menu   Home Religion About Me  

Ladybugs, summer trips and Five for Friday

Hello Friends,

It's Five for Friday and it is STILL Friday - Yay! It's the little things, my friends..... joining a Friday linky on a FRIDAY is a big deal to me! ;)

So here I go.......

 1.  First of all, I have to tell you that my daughter and I saw Adele in Chicago a few weeks ago! My husband gave me the tickets for Christmas last year. I was one of the lucky ones who got to see her. She was everything that I knew she would be.... What fun my daughter and I had!

2.  I found some pretty nasty aphids on some on my plants in my school garden. Do you see them in this photo? They are those yellow spots on my millkweed. So, I ordered 1600 ladybugs to see if they would stay around to chomp on those nasty bugs.... I am hoping that they will stay around and not relocate....

 3.  We took our annual trip to South Haven, Michigan last week. We usually spend this time with my parents, but unfortunately, my Dad wasn't feeling well, so it was just 4 of us. My oldest son and his wife could not make it either.... We missed everyone, but still had a wonderful few days.

 4.  Another trip I made was to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. We spent a wonderful afternoon enjoying the work of Kerry James Marshall. If you get a chance to see his work, go! He is absolutely amazing!

 5.  I am ALMOST finished with Part 2 of my ABC Science resource. I just completed "Z" today and now it needs to go through the editing process. If you purchased ABC Science Part 1, make sure that you have the latest revisions. I am HOPING to have Part 2 complete by the first of August... (fingers crossed!) Here's the cover prototype... It might change in the editing process! Don't click on it! There's no link yet! ;)

Make sure that you visit Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

My Take on The Next Generation Science Standards - Part One

Hello Friends,

I am currently in the middle of a Next Generation Science Standards class and I thought I would share some of the things that I have been learning.  I am truly excited about this change in the way that we teach science. My blog quote "If they cannot learn the way we teach, then teach the way they learn" aligns perfectly with the goals of the NGSS. The switch from content based teaching to hands-on learning is amazing. With the NGSS, students are allowed to test out a hypothesis in a safe environment. They are allowed to fail because failing is learning, too. Questioning the reasons that we fail can lead to more investigating which (hopefully) leads to a correct conclusion. The NGSS encourages kids to write, draw, create models, charts, and graphs. These experiences can become part of our ELA and Math time which causes our curriculum map to become more well-rounded and we are not stuck in a "We can only do this during our science block" frame of mind.

The NGSS encourages kids to ask questions and explore. The teacher is there as a facilitator, and the old "I talk. You listen" teaching has been replaced with a "Here are the materials. Use them and we will talk later" style. This You Tube shows this technique in Suzan Locke's first grade class. They are learning about plants.....It's short and worth the time to watch. :)

 There are 3 dimensions to the NGSS - Science & Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Disciplinary Core Ideas.  It took me awhile to wrap my brain around what each one of these actually meant. Simply stated, science & engineering practices are the hands-on elements. Giving kids an opportunity to explore, learn, and conclude in their own way; rather in ways they are told to learn is such an exciting change for me. Our old way of thinking have given kids the knowledge first; then asked them to use the scientific method to come up with a conclusion. NGSS allows children to explore FIRST; even without the background knowledge. Children are allowed to form their own conclusions before background knowledge is shared. One teacher shared that instead of showing her power point presentation FIRST, she showed it AFTER her students had a chance to explore. She found that the discussions she had with her students become more lively when her students were given the experience before the knowledge. I read this quote in a Scholastic article: "If you are going to learn about worms and you read the text first, you have removed the wonder." For me, this is going to be a challenge. I have always introduced the topic first and THEN had my kids explore.... Giving this up will definitely be a challenge!

Crosscutting concepts allow students (and teachers) to bring in all aspects of science ...
1.  patterns 2. cause & effect 3. scale, proportion, & quantity 4. systems 5. energy & matter 6. structure & function 7. stability & change).

