Build a Skeleton

Have you ever found something really cool/fun and you can't wait to use it? But you tuck it on the shelf and forget about it after a while? Well, yesterday I realized I had purchased this amazing 3-D cardboard build your own skeleton kit. So, without really looking at the directions the class dove right in.

I should have read the directions a bit more thoroughly because we had to restart the model a few times but hey it gave us time to review body parts. The students even got a chance to quiz the principal on which side of your body does the right part of your brain control? (The left) How many years will you have slept by the time you are 70? (About 23) Which bone is the longest in your body? (Femur) Why is your left lung slightly smaller? (To make room for the heart) Needless to say, they did a great job remembering facts and impressing their principal!

I found this great kit at TJ Maxx (LOVE that store!) on clearance for $5. Bargain shopping makes me so happy:) I laid out all of the pieces and asked the students (a few at a time) to locate a specific number as we built our model. They did all try to grab a piece at once and we had to stop and settle. But overall, they were fantastic at remembering the majority of the bone names and helping me assemble the skeleton. It is now proudly on display in the back of our classroom.
Students helping add the tarsals and phalanges to the feet of our model.

We assembled the vertebrae and ribs separate from the feet.

We were following directions step by step with the manual.
The upper part of the body before we attached it to the legs.
Some of the students proudly showing off the finished model.
So pleased we finally finished....even though we had to wait after lunch and special to finish!

Winter Writing Projects

I have been drilling writing with my students the last few weeks and they have been working so hard. I wanted to share some of the activities and projects we have done and are hanging on display.

  1. Informational Text: Presidents...I had my students use fact cards to find specific informational about the president of their choice. They had a lot of fun finding new facts on presidents in the past. For instance, did you know Ronald Reagan always had a jar of jellybeans on his desk while in office? Did you know Abraham Lincoln would keep notes in his hat instead of his pocket?

  2. Informational Text: Animal Reports...Each student was asked to write about the animal of their choice. They had so much fun reading through research in non-fiction text and finding new facts about animals that many have only seen in pictures or perhaps at the zoo.
  3. Adjectives & Animals...We were working on describing nouns with adjectives in grammar. I had my students choose a different animal than they had when doing their research report. The students had to describe their animal using as many sensory adjectives as possible.
  4. If I were Thing 1 or Thing 2...In honor of Read Across America, celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss, my class wrote about the Cat in the Hat's sidekicks. They had to write a paragraph using the words first, next, then, last. They had a lot of fun making their Thing 1 and Thing 2 puppets.
  5. Opinion Writing: Narnia...We finally wrapped up our audio study on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The students practiced sharing their opinion while talking about Narnia and the characters found inside. My favorite part was the wardrobe I found that could be designed in a 3-D shape so you have to step through to read. Clever, right?

  1. Wumbers...We read an adorable book called Wumbers that I picked up last year. It is a lot of fun finding how many words actually have numbers inside them. The students had to write a few silly sentences that used as many wumbers as they could think of. (We learned that sometimes words and numbers go 2gether. We want 2 invite you 2 try and read our writing str8 2 the end. But be 4warned...they are in10se!)
What writing projects are your little ones working on?

Pinterest Party

This weekend I had the delightful opportunity to have my first Pinterest Party with some fantastic ladies. We had several crafts we wanted to work on for spring. The two crafts we did were both simplistic and the best part cheap!

Both of these crafts I found on Pinterest and below each picture I have included the link to the blog where each craft originated giving credit to each creator!

