Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hello World!

Hello world! I have finally decided to enter into the world of blogging. This is my first attempt at a blog, so if you have any advice please let me know! I want to use this blog to share ideas and reflect on things that are happening throughout my teaching adventures. I have been teaching for nine years, and I am currently teaching fourth grade. Throughout my career, I have taught third, fourth, first, and sixth grade. I graduated from Clemson University with a BA in Elementary Education, and I received my M.Ed from Southern Wesleyan University. I hope you enjoy my blog!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Owl Pellet Lab

    We are currently studying animal adaptations. As part of our unit, we dissected owl pellets. I know they are like owl hairballs, but the students had a great time and learned a ton. I divided this lab into three lessons.
    On the first day, I introduced the lesson on the Promethean Board with the KidWings owl pellet site. This an amazing site! It has owl pellet information, directions, an instructional video, and a virtual owl pellet. The virtual owl pellet is my favorite. It's a great way to show the students how to complete the dissection properly.
    On the second day, we went into the lab and began our dissection. I divided the students into pairs, gave them tweezers, gloves,  bone sorting and classifying sheets, and magnifying glasses. It took them about 30 minutes to complete the dissection.
    On the third day, we sorted our bones using the bone sorting sheet. Once we sorted the bones, we used the classifying sheet to help identify what our owls ate. Some students had multiple meals in their pellet. After we identified the meals, I had the students piece together and mount their skeletons with glue on black construction paper. At the end of our lab, we wrote a reflection on what we learned in our science journals.

Owl Pellet Lab on PhotoPeach

Monday, May 14, 2012

Explorer Webquest

While studying explorers, my students worked on The Case of the Missing Trunks Webquest. I used the Webquest as a culminating activity to finish our unit. I love this lesson because it is set up like a mystery and the students are detectives working hard to solve the puzzle. My students loved enjoyed working on this project.

Here's the missing trunk.

To make this project run smoothly, there are a couple of things you will need to prepare ahead of time. I wanted to make this assignment feel real so I created a trunk for the artifacts. I used a cardboard box and wrapped it in construction paper. I made an artifact bag for each explorer. Each bag was numbered and had five artifacts inside. I used maps, pictures of flags, and primary sources for the artifacts.

This is an example of an explorer bag. I used this one for Ponce de Leon.

I divided the students into groups and gave each group a bag. The slide show below shows us in action! 

Explorer Webquest on PhotoPeach

Instead of creating luggage tags, I had my students create an explorer wordle using