An example of a cross curricular idea was shared by a teacher/student in my class... It involves the relationship between speed and energy. In physical science we teach that the more energy a person or machine has, the faster it moves. This can also be applied to life science... The more energy plants receive from the sun, the faster the plant grows. This simple comparison illustrates how concepts can flow from one to the other. 

The NGSS also encourages teachers to ask questions that cross all subjects and core ideas. Studying plants can cross into social studies when we discuss how the changes in seasons affect how people and animals live. It can cross into math when we count the days from when leaves go from green to orange. It can cross into ELA when we read non-fiction text and write in journals about our observations. It can cross into technology when we research the types of plants that grow in our community.

Click on the screen shot below to find a WONDERFUL resource for building science lessons upon non-fiction text.

The disciplinary core ideas are the focus areas for each grade level. They are divided into 4 areas: physical science, life science, earth & space, and engineering, technology, & applications. In this link, you can click on your specific grade level and read the specific expectations for each core idea.

So.... this is a quick overview of what I have been learning. I will write more as I learn more.

Until next time,


Christmas in July - Freebies, Discounts, Prizes.... Oh my!

Hello Friends,

I am excited to be a part of "I Teach K-2" July linky. This is such a fun linky because it is always full of practical and clever ideas for early education teachers. In our July linky, we are offering a collection of freebies, gifts, a Christmas in July sale in our TPT stores, AND $100 in clip art from "Teaching in the Tongrass". We know that many of you will be returning to school in a few weeks, some of us (like me) are just now thinking about Back to School, and others are just beginning your summer break. Some of our "I Teach K-2" sellers will be putting their entire stores on sale and others will be adding selected resources. All of us are excited to offer you discounts, prizes, and freebies!

I am highlighting my newest freebie "ABC Science - Bubbles and Surface Tension." In this resource, teachers can bring science into the teaching of the letter "B" while at the same time, having fun and learning with science principles. I have been wanting to write this resource for YEARS because, as an early education teacher, I have found it difficult to bring science in our weekly curriculum. I ALWAYS write it into my weekly plans, but more often than not, my science block gets pushed aside for one reason or another. This resource should change that, though, because now science can be included in my ELA time because every science activity is based upon an alphabet letter. Yay!

Click the image below to take you to my ABC SCIENCE - Bubbles and Surface Tension FREEBIE.

For July 6 and 7, all my "Science Let's Make a Book" resources will be on sale for a 20% discount. You can click the image below to take you there...

For July 8 and 9, all my "Social Studies Let's Make a Book" resources will be on sale at a 20% discount.

The FREEBIE that I am highlighting on these days is a get to know you game that is a great icebreaker for those first few days of school.

Here are the prizes that we are offering.... Just sign up on the rafflecopter and you will be entered in the drawing!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You also can click the images on the linky to find more wonderful freebies!

Until next time, my friends....


ABC Science - New resource and a freebie

Hello Friends,
I thought I would share a new resource that I have added to my TPT store. As you know, I LOVE teaching science to kids. Sometimes, though, it is hard to find the time to get my science lessons taught. As early education teachers, much of our curriculum is made up of literacy and math with little time for exploration. Don't get me wrong.... I think literacy and math are key components to an early childhood curriculum. But, I also feel that kids need experiences to explore and wonder. BUT, even though I make it a point to get science exploration into my kid's day, more often than not, something comes up during our science block and the experience is tabled for the next week or not done at all. Another problem I have had is that when I am writing the next week's lesson plans, I often forget where I put the directions for the science project I want to do and spend SO MUCH time re-writing something that I have already done and I become REALLY frustrated. So, this new resource is going to be awesome for ME (and I hope you, too) because everything is one spot and can be easily retrieved and implemented! Yay!

 In this ABC Science resource, there is an activity for every letter of the alphabet. Since this resource is based on the alphabet, it allows me to feel no "guilt" using literacy time to do a science activity because this CAN be my literacy activity for the day.

Most of the activities can be done in one day (although some might take two days).

