Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Let's Give This Another Go

I've taken another long hiatus from blogging. I've been focusing on my classroom and my family and have set aside some others things for a while. One of my goals for 2015 was to blog at least twice per week so that is going to be my goal starting this week. Plus I have so much to share about the STEM class I have been taking and the elementary STEM special I have been teaching. I also want to branch out and start blogging about other issues related to teaching, gardening, science in general, or whatever strikes my fancy. So, here is the last few months in a nutshell and a sneak peek at some of the post ideas that I am planning.

  • STEM Class: I have been participating in a once a month STEM class hosted by a local education organization. There are around 40 teacher total who are completing the series of classes. The last one is coming up in May and I am going to be sad to be done. We have built helicopters, learned how to run 3-D printers, make stop motion animation movies and much more! A few of these ideas I have already tried out in my classroom and will follow with longer posts about them soon.

  • Elementary STEM "special": By a freak scheduling arrangement I ended up with my first block free this semester. I filled it with a once per week class with grades K-6. With K-3 I have focused on activities that we could complete in one class and were fun while focusing on a science skill or topic. With 4-6 I have done a few projects that spanned a couple of weeks and focused more on engineering design. These have included straw rockets and recycled racers. Based on these I have begun to add elementary products to my TpT store.
Paper helicopters - this was an engineering design project with my 9th graders and then I modified it to make models of plant seed movement (some seeds are "helicopters" and travel in the wind).
Density column activity with 2nd and 3rd grade.

  • UbD lessons: I did a ton of work on my physical science Understanding by Design lessons over the summer and have been teaching from them this year. This has meant a lot of editing and rearranging things as I have figured out what worked and what didn't.
  • Aquaculture: This has been a big research project as I am hoping to one day convert the old family farm into either a hydroponics or aquaponics facility. I have experience raising trout and salmon in my classroom which led me to thinking along those lines. There is so much information online so I am in the process of shuffling through resources and trying to determine what would work best for our area. In the meantime I am making due with my minigreen house set up in the living room. I have microgreens ready to be eaten, about a million tomato plants started, and the pepper plants just went in today. They are a bit late but I am hoping they will catch up.

  • Health: Back in October I started busting my behind with a Beachbody program and coach. It has been an up and down road but I am eating a lot better and being much more active. I've lost around 20 pounds and am planning to do a couple of 5K's in May. I am also looking into doing a charity 10K walk in July.
I'm glad to be back to my blog and excited to make some changes for the better. Stay tuned!

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