Thursday, March 28, 2013

Let it Flow, Let it Flow, Let it Flow!

Have you heard about Flocabulary?  If you grew up singing along to School House Rock then you will love Flocabulary and your kids will too!  It's a great site that uses Hip Hop beats to teach everything from grammar to science to math.  They even have A week in Review, a weekly current events sung to Hip Hop.  My kids can't get enough of the grammar songs and videos. I know, right! Right now you can get a free subscription for the rest of this school year for your entire school.  Your students will also get their own personal user name and password so they can listen to the songs "till their heart's content.  I promise, I am not getting paid to say this.  I just think it is a great way to reinforce those skills. I wish I had told you about this sooner.  But think of it as a great way to review before those End-of-the-Year Tests roll around. I guess what they say is true: "Better late than never"! Check it out!

It's a "Cell-ebration"


  


Thomas diagramed his cell using his tablet.
  


Plant Cell


Today we made incredible, edible cells.  I found a great video on School Tube, "The Cell is Like a City", which compares cell organelles and their functions to the different parts of a city.  The students watched the video at home while completing their graphic organizer for cells.  While making our cells we listened to "Parts of the Cell Rap".  After making their edible cells in class, they drew a diagram and labeled the different organelles.  In the words of Rachael Ray, "Yum-o"!


Animal Cell       

Diagramming Cells the old fashion way
       

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tests and More Tests

I don't know if you feel this way, but sometimes I think we spend way too much time (and money) testing students.  I get that it is important to know where our students are academically and what our next instructional steps should be.  But sometimes it is just too much.

We had just taken our formative math test and because of schedules there was really not much time to review concepts before it was time to take the summative test.  I clearly knew some of my students were not ready. Guess what?  They knew it too.  As I was passing out the tests one of my students said, "I am not ready to take this test!  Do I have to take it today?"  Well. . . I thought to myself.  What would be the purpose in that?

So what did I do? I passed out the test to the students who had made 80 or above on the formative so they could begin.  Then I had a discussion with the students who felt they were not ready.  We talked about what would they do between now and a couple of days from now.  Some said they wanted to watch some of the videos again.  Off they went.  I reviewed some more with the others.  We talked about their plan to review some more over the weekend.  I also posted a "review video" on Edmodo for them to watch.  Will it make a difference?  Only time will tell.