Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Boo Bubbles

It is Halloween in the media center this week and thanks to Steve Spangler (I just love this guy!) we are making BOO Bubbles!

First I am reading a Halloween book - Halloween Night by Majorie Dennis Murray then I get into my "mad" scientists role and we make Boo Bubbles.

I bought this kit at Steve Spangler.com - watch the video and it will get you pumped to do this too.

I pour water into the Jar and ask the kids what it is (I am looking for a liquid as the answer).

Then I put on my gloves and grab a piece of dry ice and ask the kids what is it (I am looking for dry ice and a solid).

Now the fun begins - I drop it into the water and POOF - fog rolls out of the jar....oooh...ahhh

So I talk about the smoke being a gas and being carbon dioxide - then I make the bubbles, dipping the end of the plastic tube into dish detergent and then capping the top of the jar so that the gas fills the bubbles.

The BOO part of this is that with the bubbles filled with gas, they look like ghosts. The science part of this is talking about states of matter (Solid, gas, liquid).

And who doesn't like a little dry ice fun this time of year!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Conference day

Today and tomorrow I am attending the GA Como conference (GA Council of Media Organizations) with many of my fellow media specialists in the area.

This is a conference that my district pays for me to attend, and to be honest, today's conference was not inspiring or interesting or career changing ( as other conferences I have attended have been) no, for the most part, it was boring!

There were a few bright moments, talking and connecting with colleagues. Getting to connect with some TIE network friends and the only presentation (except for the TIE session) that was even remotely interesting was the presentation by the 2008 GA Media Specialists of the year.

I love connecting with other people in my field and meeting authors and hearing ideas from others in my field, which is usually what happens at a conference, but not today.

I have to go back tomorrow, the bright spot is I will listen to a colleague present a session about book challenges (she survived NINE in one year!) and author/storyteller Carmen Deedy is doing the last keynote - and she is always fun to listen to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election Webquest

I have already mentioned some great election websites and lessons plans for the upcoming election, but I have a webquest that I created I wanted to share.

I created this webquest to work with the electronic databases that my school district subscribes to, so while the actual website I created will not work for you and your students, you can easily create a webquest to work within your school and the resources your school has.

I start the lesson with the kids by showing them the first segment of this episode of CNN student news on the Presidential debate on Oct 7th.

Then I direct them to this website I created on googlepages (have you created a webpage yet using this, what a GREAT thing for educators to use!!). I also give the kids a handout of the webpage so they can write the answers to the questions on the page and they don't have to toggle back and forth to the webpage.

I used this with 5th grade students, but you could adapt it to lower or upper grades also. I love that this lesson plan incorporates a lesson on the election issues and current events and also a lesson on using the databases for research, my teachers also love when I give a two-fer in learning!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkin Math

This year our school goals are heavy on the math - which is a little challenging for someone in my position. BUT I am finding lots to do with math, even if it is a subject that STILL makes me have nightmares!

This week I am reading the book How Many Seeds in A Pumpkin by Margaret Mcnamara and illustrated by Brian Karas.

The book is a about a class whose teacher gives them a lesson on how many seeds are in a pumpkin. They have three pumpkins of different sizes, they cut open the pumpkins and count out the seeds , they find that the pumpkin they THOUGHT would have the most seeds does not.

This is one of those books that, while might not end up someones favorite of all time, teachers love because we can do so much with it.
Since I only have a class for about 40 minutes, I decided NOT to carve a pumpkin during class, but instead I took a video of me carving two different sized pumpkins at my house. I pulled out the seeds, dried them out and put them in two paper bags - one marked LARGE and one marked MEDIUM.

After the kids watch the video I split them into two groups, one counts the seeds in the large pumpkin and one counts the seeds in the medium pumpkin. Just like in the book, one group counts by 5's and one group counts by 10's. As luck would have it (and NO I did not plan this) the medium pumpkin does indeed have more seeds than the large pumpkin - and the kids LOVE that.

Some of the teachers have taken this lesson back to the classroom and had the kids do a writing exercise on WHY they thought the results came out the way they did.
Plus, this lesson gets me in a Halloween kinda mood!

Monday, October 6, 2008

More on Nick & Norah

A great interview with David Levithan and Rachel Cohn at NPR

A fairly good review of the movie, also on NPR, although I have also heard some not so great reviews of the film too. If my life would just slow down a bit, I would love to see the movie - maybe it will still be in theatres AFTER youth football season, which *hopefully* ends in 2 weeks (if my younger son's team makes the play-offs it will continue, luckily, my older son is on a losing team, so there will be no play-offs for them!)

Also, Rachel is a featured author on this month's ReaderGirlz website and she has a chat scheduled on the site on October 23rd at 6pm

Friday, October 3, 2008

Banned Book Week (a little late)

Ok, so I am coming into this at the end, but this past week has been Banned Book Week as designated by ALA.

I don't do too much in elementary school to celebrate - sometimes I read a picture book to my students that was once banned (Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was one I have read before), but this year, with so much of my reading having to relate to the curriculum, I have not had time to do things like this.

Sondra, at the Kane/Miller blog has a post up about the week and usually I do what she does, read a banned book, but this year I never got around to it, maybe this weekend I will re-read me some Judy Blume!

The best example of a banned book week "stunt" came from Walter Mayes. I know I will get some of the facts wrong, but he told a story last year at a meeting I was at about how he told the girls at his private, all-girl middle school that they were banning fantasy books from the media center. The girls ended up staging a protest and I believe that the media was called in before the girls were told it was a joke (Oh wait, maybe this was an April fools thing) well anyway, the point was how passionate KIDS can be when we tell them we are going to ban them from books.

I have been VERY lucky and have not had one formal challenge in the six years I have been a media specialist, but there have been many media specialists in my county that have not been so lucky.

I for one, cannot imagine my life without having read Judy Blume when I was ten or reading Catcher in the Rye when I was sixteen - both banned authors/books.