Today in the STEAM lab has been so much fun! My room smelles soooo good! We had Christmas music playing. The "fireplace" has a roaring fire. I used the YouTube video linked below. Christmas play mats are on the table. I found some cute freebies on Teachers Pay Teachers. You can click on the link to see what I used. I printed these out and put them under some old overhead transparencies that were put out at the beginning of the school year for the trash. STEAM teachers never throw anything away. Finally, we "programmed" playdough using the special code that makes the room smell like Christmas magic. Of course, my magical ingredient was peppermint flavoring! My code for the play dough is below.
Here are some pictures from our day. Our elves are having a blast!
1. Website of the Week - Festisite
This is a cool site that would be appropriate for grades 3 and up to make mini projects. One of my favorites is the Rebus Generator.
2. STEAM Idea of the Week - Thanksgiving STEAM
Momgineer is one of my favorite sites. I know I have shared it before. This week she is showcasing several idea for Thanksgiving. These would be good to support studies on Native Americans as well.
3. Resource of the Week - Fact Cookies
Use this drag, drop, and type Google Slide to have your students identify facts from a unit of study. To get your copy, click on the image and then click Make A Copy. Student directions are on the slide in the notes area.
4. Coding in the Classroom
I wanted to share a comment a student told me last week. They were having an inside recess time and he wanted to work on the coding portal that I have on my site. He was on a site coding site accessed through my site. He said the teacher told him he could not play on the site because it didn't look "safe." I wanted you to know that I have previewed all the coding games I have linked to my site. Each one is very safe and is a great way for students to learn problem solving skills. Please clip on the image to check out my site and feel free to book mark it for students to access during class times. Coding games make great anchor activities.
5. Friday at the Movies - Always one of my favorites!
Websites of the Week
1. I am absolutely enchanted with Mystery Doug. This FREE site has a new video each week that you can show your students to inspire questions.
2. Another amazing website I stumbled across this week was Freckle.com. This is a reinforcement and practice site. It covers skills like English, math, science, or history. I love that it has a teacher interface that allows you to keep tabs on student progress. It imports students from Google Classroom making getting students in a breeze!
3. This Week's STEAM Idea
This week instead of giving you step by step directions, I would like to share a site with you that has lots of different STEAM ideas. You need to check out Momgineer. The page I am linking you to is called Bird Beak STEM. This set of challenges starts with a choose your own adventure story. The choices the students make in the story affect what happens to the birds. Students not only get to learn about adaptations but also get to see how pollution interferes with an animal's habitat.
4. Weekly Resource
I found a great hyperdoc example online that centers around informational writing. I would love to work with you to create your own version of this. Third grade teachers, this could be used as is since you cover adaptations in science. To see the resource, click on the image to the left. You can then add to your Google Drive.
5. Friday at the Movies - Still love Michael!
1. Website of the Week-
Gail sent this site out on Monday of this week. Many of you may already be using this site but I thought it would be a nice reminder. Epic! - Books for Kids is FREE!! Check it out! Here is the link.
2. STEAM idea of the Week- Pumpkin Geo Board
I saw this online last year and have bookmarked it to do with my grandsons one Sat. I thought I would share with you.
3. Google Resource of the Week-Halloween Pixel Art
Kids love coloring! Here is an new twist on an old task. Color by number with Google Sheets. In this task, students practice adding and subtracting to color a vampire. To get your own copy, click on the image and then click: Make A Copy. Please let me know if you would like to make a Pixel Art to match your skills.
4. Another wonderful Google Resource!
Kasey Bell has a great template for Halloween Themed Magnetic Poetry on her website. This looks really cool!
5. Friday at the Movies - Spookly is the sweetest story. It's all about a little pumpkin who was bullied for being different until the day that his difference was just what was needed.
2. STEAM Idea of the Week: I just discovered something. Of course, I often discover things that others already knew about so if I share something that you are aware of, please forgive me. But have you ever heard of paper circuits? Here is a site that has lots of tutorials and ideas. This would be a great thing for older students to do! This one costs a little to put together but it didn't seem to be terribly expensive. The kits that you purchase seem to cost more than if you went on Amazon and purchased just the components you need.