The first was a spring garden hose wreath. It is a beautiful, simplistic, and chic wreath that just screams SPRING! The materials needed can all be purchased at the dollar store and Wal-Mart.
  • 15-25 foot garden hose (I purchased mine for under $6 at Wal-Mart in the garden section.)
  • spring flowers (I purchased mine from a craft store because they were on sale but they can be found at the dollar store also.)
  • gardening gloves (I purchased rubber gloves from the dollar store and they worked just as well.)
  • ribbon (I purchased mine from Wal-Mart for less than $2.)
  • wire tie (I already had these at the house and needed 2 to wrap around the hose completely.)
Instructions for assembly:
  1. Cut the cardboard from the hose and unravel into 4-5 large loops.
  2. Wrap the wire tie around one side and secure.
  3. Cut the stems of the flowers and any leaves you wish not to see.
  4. I tucked my flowers down into the wire tie.
  5. Place the gloves overtop the wire ties.
  6. Secure with a ribbon and hang!
  7. I plan on using something like cotton or caulking to secure both ends of the hose to avoid any bees from creating nests inside my beautiful wreath. I tried a hot glue gun but that did not work:)
    The true originator of this craft was Jill from Create Craft Love {Link to Create Craft Love}
The second craft was writing on plates and mugs. They are so much fun! The design possibilities are endless. Some people drew designs for their children, some wrote inspiration quotes or scripture and a few created a giving plate. The materials needed can be purchased at the dollar store and any craft store.
  • plain plates (There is a wide variety at the Dollar Tree.)
  • oil based or enamel based permanent markers (I purchased mine from Amazon.)

Instructions for assembly:
  1. Wipe off the plates and peel the stickers from the back. Use goo gone to be sure no sticky remnant remains because it will turn gold once baked.
  2. Write or design anything you wish on the plate or mug.
  3. Once completed, place in the oven at 350 for approximately 30 minutes. It seems well to advise to wait a few days before using.
  4. I am sure you could use regular permanent markers but enamel/oil based permanent markers ensure your creations will remain dishwasher safe.
I found the writing for this "Giving Plate" on Etsy but the owner no longer makes this product so I am unable to give accurate credit.

This was so much fun and I would encourage anyone to throw a Pinterest Party as a fun gathering for friends! Certainly mothers or working women who need a little time to themselves:)

Moon Sand

What better way to have fun on a Friday afternoon than playing up to your elbows in sand and glitter? I wanted a fun and relaxing experiment for my class and I found this recipe for moon sand. I wish I would have seen it last year when I did my space unit but I will just tuck that away for a future date (and class!). The recipe is ridiculously easy and the mixture is slightly messy. But you aren't having fun unless you are making a mess, right? least that is what I tried to convince myself when I explained to my custodian that I had sand on my floor. Yes, I said. Sand on my floor in the middle of March and no we live nowhere near a beach.

So, a little back story before I show the steps. I ran to our local Home Depot to pick up a bag of play sand. I cannot believe a 50 pound bag of sand is under $4. After tossing the cargo into my shopping cart and pushing it to the checkout, I discovered there was a gaping hole. I swear there wasn't one when I put the bag into my cart. To my horror, as the cashier is ringing me up, sand is pouring from the bottom of my cart like my own personal sandbox. Fortunately, I was able to get a discount on my purchase and scored my sand for $2.14! I already had all of the other materials so I literally only paid $2.14 for my science experiment. Now that was a bargain. I didn't use anywhere near half of it for a classroom of 23 students. The rest is going into my boys' sandbox once the weather clears.

  • play sand (a local hardware store usually has the most bang for your buck)
  • corn starch
  • water
  • powder paint
  • glitter
  • bowl to mix
  • Ziploc

Recipe (One batch kept 3-4 students occupied at a station):
  1. Mix 4 cups of sand, 2 cups of corn starch together in a bowl.
  2. Mix water and 1 cup of powder paint together. (The powder paint is not necessary although it does make the sand look pretty. We didn't have any powder paint so I added a LOT more glitter to my mixture.)
  3. Combine water and paint mixture to dry mixture.
  4. Add a generous amount of glitter.
  5. If mixture seems to dry add a little more water.
  6. I allowed my students to take a handful home in a Ziploc to enjoy with their families this weekend.
Even though this was the messiest project we have done so far, it was so much fun! What a great way to end a very long week.
Multiple students had never touched sand before. It was quite the experience!
They got creative molding the moon sand to the sides of the bowls and creating their own little designs and shapes.
We compared how the play sand felt BEFORE we added in the other ingredients and created moon sand.



