The Great Bubble Challenge - A Fun Idea for Exploring Surface Tension in the Classroom or at Home!

Hello Friends,

I am not teaching summer school this year, but I know that some of you are, so I thought that I would share this little science freebie.  I did this with my kinders in the classroom last year.... I actually would NOT suggest doing that, though! LOL.... Our classroom floors got super slippery. It is sooo much more fun to do the activities outside.

 You need bubble solution, different types of liquid soaps, glycerin (or corn syrup) and a small container such as a muffin pan.

Take your kiddos outside and give them commercial bubble solutions. Have races and see whose bubble can survive the longest.

Next, give your students different kinds of liquid soap and let them explore mixing them. I give my students mini erasers to put into each section of a muffin pan. This helps them remember which solution is which when they are testing out their solutions i.e. "The solution in the watermelon section lasted longer than the one with the pineapple."

You can also give your students different types of wands to see if they make a difference in how long a bubble can last without popping.

Click the image below to take you to the freebie in my TPT store. Enjoy!

Until next time!


Alphabet Crafts, Alphabet Posters, and Alphabet Directed Drawing Resources

Hello Friends,

I have been spending my summer doing many things that are not school related ..... gardening, reading (for fun), working on my quilt, cooking..... I have also suffered a bit of a writer's block when it comes to my blogging. I would sit down to start a post and then start to daydream or think about chores or hobbies that needed to be done. When that happened, I would close my computer and think about other things. One school related activity that I HAVE done, though,  is work on new resources for my classroom this year.

I have always done an alphabet book with my kinders and I plan to continue this tradition. This summer, I wanted to create crafts that were slightly different than what I have been doing. I enjoy having them create things from paper with just step-by-step directions and very few templates. BUT, when we are doing our alphabet books, we tend to run into a time constraint and many of my little ones do not finish. So, this year, despite my feeling that all creations must "come from the soul", I plan to give my kinders a few templates to speed up the process. I had to ask myself "What is the goal of this project?" Is it to create art or practice a letter sound? Obviously, it is to practice a letter sound, so I am not going to feel any guilt giving them a tracing pattern!

 I have read numerous research articles about how important it is to keep your alphabet letter/ sounds study consistent. My colleagues and I have had several conversations about this thought. We start the year using the Jolly Phonics series. We like how Jolly Phonics uses hand motions to practice sounds. We also use parts of Reading Street. Our handwriting curriculum is Handwriting Without Tears. All three systems teach alphabet letter identification in different ways and different orders. A few years ago, we sat down and pondered as to how we were going to introduce alphabet letters. We finally decided that the alphabet book that our kinders create would be in alphabetical order. This would introduce and reinforce ABC order. We do ONE letter a week in our alphabet book, but do a daily letter in Jolly Phonics, so trying to sync them altogether just does not work. Plus, because we do so much in our daily literacy centers, we decided to not focus so much on the ORDER in which letters are introduced; rather the mastery.

When introducing alphabet letters, I am very aware of the varying skills of my students. Some of my students are only ready for letter identification and sounds. Some of my students are ready for a bit more. So, when giving them their paper upon which to create their alphabet craft, sometimes I will differentiate the words. For example, for "F = frog", I might have my little learners practice reading "The frog" or maybe just practice handwriting. My stronger learners who are ready for more might need a sentence such as "I can see the frog. It is green and little." I created an editable template that can be differentiated for these learning differences.

One area that I really like to keep consistent, though, are my alphabet letter posters that hang in my classroom. I like that they are the same as the letter craft in their alphabet book. When I do this, my students know which letter comes next and what craft they will be doing. Last year, I experimented with two alphabet lines - one with realistic photos and the other with make-believe photos. I LOVED having both photo styles available for my students. Every time we practiced a letter or made a craft, we would ask the question "Which poster is a photo of a real animal/thing and which is a make-believe photo?" We discussed why the photos were make-believe i.e. Do inchworms have a smile? Are hippos purple? These posters hang in my classroom and match the alphabet crafts in our alphabet book.

 The problem I had last year, though, was that two sets of alphabet posters took up a lot of space. So, this year, I am going to see how it works to have both sets of photos side by side on the same poster. I have also labeled the photos REAL and MAKE-BELIEVE on the posters. Hopefully, this gives me more wall space! The alphabet crafts and the wall posters match and hopefully this consistency will aid my students in our alphabet study.

Another activity that I love to do with my students is directed drawing. I have been doing directed drawing with my students long before it became a buzz word in the educational world. I remember loving Ed Emberley books. It has always amazed me at how easy it is to draw by simply looking at shapes and lines. Many times, my students have asked me to draw the steps out for them which I have gladly done. This summer, I decided to take those simple steps and put them into a directed drawing resource. They are all hand drawn by me, so they are very simply done! This resource is an ABC book, but it does not correlate exactly with my alphabet book and alphabet wall posters. I print and laminate posters and then put them at the writing table.

This resource is in my TPT store and if you download the preview, you will get the A = alligator poster free as well as the half-sized drawing paper.
So that's it for now, my friends! I am presently working on m organizing my books and files in my classroom. I will share photos from that project soon!

Until next time!