Sunday, May 20, 2012

I love the idea of coming up with a Summer Bucket List! Every year, I have grand plans of getting so much ready for the following school year, but I end up forgetting much of what I wanted to do by mid-July :-) This year, I have many school things I'd like to do, but I also have several things at home/with my kids that I'd like to do.

So, here it Summer Bucket List:

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1. Get everything ready to start the Daily 5 in my classroom next year. I am not sure if I will have time to do all 5 choices, but I hope to at least incorporate parts of the Daily 5. 

2. Organize! Organize! Organize! My classroom and my home both need help with this. I love the binder system suggested by Mrs. H at Once Upon a First Grade Adventure and I am happy that she offers some free printable labels for the binders! THANK YOU, Mrs. H! 

3. Summer Projects with my own children: My daughter and my son both LOVE doing fun, learning activities at home. I always say that I am going to work on different skills with them over the summer in fun, engaging ways. However, we end up getting so busy with trips, time in the pool, time with friends, etc. that I don't end up doing much. My daughter (who is in 2nd grade now) and I have plans to make a solar oven and to make cookies and s'mores in the oven! My son is a super-smart 4 year old who loves exploring and trying things out. I think I will try to some fun "sink or float" activities with him. I also hope to do some crafts (that they choose). 

4. READ! This one will not be hard for me! My Kindle always has a few good books on it. In addition to my light, quick reads like the newest Sookie Stackhouse book and others, I want to catch up on some books that my 4th graders might enjoy. I'd like to have my students do book talks throughout the year, and I want to have at least 3-4 new titles to share with them in my own book talks :-) 

5. SUMMER CLEANING! (aka Spring Cleaning) My poor house has been neglected this school year. Between my daughter's gymnastics schedule and the daily stuff...I have not done the heavy-duty spring cleaning that the house needs so much. I know that I have TONS of things that I can donate to charity or give away. I just need the time to really dig through boxes and closets and figure out what I can part with. Then all of the fun scrubbing and cleaning can come after that! 

I am excited for this summer! We have a nice trip to Pittsburgh (our hometown) planned. We will take the kids to a Pirates baseball game and play tourists for a few days, then spend time with our friends and family. It will be a great summer and I know I should be able to do a lot of things on my Summer Bucket List...if not all of them!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Opened a TpT Store!

I have to admit, it is rather pathetic at the moment, but I finally took the time to start up a TpT store. I have one freebie on there, and I am attempting to add another item to sell. Sadly, I am having technical difficulties. I promise to work on it more as the school year ends and I have some time over the summer!

Colleen's TpT Store!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

STEAM Week-Pt. 2

Our STEAM week activities were a huge success! We started our week with the landing of an MV-22 Osprey. The MV-22 is the Marine Corps' newest helicopter. The students not only got to watch this amazing machine land, they also had the chance to climb aboard and talk to the crew. The pilots and crew were awesome! They asked our students some really engaging, thought-provoking questions that showed our students how math, science, engineering, technology, and even the arts go into creating things such as the Osprey. Here is a brief video of the landing:

Since I was the "T" for the week (Technology), I wanted to introduce the students to a new program that they could use for school and for fun. Our school has a variety of software from Tech4Learning ( including Pixie, WebBlender, and Frames. My students have had some experience with Pixie and WebBlender, but Frames was new to me and to the students. It enables students to create presentations with sounds, animation, video, narration, etc. We were very limited on time, but I asked the students to create some frames to finish this sentence: Technology is.... They LOVED the activity! Many of them stuck with "Technology is fun", "Technology is cool", etc. There were some that were so creative. One little girl made a slide "Technology is making memories" and she went on to explain how that is the only way she gets to see one of her siblings and other relatives. I have some fabulous examples to share (once I remember to put them on my flash drive to bring home). I will try to do that tomorrow :-) Until then, here is my basic example video I shared with the students at the very beginning of our technology activities.

The students really had a blast, and had a completely new outlook on how important Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math are in our everyday lives. Now I am challenging myself to really integrate and create some good units for next year that will keep that theme in my classroom.