
 And then, the kids took my samples and tried to pull out the igneous rocks.
We did the same thing with the other kinds of rocks and then talked again about the rock cycle.
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
 Finished pages!
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
 Cut out and stapled together!
STEM and Science class Idea: Little Flipper books for jotting notes, illustrating, and science fun! These make great introductory lessons, review, or work for sub days! What will your kids draw to represent themselves as engineers or scientists?
My favorite page!

There you have it! These little pages have been a big, HUGE, hit in my lab! I like the simplicity. The kids like the creative parts. They go right along with lessons we are having.
Sounds like a win-win to me!

Thanks for joining me for this Wednesday edition. Come back next week for more:
Coming soon:
Marble Runs
Water Towers
Mystery Builds
Crossing the Chasm
0

What's Going on in the Lab? Stacking Cups!

So glad you are here to see what we have been up to!
This week it's all about stacking cups!
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

When this challenge was first considered about two years ago I thought it sounded too much like Minute-to-Win-It! As much as I knew the kids would have fun, I also wanted this to have some educational value! Right?
Can't just have fun in school......

Anyway, I added the features of calculating mean, median, mode, and range.
Kids start with a couple of performance tasks that involve stacking cups, based on task rules.
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!
Those photos all show my fourth graders doing the task about a week ago. They are using 3 ounce white plastic cups.
Now, let me tell you a little secret!
The first time we tried this challenge I used Styrofoam cups- because they are really cost efficient.
Here's an old photo:
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!
These cups make spectacular stacks, but there's one BIG PROBLEM!
The static cling of Styrofoam cups will make you crazy. I mean bonkers, out of your mind, nuts! Just when the kids would get a stack ready to measure or count, the next cup would make a bunch under it slide and the whole thing would collapse.
We tried wiping them down with dryer sheets and washing our hands and nothing worked! They did get better after being used for about the second time- so I would suggest using OLD cups!

So, this year I invested in some little plastic cups! Good decision.

Another task has the kids predicting how many cups it will take to reach a specific height:
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!
I made marks on our lab tables to use instead of meter sticks- only in the interest of time! You could add measurement to this challenge and really cover some math skills!

The last task has kids trying to build a stack, but they have to make it an unusual shape! Check these out:
STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

STEM Challenge: This is one of our favorite lab events- It's all about stacking cups, but also calculating mean, median, mode, and range! The math is used after stacking competitions and is great for group work. Practice those skills, have some fun, and learn!

Overall, it's a really fun activity, but has just enough math in it to make it worth your time. The kids leave knowing how to calculate mean, median, mode, and range!
And how to stack some cups!


Join me next Wednesday for another edition of:

Coming soon:
Marble Runs
Water Towers
Mystery Builds
Building Boxes

0

Currently! December!

So, the other day I heard a teacher playing Christmas music in her classroom!
Which is not outrageous, I know.
But, it was before Thanksgiving.... and maybe a tad early.
Do you play music in the background in your classroom?
When I had a regular classroom I always did- even during testing!Yep!
Anyway, it's Currently time, not time to talk about music!

Thank you to Farley, once again, for this fabulous monthly link up featuring what we have been up to lately!



LISTENING....
to a cat snoring....
Yes, I have one that snores!
He typically lays on a rug near my desk so I can hear him breathe and snore while I work. We recently found out this old buddy is diabetic and I am now giving him two insulin shots daily!


LOVING....
Little Flippers!
Have you seen these little flipping books that look like file folders, only smaller and connected. Well, I saw some (Pinterest got me again) and I thought it was too cute. I also needed something to leave with a sub for an afternoon and decided this would be perfect.

The template was super easy to draw and then I just played with the little tabs to get them to fit just right and BAM, I had a little flipper book. The ones I have finished are about STEM, of course! But that is what I needed right now! My third graders definitely need some background about STEM and the Engineering Design Process! I also have several more topics in the works! Something about Rocks is coming soon!

THINKING...
about Christmas Break! We are heading out on a ski vacation with all of our kids and it is going to be so much fun! This is an old photo of the place we are going to- this will be our fourth trip to this breathtakingly beautiful place:

It's Lake Tahoe. Amazing.

WANTING....
a new ski jacket......it's one of the things I obsess over.
About three years ago I purchased a jacket that is bright blue- just because I liked that hat that went with it....
That's me- on the left- with my daughter. I love the color of my jacket and the hat, so I guess I just talked myself out of a new jacket.

NEEDING....
to share a book!
I share my Book of the Week on Instagram all the time. Some of them turn out to be really great reads. Here's the latest one that I have completely loved:
It's the story of Mim- a 16 year old that runs away from Mississippi (Mosquitoland) to travel by bus to get to her mom who lives in Ohio. She is a very troubled young lady that takes medication for some mental problems, but it is hilarious look at how she views life. She writes in a diary that gives you little snippets of her background. Along the way she is in a bus wreck, meets helpful and harmful strangers, and deals with life on the road. It's a fascinating book! Try it over Christmas break!

