Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What do you do on a "hurricane day" off of school?

    I can't speak for everyone else but we had a great day today. My prayers are with all of the families that did not fare as well as we did but fortunately we were able to keep our power and had no flooding. This time. Phew.
The high winds keep us inside
Princess Leia foolishly wanting to go outside

and we got some much needed chores done.

     First project: tackle the front hall closet. I don't have a "before" picture but it really didn't look much different except now it is organized.

front hall closet
Or you could get an easier to fit version like this:

This set of shelves was horizontal in the closet and I took it out (not easy to do) and tried to put it vertical behind the front door.  It didn't really fit, so I tipped it back horizontal and it still didn't fit, so back into the closet it went. This time I kept it vertical and put tags on each of the bins.
each bin has a tag
I used a tag punch like this

 that I use for labeling christmas and birthday presents too.

Now everyone in the family has an empty square to keep their backpack or work bags in, and a bin for library materials and other stuff (like big brother's recorder). I'm a bit obsessed with organizing stuff like that. I can't tell you how many times this afternoon I've walked by and opened the closet to look at it.

     I was cleaning my office and Andrew noticed the lego-man ice cube tray that we played with over the summer. We still had 4 lego men made out of Model Magic and they boys decorated them with markers.
markers and lego-men
little brother coloring

little brother's

big brother's
The lego men were made of Model Magic

If you have kids, Model Magic is the coolest stuff out there. It looks a bit like playdoh mixed with styrofoam and when it dries it looks a bit like plaster and you can color it with markers, paints, etc. Even when it's wet.

     For lunch we made pizzas on tortillas I like to make personal pizzas on tortillas because you waste fewer calories on a crust...which gives you more calories for toppings!
pizza no cheese

pizza with cheese

momma's pizza

     I had a bit of a sweet tooth so I made some no bake cookies. Recipe here: No bake cookies. (I made them without peanut butter)
no bake cookies
one missing

one was missing...hmmm...five minutes later found it in Jacob's pocket. Eeew.

     I don't think we actually got around to carving pumpkins last year so we carved the pumpkins today because I doubt we will have time tomorrow on Halloween.


Both boys were really freaked out by the stuff inside the pumpkin. Andrew helped a little bit. Jacob tried but he doesn't like "pumpkin guts." Is this kid mine?

     They were both very helpful with the decorating of their pumpkins but I still had to carve them.

Here's the really gross part...some of you may want to look away. The pumpkin guts were fed to our red worms.

We have a red worm compost bin in our basement. I know what you're thinking...it must be smelly...but it's not. It smells like dirt. A little like what it smells like when you walk through a forest. For more info about red worm composting.

You can get a red worm composting bin here

I think this baby is going on my christmas list.

     Tomorrow we have a halloween party in our neighborhood and I can't wait. Every family brings a Crockpot of some soup or chili, or an appetizer. Since I don't have time before the party to make something...I'm using my CrockPot. I use it so much that it never leaves the counter in my kitchen. This is the one I have. I like it because the insert comes out and can go into the dishwasher, and the stainless steel exterior matches my fridge.

I'm making this CrockPot Potato Soup  from pearls-handcuffs-happyhour.blogspot.com

and White Pizza Dip from www.howsweeteats.com for the Halloween Party tomorrow.

     I've never had a more productive day.
    Time to go roast the pumpkin seeds and then take a nap.

Have a Happy Halloween!

originally posted on ballinwithballing.blogspot.com

Saturday, October 27, 2012

3c: Engaging Students in Learning with a demonstration large microscope slide

     Often in biology you need to show the students something and it's small and very difficult for them to see from their seats. One such situation is when you need to show them how to make a wet mount slide or how to use a dropper and a paper towel to change the water under the coverslip. 
     If you know me, you'll know that I love hardware stores. I love the way you yourself can use a little  elbow grease and fix something yourself. I even love just wandering the store for new ideas. Well, this is one of those ideas. I was at the hardware store and I had an ah-ha moment. I had the clerk cut me two pieces of plexi-glass....one approximately 9 inches by 20 inches (to make a large slide) and the other approximately 6 inches x 6 inches (to make the coverslip). 
plexi-glass slide, coverslip and dropper
Here's a baster for sale at Kohl's

     I used a piece of sandpaper to smooth down the edges and a permanent marker to darken the edge around the coverslip so my students could see exactly where it is at. I then printed out a very large letter "e" and bought a turkey baster at the dollar store (to represent the dropper the students will be using). 

