Sweet Sundays

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There's nothing like Sunday mornings, is there? Drinking coffee slowly. Enjoying the quiet. Time to eat a decent breakfast and scroll through your social media feed. Ah...so relaxing. 

Unless you have small children you are trying to dress for church. Then all bets are off. Cereal stuck to your butt on the way into the service? Yep, been there. Parents of young children are tough!

Teaching, parenting, and adulting are hard. But you don't have to do it alone! I'm here to help! This school year, my plan is to bring you a sweet series of wonderful tips, tricks, and resources (yes, freebies!) that you can use in your classroom. 

As we gear up for back to school season, I'll be sharing some ideas to get you off on the right track, as well as a SWEET giveaway from my friends over at Creative Teaching Press. You'll have the chance to win the Woodland Friends classroom decor pack—all of it! (And there is a lot!)


In order to win, just look for the giveaway announcement in my classroom reveal. (It'll be right around the corner.) Tell your friends and colleagues so they can get in on the action, too. :)

For now, let me leave you with a trick I learned a couple years ago:

No matter what I did, my firsties always had something they HAD to tell me during reading or math groups. I could NOT get through a group without an interruption no matter how much training we went through. (Can you say, "Impulse control?")

So we started using help cards. When my littles had something they really had to tell me, they could lay their card down on the small group table and know that I would check in with them as soon as I could.

GAME CHANGER! No more interruptions and they still got to tell me everything! (And they did tell me everything.)


If you'd like to try them this year, you can grab them in my store here. They're free so download away!

For more great ideas, freebies, and giveaways, look for this series on Sundays, and stay tuned for the classroom reveal and Creative Teaching Press contest in August. Have a wonderful Sunday!


Pumpkin STEAM Centers

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Hey, y'all! We just can't get enough STEAM centers around here! Pumpkin week is one of my favorite weeks, right behind apples.

There are SO MANY things you can teach with something as simple as pumpkins. And who doesn't love seasonal units like pumpkins?!

We start off the week learning about the parts of pumpkins with a cute little craft.


Tuesday through Thursday, students go to science centers/stations to explore pumpkins (mostly) independently.


They learn about the parts of the pumpkin and the life cycle of the pumpkin.


They also get to weigh their pumpkins, check out the insides, and explore how pumpkins move.


For the life cycle activity, students glue the sequence in order on a sentence strip. You can turn them into crowns by stapling the ends of the sentence strip together to fit your students' heads. (Sentence strip crowns are so stinking cute! Am I right? ) 


And your little engineers will love building with pumpkin candy corn and toothpicks. Recording sheets are provided for students to keep track of their thinking and glue into their science notebooks. 


For more information about pumpkin STEAM centers, you can check it out at my TPT store here.

If you haven't tried science centers in your classroom yet, I encourage you to give it a try. Your students will become much more independent and responsible. They learn so much about themselves and the material at the same time.

If you have tried it, let me know how it went in the comments below. Stay tuned for more amazing science units. We're moving full STEAM ahead!



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Apple STEAM Centers

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Hey y'all! We're back with another installment of STEAM centers for primary classrooms. :) If you missed my original post on how I set up science centers, you can check it out here. Don't forget to grab the freebie!

Apple week is one of my all time favorite weeks in the classroom. (A close second is pumpkin time, but more on that later.)

There are SO MANY skills that can be taught with something as simple as an apple. At the beginning of the week, we taste test different kinds of apples and graph our favorites. The kids L-O-V-E doing this and you only need 3 apples for the whole class. (One red, one yellow, and one green cut into enough pieces for the whole class.)


Tuesday through Thursday, students go to different stations to explore and learn more about apples. While they are busy at work, learning about apples and using task cards to become independent, I float around the room scaffolding as needed.


Students learn about the life cycle of apple, the different parts of the apple, and explore it in general.


They can build things using apple pieces and toothpicks and paint pictures by stamping with apples cut in half.


Every center (except the stamping one) had a recording sheet to go along with it. It can be glued into students' science notebooks or they can stapled together and sent home at the end of the week.


On Friday, we talk about chemical changes involved with heating our apples by making applesauce in the crock pot. If you've never had homemade applesauce, you absolutely have to try it. It tastes amazing and makes your classroom smell wonderful! After we taste our applesauce, we graph who does and who doesn't like it.