And finally, a FAKE TREE!
I have a giant tree that does not have built in lights. It takes HOURS to put it up and wrap the lights in the branches. I love it when it is finished and it's lots easier to take down!
Here's the thing, though.....we sometimes travel through Christmas so when we are going to be gone on Christmas Eve or Day I do not put a tree up at all!
Here's a photo from a few years ago:
Have a great December!
Join me here tomorrow for What's Going on in the Lab!
8

Five for Friday! Too Busy Edition

Hi Friday Friends!
I think I forgot to link up last week.
So, that will tell you what has been going on lately!
TOO MUCH!

Too busy, too much to do, too many irons in the fire...

So, this week's theme is 5 Reasons I Have Too Much to Do!

Let's join Kacey at DoodleBugs:


First up, I was looking for something in my TpT store the other day and for the life of me I could not find it! I mean, I invented it! I knew it was there and I could not locate it.
So, I started wondering if maybe anyone else had trouble finding things. Well, I knew I had seen a product catalog with clickable links from someone else. So, I searched for product catalogs and lots of sellers have them. So, I decided to play around with a format I liked and see what I could invent.
Here ya go!
STEM Product catalog! This lists all my challenges by grade level and by NGSS standards. It also lists them alphabetically, by type, and includes a suggested materials list.
Inside you will find clickable links to STEM products organized by grade level, by NGSS Standard, alphabetical, and more! It was fun to make and I hope it is useful to some of you!

Now, I am working on a poster catalog! Cause I have a bunch of those, too!

Second Too Busy Thing:
Look at this face.
That's my big cat Luigi. He is our oldest buddy and just a big old grump bucket.
So, on top of being incredibly busy at school and with my second job, I had to stop and take care of my kitty. He went to the vet about a month ago for a regular check up and we found he had fleas. Yeah, I know, how is it possible that he had fleas and I didn't know. Well, he has THICK fur and he doesn't groom himself so I figured he was just dusty as he normally is....
After the flea meds he started losing weight. Mind you, he's a big boy, 18.3 pounds in October. But suddenly he lost TWO POUNDS! That's a lot for a cat- in a month! Also, he was drinking water ravenously and peeing so much.
Well, you know what those symptoms are.
Yes, that's right. Luigi has developed diabetes. He will have to have a shot daily until we can see if this is temporary or forever. Poor buddy.

So, what's the third thing keeping me busy?
...hmmm, well it was time to update my banner at my store. And I got started making them and came up with several I like. Which do you like best?






I changed it to the bottom one, but I like them all!
I know this was not an essential thing to keep me too busy, but it was on my To-Do list and doing things like this is something I can do while doing something else at the same time....

How about the fourth Busy Thing?
I have 15 classes. That is supposed to mean 3 preps each week- 5 classes in each grade level.
Well, it NEVER works that way. So, I have this right now:
  • All third grade classes are on the same STEM event. (Yahoo, except it was a brand new challenge and it took the whole week to work out the kinks!)
  • Half the 4th grade is finishing Water Towers and the other half is doing Egg towers.
  • Half the fifth grade is Designing Boxes and the other half is experimenting with parachutes.

But there is this:
STEM Challenge: Students found a very clever way to "skirt" the rules. They learned to build an egg tower and learned a new idiom!
Just when I am totally wiped out tired something like this happens. The egg tower had to be tall and hold up an egg. I said, "You can tape it to the tabletop. If you think your tower is going to be really tall, you can tape the base to the floor. It may not be propped against the side of the table or taped to the side of the table."
Take a close look at the photo. Did that group break any rules?

And the last busy thing on my list is:
BOXES!
This is my very favorite STEM challenge.
The kids would pick Roller Coasters
or Boats
or Pancakes.
I like building boxes.
This takes three class sessions, but in the end the kids have worked on calculating volume and surface area and they make a box.
The goal is to make the box with the largest volume and every group starts with a static surface area.
See what you think:
STEM Challenge: After working on calculating volume and surface area students are challenged to build a box with the greatest volume- all using the same size piece of poster board!
Which  box has the greatest volume?
The one with the red dot!
Obviously that group totally got it! Tall, wide, and deep makes the biggest volume!
The other part of this challenge is to name the cereal and create a TV commercial for it. Here's the one that makes me laugh:
STEM Challenge: After working on calculating volume and surface area students are challenged to build a box with the greatest volume- all using the same size piece of poster board!
Rainbow
Puppy
Crunch.
Why?
No reason. They just thought it was funny. That is my kind of kids.
This is a super busy challenge, but so worth the time.
So, even though I have too much to do, I still love my job.

Have a great weekend
and Thanksgiving.
I am taking the week off so join me back here on December 2 for What's Going on in the Lab?




2
Back to Top