Hey if you are considering purchasing my STEM Famous Landmarks Bundle, you may want to check out the supply list before you buy! Remember these are only suggestions! My students usually blow my mind with the creative ideas they come up with. Have fun! Click here STEM Famous Landmarks Supply List Suggestions!
STEM Challenges are a great way to engage your students. The Next Generation Science Standards has a great engineering component. Adding STEM to your classroom will get your students thinking critically, problem solving, and collaborating with their peers! Students will begin thinking more creativity when given STEM opportunities. My STEM Challenge Bundle is a great packet for beginning STEM teachers, or teachers who just want to incorporate more STEM into their classrooms. All of these challenges have been classroom tested! My students always amaze me with their thinking and their work. The directions in these challenges are open-ended, not step by step because that would make it a craft and not a STEM Challenge. There are suggestions, supply list suggestions, picture examples, planning sheets, and challenge sheets.
If you are looking to purchase my STEM Challenges for the Entire Year Bundle, you might want to see what materials are needed for the projects. Here is the list! STEM Supply for Entire Year of STEM Challenges
Enjoy your job! It’s the best there is! And always keep learning!!! It helps you not get old. (My 20th year)
How I use 1:1 Technology in My Upper Elementary Classroom
I’ve had the benefit of having 1:1 technology in my classroom for the last three years. In my classroom, we have a Smart Board, my students have Chromebooks, eleven iPads, 3 Dashes, 8 Ozobots, and 2 Spheros. So, learning how to use technology effectively, while still implementing “best teaching practices” has been a real learning experience. I have had several successes and a few failures, but I continue to learn!
Our district has provided a lot of training for teachers whenever we received our classroom Chromebooks.
It was important for us to understand that technology could just be a substitute for a worksheet. We had to still use higher order thinking activities, even when using technology. SAMR~ you know there is always an acronym! SAMR isn’t necessarily higher order thinking skills, but it helped teachers be aware of the differences technology plays in our classrooms. It’s extremely important to do all the levels!
Substitution: Technology is just a substitute. Your technology didn’t change the learning that is occurring. *This happens a lot whenever we are practicing skill reinforcement. Fast Math and No Red Ink saves WORKSHEETS and teacher time at the copy machine. It also tracks the skills each child needs to continue to work on. So really, it does help save teacher time by assessing students’ skills without a teacher completing a checklist on each student. It also differentiates students’ learning. Khan Academy is used daily in my classroom. When students are finished solving our class word problem (on paper or in their math journals) they get out their Chromebooks to work on their Khan Academy. Students that are struggling with grade level skills are assigned to 4th grade or below. Everyone else is assigned to 5th grade level. Students who are advanced at math, move quicker through the grade level skills and then advance to sixth grade skills.
Two other great websites we use are Newsela and ReadWorks. Both of these sites provide informational texts with comprehension questions!! AWESOME!! They are both very engaging and include Lexile Levels. **Note** Depending on your grade level you need to be aware that some of the text might be inappropriate for your age level, so Newsela has an option of hiding articles from students. (this was one of my learning experiences, some articles talk about making babies! Not a 5th grade standard)
Augmentation: Technology acts as a tool substitution. We don’t have to pull out dictionaries, encyclopedias, or thesaurus. Every student has those tools at their fingertips! I feel like this saves a lot of our classroom time, fewer transitions. No longer is there a waiting list for the “W” encyclopedia or students who can’t find two resources for their research. Students now have the opportunity to use many great research websites to gain information! One of my favorite search engines is KidRex. Whenever we are doing STEM Challenges, my students can look up articles on the different topics. Wonderpolis is a site we use a lot.
Modification: Technology allow for assignment to be redesigned. (Videoing apps or Screen Castify App where students can record their thinking as they solve problems) My students use our iPads to video STEM Challenges or Sciences Experiments so they can discuss what happened. We use our Google Classrooms daily. Students can submit their work, resources can be shared, and students can even discuss and edit their peers writing. My students use Digital Reading Journals to journal about what they have read. Students list and rate their books.
