“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


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!





Saturday, 8 October 2016

Moving Onwards with Science Centres

Last week I wrote about how to set up your centres for science.  This week I would like to show you what they can look like in action.
Photo of Moving on With Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

It is too overwhelming for students to have to choose partners and choose a centre to work at, so I help them out with that part. I have a can on my desk that contains wooden sticks which are numbered 1-25 (these correspond with the students individual student numbers) and I have a can with wooden sticks upon which I have written the names of the centres. I randomly choose two number sticks and one centre stick!  This can take some tweaking if either of the students have done the same centre before. Another way to tackle it is to have the students stay in the same pairs or groups for the entire unit, but choose the centres by pulling them "out of a can". I keep track of who is doing what on a clipboard, but you could also use a pocket chart or another method that works in your classroom.

Photo of Moving on With Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

 Students can take their portable centre anywhere they want in the classroom. I remind them that safety is always a first priority. Keeping safety in mind, I have the students working on anything that is messy or might need more supervision, at the round table at the front of my classroom.


Photo of Moving on With Properties Of Matter Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca
Students comparing two different forms of creations at the "Let's Create" centre.

Photo of Moving on With Properties Of Matter Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

The "Let's Match" centre is always fun for the students. This centre is especially challenging as the items can be matched in different categories, depending on the explanation.

Photo of Moving on With Properties Of Matter Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

The "Let's Read" centre helps build topic based knowledge the students can apply while working at the other centres.

Photo of Moving on With Properties Of Matter Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Students using their critical thinking skills to complete the "Let's Analyze" centre.

Photo of Moving on With Properties Of Matter Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Students enjoy working with a partner or a group, and they love the hands-on, mind-on aspects of the work in the centres we use. I find that most students need 1-2 periods to fully complete a centre. If they finish early, they work on the "Let's Inquire" research centre. I will update further next week as we continue to delve in Properties of and Changes in Matter.

You can find all of my science and technology centres and other science resources by clicking on the image above.

Click on the image above to grab this AWESOME FREEBIE
to help you assess your Hands-On, Minds-On Science and Technology Centres.



Saturday, 1 October 2016

Getting Started with Science Centres

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca


Where did September go?  Here it is October 1st and the month has just flown by.  I have met my new group of students, started to build a community of learners, had Meet the Teacher, ran Terry Fox and survived the school having a new roof installed during the hottest September on record.  

As many of you know, I spent my summer creating science centres for a variety of grades. Having taught in combined grades for many years, I knew that there was a way not only for both grades to be active and engaged, but for the teacher to be able to deliver quality content for more than one science topic. Enter science centres. Back when I started teaching, I had to find or create the materials that would go inside the centres, and that made it really challenging. I used to say spending two weeks finding the materials and setting up the centres saved me several more weeks trying to use direct instruction for both grades. Using my knowledge of the curriculum, of instructional design and of having spent the last 25 years in education, I created centres that would make teaching and learning the science topics fun and engaging.

How do you get started with centres? It's easy. I start with teaching the vocabulary and terminology the students will encounter during the unit. I project the illustrated word walls cards I have created and have the students create their own mini-dictionary in their notebooks. I encourage them to copy down the definitions and add illustrations to each entry. 

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Student also created a cover page for their notebook.  I think these are fantastic!

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

After discussions about the new vocabulary and what students already know about the topic and want to learn about the topic, we did some critical thinking and problem solving with the Save Fred investigation. I enjoy doing this before we start with centres the first time, so that I can see how the students work in pairs or small groups and how they approach hands-on investigations.

Photo of Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo of  Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

Photo Getting Started with Science Centres @teachingisagift.blogspot.ca

We are ready to start with centres on Monday!  Here is how I set up my centres in my classroom.











I got the bins at a local store and after printing and laminating my centre cards, I added the materials needed and students will be ready to work anywhere in the classroom.  They take the bin and materials, work with a partner and record their investigations.

This is how to print and set up the student booklets.

Printed booklet~ all pages folded in middle
Print pages back to back, double sided 

Printed booklet seen from back

I use a bulldog clip to hold all the pages together.
If you staple, some of the full sized pages are difficult to use.



My students use the booklets I have created to record their learning and then transfer the finished thinking into their notebooks. When we are finished the students have a wonderful artifact of all the hands-on, minds-on learning from the unit.

Be sure to pop back and visit during the next few weeks. I plan to post pictures of the centres in action and write more about how to engage students in inquiry as part of the centres experience.

These are pictures of my friend Jeff Laythorpe's students as they delve into inquiry projects which are part of the 
Hands-On, Minds-On Science Centres.



Be sure to click on the image above to grab this 
AWESOME FREEBIE.