Wednesday, December 31, 2014

How Does Government Work?






Every citizen needs to know about how our government works! That information needs to start early, and needs to be easy to understand. The one thing you never want to see is one of your past students being interviewed for an "on the street" survey missing an obvious question, like "Who is our Vice President?" Good grief, it's hard to believe how many people miss that one!!!  Below are websites, games and videos that can help you with your government unit. By the time you are done, your third through fifth graders will be citizen experts! Let the interview begin!


This site from iCivics is terrific for third through fifth grade students. Games include "Do I Have A Right" about the Bill of Rights, Cast Your Vote, Branches of Power and so much more! If you teach about government there is a game here for your students….terrific for centers!

I love this site for teaching American symbols! It has everything you need! Other sites on this page include FBE Kids Page, Treasure Direct Kids Games and more!


This is a learning site for the branches of government. Kids see what each branch is responsible for, then try to match the responsibility to the branch. It's almost like a memory game, which is something most kids love.


I love, love, love this site! It has games on branches of power, the Bill of Rights, Executive command and more. The games are VERY engaging! Talk about making government fun….Oh yea!


This terrific game makes your students into secret agents. Our government has been taken over by an evil fiend who dissolves the branches of power! Their mission is to restore the Branches of Power according to the Constitution to preserve democracy for the nation. Fantastic for 4th and 5th grades!


The Democracy Project from PBS kids presents this great site!


This great video is a terrific rap-type song that will really get kids' attention. The lyrics are available by clicking the Interactive Lyrics link at the top of the page.


If you teach government don't miss this site! It has a number of great videos! The one on the three branches is super, super good…cute and catchy.  Other videos includes the Balance of Power, Checks and balances, separation of Power, Schoolhouse Rocks' I'm Just a Bill and much, much more!


Oh My! I got a little crazy, but there is so much good stuff out there! I hope this gives you lots to choose from. 














Saturday, December 20, 2014

Simply Simple Machines



Teaching about simple machines is so much easier with great websites, video and hands-on activities! I hope the links below help make your simple machine unit a little bit easier!


This is a great simple machines site from Idaho Public Television. Look on the links on the right hand side for information on animals, earth science, space and much more. 


Sometimes kids get confused with the difference between an inclined plane and a wedge. This short video makes the difference very clear!


This game is challenging, but fun!

Love this one! Students build robots to help accomplish tasks, and in the process, learn all about simple machines.


If it's science, it's got to be Bill Nye. The full 22 minute episode is here!


This series on simple machines is simple and short. Best for second or third grades. There is a video for each machine. Sid the Science Kid.


This is a great site for individual, or group discovery of simple machines. That makes it GREAT for a center!


This site called "Watch Know Learn" is full of terrific simple machine videos. If you really want to grab your kids' interest in simple machines, show them the first one on the list called, "How Was Florida's Coral Castle Built". It's really, really good!

If you are looking for a task card/activities/game resource on simple machines, or a great PowerPoint, check out the resources below:











Saturday, December 13, 2014

Hard As A Rock! Plus a Freebie!



My favorite thing to teach is rocks and minerals! Kids already love rocks, so teaching them how they are made is something they are already interested in! I hope the links below will help make your unit on rocks and minerals fun for your kids, and you too! As an added bonus, I have included a freebie from my rocks and minerals resource. Hope you like it!

 Use this freebie (grading key included) to assess your students' knowledge of earth changes.

This site is amazing! It has a number of terrific games, short movies and more to help support your rocks and minerals unit. The movie pictures tells how igneous rocks are formed.


Gotta love this one! Students learn all about rocks and soil as they save the Earth from aliens! Love this one!!


This is a great site to hook your students into the study of rocks! Links include volcanoes, the types of rocks and how they are made and much more. I love the interactive kitchen at the bottom of the home page that allows kids to click on things in their own house and see how rocks and minerals are used in their production. 



This is a great source for links to terrific rocks and minerals sites. Just a note, the one called "Exploring Fossils" doesn't link to the activity, it links to lots and lots of more games and activities.


There"s LOTS of great short videos here on rocks and rock formation, plus quizzes, games, diagrams and more!