My students use a digital conference portfolio for their student led conference. Students share their learning with their parents.
Redefinition: Technology allows for the creation of new tasks. Students wouldn’t even be able to do it without technology!
The biggest things I have learned…
- BALANCING pencil and paper to screen time! Students still need to move, change activities, and taught in different modalities. Don’t forget Brain Breaks!!
- Just because they are using technology, doesn’t mean students are using HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS!
- Know what your students are on!! We have GoGuardian to help us supervise our students’ computer use.
- Technology Jobs: I have two students assigned as Computer Techs. They check out Chromebooks and make sure they are all charging correctly.
- Have a consistent schedule (a daily routine, so students know what they do next) This prevents students from wasting time with transitions. No one says “I’m done!” or “I’m finished” they go straight to what we do next.
- Always look for programs that will differentiate students’ learning
- Technology is always changing~ Roll with it! You will never know everything, so don’t wait until you do. Try it! Most of the time, I learn new apps with my students or they teach me! This happens a lot when we are coding and using our class robots!
Wow! Spring Break is over and there are only 43 more days of school left before SUMMER!!! This year has been a blur! I always start wondering, “What will my students remember about being in my class?” “Will they remember worksheets or test prep?” I really hope not! Yes, I use worksheets (sometimes) and I prepare my students with the skills they will need for standardized testing, but I don’t want that to be what they remember about Mrs. Taylor’s Class! I really try to find ways to hit our grade level skills through fun and engaging projects. STEM Challenges not only hit many of my targeted math and science standards, but it also makes learning fun and memorable! STEM Challenges also teach many lifelong skills like problem solving, cooperation, critical thinking, and communication. Easter STEM Challenges and Peep Boat Challenges are a great way to engage your students in learning important math and science standards. I also have an Easter STEM Challenges K-2.
Students create Peep Puff Boats that can move across water. Students go through the Design Process as they work together to design a boat that can hold and float with a Peep! Students even name their boats! My students love this activity!!! I also connect some important economic concepts with this lesson. (productive resources) Students test out their boats to see if they float!!
Students will conduct an experiment to see how eggs will react with different liquids.
Students will conduct an experiment to see how eggs will react to vinegar over several days.
Easter Egg Tower Challenge: Students stack Easter Eggs to build the tallest tower. A steady hand and planning is very important. I purchase several different sizes of eggs to add rigor to this challenge.
to record their data. A good book to connect is Crossover by Kwame Alexander.
St.Patrick’s Day STEM is also a great way to make learning fun, but also cover the
skills needed to be successful on upcoming assessments. There are 5 STEM March Challenges and within this
resource these skills are covered:
fractions, collecting data in a table,
averaging, writing, engineering, and critical thinking.
include: Gold Coin Catapult Challenge, Penny Towers, Penny Water Drops
Experiments, creating a Leprechaun Trap, and creating a Leprechaun House. Also, available in K-2 St. Patrick’s Day STEM.
St.Patrick’s Day Coding is also a fun way to introduce students to coding. Coding is a skill students need to be familiar
with. In a workshop I attended last week,
an entrepreneur was asked, “What do educators need to make sure they teach their
students to be successful in the future?”The entrepreneur answered, “Coding, coding, coding, and coding!”
developed STEM Coding Challenge in a School Box. Included in the resources are some coding
worksheets and some suggestions on how to make coding hands on. Students make coding bracelets or
Fun March Activities:
March Everyday is a Holiday: Everyday has a fun holiday.March is a collection of random holidays that occur in March.March’s Daily Holiday Cards are a great way to engage students in a fun way to learn about fun historical facts. Everyday is a Holiday! Did you know that March 3rd is Day of Unplugging?, or that March 4th is Grammar Day? Everyday is a Holiday Cards have an activity or a suggestion that will engage your students in a fun way to learn each day. Just copy and put on a ring! You will have an activity for each day of the month!