I darkened the edge of the coverslip with permanent marker to make it more visible.

     My students actually laugh out loud every year when I show them my model and I know it helps them understand what I am trying to explain. I think that might be one of the most difficult parts of teaching....how do I get something that is clear to me inside my head....out to them so it's clear to them inside their head? I hope that this idea helps you and if it inspires you, please comment and share with us your idea.

originally posted on ballinwithballing.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 14, 2012

4c: Communicating with Families with PowToon : Welcome to Open House!

Have you ever played with PowToon?
It's a really cool site where you can create short little advertisements very quickly. Some of it is free (the parts I used were) but if you want more advanced features you could pay for those. I made up a little intro for Open House for when the parents are walking in and waiting for others to arrive...
PowToon : Welcome to Open House!

Thank you Ben Higgins for sharing the website!

 This was originally posted on Ballinwithballing.blogspot.com

What new FREE webtools have you found and how do you use them? Comment below...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Charlotte Danielson's 2007 Framework for Teaching Index of blog posts

Charlotte Danielson's 2007 Framework for Teaching 

and Index of posts from BallinwithBalling.blogspot.com

Domain 1 - Planning and Preparation

1a: Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy
(Knowledge of content and the structure of the discipline, Knowledge of prerequisite relationship, Knowledge of content-related pedagogy)
BallinwithBiology posts:
     Oneonta Biology Listserve

1b: Demonstrating Knowledge of Students
(Knowledge of child and adolescent development, Knowledge of the learning process, Knowledge of students’ skills, knowledge, and language proficiency, Knowledge of students’ interests and cultural heritage, Knowledge of students’ special needs)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Blood Model
     Protein Model made with a baby toy

1c: Setting Instructional Outcomes
(Value, sequence, and alignment, Clarity, Balance, Suitability for diverse learners)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Kinesthetic Tree Identification Lab
     Idea for the First Day of School

1d: Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources
(Resources for classroom use, Resources to extend content knowledge and pedagogy, Resources for students)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Bucky Ball Review Game
     iPad Mini-Grant

1e: Designing Coherent Instruction
(Learning activities, Instructional materials and resources, Instructional groups, Lesson and unit structure)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Using Workflowy
     Oreo Cookie Lab
     Interactive Notebooks

1f: Designing Student Assessments
(Congruence with instructional outcomes, Criteria and standards, Design of formative assessments, Use for planning)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     iPods for Testing Modifications

Domain 2 – Classroom Environment

2a: Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport
(Teacher interaction with students, Student interactions with other students)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Popcorn snack

     Idea for the first day of school
     New Classroom

2b: Establishing a Culture for Learning
(Importance of the content, Expectations for learning and achievement, Student pride in work)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Learning Plan
     Online Teaching

2c: Managing Classroom Procedures
(Management of instructional groups, Management of transitions, Management of materials and supplies, Performance of non-instructional duties, Supervision of volunteers and paraprofessionals)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Pencil Tree
     Idea for the First Day of School

2d: Managing Student Behavior
(Expectations, Monitoring of student behavior, Response to student misbehavior)
BallinwithBalling posts:

2e: Organizing Physical Space
(Safety and accessibility, Arrangement of furniture and use of physical resources)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Student Mailboxes
     Chair Footies to reduce noise
     Safety Map Lab
     New Classroom

Domain 3 - Instruction

3a: Communicating with Students
(Expectations for learning, Directions and procedures, Explanations of content, Use of oral and written language)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Learning Plan 
     Online Teaching

3b: Using Questioning and Discussion Techniques
(Quality of questions, Discussion techniques, Student participation)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Fast Five
     Interactive Notebooks

3c: Engaging Students in Learning
(Activities and assignments, Instructional materials and resources, Grouping of students, Structure and pacing)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Outdoor Lab
     Microscope Slide demo
     Wild Plants Lab
     Blood Model
     Protein Model made with a baby toy
     Interactive Notebooks