3. Digital Citizen Week: This week is Digital Citizen Week and I failed to mention it. I am so sorry! However, just because the week is over does not mean that we can't still talk about our digital footprints that we are stomping all over the network. I have an ebook called If You Give A Mouse An IPhone. I would love to come read it to your students, yes, even 5th graders like to be read to. You could build an internet safety lesson around the book. Let me know!
4. Google Resource: I love this extension! It's called the TLDR extension and it will shorten and summarize a website. It stands for too long didn't read and even works with email. So cool! It would be a great extension to add to a student's Chromebook. Put in a help ticket if you are interested in having Joe add it.
5. Friday at the Movies: The Skibide Challenge is going viral. I was not impressed with their original video so I had to find a more PG version to share!
1. Google Classroom
Are you still having issues with Google Classroom? Here is an amazing site done by one of my Google heroes that walks you though how to set up a classroom and get started using it.
2. Site of the Week
I am so excited! I found another new site! Check out Reading Games with Roy. This is a cute site for 1st-3rd grade.
3. Google Resource
Students LOVE-LOVE-LOVE pixel art! We can design a pixel art lesson for just about any topic. Here is an example of one for multiplication. To use this lesson, please click the image and then Make A Copy. Let me know if you want me to design one for your subject.
4. STEAM Idea
This is a lesson from waaaay back, even before I knew what STEAM was all about. Students are put into groups of three to four and given a tray with a medium-sized pumpkin with a pre-cut lid. With their desks covered with several layers of newspaper to contain the “Pumpkin Innards Goop”, students estimate the weight, circumference and number of seeds. After estimates are recorded, students weigh their pumpkin and measure the circumference. Next the students scoop out the “goop”, put seeds in groups of ten and count the seeds. Each group’s data for weight, circumference, and seed numbers is added to a chart. You could use Sheets to create a graph or with older students you can compute the mean, mode, range and median for the pumpkin statistics in our class. Your kids will have a blast with this kind of data analysis (and your room will smell delicious).
5. Friday at the Movies - You gotta love those grannys!
1. Dash is making his way around the Division. The kids are having a BLAST! Our next few lessons in the STEAM lab will center around Dash. I know that when the students are with me, you are in planning or PLCs. I know how much we all need our break from the students so that we can return to them fresh and ready to rock our rolls as educators. However, I am asking that you plan to return to the lab about 5 minutes early in the next few weeks. I don't want you to pick your students up early; no, I want you to see how engaged your students are when using this tool. And please think about asking me to teach a special lesson using Dash. There is a bank of cross curricular lessons we can choose from or we can create something brand new!
2. Years ago I use to be a Master Teacher for the NTTI which was sponsored by a consortium between PBS and the VDOE. The General Assembly's budget cuts forced us to disband the consortium and the NTTI program. However, I still turn to PBS sites for some great online learning experiences. PBS has a wide variety of educational resources but, when it comes to engineering, I have my top 2 favorite sites! First, I love the Building Big resource. It is dedicated to the physics and science around building structures. Design Squad is another great resource. It is filled with experiments and projects to try and fun videos to watch! I really love the interactive Design Process that helps students understand what happens at each point, and provides tips to help them build their engineering skills.
3. This week's STEAM activity is about making slime. The process of following a recipe not only fits in with the discussion of algorithms but also can be integrated into reading, math, and science. You can talk about sequences, fractions, and measurement! Pull in the idea of a hypothesis! Kids love slime and here is a site with recipes that you can tailor for any time of the year.
4. A couple of years ago ACPS started using Thinking Maps all across the Division. Gail Moore created templates for each of the maps. This has been sent out before but with all the new teachers, I felt it was worth sending out again. To get to all the Thinking Maps, click on the circle map to open a Google folder containing all of them.
5. Friday at the Movies - Hey! I have a Breakout Box. I don't have $100 but we could all pitch in together and go to Merredith's. Who's in?
1. This week's cool site
It's not often that I come across a site I haven't seen before but I did stumble across a new one for me. Forgive me if I am recommending a site you already know about but I found this one cute! There are some good anchor activities here. Check out Toy Theater!
2. STEAM idea for the week
STEAM challenges don't always have to require messy materials. The purpose behind STEAM is to get students problem solving. You can use a simple site like Physics Games!
