Friday, February 20, 2015

Hot Tip for Managing Task Cards

I LOVE using task cards in my classroom! And to be perfectly honest, I've been holding off on storing them the way I most want to.  I've been secretly coveting brag book style picture albums for my task cards, but I've been reluctant to spend $2 a piece for them in the quantity I need.  So I just have been using binder clips and O-rings to hold my task cards.

Today I got out of the bitter cold here on Long Island and spent an hour wandering around AC Moore.  I picked up some Valentine's Day stuff at 60% off.  Then on the way towards the checkout, I spied them -   The Big Max Albums.  They're marked down to $1 this week, and with the teacher discount they're only 85 cents!  And if you look inside, its the equivalent of
THREE of those brag book albums - three sections of
16 pages.

Perfect!  I can make TASK CARDS BOOKS for around 30 cents each!

Now I'm not gonna lie.  It wasnt as easy as I thought it would be to get the sections out of there intact.  I was careful with the first one and it came out perfectly.  Then I got careless and I trashed the next two.  But now I've got the hang of it.  And before you give up on me and say its too much trouble - just LOOK at how beautifully you can provide task cards to your students!  And for SO cheap!

So let me show you how I managed to get them out without tearing them up.  Separate the inside of the book from the cover.  Maybe you can find a way to reuse the covers.  I just threw them away.  Then I bent back the binding and got as close to the pack of pages as I could with my fingers. Bend the binding back on both sides and you'll feel the section come apart from the binding.  Pull on it - gently!  A little from this end, a little from that end, and before you know it, it's out!

And here's another REALLY good part.  I printed out the task cards on paper. Not card stock.  Not laminated.  Just PAPER.  I cut them up, not even being so careful on the edges as I would be if I were laminating them (what a time saver!) Then I filled them into the book sections.  You might want to make a cover and a back cover out of card stock.  I thought I would do it that way, but after seeing how great this turned out, I'm just going to leave it as is.  This weekend I'm going to make a class set of each of my task card sets,  I can't wait to show them to my students!  Look at them again!  I'm so happy with the way they came out.


I hope you're feeling inspired to display task cards for your students in this really beautiful way!

You can check out some of my LIFE SCIENCE Task Cards for Middle and High School Students by clicking on their covers below.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Valentine's Day Blog Hop 2015

I'm excited to be a part of the 2015 Valentine's Day Blog Hop hosted by my friends from The Language Arts Classroom, Faulkner’s Fast Five, and The Literary Maven.

1) Something I love about teaching is the relationships I build with my students.  They're 9th and 10th graders.  Lately they're helping me learn how to use my iPad.  Our school is going with an iPad for every student next year, and I need to learn how to use a couple of apps, but first I have to get good at just being able to navigate my way through the way iPad works.  I thought it would be easier than I'm finding it, but my students are always right there to help me out!

2) A resource that I love using is my FROG DISSECTION lab packet.  Dissecting the frog is one of the activities the students look forward to, and I love leading them through it.  They learn so much, not just about the frogs, but about themselves, their anatomy, and their ability to succeed at a challenging activity.

3) A special V­Day gift that I've gotten and loved is the "You Are Loved" bracelet, that my husband bought for me a couple of years ago.  I really don't like jewelry, but this bracelet makes me so happy.  I don't wear it that much because it gets in my way, so its really special when I do get to wear it.

4) Something I would love to do is go to Italy.  Just the thought of driving through the Tuscan countryside makes me relax.  My cousin was married in Italy a couple of years ago, and I wanted to go so badly, but the timing and the cost... they just didn't work out for us this time.  But I'm going.  Someday, I'm going.

5) A book that I love is Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover.  I try to follow the principles in this book and I've recommended it or given copies to many of my family and friends.  I find myself agreeing with so much of the philosophy in this book, and it motivates me to stay on track to read it and to listen to Dave's podcast, almost every day.Some day our house will be paid off and we'll go to Tennessee to scream, "We're DEBT FREE!"

I hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about me and some of the the things that I love.  Hop on over to the next blog!  I can't wait to read them all!

Oh I almost forgot!  Head on over to my store to download my Valentine's Day BIOLOGY FREEBIE!  It's a graphing activity that references the heart rate of two different species.  What better time of year is there to study the heart?!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hot Tip for Managing LAB Supplies: String Bundles

I'm always looking for a great way to store my lab supplies so that my prep time isn't wasted.  This week my students are measuring their lung function (tidal volume and lung capacity) by exhaling into balloons and calculating the volume of air held inside.

While collecting data, the students wrap string around the fullest part of the balloon, and measure the length of the string to find the circumference.

I have the string pre-cut in one meter lengths so that the students don't spend time on that task.  In order to keep the string from getting tangled, I fold the length in half three times, the loosely knot the string.  Its easy to store these string bundles in a ziploc bag.  They don't get tangled, and I don't have to waste materials or spend more time cutting lengths of string.  

We use meter length string in our lab for many different tasks, and the students are used to putting the supplies away in the same condition they were given.  They have become master string bundlers, and we're never all tied up in knots!

Have you got a hot LAB SUPPLY tip?  Let's hear it! 


Friday, January 30, 2015

A FABULOUS resource for anyone who teaches science

One of the hottest trends in education information is the email newsletter.  My favorite newsletter is published by my friend and colleague Bethany Lau.  Teaching Science! features articles from math and science collaborators, lots of tips and techniques to inspire students in your classroom and science FREEBIES galore.  If you haven't yet subscribed to the Teaching Science newsletter, just click on the link below, and you can sign up.  Its totally completely FREE and FULL of valuable advice.