3d: Using Assessment in Instruction
(Assessment criteria, Monitoring of student learning, Feedback to students, Student self-assessment and monitoring of progress)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Silent Mind Map
     Increasing Student Participation with Popsicle Sticks

     Learning Plan

3e: Demonstrating Flexibility and Responsiveness
(Lesson adjustment, Response to students, Persistence)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Taco Dip Rock Layers Lab

     Interactive Notebooks

Domain 4 – Professional Responsibilities

4a: Reflecting on Teaching
(Accuracy, Use in future teaching)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     To Do Folder
     Interactive Notebooks

4b: Maintaining Accurate Records
(Student completion of assignments, Student progress in learning, Non-instructional records)
BallinwithBalling posts:

4c: Communicating with Families
(Information about the instructional program, Information about individual students, Engagement of families in the instructional program)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Movie trailer to advertise your course
     Remind 101
     PowToon Commercial
     Open House Video
     Thanks for Being Awesome Postcards

4d: Participating in a Professional Community
(Relationships with colleagues, Involvement in a culture of professional inquiry, Service to the school, Participation in school and district projects)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     NYSCATE Conference 
     Applying to be an Apple Distinguished Educator
     Rain Barrel Contest 

4e: Growing and Developing Professionally
(Enhancement of content knowledge and pedagogical skills, Receptivity to feedback from colleagues, Service to the profession)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     NYSCATE Conference 
     Digital Wave Conference 
     Thanks for Being Awesome Postcards posted on TeachersPayTeachers

4f: Showing Professionalism
(Integrity and ethical conduct, Service to students, Advocacy, Decision making, Compliance with school and district regulations)
BallinwithBalling posts:
     Certifications on the wall
     Thanks for Being Awesome Postcards

(the info about about Charlotte Danielson's Framework is from http://www.roe13.k12.il.us/Services/KeriKorn/HND12/Trover/FrameworkTeaching.pdf )
The posts are from BallinwithBalling.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

1d: Demonstrating Knowledge of Resources with the Bucky Ball Review Game

This is the latest craze in review...THE BUCKY BALL! and perfect for all subjects. The student fills in Questions and Answers to those questions on the ball by using their notes.
For example: Student would write a question at Q1
and then write the corresponding answer on  A1.

After all questions and answers are on the ball, the student would cut it out and tape it together. 
(I recommend putting a small ball of paper inside to give it support)

Completed Bucky Ball
 How to review with the Bucky Ball:  Roll the ball and read the question on the TOP...
Question #11: A Picture of the Data of an experiment is known as a...

On the opposite side (BOTTOM) of the ball is the answer to that question.

Answer #11: Graph

Play and trade with your friends!

This post originally featured on ballinwithballing.blogspot.com 


4a: Reflecting on Teaching with an organized "TO DO" folder

     Like any other teacher I am constantly revising my curriculum based on student likes/dislikes, new motivation strategies, incorporating new labs, review games, etc. It is very overwhelming to keep it organized so here is the method I have devised.
     I have a folder where I keep all ideas for future units. In that folder there is a separate sheet of paper for each unit.
a separate sheet for each unit
Any random ideas I generate throughout the year that would apply to that unit are jotted down on a post-it note and stuck onto the sheet of paper.
post-it notes with ideas
post-it notes with ideas
     What did we ever do before paperclips and Post-it Notes?

Any labs that I want to rewrite or handouts I have found are paper clipped to that sheet of paper. This way I am more likely to revise the units as I go through the year.
labs, handouts for rewrites and modifications paper clipped to it.

 This is what works for me.  How do you organize all of those future ideas and modifications?

This post originally featured on ballinwithballing.blogspot.com

1a: Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy with the Oneonta Biology Listserve

Do you ever wonder what other teachers in your discipline are talking about? Do you ever wonder what is happening in their districts? How they are conducting their pre-assessments, APPR's, SLO's? Join a list serve and find out.  I have been a member of the BioForum Listserve hosted out of the State of New York College at Oneonta and I have found it very valuable for acquiring new ideas and new perspectives on teaching Biology. Warning...once you join you will receive a LOT more email but soon you will learn to filter out what is useful to you and what is not.

          “I'm a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in     terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they're interested in.”
Bill Gates [Founder of Microsoft Co.]

This post originally featured on ballinwithballing.blogspot.com