Saturday, April 18, 2015

TeachToTell: Writing doesn't have to be 'boring'

When I came upon this site, it was just what I needed as I was gathering materials to teach Opinion Writing. Here are the covers, Take a look at this site to see a ton of examples. In my opinion,

TeachToTell: Writing doesn't have to be 'boring': One of the most challenging tasks of teaching students to write a particular genre is instilling a passion for it. A majority of students fi...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Passing It On: ~ from Teaching Trio

The Teaching Trio have done it again on their Tech Thursday Linky Party by introducing us to a variety of Webcams!
You need to visit their site!

Teaching Trio: Tech Thursday {}: Technology Thursday is a weekly linky dedicated to all things technology related. Check out our  Linky Parties  page for details on ho...

FREE Fish for Friendly Research

How to Write Fish Poems
Click on the picture to go to the product!

Hi Everyone! I have been talking about raising Trout in the Classroom off and on and have never really given all the details to make that happen. I went through our county Office of Ed, but you can go straight to the source at Trout in the, which is a FREE program. They provide all kinds of resources (reading and science material as well as posters and video clips)

In the meantime, here is a sampling of what is in the powerpoints:

and of course I need to include a sample of a poem. In the Powerpoint, I have included several.

One of the things that I do is a fun research project. Yes! I said fun because the kids enjoy the process. I use this FREE powerpoint above. I show two fish and then the students choose one to take notes on from memory. Then I show two more, etc. After they gather all the information, I have them choose a fish and they create a poem from the first person point-of-view. It is quite easy. Once they write their poem, they are ready to create the final copy.

The website was listed earlier, but I forgot to highlight the powerpoint, which is so easy to use.
You can make these wavy poems at Festisite

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Earth Day: Opportunity Provides Authentic Practice in Caring for Your Community

Have your ever noticed how much trash ends up on the ground outside your classroom? If you have been teaching for awhile, you probably noticed that the daily litter has increased over the years. Since I am on my 30th year, I have noticed a huge change in how students have showed a lack of concern for their immediate environment. I have also noticed that the number of students using inhalers has increased. When I put those two observations together, I realize that students need training in how to take care of their environment.

Earth Day is the perfect venue for attacking this trashy pollution problem. In January, I begin raising trout in my classroom and we go on a special field trip to release the fish in March. I use April's Earth Day to reinforce the idea of "Keeping our environment Healthy" by revisiting our trout unit. (Actually, I still haven't finished it yet. We need to finish our fish poems. You can see what I am talking about on an earlier blog post.)

I found this interactive poster on

Along the lines of Streams and Rivers, I have an addition to my "Trout in the Classroom" unit.

While studying trout, we make the connection from their environment to ours. If any pollution gets into their streams, they die off quick. We talk about our air, water, and surroundings. We walk around the school and I point out the trash. We go out on several occasions and pick up the trash. I also have students sign up to pick up trash after the school carnival, so they can be part of the process of cleaning up their environment. My hope is that they learn to take care of the Earth.
Visit My Store to get a discounted Trout Foldable at the Introductory Price! Stay tuned for tomorrow's posting. I will be sharing how I introduce my fish poems. At the moment it is a free product on TpT, so if you want a quick glimpse check it out here!
How to Write Fish Poems

Friday, April 10, 2015

Revealing Asteroid Vesta's Amazing Secrets

Vesta from Germany Narrated Version

NASA has just announced a new FREE app for all of us "Space Enthusiasts" so we see detailed pictures of Vesta 

Click HERE to find out more.

If you are interested in more information on asteroids, you might want to take a look at the following:
My Vesta information is included with my Ceres & the Asteroid Belt. In fact, slides 27-45 are devoted to Vesta. An opinion writing assignment finishes off this part of the investigation into Vesta


Remember though, that my Vesta investigation is IN the Ceres and the Asteroid Belt PowerPoint.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Remarkable Research Guaranteed With Glogster

From Panama to Greece and from the Sudan to Bora Bora, your students will jump at the chance
to create an Interactive Poster using Glogster.

