Orlando Teacher Meet-Up July 2016

Our Teacher Meet-Up is moving to....

Sunny Orlando, Florida! July 13th at 6pm. #2016orlandomeetup

This will be our 5th annual teacher blogger meet up. If you've ever joined us before, you know there will be lots of fun, lots of laughing, and lots of prizes to give away! Thanks to our main sponsor TeachersPayTeachers

Here's a shot of some of the fabulous teachers who came out last year!
{Check out more pictures from our 2012 and 2013 and 2014 meet ups!}

At last year's meet up we gave away hundreds of prizes and this year will be no exception! We have lots of surprises in store for this meet up, so PLEASE join us!

(A peek at last year's prizes. All donated by our awesome sponsors!)
We had so many other sponsors that helped donate over $55,000 worth of swag, prizes, and goodies!  Can you believe that?!  I don't know about you, but to us... that's a whole lotta love for teachers!  

What you need to know:

*All teachers are invited to this meet-up! You do not need to have a blog to attend this special event!

*You can RSVP on our official Facebook event page: HERE! If you do not have a Facebook account, you can RSVP by commenting on this post.

*Please don't be shy! Every year we have people who are worried about not knowing anyone. This is a great opportunity to say hi to some of your favorite teacher-bloggers, as well as meet new friends and connect with teachers from all over!

*Please download the nametag template HERE.

*The meet up will be held at The Swan and Dolphin Resort, but the actual conference room number will be posted closer to the meet up. Follow our Facebook event page to get updates on the exact location.

We are super excited for our trip this year and know that this Teacher Meet Up will be the best one yet!!
Here are the meet-up organizers from last year!

Can't wait to see ya'll in sunny Orlando!

K-4 Animal Research Projects

Animal reports are a fun way to get young students excited about doing research. Today I wanted to show how I differentiate my animal research unit for kindergarten all the way up through fourth grade. This is my 3rd year of doing these projects and I am always so impressed with all of the great work my students produce.

My K, 1st, and 2nd graders use the animal research templates found in my All About Animals Research Reports and we use the San Diego Zoo Kids website to do research on an animal. My 3rd and 4th graders use Google Slides to create a multi-media presentation. They do their research right in Google Slides or use Kiddle.co (Google owned, kid safe search website) to do their research. Read more to see how I differentiate these reports for each grade level.


For my kinders, this is a shared research project. I introduce the project, turn on the San Diego Zoo Kids website, and then open up to an animal that we will research together. For this project, my students and I chose the African Elephant to research together. I first had them watch the 3 minute video on African Elephants and then we made a list of things we learned on the board. Then I'd read some of the information listed on the webpage and students would help me add the important information to our list. When doing our research, I always want my students to be able to answer these 3 questions: What do they look like? What do they eat? Where do they live?

From our list, students had a lot of information they could use in their reports. Here is a preview of some kindergarteners working on their reports.


1st Grade:

In first grade this project usually takes 3 or 4 thirty minute class periods. On day one, I model how to do the research report. I show them how to navigate the San Diego Zoo website and how they can find and choose an animal to research.  Together, we choose an animal that we want to research. We read the information together and then add it to our reports. I model how we can take the information and pull out 3 important facts. 

On days 2-3 the students get to do the project by themselves. They are really good at doing this since I spent the whole first class period modeling how to find information on the website. Most students will finish by the end of day 3, so on day 4 they can color their reports, write a non-fiction story on the back, and if they have time, they can choose another animal to research.


2nd Grade:

In second grade, I repeat my 1st grade lesson, but we take it a step further. After we fill out our report, I then have my students open up to a new Word document and type a one page report on their animal. (Students use a size 28 font and leave a spot to draw a picture after they're done.)


3rd Grade:

In third grade, we go straight to using Google Slides (you could also use PowerPoint or another similar program) to do the reports. I model how to design a cover page, how to get pictures (just click on Tools - Research and then you can search right in Google Slides), how to do research, and how to add their information into their slides.

I spend some time talking about the basics of doing research such as using reliable sources, copyright, and putting the information in their own words. In all, this project takes me 4 thirty minute class periods. At the end, students get to stand up and share their presentations with the class. 

I love how 3rd graders feel so accomplished for learning how to use Google Slides so proficiently. Here are a couple examples of their cover pages. 

4th Grade:

My fourth grade classes do the same as the third graders, however they go a little bit deeper. To incorporate the 4th grade state standards, I have students choose a Utah native animal to research, and they have to include a slide about what animal adaptions their animal has to survive. In 4th grade, I teach the basics of writing a bibliography and they must cite their sources at the end. 

Here's a little peek of part of a 4th grader's project. 

I absolutely love doing these projects with my students. It's one of my very favorite lessons of the whole year! It really is a great way to meet a lot of important writing and technology standards in an easy to do, engaging research project. And best of all, STUDENTS LOVE IT!

If you're interested in the animal report template that my K, 1st, and 2nd graders used, you can find it inside this Wild About Animal Research Report pack. I currently have this pack listed this as half off in my TPT store and will keep it on sale all week. 

If anyone is wondering what I do with my 5th and 6th graders, I plan to write up some details and post about them next. Hint: 5th graders do American History research reports and 6th grade does Space Reports. More about that later! 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about animal reports! 
Do your students love it as much as mine?
Any tips and tricks you want to share?
Please leave a comment and let us know.

All About St. Patty's Day!

Next week is time to pull out my St. Patrick's Day Unit

I have this little craftivity in the Unit. It's a great for the CCSS opinion writing, too!

This HUGE pack {91 pages} is full of fun, meaningful activities!  It's available in color and black/white! This Common Core aligned St. Patrick’s Day Unit has everything you need to integrate this fun holiday with math and literacy! Each activity has variations to meet the CCSS for kinder, 1st, and 2nd grade.


Side Note:
How about this cute idea for leprechauns?  I love it!
There is the cute, artsy 3rd grade teacher at my old school {Mrs. Coyle} who did these HILARIOUS {made me laugh out loud} 3D leprechauns. I just have to share:

Here is the how to:

Give the students a 12" circle pattern to trace on a 12X18 manila paper.
They cut into the center (vocabulary: radius), overlap until a nose appears.
"Leftover" manila paper is used for the ears. (Make sure they have points!)
Students can choose yellow, orange or brown (9X12) for the hair, etc.

                    Each gets: 9X12 green (for the hat)
                                      4X6 red (for the mouth)
                                      4X6 white (for the eyes)
                                      2X3 blue (for the eyes)
                                      3X3 yellow (for the buckle)

No Nose-Picking Zone!

Seriously, guys. I LITERALLY CAN'T EVEN. This is my 8th year teaching and I've never had such a huge nose-picking problem in my classroom. I'm constantly looking out to those sweet kiddos and teaching my lesson and feeling all cool...and then BAM! I see 5 out of 25 kids picking their nose and some of them eating it. See why I said earlier I LITERALLY CAN'T EVEN. 

I tried this little phrase for a while and it worked for about 2 days and really all it did was make my tissue stash dwindle. #epicfail

So I took to Instagram and y'all helped me. I ordered this book:

I mean, the title alone made me laugh out loud. I'm a Booger, Treat Me With Respect!
I also downloaded this sign from The Teacher Wife.

^^^ See what I did there? ^^^

And I had to really make it STICK (no pun intended) and include writing integration. 

Download this writing page {here}!

So I read the book, we all laughed together about it and I gagged on a couple of the pages- but all in all my students were in agreement that not only is nose-picking GROSS but it spreads germs. And ain't nobody got time for that. 

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