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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Importance of Objectives

   I have to admit when I first started teaching I didn't think it was worth my time to be constantly changing my objectives for every new subject. I mean how many 3rd graders really cared to read those, or referred to them?! However, once I started drawing my students' attention to the objectives, I saw a vast change in their understanding and attentiveness. Not only were students more aware of WHAT they were learning, they were also more aware of WHY they were learning it. Of course I still get the old, "When will I ever use this?!" question, but by sharing with students my objectives and reasoning for the lessons, they now buy into it more and take a more serious interest in their learning. 

   Currently a third of my white board is dedicated to my objectives. These objectives I change daily based on the lessons for each subject area. I also use this space to provide the language objectives and homework. Students know to use this space as a tool to keep themselves organized and on top of their learning. 

   In addition to these daily objectives, I also am working on posting the Common Core standards that we are focusing on. In math we are currently studying ratios and proportional reasoning. For these standards I have made easy to read, kid friendly "I can..." statements. I will post these on my math focus bulletin board and refer them often to keep kids from guessing, "Why are we learning this?!"

                             (Here is an example of my standards) 

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Edible Cell Lesson

       Here is my first attempt at posting one of my teaching ideas. This lesson was for my 6th grade class as a wrap up activity after learning about animal and plant cells. My students often need a more visual and hands on approach to understand and remember concepts, therefore I decided making and labeling edible cells would be a fun culminating activity for everyone. 

      Initially, I spent a while at Dollar Tree, Target, Fred Meyer and Albertson's picking out just the right candy and dried foods to represent each of the different organelles. Here are some pictures of what I came up with, along with a little chant they learned about each organelle. 

For the cell membrane/wall, I found small round plastic containers at the Dollar Tree, 5/ $1.00. They worked perfectly! Holla for the dolla! (1 per student)

To represent the nuclear wall/nucleus of our cells we used dried apricots. They were perfect because they weren't perfectly shaped and you could see a nuclear membrane and nucleus inside. (1 per student)

Vacuoles were represented by none other than Gobstoppers! (2 per student)

 Each student was to take five raisins as the mitochondria. Their wrinkly shape was perfect. (I have to admit this was a student suggestion, aren't kids so smart?!) 

  Cut up and folded sections of Fruit by the Foot were used to create the golgi body. The Fruit by the Foot was perfect because you could tear them into pre-perferrated strips and then the students folded them. Genius! 

Nerds of course were used to represent the ribosomes. About 20 per student were necessary, some to be freely floating and some to attach to the rough ER.

The smooth endoplasmic reticulum was represented by a "smooth" (non-sour) gummy worm. 

    The rough endoplasmic reticulum was a little more challenging, but I ended up using sour fruit wedges, and then had the students push the nerds into them. (1 fruit slice per student) 

  Finally, I used orange jello to represent the cytoplasm. Each student used about 1/4-1/2 a cup of jello to fill their container. 

 I was able to set this all up on my back counter and had students collect their supplies in little Dixie cups as they went along. They had to repeat the chant at each station to help them verbally remember what each organelle does. 

Students then made labels with half a label and a tooth pick. (We saved these for day 2 of the lesson, after the cells had set.)

Here is a finished product before we set them in the refrigerator. 

After 24 hours in the refrigerator, we took them out and the students then had to label them and check their labels with a partner. Once they agreed that each had the organelles labeled correctly, and could describe their purpose (also an ELD lesson) the cells were theirs to take home. Although these cells are edible, they didn't look appetizing to me. But I did however hear from many students they took them home to eat. Can't beat that, feeding their brains and their stomachs! 

Good luck with this lesson if you attempt it. Leave me a comment with any questions or feedback. :)



    Welcome to my blog. I'm brand new at this, so I'm going to try a few things and see how it works. I was inspired by many other blogs I've been reading, and I thought I would love to share my ideas and insight with the greater teaching and coaching world. 
     My background as both an educator and coach isn't a long one, but I've tried to make the most of my time. I have been teaching in Oregon for five years now, and have taught 3rd grade, ESL and currently 6th grade. I love my job and wouldn't trade it for anything! I have also been coaching for four years.  I started with a group of girls from my first class and coached them to many victories and championships in the last three years. This year I have expanded my coaching circle and been helping out with teams that need me here and there. I get the greatest thrills from students understanding concepts, and victories on the hard wood. This is my life, and I'm happy to share my teaching and coaching ideas here. 
      I will work to get my TeachersPayTeacher store linked to my blog so you can have access to my materials and ideas there as well. Please feel free to leave me feedback and don't forget to follow me for new ideas!