Valentine’s Day related. Students get
excited during holiday seasons, and there is nothing like keeping them engaged using a STEM activity.
a fun way to engage students in learning. I love using Conversation
Hearts! They are cheap! It’s way too easy to spend too much money in the
classroom, so I try to find items that are easy to find and not too
expensive. Taking students through the Science Process while engaging
them in fun Valentine’s Day Activities helps them stay excited while somewhat
I use a lot of the scores and times to write real word math problems. (They are great for adding, subtracting, and comparing decimals!) I also use the activities as STEM
Challenges. Check out my Winter GamesSTEM Challenge Bundle!!
to give students information about the Olympics and different winter
sports. This is a great way to bring in nonfiction text to your project!
fun activity is Valentine’s Day Coding! Students work with binary coding as
they make Valentine’s Day word bracelets. This is a great activity to meet your Computer Science Standards.
during the holiday season. Some of the best ways to keep your students learning
and to prevent behavior problems is to engage them in STEM Christmas
activities. Students love STEM Christmas
Challenges. Here are a few of my favorites,
they are easy to implement and my students loved them.
Tree Challenge: Students will
construct Christmas trees using Spice Drops and tooth picks. Students will have a limited number of
resources and will have to make decisions while constructing their Christmas
Present or Snowball Catapults: Students
will design, create, engineer, and test a catapult that can deliver gifts to faraway
Challenge: Students will build Christmas Trees using candy
Tree Cup Challenge: Students will build
a Christmas Tree using small cups. The
goal is to build the tallest tree possible and to see how many pom-pom balls it
Christmas Tree Challenge: Students will build the tallest Christmas Tree possible
using 5 sheets of newspaper and a limited amount of tape.
Christmas Light Circuits is collection of resources that will help your students
experiment while learning about circuits. Students love exploring as they
are a great way for students to reinforce their math skills and
review previous learned concepts. Students will work on place value, decimals,
multi-digit multiplication, adding and subtraction fractions, fraction word
problems, volume, and basic operations. These worksheets can also help prepare
students for standardized testing.
Add some new Christmas songs to your poetry folders to increase students’
fluency. Also add some holiday flair to your math word problems for upper
grades. Students will enjoy learning while they are thinking about the holiday
season. Writing Prompts and “Make as Many Words” sheets are included. Click here to check out Upper Grades Christmas No Prep Packet!
the prompts on card stock and put a ring in the top corner. Place these cards
in your writing center to give students who struggle with coming up with topics
to write about a helping hand! There are 24 different Christmas themed writing
prompts that will help your students engage in writing while celebrating the
This is a great resource for your writing center or just to get your students
excited about writing about the Christmas Holiday. There are also 3 blank lined writing
love the fall season from the Pumpkin Spice to pumpkins and mums by my
door. Friday night football games and
the cool breeze in the air, make this one of my favorite seasons.
is a huge element of my classroom. My Halloween STEM Challenges are a great way
to hit the Next Generation Science Standards for Engineering and Design. Check out the K-2 Halloween STEM and the 3-5Halloween Challenges.
also brings parent-teacher conferences and report cards. In my district, we
have started Student-Led Conferences. I had mixed feeling about these at first
but now I see how much ownership my students take about their work! I guess
that is the point! Check out this
digital resource that makes my life much easier.
gives students a way to organize their conversations about their work.
it!! Glue is cheap at the beginning of school and your kids will think you are
the coolest. The secret to making it not stick to you is the eye contact solution.
It is a MUST!! It is so engaging and my students came up with reasons they
thought SLIME was a solid or a liquid. It was so fun hearing them give their reasons. Isn’t that what learning is about? Having
fun, making observations, and engaging students!!!! Click here to see my SLIME Packet!
a great week!!