Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Failed Experiment and a chance to win custom CRAFT and VOICES bulletin baord headers

When I get stressed, I neglect my efforts to express gratitude.  Shame on me.  Today was better than yesterday.  I feel like I got a lot accomplished, and I actually walked away from work feeling like I am making strides towards feeling organized. So today I am thankful for:

1) This post that that told me about the Photbucket app.  OMG...Uploading photos to my blog from my phone doesn't have to be painful.

2) I got the printer setup in my room. I can now print and copy double sided from my classroom.  We had one printer for the whole building, and it is always in use by teachers and high school students.  It was getting to be a big part of the overwhelming need to get organized.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

3) I got some of my signs I made for my classroom put up last night.

4) I have decided I no longer will do experiments for Science...for awhile anyway.  I will send home experiment ideas for students to do at home, and they can bring back the results and photos. We will do other fun interactive projects or stations.

Now, you might want to know why I have decided not to do experiments.  Last week we did all of our Pirate activities, so I thought Ginger's Boat Afloat experiment would be a great ending to the unit.  We made our boats yesterday.  Some of them came out really cute and creative whether they actually worked well or not.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I have a small class and a lot of my students are gifted.  This translated to lots of frustration and tears because some people's boats did not hold as many pennies as others and accusations of boat design copying. I never set up the experiment as a competition, but they interpreted it this way. I know I could model experiments for them and just have them watch.  I may decide to do some things this way.  Honestly though, the point of experiments to me seems that it would be fun to do something more hands on.  I feel like we need to work on maturity and handling disappointment appropriately before we revisit the idea of experiments.

So, I would love some suggestions on books or ideas for working on helping students learn appropriate times to express tears and how to handle disappointment. I am thinking I want to get the 7 Habits for Happy Kids book and read it and consider covering it with my students.

Now, some of my successes.  This weekend I really thought a lot about Reading and Writing instruction.  I decided I am in love with Kristin's CRAFT and VOICES boards.  I think they are a fabulous visual way to track strategies we have learned. I did not have enough room in my room to display hers because they are pretty big, so I made my own smaller version to match the paisley in my classroom. I think they turned out super cute.  The CRAFT board is a 3 foot bulletin board so each strategy is about 6 inches across.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

The VOICES board I decided to use the front of my supply cabinet because I did not have another big bulletin board.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I did put Kristin's Scientific Method signs on the side of the supply cabinet 2 weeks ago when we started talking about the Scientific Method.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I made new schedule signs to put on my white board to show our schedule every day.  I think it came out very cute.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Finally, I felt my students are both really struggling with Math vocabulary.  Thus, I purchased Ginger's Math Common Core word wall cards.  I purchased 4th and 5th grade even though I knew there was overlap.  I made the Math Word Wall on the back of my door.  I will put up one strand at a time.  This is Operations and Algebraic Thinking.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I would like to do a giveaway for custom CRAFT and VOICES board headers.  They can be in colors and a theme of your choice. Enter below and let me know your successes with using CRAFT and VOICES to track your Reading and Writing Strategies.

And yes, the Photobucket app made sharing these pictures ten times faster than usual.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. That happened with my last class constantly. We could never even play simple games like bingo because they were so competitive. Luckily this years class is a lot more supportive of each other. It was tough last year. I hope you find a solution.
    Adventures in Room 5

  2. April, I LOVE your CRAFT bulletin board. It looks so great. I know it feels rewarding and relieving to have that stuff done.

    I'm sorry to hear about the frustrations with science. I think your students' responses are a great opportunity for a learning experience and to set a goal that this improves for your students by the end of the year (I like for things to improve by like, yesterday, please, but I always have to remind myself that progress and behavior changing takes time.)

    One thing I have done in the past is to give students a list of "Scientists" behaviors. (These can really be anything, so you can target the problems they are having). Like, scientists persevere, instead of getting frustrated, they think about ways to change what they are doing. Scientists cooperate and work together with other scientists. Scientists know that mistakes are learning opportunities. Scientists take risks...etc.

    I have made these behaviors into a rubric for the smartboard before and had students come up one at a time to reflect and place a star where they think they fell during that lesson/experiment (1, 2, 3, 4). Even though I didn't always have them reflect with the rubric, the few times I did made an impact and accountability. Another idea would be to write these as science norms and read your norms at the beginning of every science lesson until you feel they have it.

    Good luck! I know when you feel less stressed, you will come up with amazing strategies to make it better because you are that kind of teacher :)


Pin It button on image hover