This site is just perfect for center exploration! It has both a dinosaur floor, and an earth floor. To make it even better, there's a link for teachers!!


If you are looking for task cards, classroom activities, a game and even a rocks and minerals PowerPoint, check out my two resources below:














Thursday, December 11, 2014

Energize That Energy!


Teaching energy is a lot more fun with great games and websites! They're like the energizer bunny for your energy unit!  It's even better when they are FREE! I hope the ones I've found below make energy not only fun for your students, but easier for you!!


This first site is pretty awesome. Click the first set of videos and you get a choice (on the right hand side) of videos for a number of science strands. Go down to "Heat and Temperature" and note the number of the video you want to see. Then put that number under the video box where it says, "Video number from menu…."  Delete that message and type in the number. Then click on play. 
The site then continues with LOTS of resources for teaching energy. Keep this one handy!!!

Do you need a terrific site for a center/station? Make up a short question sheet for students to answer as they discover this great site. The result…a perfect center!


Don't mss this great site! It has 33 interactive activities for energy!


This is a great game for upper elementary! It can be used as a teaching tool (allowing students to use their science books to find answers) or as an assessment. Really good and engaging!


Your students will LOVE this site! Clickable links give short and easy to understand information about conductors and insulators, thermal energy, how does heat energy move and much, much more!


This You Tube rap is terrific for fourth and fifth grades! I like that it also includes the text!


If you are looking for task cards, worksheets, a game or even a PowerPoint on energy, check out my two resources below:







Monday, December 8, 2014

Taming the Terror of Elapsed Time!





Learning about elapsed time can be such a bear! Kids can get really mixed up. Why? Elapsed time is an abstract concept. Many students find it hard to wrap their head around the entire idea. Additing and subtracting time can cause real problems. What exactly do you do when you pass the hour? The answer is lots of practice (isn't it always the answer!) and that practice can be done within the classroom in only minutes (no pun here) per day.

1. Make time important! When you tell students reading time is over in five minutes, make sure it is five minutes. Kids need to have an "internal clock" and that's impossible to construct without experiencing the true passage of time. Also, don't round time up or down when working on the concept of time. If it will be time to go home in 14 minutes, don't say ten minutes. Using a timer helps students gain internal time understanding. There are many on the Internet that are terrific, such as: Online Stopwatch  Use time throughout the day, "We will go outside to recess in 7 minutes". With time, students start to internalize time. By the way, be sure to change up how you say time, such as a quarter till, fifteen minutes till and even 45 minutes after.

2. To build elapsed time knowledge, students must think about elapsed time in their own life. Before going to an activity, give the class an elapsed time problem about what will happen, such as, "We must be at gym class at 10:05. It takes 12 minutes to walk to the gym. At what time do we need to be walking out the door?" Think through the problem with the class. Doing an activity like this every day builds skills needed to do elapsed time problems.

3. Consider using a timeline to teach elapsed time. Why? When students use addition and subtraction to figure out an elapsed time problem, it doesn't always work. All you have to do it cross that 60 minute mark and things get dicy. I found a terrific number line lesson and resources from NCTM at: Elapsed Time Timeline  It includes the timelines, activity sheets and more. The site also walks teachers step by step on how to teach the use of a number line for elapsed time problems.


As always, practice makes perfect! Try these great sites at centers, small groups or anytime your class needs a fun review of this important skill!

LOTS of time games are on this site! Any time-telling skill your students may need can be found here! This game is called bedtime bandits.Students try to stay up as late as possible by blasting killer clocks that drop from the ceiling. After each stage it gets harder. Finally, students must use elapsed time skills!


This elapsed time game plays like the old pac-man game. Student use the up, down and sideways arrows to "eat" the answer to the question at the bottom of the board. It's all about elapsed time!


Oh My Goodness! This is a fun one! Students read the mystery and figure out who committed the  crime by using elapsed time skills! It's from Scholastic!

This is a good site to use when teaching elapsed time strategies. It's for the white board. Teachers can move the clock, then show students how to figure out the answer.



This is a terrific activity for advanced third graders, or fourth grade students. They are given a problem to solve with information they must sift through. It's a real-life feeling type of activity!


This is a fun video to show as you begin your unit on elapsed time. This one is especially good for third graders! It's from PBS