Thursday, October 16, 2014

Have you ever saved Fred before?

Oh my goodness.... look out the window! Are pigs flying?! Because I thought for sure I wouldn't be blogging until pigs were flying. I have just been so busy this year. BUT I finally am caught up kinda sorta... enough that I can sit down to blog for a few minutes. And I wanted to start back at the beginning of the school year. If you remember, I got a new job very last minute and am teaching 4th grade now. Let's first acknowledge the fact that I LOVE my job again. FINALLY. I have waited a LONG time to be happy where I work and I am so glad to have ended up where I am. And as an added perk I only have 12 students, all of which are super sweet.

Now, back to the beginning of the year. The other 4th grade teacher and I decided to team teach... she teaches all the math and I teach the science and social studies (alternating units). So we started the year off with some fun STEM activities. And the first one was saving Fred. I saw a few people post about this and/or pin the idea. I knew I had to do it. And I am so glad I did. Not only did the students LOVE it but it gave me an idea of how they work together in groups. I found that some of them are very weak "group workers"... they had to learn HOW to work in groups. I am proud to say we are finally getting there.

If you have no idea what this Fred activity is, the picture collage below has a description of it. I recreated a lab sheet for my students that I will share down below if you would like to use it.

My students really enjoyed it... just look at their faces when they FINALLY got Fred in the life preserver...

A couple things we found:
~At first, every group killed Fred. I obviously wasn't going to have them just sitting there doing nothing.... so we invented Fred's cousin, Fredina... just so they would keep trying.
~At first the students thought Fred's head just had to be "in" the preserver... so they got him placed on the ring and thought they were done. I quickly grabbed an extra gummy worm and life saver and showed them what the end result should look like (I obviously did it with my hands).
~I made my students analyze their materials and try to come up with a plan before jumping in to solve the problem. All but one group's plan failed at first.
~Have fun and let them be loud! Just close the door and enjoy!

Here is a copy of the lab sheet I used. This is not my original creation, it is just formatted better for my students and in better fonts for me. If it is something you want to use, feel free to download and enjoy. Even though it is not the beginning of the year this is still something you can do!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Semi Wordless Wednesday- very overdue post

And by overdue, I mean it is a classroom reveal...

Whew, looking back at these pictures reminds me I REALLY need to straighten up my room some. My desk does not look that good anymore and that back shelf has gained a lot more "stuff".

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