Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wow...That Happened!

I've been on a bit of a hiatus from writing and sharing my learning due to a pretty cool event...

I've moved from 5th grade science to 8th grade science. The opportunity came up, and I'm a firm believer that a good challenge should always be welcomed. We grow and develop as educators when we step outside of our comfort zone. And, I have DEFINITELY jumped outside of my comfort zone!

With the first 9 weeks almost upon us, I thought I would record/share a bit of my learning journey in this new position, working with the new content, and learning with my new partners...8th grade scientists!

Lesson 1- While I worked with these students in 5th grade, they are definitely NOT the same learners. They have grown, experienced much, and (sort of) matured! I learned this lesson the first day as I was attempting to write their locker numbers in their agendas. One student very politely turned to me and said, "We can do a lot of these things, Mrs. LaCrosse."

Lesson 2- The excited, full of life, and ready for a challenge group of students that I met in 5th grade are definitely still there. They are somewhat hidden under a layer of hormones, extreme concern about grades, and skepticism. But, they are there! I noticed this during our engineering challenges, our sidewalk chalk artwork, and our field trip to Stone Lab.

Lesson 3- I have SO much to learn! Content, content, content! With so many fantastic resources, it is a bit overwhelming, but I am loving it. We have explored life science content with a field trip to Stone Lab, an iTunes U course, and a wonderful iBook series, Life on Earth. The Life on Earth book series is amazing with wonderful interactives and solid content! Students enjoyed the learning with these tools, and we had some fantastic reports created.

Lesson 4- I don't have to do it all! My iTunes U course was a bit stuffed with activities. I tried to stuff every idea into the course, and that was a mistake. So, lesson learned...it will be a long year to explore science with all the great tools at my disposal!

Lesson 5- Staying true to some of my iPad faves is a good call! Regardless of 5th grade or 8th grade, some tools are just amazing resources in the classroom. So, here's a quick run down of those apps that have made the jump (because they are just awesome tools)!
  • Socrative App- Great for exit tickets, quick checks, and students asking questions anonymously.
  • Blogger App- Getting those kiddos writing about science and sharing ideas on their own blogs!
  • DrawingPad App- Avoiding the standard stealing of images from Google...draw it please! And some beautiful images have resulted!

  • Toontastic School Edition App- Students still love storytelling in science! I used the app for option in assessment and received some GREAT toons. Here is one of my faves...

And...so much more!

I'm learning a lot, loving teaching, enjoying my students, and thrilled to have access to so many great tools!

More to come as we explore 8th grade science!

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