Oobleck vs. Flubber

Keeping with our science theme, I wanted to do an activity for Dr. Seuss but keep it within the parameters of a science experiment. I found 2 recipes that I thought were perfect to wrap up our Dr. Seuss week. A few days before the experiment, I read the story Bartholomew and the Oobleck to my students. It is a bit longer than most and I wanted to make sure the students knew the reason why the oobleck was a stick, icky substance that the town wanted to be rid of once and for all. In the story, King Derwin of Didd was tired of the weather (hmmm...sounds a bit like someone else I know!). He wanted something new to fall from the sky. Against his page's wishes, he asked the magicians to let something new come down. Poor Bartholomew Cubbins ran around trying to warn the people of Didd but it was no use. The only thing that saved the town was for the king to learn a difficult lesson of humility and responsibility. If I could meet Dr. Seuss I would love to thank him for including moral lessons inside his books.

{Check out this link to find the book on Amazon}
{Click on the link to find the book on Amazon}

Of course, the morning of our experiment we had a delay. Is anyone else tired of this weather! Whew! I am ready for flowers, baby chicks, and rain boots! I worked with another teacher on this experiment and we decided to mix everything ahead of time since we lost 2 hours with our students. I think making flubber ahead of time is key. The oobleck is much more simplistic and would be neat to show the students each stage. Between both lists, the majority of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery supermarket.

Ingredient List for Oobleck:
  • mixing bowl
  • spoon
  • corn starch
  • measuring cup (1 cup should do)
  • water
  • food coloring (optional, we did not use it on our oobleck to show the difference between the oobleck and flubber)

Recipe for Oobleck:
  •  1 part water (we used cold)
  • 1.5 to 2 parts corn starch
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. Put the water into the bowl first and slowly add the corn starch into the mixture. It will get difficult to stir so a strong spoon is important. (Or just use your hands!) If it is too runny, add more cornstarch. Add food coloring if you choose.
  2. Pour any excess water out of the bowl.
  3. It is not advisable to put these into baggies for the students. If you want groups to share than I would suggest smaller Styrofoam bowls for them to keep at their tables.

The fantastic part of oobleck is it completely disputes the theories of solids and liquids. If you smack the oobleck it is hard and unyielding. If you touch it it's soft. Inside the bowl it appears to be a shiny solid. When you tilt the bowl it runs like a liquid. The kids were mesmerized by the substance.  Relating to the story, it was now understandable why the people were stuck and no one was able to sound the alarm to warn the town of the magicians creations once the oobleck began to rain from the sky. I did not allow them to take this home because it is difficult to keep from squeezing out the sides of the plastic bags.

Ingredient List for Flubber:
  • mixing bowl
  • spoon
  • spatula
  • water (hot and cold)
  • measuring cup
  • teaspoon
  • food coloring
  • glue (we used Elmer's but I'm sure any would work)
  • borax
  • Ziploc bags (we used the kind that had the plastic slider)
  • plastic cups
Recipe for Flubber:
  1. Empty a new 8 ounce bottle of glue into the bowl.
  2. Take the bottle of glue and fill with warm water (you can screw the cap on and shake a bit) and pour into the bowl.
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring.
  4. Mix a half cup of warm water into the plastic cup and add a teaspoon of borax to the water.
  5. Slowly add the borax/water solution to the glue/water solution. The borax will make the mixture "sticky and flubberish". Depending on your preferences, you may add more borax to make your slime just so for your little scientists.
  6. If there is any excess water you can pour that out.
  7. Break the flubber into pieces and put into the baggies for your students.

I created a Venn diagram for the students to compare both mixtures based on texture using adjectives since we have been working with them this week. A fantastic activity even if they were quite wound up! (Maybe do this at the end of the day!!)