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'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 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 after we finish testing it all out I will be able to share that at'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 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.'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!


Five for Friday!

Y'all It's Friday, finally!

Now, I ask you, how can a week that is shorter (as far as school time) last for soooooo long! That's just one of my randomness thingies for the week!
Let's join Doodle Bugs Teaching for:

It's easy--- just random thoughts and things that happen during the week, add a few photos, and there you go!

So here's my number one thingie:
Okay, well, I live in ALABAMA. It never snows here (well, that's not true. About every 8 years we have a huge snow and the day before it comes you go to Wal Mart and buy all their bread and milk, cause you know that's what you will definitely need while you are snowed in for a few days.) This year was different though because it wasn't snow that was predicted, it was COLD.


I grew up in Germany (not German, just an Army dad) and we lived in a city that had snow on the ground from October to March and we NEVER missed school. And we played outside in the snow everyday, too.

So, this week we had delayed openings on Monday and Tuesday. Yep, cause the difference in temperature from 8:00 in the morning and 10:00 is a whopping two degrees.

And, there was still no milk or bread to be found at Wal Mart.....

The number two randomness thingie is my Funny of the Week:

One day each week I teach Enrichment Math to first and second graders. This week I let them talk for a little while about Christmas break.
Here's the conversation:

First boy, "Hey, I went to my Grandmaw's house for Christmas and she bought me so much stuff. She spent $100,000 on me."
Second boy, "Yeah, well, my dad got one of those really giant TVs for Christmas and it cost $100,000.

Made me laugh.

Speaking of the littles, here's randomness thingie number three:

I am out of ideas for first graders and really what they need is practice of basic facts.
So here's what I did---- I went to TpT and typed basic facts in the search box and up popped this:

And, best of all, it was on sale that day. You can never pass up a sale, right?
Besides, it says no prep, just add dice in the title.
Well, guess what, it was the greatest thing ever to my little firsties (maybe even better than sliced bread, which is a good thing, since Wal Mart is still out of bread due to the weather):

It's a great little package and once again TpT saved me from having to think of something to do! The photo of the dice package is linked back to the TpT store it came from and you should go check it out. And, no, I am not being compensated for this advertising. It just worked, kids loved it, and we all need products like that!

Randomness thingie Number four:

STEM Lab stuff:

My fourth graders have been learning about membranes and their final design challenge is to design a membrane/filter system. Today, they tested materials for the suitability of filtering.

We tested coffee filters, felt fabric, netting, aluminum foil, and a few other things. We spilled a lot of water, used a whole roll of paper towels I swiped out of the custodian's closet, and learned a lot. STEM's greatest asset is that kids can fail, totally mess up, make messes,and still learn. (I should blog about that some day....)
Next week, they will layer materials to make the ultimate filter system! FUN!

My favorite randomness thingie each week is

MY FAVORITE Pins of the Week:

Great tights- I am going to find them! I have the perfect denim dress to go with them!

This is SOOOOOO true- but if you will read the rules there are some things in there that are interesting. When you play do you put money in the center and then when someone lands on Free Parking they get all the money? That's not in the rules!

This one just makes me laugh!

Have a great weekend!

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