January 2014Science in the City: January 2014

Jan 26, 2014

Get This Valuable Exit Ticket 4-Pack Free

Two sources of freebies for you!  
1)  Here is a freebie of a few exit tickets. I am working on a product with a much greater selection of exit tickets, but in the meantime here is a freebie, with four exit tickets.  They are set to print four to a page. 
Here is the link.  Enjoy!  

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Facebook Free-For-All 
Lots of Freebies for All Grade Levels.  Only through tomorrow. 

Jan 19, 2014

Teaching with Poverty in Mind Chapter 2

If you would like to read my second chapter journal entry, it is available at this link https://www.dropbox.com/s/ho5u8wgtbt8af2g/journal2.pdf

The second chapter got much more in depth about how a student's brain is affected by poverty, and specifically their behavior and emotional responses. We had a great discussion at my school after reading this chapter. 

Some of the most striking discussions, to me, were about how behavior and emotional responses are learned, and how our role as teachers, even high school level content teachers, is to help teach those emotional and behavioral responses. 

In addition, we discussed how many students come with emotional baggage, and part of our job, in order to make them successful, is to help build up their emotional 'bank account.'  We can do this through building relationships. 

This is a very very short reflection and summary on the second chapter. The second chapter can be seen at the same link that the first chapter was available (see previous post). 

I'd love to hear specific strategies that you use to teach problem solving and to build up emotional responses and teach behaviors, particularly in a high school setting. I think, as high school teachers, we don't do as much of this as elementary teachers do, but it's still important. 

The school culture makes a huge difference, but we as individual teachers can change the climate within our classrooms, and can play a role in the overall school climate. 

Jan 12, 2014

Printable Free Testing Sign For Your Classroom

I know that many of you may have testing coming up (we have midterms and state tests coming up).

It can be handy to have a nice-looking sign to put on the door.  I made two versions, ready to print.  One for "do not enter" and the other for "quiet please"

Both can be downloaded here:

Jan 6, 2014

How to Clarify Photosynthesis & Cellular Respiration: A Free Foldable

Teaching Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

Here is freebie for you.  I don't know if anyone else is enjoying a snow day, but I'm using it to get a few things done (one is getting this photosynthesis and cellular respiration resource polished up and posted).  

A free resource

Here is a FREE FOLDABLE that compares cellular respiration and photosynthesis.  Students so often get confused, but it really can help to clear up misconceptions when they see the two processes next to each other, and compare them. This foldable has students break down both processes into categories such as where they happen, what are the products, what are the reactants, and more.  

It really helps students to visualize, and to see how the two processes fit together. 
This freebie gives you the basic directions to make the foldable.
Comparing Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration Foldable 
If you are looking for a more polished version, that includes a printable template and more complete directions that is available here
Photosynthesis and Respiration Foldable - Two Versions

For more information on how I use foldables, and why they are a great strategy for your students, you may want to check out this link on reasons to use foldables with your students.

If you have never used foldables, this article is a good explanation of why they can be really beneficial.

Other Photosynthesis and Respiration Resources

If you are teaching photosynthesis and respiration, they can be confusing for students.  It often helps to sort the terms and components into categories: photosynthesis, respiration, or both.  I have my students do this digital version, and they really get into it!  Students can move the words and sort them into the correct category.

An example of a digital resource to help students understand photosynthesis and cellular respiration

Depending upon the class, sometimes we do it together on the board, or in a 1:1 setting they can do it on their device. It can also be a great station as part of a review activity.

These topics can be confusing, but even some of my struggling students were able to learn them successfully when the processes were broken down, compared, and they were allowed to practice with them.  How else do you help your students understand photosynthesis and cellular respiration?

Jan 4, 2014

Looking for Task Cards That Will Make Your Students Study?

I don't  know if you have used task cards yet in your classroom.  I had never heard of them until I started hanging around the Teachers Pay Teachers forums, and reading some of the other blogs.  Even after I heard about them, I was afraid they were too elementary.  It seems like the elementary teachers are often the ones talking about task cards.  Boy.....I was missing out.  I haven't used a few sets, in a couple of different ways, and plan to use them more often (I am teaching all high school this year). 

If you haven't used task cards in your classroom yet, they can be used a lot of different ways.  They could be a warm-up or closure activity that is used with a projector (in my set I created a full-size version and a 4 per page, card version).   They could also be used for review activities such as "scoot," "roam the room," or put a few at each station.  Another one of my favorite things about task cards is that they are easy to differentiate.  In my set there are 5 different levels of questions on each topic.  You can certainly pick and choose which cards you use, or which cards are used by each student (you can even assign them card numbers to work on).   

For more information on task cards, click here or here

I created my first set to post on Teachers Pay Teachers.  See the picture preview below.  

They are human body systems task cards.  This is a topic that is commonly taught in 4th grade, again in middle school, and again in high school (at least here in NY).  These cards go from a basic level to more complex.  They include a total of 50 cards, where 5 of the cards on the human body systems in general, or together, and then there are 5 cards on each body system.  

Here is my first bit of feedback!   That makes my day!! 
 Do you  have particular topics on which you would like to see task cards?  What tips do you have for using them?

These are also part of a larger bundle of human body activities, which include labs and foldables on the respiratory system, digestive system, circulatory system, skeletal and muscular system, and nervous and endocrine systems

Human Body Systems Bundle

Jan 1, 2014

What happens when you are on vacation?

What do you to to be able to rest and relax over vacation?  I have often times used vacation, and school breaks, as a time to catch up/clean up/get ahead/get organized.

I also have a bad habit of procrastinating.  Not usually, but over vacations.  When I know I have a long time to get work done, I still find myself finishing up grades on Sunday night.

This vacation I did something different, and it may be the best decision that I've made in a long time.  I did my school work at the beginning of break, and pushed hard to get ahead on some before school ended.  I am not doing anything except what I need to do (grading, lesson plans for when we go back).  I'm not using the break to work on any projects. I literally put my schoolwork back in the car so I wouldn't see it in the house during vacation.

I'm making a conscious choice to use the break to relax.  I have read 3 novels so far (granted 2 were while I was sick on the couch one day).  I have played several board games with my kids.  I got together with a friend I haven't seen in a while.  My plans for the rest of vacation look similar.  I've been to the gym several times.  I hope to go a couple more.

I think it will make the transition back to school a little tough, but I also think I will be healthier, more relaxed, and more prepared, mentally and emotionally for the rest of the year.

Despite what everyone says, teaching is a draining job.  It requires long days, on your feet, being "on" and being emotionally involved with a lot of needy kids, and a lot of political pressure.

I know I don't always do the best job during school of maintaining balance and making sure that my stress doesn't flow over onto my family.  I'm trying to make up some of it now.

How do you use your vacation time?  Do you get ahead?  Or do you focus on other things?  What do you do to keep some balance for yourself and your family?

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