Some Reflections....and You Might Cry

Subtitle: Never Quit

Hello Friends!
Merry Christmas to you! I hope this post finds you ready for Christmas break and spending time with your family.

It is rather unusual for me to find moments to sit and watch television, but in the last few days I have caught bits of several shows that left me reflecting on many things. It is also unusual for me to write a blog post that does not contain funny moments...just warning you....

Derrick Coleman
Do you know who this is? He's an NFL player- on the Seattle Sea Hawks team.
And he's deaf.
I watched a little special about him and was totally amazed by his attitude and words of wisdom about his life. Get this, when he was a kid there were bullies that would beat him up and take his hearing aids.

 You can watch a little of his story right {HERE}
You should watch it. It's pretty inspiring to think that a deaf man can play football.

Willie Burton
I saw this video right after the one about Mr. Coleman. This is the story of Willie Burton, a young man with cerebral palsy that decided to try wrestling in high school. The video is right {HERE}. It's about 13 minutes, but I promise it's worth the time. There's a scene near the end when Willie wrestles in his last match and then all his teammates kneel with him in a very large hug. You will cry. 

Amelia Dickerson
Have you read about her? She runs marathons.
She's blind.
You can watch a video about her and read her story right {HERE}.
At the end of the story another blind runner says this, "I just get brave and do it. I never quit."

This resonates with me. When I had a regular classroom this quote was painted on the wall above my door:
“Never quit. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit.”    ~Paul Bear Bryant

I also have a charm I wear sometimes that is engraved with these words: "Never Quit."

Which brings me to reason for this post.
It is so easy to let these busy days of the Christmas season get the best of us. With our students, our family, our own children, our pets, ourselves....It's just easy to be a little grouchy and tired and out of sorts.
Especially with the little people entrusted to our classrooms, let's never quit on them. Today I watched an eight year old cry. She was making an ornament to take home and had cut the paper the wrong way. The ornament was not working. I took the paper from her, re-cut some it, and strung it together for her. It took all of 2 minutes to help this precious child.

Give out some extra hugs, find a surge of extra patience, and get through the next few days with some memories these kids will have forever. 

 Merry Christmas everyone!

Bulletin Boards and Tennis Ball Towers!

This is going to be a very random post with just some quick, but fabulous updates!

First up... my latest bulletin board.
There was this little board last week:

If you missed the step-by-step on that board click {HERE}
and I mentioned on that post that I had a second board to do...just look at this deliciousness:

 How awesome is that! That space is 7 feet in length so the butterfly by itself is about 4 feet wide. I drew one side free-hand and then folded it and cut it out so the sides would somewhat match. The inside is all drawn by hand (while looking at a butterfly photo). I outlined it all in sharpie and then the black is all a black  marker. The color is colored chalk that is smeared with tissue. The title I wrote by looking at it printed on paper. You might recognize that font! I wrote it in pencil and then went over it with a black paintbrush and craft paint.

Ok, y'all, my third graders are studying about the rock cycle in their classrooms. I decided to have them make a 3-D model of the rock cycle......

I am still trying to decide if I like this activity or not. You look at these photos and help me!
The group in the above photo spent time making water animals  and gave little thought to the rock cycle.

This group above placed stones in the water to represent sediment and their river connects to the ocean water. They used greenery around the river.

The group above had elaborate use of beads- no wonder I ran out of red and orange beads. Also, when they explained the cycle to me they used the beads and simulated lava flowing and rain falling.

The one above it not 3-D. They made it all flat and then held the tray up so I could take the photo.

Pipe cleaner river.

Love the green grass and the water!

All in all, I like this concept, but definitely need to rethink the materials available. I made a list of all the supplies they could use (which was about 20 things) and they chose what they wanted.
The success for me was what happened when the models were finished. Each group had to use their model and explain the rock cycle. This was really cool! The explanations were interesting, but the use of their models was priceless. 
My problem with the activity is:
1. Too many supplies.
2. Too much waste of supplies.
3. Too messy. I am not a fan of all the tape showing in the models.

These were third graders. I taught this grade for 18 years- I should have known!  I will re-work this project with revised supplies and constraints! 

Fourth Grade
Tennis Ball Tower Time 
My students love to build towers. We
have tried so many versions. 
This week I tried one with tennis balls!

Kids had a small amount of supplies- with the task rules to build a tower that would support a tennis ball. The ball had to be 10 cm off the table.
The BIG rule: Use ALL the supplies!
Wow, did that throw a monkey wrench in the designing. They came up with some really clever ways to use supplies as decor. Here's a few towers:

The group in the above photo found a way to use the string to help hold the structure up. Most groups just draped the string around the final tower.
This challenge was very challenging. Over and over again I had groups that started over and started over. When it was all finished we had some great discussions about perseverance. We were very proud of solving this challenge!

We loved this activity!
Basically, we love any STEM Challenge!

Thanks for stopping by!


How to Create an Amazing Science Bulletin Board

Subtitle: How to Spend a Lot of Hours Working on Something That Might Turn Out Cute

Yeah, I know, it sounds funny.

But, you've made bulletin boards, right?!

Sometimes they are inspirational! This one was so colorful and bright we left it in the hallway for a very long time.

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