I have just started looking into Glogster. I didn't really expect to find much, but have been very pleasantly surprised. My next step is to create my own poster and then decide how I want to use it in the classroom. I know my students are going to beg to work on a country if they can produce this kind of work. I am very excited about it. I have embedded several country posters below, and plan on using them to introduce countries to my students. Take a look and let me know what your think.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First time User of Glogster: The American Revolution

This is my first time using glogster. I definitely see some possibilities. Has anyone else used this? I would really like some pointers.

I probably should have chosen this one to post since is is the correct shape

Here is a state report example.

To find out more, visit

Monday, April 6, 2015

One Crayola Short: Asian Art Study: Russia

One Crayola Short: Asian Art Study: Russia

With so many people doing cultural studies and creating "passports" to other countries, I found this artwork of Russia to be truly amazing. I haven't made it to Russia yet, but hope to and will definitely want to bring in some russian art.

As many of you know, I collect sand, and now have 1 sample from Russia to share with my students. If anyone heads out that direction, please collect a bag for me. One sample from a country is not enough,

I have included a few of my favorites from this page.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Poems Shaping Up As Students Use Technology to Interactively Create

I am linking up with the Teaching Trio.

during my fish unit. It is a simple program that can easily be used by students. 
It is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3
  1. Students write their poems
  2. They pick their shape and font size
  3. Print

 Besides shapes, You can embed pictures into money and cards

Here is an upclose look at one of the poems

One way to use the poems is to write them and place them on a fish painting.

Last year, rather than painting, my students colored a fish as close to the fish they studied and wrote the poem about. Can you tell what fish this student wrote about?

Spotlight on Trout: A sensational Fieldtrip for Students to Experience

Last week my class went up in the hills and released trout into the Tule River. It was an amazing experience for them. 

We participated in the "Trout in the Classroom" program, which is run through the United States. I found out about it through the county's Office of Education, but the program is actually a little differently, depending on the state you are in. You might want to start with the Trout in the Classroom site, or google "Trout in the Classroom" with your state name. The program is free, and it is a wonderful experience for your students.

The think I like best about it, is that students see first hand how important a healthy habitat is to the trout which opens the door for conversations on taking care of our environment.

For the next 24 hours
I have my 4-page Trout Web-Quest listed as a FREEBIE, so get it now!

I have an Internal Anatomy page as well. The fish is pictured so students can draw in the parts.
A answer sheet is included for each page of the web-quest.

I feel research is an important skill for all students, so I created a chart for students to record some of the species listed on the web-site. Depending on time and what other writing they are doing, I may have my students choose one of the species to study in more detail, or I may have them write a short essay based on this chart, which means I will be adding to this project.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Digging Deep ... to Discover New Favorites

This month the Teaching Trio is featuring favorite picture books. As a 5th grade teacher I still love to use picture books and I always have a long wish list of picture books I would like to purchase, so I had to jump in and share mine.

I went to my first sand conference about a year ago. This little book has been on my list until very recently. I will soon be sharing it with my class. It is a quick easy read that provides a very easy-to-understand definition of sand.

Because I collect sand, my students get to make their own science slides and investigate the sand under a microscope. They are always amazed at how different the sand samples look. 

Many teachers do a "Christmas Around the World", which I am really into because it gives me a way to feature sand from other countries in a quick way while tying it to the Common Core standards of English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. Book number two is An Island Christmas.

My next favorite book is still on my list, but it is at the top. I discovered Africa Is NOT A Country on Becky Morales's blog, Kid World Citizen and loved her idea of what to do with the book. I will be getting it soon, because it is time to use it. I just love the spring, because I really get to play with my sand. The kids love it because they start looking beyond themselves and start thinking about the world. It is very rewarding to see how they start thinking globally.

I really wanted to add more books, but I think three books should be enough for now. What are your new favorites? I'd love to hear from you.