All the activities listed in this resource have been tested by either me or a group of my kinders.  I have listed all supplies needed (except for common supplies like crayons and glue), so it will be easy to gather necessary supplies ahead of time. 

Here is what is included in Part 1: A through M

 I am in the process of completing Part Two which includes N -Z. It will be at least a month before Part Two is finished. When it is uploaded, I will let you know. If you are not presently a follower of my store, you liked Part One, and want to be alerted as to when Part Two is uploaded, make sure you become a follower. :)

I have made alphabet letter "B" FREE. This is a chance for you to see if the format and activities are ones that would work in your weekly schedule. Click the image below to take you to the freebie.

Until next time!


Ahhh..... the Ability to Take a Walk in the MORNING.... think, relax, renew......

Hello Friends,

I love to take walks; I mean I REALLY love to take walks. I do not live next to a beach or a river or the mountains, but being a nature girl, I can always find something delightful on my walks. Yesterday, it was the sound of the birds. Of course, I cannot take photos of bird songs, but if I could, I would blow it up in extra large and look at it everyday. There is just something joyous in the happy sounds of birds. It kind of reminds me of the bird friends in Snow White and Cinderella. My brother is horrified of birds; cannot stand them at all. But not me..... They bring me joy....yesterday I was fascinated with all the trees in my neighborhood; which probably accounts for all the birds! Since I live in central Illinois, there are no hills to climb or ledges to avoid which makes it possible for me to have the luxury  to think and reflect.... and enjoy the birds songs!

So I join Five for Friday (or as I often call it "Five for Friday on a Saturday.... "), here are few thoughts I had  on my walk yesterday.....

 1.  Yes, I am still in charge of our butterfly garden at school. We have had so much rain lately, so I haven't gotten the chance to get over there and check for Monarch eggs/larvae, but here is a photo from one of the garden boxes from a week ago. The milkweed is doing great and there's lots of evidence of chewed leaves, but so far, I haven't seen anything... Part of the joy of summer for me is having the gift of time. In the school year, this garden is pretty neglected BUT I do bring my kinders to the garden often to look for insects, plant varieties, and colors. I am starting to worry about bee allergies, though, and wondering how to keep the education in the garden in a safe way for my little ones....

2.  And here are a few photos of my garden at home.....

Clematis is not my favorite flower. It is very leggy and is a monster vine, so you have to be vigilant to make sure that it is not choking the rest of your plants.... but this photo shows how gorgeous it can be if wants to be!

I think I have too many flowers in pots this summer, but I have a pretty bad rabbit problem this year, so I have had to rescue a few flower friends and the pots seemed to be the way to do it. Just pop them up high where those little rabbit faces cannot reach....

3.  We added a new young bull to our very small herd of Hereford cattle... Yep, he's a bull alright... Poor guy.. .Here he comes from a place where they wash his HOOVES and the first thing he does at our farm is sink into the mud from all the rain we have had..... The GOOD thing, though, is that he is going to have a happy life. All our cattle live in a pasture, receive no steroids, and basically are allowed to live a life that doesn't involve staying inside a stall for its entire life. I love the way my husband and son raise them!

4. A fun part of summer is all the fresh veggies and fruit that we can get. I envy those of you who have access to fresh produce year round. This is my son creating an amazing dish from all the veggies from his garden.... carrots, beets, arugula, peas...... yum..... And... no, although I wish had a huge wonderful kitchen, sadly, I don't... I WISH that I had an island with a stove and lots of room to chop and cook. That doesn't keep me from enjoying a delicious meal, though.. There are worse things in life, right?

5.  And finally..... I was blessed to have one of my posts included in the Teachers Pay Teachers blog this week. I am so honored. If you click the image below, it will take you to my post BUT if you click the Teachers Pay Teacher button at the top left, you will be able to read and enjoy all the other posts.....

And lastly.... click the button below to take you to Five for Friday... I love you Kacey for providing this platform to share....

Until next time,