Tuesday, April 29, 2008

SLIME Me Baby!

It is science week in the media center again and this time we are making SLIME!

I am reading the book The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate the School by Judy Sierra to the students first - this is a funny, rhyming book about a student who finds a science project on the Internet and when it arrives, it is more than she bargained for. So far, the kids love this book almost as much as the science experiment that we do with it!

Once I finish the book we move on to the making of the SLIME. For the younger students I talk more about liquid and solids and how I am mixing two liquids to make a solid. With the older kids I talk about Polymers, what they are and how the can change from a liquid to a solid and why that happens.

My slime recipe is as follows:

1- 4oz bottle regular white glue (do not use "school" glue )
food coloring
I pour the glue into a bowl and then fill the empty glue bottle with water and mix the glue and water together. I then add a little food coloring (I found some NEON food coloring at my local Kroger)
In a separate container I mix 1/2c. water and 1 teaspoon of Borax. I add the Borax mixture to the glue mixture slowly while stirring and VIOLA - it turns into a slimy mess!

I then flip the slime onto a cookies sheet and I let the kids come and feel and play with the slime. Some of my teachers are using this experience as a writing prompt with the kids, asking them to describe the slime or having them write a story about the slime (The slime that ate my homework!)

A great science resource I have used this year is Steve Spangler Science - he has some great videos and experiments on his website along with some teacher training workshops. He also has a store where can purchase all sorts of science related items.

Here are a few pictures of the SLIME!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And then there was one...

tadpole that is.

We had two that seemed to be growing and doing well. We had an observation time in the media center the other day (the tadpoles had moved into the media center while the classroom was being painted and will stay in here until testing is over) and the first graders were all excited at how much the tadpoles had grown. I am wondering if the fact that one of the tadpoles got spilled out of the cup we were using to observe them had anything to do with his demise - guess we'll never know.

The class also held a little poll, 5 students think the tadpoles are frogs, 7 think they are newts, 4 think they are lizards and one student insisted that it was a dragonfly!

Here are pictures of the tadpoles from the other day (before we lost one).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Earth Day planning

I am still in the process of planning my earth day activities for next week, but I came across a give-away that I had to share.

The Earth Day Network is having a drawing each day until April 22nd for the DVD series Planet Earth and the BBC Natural History Series. All you have to do to be entered into the drawing is to e-mail in your plans for your class to celebrate Earth Day. Find all the details here.

I already sent mine in - wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Cool Essay Contest

I am a little late on this, but you still have time to have your students enter.

The book is Hey Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose and it is actually a written from a song that Phillip and his then 9 year old daughter wrote and performed as part of the Hoose family band. Even though the book was published in the late 90's, it is still popular with teachers (I just found out about the book a few months ago and just received it in a book order today).

So, they are having this essay contest - here is an excerpt from their website about the contest:

Take the Hey, Little Ant Essay Challenge
'If you had an ant beneath your raised up shoe, what would you do? Would you squish it or would you let it go free?
That’s exactly what the Kid in the picture book Hey, Little Ant by Phillip and Hannah Hoose has to decide. The book does not tell us what the Kid chose to do. The book leaves it up to you.
Now you get an official say in what that Kid should do!
Students in Kindergarten through Third Grade are invited to answer the question on the final page of the book, "What do you think that kid should do?" to potentially win prizes for themselves, their teacher and their library.
Using the criteria created, students are invited to submit written essays online until May 1st, 2008. To keep the Essay Challenge as earth-friendly as possible, we are asking entrants to submit essays online and not to mail in responses.
The Essay Challenge judges will accept artwork from entrants in Kindergarten and First Grade who might find it easier to express themselves in pictures rather than words. Second and Third Graders are asked to use their writing skills to submit written essays. Good luck!

Find information about the contest here

I am hoping to get a teacher or two interested in the contest!


I'm back from vacation - and BOY it just makes me wish that the 26 days left of school go by QUICKLY! I love my job, but I also enjoy sleeping and that is what makes summer and vacations so glorious - no alarm going off at 5:30 am!

We had a great time in Boston, even if the Red Sox LOST both games we went to, my father told me I am not allowed to go to any more games this season!

I took the kids on the Freedom Trail and I took lots of pictures and filmed some parts of the trail, I am hoping to make it into a virtual field trip since our 4th graders study the Revolutionary War. I am also thinking of doing some sort of web quest to go along with it - I think this will be my summer project. This summer when we are in Massachusetts I am hoping to get to Lexington & Concord and get some video shot.

I also have to say, Jen Robinson was right, I did LOVE the Steve Kluger book My Most Excellent Year - I think I would have loved it even if it wasn't set in Boston and mentioned the Red Sox on every other page!

The other book I picked up last week was not kid-lit but chick-lit - Jennifer Weiners' new book Certain Girls - and who shows up in her book - none other than Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems (the main character is reading it to her daughter) how cool is that!

Don't forget that today is TAX day - ugh is all I have to say about that!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring Break!!

it is that time of year when most people in my neck of the woods head to sunshine and fruity drinks. pack up the kids and head to sand and sun - me - nope I'm not that traditional, I go North, where the highs *might* get into the 50's if I am lucky - on weather.com they told me to "pack an umbrella". I am unearthing our winter coats and sweaters!

Of course those poor souls enjoying the Florida sunshine don't get to go to TWO Red Sox games next week do they?

I am also packing in my suitcase the new Mike Lupica book - The Big Field 
and also the book by Steve Kluger - My Most Excellent Year - Jen Robinson gave it a GREAT review a few months ago and I just got it from Amazon last week - hopefully my kids will cooperate and let me do a little reading on the plane.

For those of you on Spring Break - ENJOY!