Saturday, March 10, 2012

Safety Brochures

Since we have spent the last month reading about natural disasters I thought we should focus on safety preparation. I really wanted students to feel empowered and in control of their own safety. I got safety articles from FEMA and The Red Cross. Students researched all week, including looking at the school-wide emergency kit! Each student had to make a safety brochure as a form of expository text. Inside flaps had facts about their natural disaster, what to do before, during, and after to stay safe, and lastly real numbers to call if in a natural disaster. The students learned a lot about ways to stay safe at school, home, and in the community! I am really impressed of the work they put into their brochures!
Some of the students brochures
Facts about Tsunami
This student wrote about what to do before, during, and after a hurricane to stay safe
Some#s we included are 911, Red Cross, Text Shelter + Zip to FEMA. Did you also know your family should have a contact in another state that you all call in a disaster because it is easy to call to another state.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Static Electricity Experiment

For our energy science unit we got a Tubberware full of various items. The only thing is there is no instructions to go with the items, so we are left to make sense of all the items ourselves. Two items made sense to me: balloons and a glove. Static Electricity!!! In October, I had done a fun science experiment with my five year old that made ghostly coffee filters dance with a charged balloon. I had to make a manipulated variable to make it a true experiment so I had students try to charge the balloon with three different things: their hair, a glove, and a paper towel. Then I had students measure the distance from the balloon to the coffee filters from when the filters started to float up.
The experiment write-up in their science journals
You can't do static electricity without the classic hair pics ;o)

Types of Energy

In 5th grade the standard is that students need to know about the five major types of energy: kinetic, heat (thermal), sound, light, and electricity. Mrs. Judd had introduced the different types of energy during her systems unit at the beginning of the year. I wanted to have students a dig a little different. We read from this great book from Delta Science. I love how on each page the book highlights different types of reading strategies and questions that help them think about what they have learned. I hope I can find more in this series.
After we did some reading, each table group teams was assigned a different type of energy. The groups each made a poster and then it was their job to teach the rest of the class everything they learned about their energy. Just look how their posters turned out:
The Parallelograms had light energy-love their lightbulb that they named Edison
The Trapezoid's poster was on sound energy. We also played with a tuning fork!
The Isosceles learned and taught about thermal energy. Great fire!!!
The Rhombus group did both kinetic & potential energy. Loved using a full bus to demonstrate more kinetic energy because it has more mass!
The Equalateral's had electricity. They represented both current and static electricity.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Natural Disaster Poems

In writing this week I had students write a formula poem on a natural disaster of their choosing. We have been doing a Force of Nature unit all month and I liked how this particular formula poem lended itself to nature's fury.
The Formula:

Line 1: Participle, Participle, Participle 
Line 2: Noun
Line 3: Adverb (how)
Line 4: Verb
Line 5: Adverb (where or when)

The poem I modeled for the students:

Swirling, Churning, Frightening
Down in Kansas

Some students' finished poems:

Local Landform Models

Now that I finally got my camera and laptop together in one place and WORKING I can finally post some of what we have worked on in the last week. First and foremost I want to post my newest student blogger, J.Z. She has been my biggest support of the classroom blog and I was excited she decided to write about the Local Landform homework I assigned. Students were to make a 3D model of any landform in Oregon or Washington State (since we live on the border). With the model students needed to write an index card with the name of the landform, where it was located, what type of landform, and two facts about it. When the landforms finally came in I was BLOWN away! It was my proud teacher moment of the year!!! Let's see what J.Z. has to say about the assignment:

We've been learning about forces of nature and our homework was to make a model of a landform. Our teacher had told us the legend of Crater lake and I really enjoyed this study!!! I love doing projects like this. I think it helps me understand more not by being told but actually making me write something to explain what I've learned.

J.Z.'s Crater Lake model
Multnomah Falls in Oregon
Mt. Hood
The Sea Lion Caves in Oregon
Mt. Hood
Columbia River Gorge
The Mima Mounds in Washington
Mt. St. Helens
Crater Lake
The Ape Caves in Washington
I so with I could include every students pictures. They were all so truly amazing and they put so much time and effort in to it! I hope the families had fun doing this activity together and learning about their local landforms!

Friday, February 24, 2012


I am horribly behind in my blogging. My laptop crashed on me last week. Going without a computer for a blogger is beyond stressful. Not to mention school work that needs to get accomplished. I currently have a laptop on loan. Although I am grateful it is a DINOSAUR! Weighs a ton and won't take my camera SD card. Please be patient and hang in with me.... I promise to get posts and pics coming soon!

I thought I could at least post ONE of the student blogs I have in my stack. After all P.R. just wants to share about what he has learned during our Colony Storypath and Amazing Americans Reading unit. No pics! I think I can manage that one...even if it is two weeks late! (my fault-not his!)

This blog is about the colonies/colonist. the colonies were part English, Dutch, Swedish, and British. the colonies were founded in 1607. A famous American colonist I learned about was Benjamin Franklin, who was an inventor. He created the lightening rod and the Franklin stove. the Lightening rod made lightening not hit your house, and the Franklin stove heated your house.

The Revolutionary War started with the Boston Tea Party. The reason the war started was the colonist thought that the British were doing taxation without Representation. In the end, with the help from the French, the colonist won the war.

Thanks P.R. for sharing what you have learned so far. I can tell that reading and social studies have a great interest for you! Benjamin Franklin is one of the people I like to learn about too. I think he was a fascinating character in our history. I am curious if others think that the Boston Tea Party started the Revolutionary War or if the Boston Massacre was the catalyst? Chime in students if you have an opinion!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


You can't do a landform study without examining some topography maps. Most of my kiddos have never seen a topography map before. I broke them into groups and they had to come up with some observations and questions about the topography map of Mt. Shasta. Many students thought that the lines were earthquakes (natural disasters on the mind). After we shared our ideas, I made a foam mountain. Then I traced around each shape one on top of each other. It didn't take long for students to put two-and-two together. Next the students had a hand at making a topography map of Mt. Shasta, standing at 38,000 ft.