The Bluebird Group and How I Started to Love Reading

Why do you read?

I started reading as a very young girl - in the Bluebird group. We sat in a circle and each of us read a page. I would always skip ahead and read all the pages until it was my turn to read again. I did not like my first-grade readers at all. 

Then one day, I noticed some books on a shelf in a second-grade classroom. The books were much larger than the little basals we read. So, I borrowed one. 

And that is when I fell in love with books. Those second-grade books had real stories in them and I will never forget reading about Dr. Doolittle and the animals he could talk to. For me, reading is a relationship with books and the rich characters found within.

Book Reviews all about our relationship with books. Is it our feelings about the characters, the setting, or the author? Is it the writing style or the type of book? Five book reviews for fabulous reads this month!

Fabulous Boat Challenge and It's Our Favorite

So, here's the truth about the Boat Challenge. One day I walked into the STEM Lab and decided that my plans for third grade were not going to work and I needed to throw something different together quickly.

Looking around I spied my blue dish pans and decided we could build boats. (Yeah, I know that is the unlikeliest decision ever, but it worked!)

Then I started pulling junk out of the cabinets. Seriously.

STEM Challenge- It's a bestselling STEM Challenge. Building Boats is our favorite!


7 Terrific & Easy Tips for Printing Posters

Once upon a time, the only way I could find posters for my classroom was to buy them at a school supply store or order them from a catalog.

Then I became a STEM Lab teacher and I needed some really specific posters and could not find them anywhere. So, I started making them!

And it is probably the most fun I have in creating for my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

Have I learned anything from making my own poster sets? Well, of course! And I have some fabulous tips for you to print the best posters ever!

Seven tips for printing posters on your home printer. This blog post includes some bulletin board tips, too! Practical tips to save time and show you how to print enlarged versions at home!


Why Catapults Bring Cheers to the Lab!

It's Catapult Week!

This is always met by cheers when kids see it on our agenda board. Outside our classroom, we have a large whiteboard and each week I list what each grade level will be building. Kids seriously take a look at this as they walk through and I often hear and see them cheering at the lists.

Catapults are definitely something to cheer about!

STEM Challenge: Testing catapults - students experiment with different angles and then compete with their ultimate catapult designs.

This is an amazing challenge with so many components! You will love it!


How to Make the Scientific Method Fun with Hoop Flyers

Are you using straws as a building material in your STEM Class?

Let me just tell you that you can build just about anything with straws. The thing I love most is how the kids will use the bendy part of the straw in their structures. They are so clever. (*Side Note: Yes, I am aware that there is currently an outcry about the use of plastic, especially straws. We use them because it's an extremely inexpensive material option for a STEM class that has multiple units and grade levels. Yes, I wish I had programmable robots and iPads for every student, but we don't have that... yet! So, I must stick with cardboard, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, and straws!)

So, how do you get a great collection of straws? Ask parents!

I asked students to bring straws to help out with lab supplies a couple of years ago and we are still using them! They didn't just bring straws. They brought thousands of straws!

So, we invented ways to use these. Hoop Flyers came from that.
A great STEM experiment and building challenge with the easiest of supplies: Straws and paper! The challenge is to create the ultimate hoop flyer. Students experiment with changing the variables of a standard hoop flyer. Then they will be challenged to consider which variables to include in the final ultimate hoop flyer. Will they choose everything or only the best possibilities? Students will use their experiment data to make decisions! The resource includes data sheets and photos!  #STEM

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