3. This week's resource
Would you like to create your own app for your classroom? Shake Up Learning has a great idea for how to use Google Slides to accomplish this. She even provides the template and will walk you through how to use it. Note: Although this isn't difficult, there are a lot of steps involved. If you are interested, please let me know if you need my help.
4. Google Tip
You really need to check out Google's Chrome Web Store! Here are several digital math apps that you may appreciate. Remember, all you need to do is send Joe an email and ask him to add these to your students' Chromebooks.
5. Friday at the Movies - September is gone. We should say goodbye by sending it off to Earth, Wind, and Fire's September as played by the Floppotron!
1. No that we have chromebooks, have you ever considered playing a QR code game? The first thing you need to do is head over the the Chrome Web Store and choose a QR Code Generator. There are plenty to choose from! Send an email to Joe Goldman with the name of the extension and ask that he add it to the grade level's Chromebooks. The browse through the QR Code tasks on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you find something that you like, you are welcome to purchase it but what I like to do is look through what others have and then create my own task cards. This way you can be assured that it aligns with our SOLs. Once you have your task or activity, you can use the QR Code extension and the Chromebook's built in camera to run the activity.
2. I found this wonderful graphic organizer research project online. I altered it to fit in with the first of the year's region unit. Fourth grade teachers can use it to research VA's regions while Fifth grade can research US regions. Click on the image and then Make A Copy to get your own copy.
3. Here are five quick tips for Google:
4. I recently had a conversation with a teacher who asked me what STEAM stood for. STEAM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. It consists of a challenge that integrates one or more of the components and can be used in any curriculum. Here is a really cool STEAM project that can be used as a spelling center. Provide the students with a lego mat and two colors of lego bricks. Also make sure that there is a copy of the binary alphabet close by. With the binary code letters are made using only the digits 1 & 0. Encourage the students to "build their words" using the binary code. When you are looking at letters for as long as it will take to find the correct bricks, you are bound to remember the words! This idea came from a book called Code with Lego; however, I think you could do the same thing if you had two different colors of unifix cubes or two colors of unit blocks.
5. Friday at the Movies - Eddie B, what can I say? He says things I WISH I could say. LOL!!
1. Check out this site they have tagged as Teachers Give Teachers! It is full of hyperdocs. A child's first assertion of independence comes early on around the age of 2 or 3 with a declaration of "I can do it myself!" Sometime after they enter school we inadvertently start teaching them to wait for us to tell them what to do, how to do, when, and why to do. A hyper doc is a carefully crafted lesson play which puts the ownership of learning back into the students' hands by including links to sites that provide information about what they are learning as well as links to means of documenting what they have learned. Browse through this site and if you would like help in creating a hyperdoc, please le tme know.
2. Robots, robots, everywhere! We now have enough Bee-Bots, Spheros, Ozobots, MBots, Colby Jacks, and Dash robots for whole class learning tasks. I use to go to conferences where these tools were showcased and lament the fact that our students didn't have an opportunity to use these tools. Over the years we have been able to collect enough of each of these robots for an entire class to take part in a robotic learning activity. Please! Schedule a time to meet with me so we can plan an engaging learning experience with your students!
3. This is a favorite activity from last year. I used this with a couple of classes and students loved it! To get your own Time Cover file, please click on the image. Then click: Make a Copy.
4. STEAM idea of the week
Why not schedule a breakout session? What is a breakout? Breakout is a challenge where students solve puzzles based on content. The solved puzzles provide clues that will open a lock. The prize is the journey. I use to think I had to put something in the box that the students would find once they solved all the clues and opened the box. Nope! I discovered that just the process of figuring out the clue and being able to get into the box was reward enough for most students. I have created or hosted breakouts for grades 1-5. Let's get together and plan one for your class!
5. Friday at the Movies - Long but good.
Hi, my name is Melanie Lewis. I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Amherst County Public Schools, located in the beautiful state of Virginia. I LOVE my job! I get to work on my hobby, anything that has to do with computers. I get to work with teachers and students, and I am definitely a people person. Plus, I DO NOT have to give grades. Wonderful, huh? Let me know how I can help you better integrate technology into your classroom.
ACPS' 1st computers
I know only one thing about the technology that awaits us in the future: We will find ways to tell stories with it. ~Jason Ohler