“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver


Saturday, 3 June 2017

Fitting it ALL in!


It's that time of year in Ontario, crunch time! If you are like me, your report cards are looming but you are still scrambling to finish up your last social studies unit, or fit in your last science topic!
I decided that using science centres at this time of year is perfect, it helps me ensure that I have addressed all of the curriculum for the grade I am teaching, and the students LOVE the active, hands-on tasks. We all know that keeping students engaged in June is paramount!

In order to complete all of the tasks but maximize time, I started by projecting the reading passages from the Let's Read centre using my data projector.  As a class, we completed a shared reading activity of the pages included and students took point form notes in on their recording pages. In less than one period we had one centre completed and all of the students had acquired content knowledge from the readings which would allow them to continue on with other centres with greater success.

Below are some sample pages from Hands-On, Minds-On Science and Technology Centres: 
Forces Acting on Structures and Mechanisms.








I also have multiple copies of the centres created so that if students finish quickly they can choose to start or even complete another centre during class time. I am trying to find periods during the day where we can double up and work on the centres for an extended time. As we have almost finished our literature study for this term, I have been able to use some of our language periods to extend our time for working in centres. Students do lots of reading and writing when they are working on these centres!

I have also made sure that I am using technology to my benefit. We have a schools set of iPads and I have been borrowing them so that we can work on our Let's Inquire! activity when other centres have been completed.  


This was also a good topic to end the year with as I didn't have to purchase or provide a lot of extra materials.  The students are loving creating a bridge using just straws, a golf ball, some masking tape and paper clips.



I have the students bring up their completed work when they complete a centre. This allows me to track their progress and provide instant feedback.  I can estimate much time we need to complete the centres and plan accordingly. 

If you haven't tried this approach to teaching science and technology, now might be the perfect time to try it out.  You can see all of the centres for grades 3-6 (including special combined grade packages) by clicking on the image below.  Be sure to check out the PREVIEWS so you get an idea of what is included in each product.


Whatever you are doing to count down the last days of the school year, I hope you have a wonderful time with your students. Enjoy your last weeks together and build memories that will last a lifetime!


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Pop Art Easter Icons

This week I saw an adorable bunny on my feed on Facebook so I had to find out how to make my own! You can read the original post here. I showed my students the two I created and they were excited to make their own Pop Art Easter Icons.

Easter Icons Pop Art from Teachingisagift.blogspot.ca


Picture of Easter Pop Art @teachingisagift.blogspot.caPicture of Easter Pop Art @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca



The students found this project super easy to recreate. I provided them with some stencils I created by blowing up some FREE Easter clip art I downloaded from TpT. I chose images I thought the students would enjoy recreating. They traced the outlines of the images and then added the details using black markers. Links TPT stores for FREE images of the most popular images used by my students.  I just blew them up to 8.5 x 11 and printed Spring Chicks, Easter Peeps, Easter Clipart. You can find the link to the bunny in the original post linked above.


Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.caPicture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca


Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca
Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca


Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca


Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

After doing the black line designs, students cut the images into pieces and glued them to neon card stock or to scrap book paper I had in my classroom.

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

I printed and pre-cut the inside of the eyeglasses template on neon card stock. Students could choose the colour they wanted to complete their piece.

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

I cannot wait to make a display with the finished pieces next week! 

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca

Picture of Pop Art Easter Bunny @teachingisgift.blogspot.ca



Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New Year! New Science Centers!

I know some of you have gone back to work today...I was in school until the 23rd of December this year, so I do not return to the classroom until the 9th of January.  Right before the break I set up all the materials for my new science unit: Conservation of Energy.  

Picture of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY: Illustrated Word Wall @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Picture of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY: Illustrated Word Wall @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

I introduced the unit to the students by showing them some video clips from Youtube (Bill Nye: Energy and Fired Up About Energy from the Smithsonian Institute).  After viewing the videos I had the students record the vocabulary from my Illustrated Word Wall cards in their science notebooks. I give the students a new notebook for each unit we cover in science.  I like the small size and the blank pages.  This allows the students to record their thinking in a variety of ways, and they are also able to glue in the recording pages from the Hands-On Minds-On Science Centers.
Photo of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

I was able to purchase almost all of the materials I needed for these centers from an on line store called Open A Party.  You can also find similar materials from stores such as Party City.  I purchased all the materials needed for two grade 5 classes for less than $40.

Photo of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

I set up the bins on a side table in my room. There are 10 centers in total, but I did things a little differently this time around. I started the WHOLE CLASS with the Read It Center. I made numbered copies of the reading selections (so I could collect them and reuse them in future years) and had the entire class doing the reading and recording BEFORE we started the centers.  I did this to help build up background knowledge before students started working in the centers. I suggest using centers for about 50% of your science instruction time.  I also wanted to introduce the "Let's Inquire" center earlier this time around, so we needed to have some content knowledge acquired before I could explain the task.

Photo of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.caPhoto of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
Photo of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.caPhoto of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.caPhoto of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
Photo of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.caPhoto of Let's Read! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca



Photo of Let's INQUIRE CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

I have found that the centers each take varying amounts of time for students to finish depending on the center itself, and the needs of the students.  To avoid the "What do I do when I am done?" question, I introduce the "Let's Inquire" center and explain the process BEFORE they start the centers. That way, when they are finished a center, they know they need to get to work on their INQUIRY project.


Photo of Let's INQUIRE CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
I have used the photocopier to enlarge the "Let's Inquire" graphic organizer and research notes pages.  I copy them back to back and give each student a copy.  I find that using this larger size helps the students stay focussed and gives them more space to record information.  The first time I introduced the centers, I only had the students complete the organizer. This time, they will need to complete the organizer and then present their findings to the class. They have been given free choice in how to present their inquiry.

Photo of Let's EXPLORE! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

The rest of the centers are ready and waiting for the students to dive in when we return from the winter holidays!  I can hardly wait to see what they discover!

Photo of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of Let's CREATE! CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

This is how I run off the student booklets.  I use these in my classroom for "rough copy" work, and after I have checked over their answers, my students take a "good copy" page from the turquoise trays, and complete a finished copy, which they then glue inside their science notebook.  I find this creates a nice finished product for the students to review and keep after the unit is finished.
Photo of STUDENT PAGES FROM CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of STUDENT PAGES FROM CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca


Photo of STUDENT PAGES FROM CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of STUDENT PAGES FROM CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of STUDENT PAGES FROM CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of Science Notebook: STUDENT PAGES FROM CONSERVATION OF ENERGY:Hands On Minds On Science Centers @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

 Students keep their "rough copy" booklet clipped inside their science notebook with a bulldog clip.  

If you are interested in checking out any of my science and technology centers, you can see them in my TpT store by clicking on the image below.  


Photo of Hands On Minds On Science and Technology Centers @teachingisgift


I hope you all have a healthy and happy New Year!