Saturday, August 30, 2014

Woah, Let's Glow! Our First Science Experiment of the Year

This year I decided that in lieu of birthday parties in my classroom (or perhaps in addition to, in some cases!), we will be doing a special science experiment on each child's birthday. I've done this in the past, and sometimes the kids have a request for what they would like to do, and sometimes I have something to surprise them with. I invite the birthday kiddo's parent to come in and help out, and if they'd like to supply the materials (or cupcakes!) then it helps me out a lot! 

We had our first 14-15 student birthday this week, so Friday afternoon we pulled out some glowsticks leftover from my beginning of the year treats (that are 5 for $1 at the Dollar Tree!) and begun learning how to be scientists! 

First we read through our problem and discussed how scientists complete experiments in order to solve problems. For this activity, our problem was, "Does putting a glowstick in cold water make it glow brighter than in hot water?" Each student recorded their hypothesis on their recording sheet (yes, we used clipboards to make it more fun!). Then we read through the materials and I set out the things we needed on our table.

After reading through our procedure so kiddos would know exactly what's going on, I explained data collection to them.

Then, we began! I let Birthday Boy choose a few classmates to help him pop-and-shake the glowsticks before putting them in the water. We decided that to keep the science experiment fair, we would put 3 glowsticks of different colors in each tray.

We had a tray of hot water, a tray of cold water, and a tray of no water. I explained that the "no water" tray was our control group, and it would show us how bright the glowsticks typically glow. Our job was to figure out if they would glow brighter in cold water.

After about 5 minutes of explaining how to collect and record their data (circle a number 1-5 to represent the amount of "glow" from the glowsticks), we checked on our experiment. They collected their data and we sat on the carpet to discuss the result. I explained that this was the most important part- figuring out if their hypothesis was correct! We talked about how it's okay to be wrong, because the most important part is learning something new.

Here's our Recording sheet. I plan on putting it on my TpT store soon!

After collecting the sheets and clipboards, I gifted Birthday Boy with a glow bracelet, and then let the Power of the Popsicle choose the winners of the other glowsticks. (Yes, the Power is as magical as it sounds! Each kiddo has their name on a stick and I drew names.) We also talked about why the hot water worked better, and how glowsticks basically work in general. It was a great afternoon activity!

Here is a horrible picture of the kiddos dancing to GoNoodle with their glowsticks ("But Mrs. Lynch, we HAVE to turn off the lights to appreciate the chemical reaction!")

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Harry Potter-Inspired Teacher Evaluation Portfolio

Three years ago my district began a new evaluation method and every teacher began keeping a portfolio documenting what makes us amazing. ;-) There is also a three-year cycle in which the principal looks through your portfolio to make sure we're following up on documenting ourselves being amazing. (Yeah, being amazing is actually pretty easy... it's the documentation part that nobody has time for!)

I was "up" for eval the first year, and so 2014-2015 I will be "up" again. Never to stick with normal, though, I decided to jazz up my portfolio to show my true self (Harry Potter and adorable font... my two favs!)

Here is what it looked like before:

Woah, hold the phone! Did I use PINK paper to dress up my otherwise boring-plain-as-all-font way back then!? Yeah... I clearly did not care nearly enough.

But that, my friends, is about to change.

My new cover is flippin' awesome and each divider-page is going to look ah-MA-zing when it's printed. I'm so excited!

Why did I need to spend hours of my life creating this? Ehh... hard to say. I love exploring with clipart and new fonts and making things in my life pretty. :-)

Thanks to jcsweetpea designs and Khrys-Bosland fonts for the clipart and font!