For more information on this unit, you can check out it in my store here

If you haven't tried science centers in your classroom yet, I encourage you to give it a try. Your students will become much more independent and responsible. They learn so much about themselves and the material at the same time. 

If you have tried it, let me know how it went in the comments below. Our next unit is pumpkins, so stay tuned for more STEAM ahead. 


Rocks, Soil, and Centers. Oh my!

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Hey, y'all! We're back with another installment of science center resources! This week, we're talking about earth sciences, specifically rocks and soil. If you missed my original post about how science centers work in my classroom, you can check it out here. (Don't forget to to download the freebie!)

Now, before we begin, let me just say that teaching about soil can be, well, dull as dirt. BUT NOT ANYMORE! With science stations, students get to explore (and play in) the dirt. What kid doesn't love that. (Don't worry, the mess will be minimal. :) )

We start off the week building schema and creating a soil layers snack cup. Instant engagement! Then, Tuesday through Thursday, students go to science stations and explore soil (mostly) on their own. Friday, the whole class comes together for an experiment.


Each station has task cards with pictures to help them remember what to do. I usually go over directions for each station before letting my littles go. That way my emerging readers are more successful at each station.


Every station has science notebook pages for students to record their thinking and keep track of their learning. Information cards are included in some centers as well. 


The thing I love about these units are all the hands on experiments the kids can do. And they get to do them independently!

Yes, you most likely have a student or two that needs you to be nearby during some activities. We all do. But the way these tasks are set up, even my most challenging students were able to be successful because the stations are engaging and self-paced.


In the soil unit, students learn all about soil layers, types of soil, and weathering and erosion.


In the the rocks unit, students learn about how rocks are made, the different types of rocks, and what you can do with rocks. 


There are so many ways rocks are used in the world, but students don't usually think about those things without a little guidance from us.


In one lab, students will use rocks to make their own buildings. Craft stores have bags of flat rocks for pretty cheap that are perfect for building with.


For more information about both of these units, check them out in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. The soil unit can be found here and the rocks unit can be found here. You can get both of these units and the plant unit in the Earth science bundle here.

Have you used science centers in your classroom before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below.


States of Matter STEAM Unit

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Hey y'all! I hope you are enjoying your much needed summer break. We've been enjoying going to the bathroom whenever we want lazy mornings and daily trips to Target around town. Today, we're back with another science resource for the classroom. This is one of several posts in a series of science centers. If you missed any, you can check them out here.  

At the beginning of each week, we start off reading a book about our subject to get their minds thinking. There are lots of great texts, but I like to start with this one: 


We also create some form of a KWL chart to highlight our thinking and get us ready for the week.

Tuesday through Thursday, students rotate through science centers (stations) and work on tasks or experiments fairly independently. Of course, I'm helping those who need it and questioning some who are ready to go deeper. But my classes always love science centers. In the words of one sweet kidlette, "It's like we're totally learning stuff!" :) 


Each center has task cards ready to print so students know just what to do. I model them at the beginning of class each day, just to make sure we're on the same page. By Thursday, they're like, "We got it!" :) 


This unit focuses on states of matter, so students sort matter by properties, learn about how molecules are different in each kind, explore some real life examples of each, play a game to reinforce their skills.


Each station (except the game) also has science notebook pages that correspond with the center so students can record their thinking. It's also great for accountability (there's always a few who need it, am I right?).


Most stations students can do on their own, but I usually am very close by any station that uses food, like the root beer float one. :) I prep everything ahead of time so that there is minimal mess here (tips are included in this unit plan), but I still like to stay close by for this one!


On Friday, students build the tallest tower they can, but it must withstand either wind, rain, or both (details are in the unit plan). So students must figure out which materials are best suited for this purpose. They can also record their work and it's outcome on the recording sheet. 


These units are so easy to use because the lesson plans are already done and ready for you. Directions are prepped with pictures to aid early readers (think "independent learning!"). Recording sheets are included and fit in both spirals and composition books. Oh, and the kids love them!

To go straight to how I set up these centers in the beginning of the year click here and here. To grab the freebie for setting up groups, click here.

I know science centers are new for a lot of classrooms, so what questions do you have? Let me know in the comments below and I'll answer them as quickly as I can. Thanks for stopping by and keep an eye out for the next unit! Have a happy summer!

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