Books you Will Want to Keep Near You

Do you have books you keep? Books you re-read? Books that are dear to you?

I do. I have books I remember- not because of the great writing or the author- but just because of how they made me feel. I have some I read this month that I want to share with you.

These just might be books you want to save and keep nearby.
Book Review of five books that are all great. Highly recommend all five!


Don't Worry - It's Just Water! (Slides, That is)

My STEM students all have their favorite challenges! Fourth graders love cooking pancakes and building roller coasters. Fifth graders love catapults and Newton's Cradles.

The hands-down favorite challenge for third graders is WATERSLIDES!

When I first started working on this challenge a few years back I knew kids would love it. It's messy, but it's just water that splashes- which is usually pretty funny!

Take a look at this spectacular project!
STEM challenge: students will be using materials to plan a design and then build a working water slide that will take a toy figure down the slide- without leaking water. Students will have to select materials to line their slide so it won’t spill water. The slide must resemble a slide, have a turn, and have a ladder. Students will use the steps of the Engineering Design Process as you follow the pages of detailed and labeled teacher directions pages. Your students will love this challenge!


An Exciting Escape Room for the End of the Year

And suddenly it was May!

How does this happen? I mean, one minute we are coming back from Christmas Break and then it's March, and you blink and it's May!

I know we all have a secret countdown for the days that are left, but I also know this for sure- It is panic-time when mid-May hits. There is so much to do in a classroom by the time those May days arrive. We have end-of-year tests, scrapbooks to finish, last minute lessons, field day, awards to prepare, and countless other things (not to mention taking down decor and packing up for the summer.)

Seriously, the last thing you need is a project, right?

Well, what if I have an engaging activity that will keep your kids busy AND it requires minimal prep from you? Hmmm...sounds good!

If you are looking for an Escape Room experience for your kids to end their school year, this will be perfect! An Escape room is a puzzle game in which students solve riddles and puzzles and find clues to finish tasks. In this Quest, students solve puzzles to open locked boxes. Students will complete a scavenger hunt to find clues, they have a maze to draw paths through to collect clues, and they have a secret coded message! In the end, they can complete the STEM Challenge that is included.

A Real Life Challenge with Cargo Drops

We all have those moments in our lives that we will remember forever. One that I still think about is the tragic tsunami in 2004. The scenes of the devastated islands of Indonesia were haunting. And yet, with all the destruction there were people that survived. And for days after the tsunami rescue flights with airplanes and helicopters landed or participated in cargo drops of water and meals-ready-to-eat.

When we first tried this STEM challenge I had just seen a replay of some of the footage from the tsunami and I wondered if my students had heard of it. They were too young to have memories of it, but we talked at length about the earthquake and the resulting waves.

We wondered about cargo drops and I found videos of many different kinds and we watched those. Finally, it was time to see if we could build a cargo carrier that could withstand being dropped.

STEM Challenge: students will learn about cargo or air drops and design a container to experiment with dropping from different heights. Students will follow the steps of the Engineering Design Process for this challenge. The package contains detailed step-by-step procedures for the teacher that are marked with the Design Process steps. The accompanying lab sheets for students are also marked. Your students will love building and testing their cargo carriers. You will love the teamwork they show!

How to Put Together a Perfect Planner for Specialists

Raise your hand if you can remember those awful "Plan Books" your admin passed out when school started every year. You know the ones with all those big boxes and the whole thing was larger than a legal size piece of paper. And it did not fit into any cute teacher bag you had ...

Then along came some companies that started making a planner that works for a teacher with ten tons of extra pages for everything that you might ever need.

Except, I don't need all those extra pages.

I am a specialist. I teach one subject. I have 361 students and I do not need a page for their birthdays in my planner. Or their personal passwords. 

So, I started making my own planner. 

Are you looking for a teacher binder or planner? If you are like me and only teach ONE subject your needs are different! This product is designed for specialists that want a calendar specifically for a teacher of one subject! Provided in color combos of teal and purple or cacti/succulents. Includes editable covers and grade book. One page and 2-page calendars and lesson planning pages are fabulous choices. Notes and reflection pages are provided in two formats. Black/white choices are included!

How to Control That Flooding - Grab Some Towels!

Get your towels ready for this one! But, I promise, cross my heart, it will be worth it.

And it's just water, after all.

It's the Great Flood Barrier Challenge and it is one of our absolute favorites. I love it because it involves experimentation and keeping data and then making decisions based on the data.

The kids love it because.... well it's messy!

In this STEM Challenge, students build a barrier that will slow or stop the flow of water. First, they test various absorbent items.  They use test results help choose an absorbent item and design the flood-proof barrier. It is tested when water is poured into the structure's container. Great problem solving occurs with this STEM project! #teachersareterrific #STEM #elementary

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