How to Build an Amazing Science Program at your School- Part 3 #lessongoals

Science Lesson Plans.PNG

The last post in this series covered #planninggoals. I talked about how to plan a scope and sequence for your school year. A mandatory prerequisite to lesson planning 🙂

What makes an outstanding Science program that supports the teachers in your school?

Calling all teachers, specialists, and principals! Its not a daunting task. I am here to help!

Do you wish your current science program included engaging hands-on activities that helped your students experience each standard in a meaningful way?

Do you wish your current science program provided rich informational texts and literacy skill building for each standard?

Do you wish your current science program offered a multifaceted approach to learning each standard to reach every type of learner on every level?

Do you wish your current science program covered the latest standards and trends in science education?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then this post is for you!

Let’s take a look at lesson planning for your science program.

Lesson Planning

Now that you have a year long plan, you can quickly and easily organize standards and materials!

You need to find a lesson planning format that will help you cover each standard in the best way. You need a variety of “teacher input” parts of your lessons. You also need a good attention grabbing intro activity to ignite curiosity and to activate prior knowledge. Literacy and hands on learning opportunities are big players in student achievement and understanding. Once you have a great selection of “inputs”, you need to find meaningful student “output” activities such as analyzing data, interactive science notebook activities, and projects. End each lesson with a formative assessment, and end each unit with a summative assessment.

I know a lot of people love the 5E lesson planning format. I used it for years before creating a format that I feel works better for me. I use a lesson planning format that I have called Science in Perfect Portions. I feel it covers each concept in depth, while presenting material in an order that is easy for students to follow. Before coming up with this Perfect Portions planning format, I spent hours finding activities and plugging them into my lesson plans. Using this for each week has been a huge time saver!

Take a look at the explanation of my lesson plan format to see how I use it to develop lessons. Click the image below to get the whole lesson planning Science in Perfect Portions kit PLUS a printable template to start planning today. **FREEBIE**

Science in Perfect Portions Lesson Planning Format

Science in Perfect Portions Lesson Planning Format

With a simplified lesson plan format, you can simply go down the line and find activities to plug into each category.

I pull up my lesson planning format template to help me decide what all I need to find for each lesson and standard.

Where do I get ideas and materials? I have two places that I frequent. I absolutely love Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers!!! Huge time savers and a great way to connect with other educators and share ideas.

My pinterest boards are filled with ideas… I am an  idea hoarder, and I’m okay with that.

Since I have made it my career to create science programs and resources for schools and teachers, I am working to build a complete program for every grade level K-8! Big goals, I know, but I have 5th completed, 4th completed, and my Middle School program has many options so far. I plan to complete my K-3 programs this Summer and upcoming school year (2017-2018).

Follow me on this blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to see the progress I am making and the ideas I share for science education!

Keep an eye out for the next post and I will cover selecting high quality resources.

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How to Build an Amazing Science Program at your School- Part 2 #planninggoals

Science Planning.PNG

Last week we started off this series with #learninggoals. I listed some must have’s for learning goals.

What makes an outstanding Science program that supports the teachers in your school?

Calling all teachers, specialists, and principals! Its not a daunting task. I am here to help!

Do you wish your current science program included engaging hands-on activities that helped your students experience each standard in a meaningful way?

Do you wish your current science program provided rich informational texts and literacy skill building for each standard?

Do you wish your current science program offered a multifaceted approach to learning each standard to reach every type of learner on every level?

Do you wish your current science program covered the latest standards and trends in science education?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then this post is for you!

Let’s take a look at planning your school year out for your science program.

Scope and Sequence Planning

The first step I take in planning is to look over the standards I need to cover for the year, and figure out how to organize them into the weeks of my school year.

Your scope and sequence will give you a starting point to plan for the year and plug in the lessons you have or find for each week. This will simplify your thought process and help you move through the year smoothly.

Try to find a way to group the standards into units by finding which standards are similar or can build off each other. Your scope and sequence may be planned for you by your district, but this template may help you add more focus to their scope and sequence.

Take a look at the first page of my scope and sequence in 4th grade science to see how I separate standards into lessons. My lessons all follow both NGSS and TEKS (Texas) to make sure all topics are well covered. Click the image below to get the whole scope and sequence PLUS two printable scope and sequence templates. **FREEBIE**

Scope and Sequence Page

Year at a Glance Plan 4th grade science

 

Keep an eye out for the next post and I will cover lesson planning for each week of the year.

Observing Plant Cells

Onion Cell

Kids have curious minds and love to observe the world around them. When students walk into their science classroom and see microscopes out, they get really excited. They get to play with real science equipment and observe the tiniest parts of the world around them.

Learning about cells is the perfect opportunity to let your students use microscopes. Depending on the age and ability of your students, you may want to modify how your students use the microscopes. In fifth grade, I like to give each table a microscope set up with a prepared slide. I give step by step instructions for how to adjust make adjustments and focus. In addition to the verbal instructions, I have a digital microscope set up to show my students on the projector screen what they should be able to see in their microscope.  This also gives me their interest and attention when I explain the parts of the plant cell we are observing.

Check out the slide show below to see what the onion cells look like under the microscope.

 

 

Using the microscope to see what a plant or animal cell looks like is a great hands on experience for your kids. Its a good idea to provide your students with a variety of ways to learn about cells. The Cell Structure and Function Science and Literacy Lesson Set has a variety of learning activities for your students including an informational text with graphic organizer and summary writing. It also has an observation sheet for the onion cell lab and instructions for lab prep.

Have fun and explore the world around you!

Back to School: 3 Steps to Streamlining Your Lesson Planning

3 steps to lesson planning

July is almost over already?!?! Summer goes by faster and faster each year I think. July is the month I always scheduled my CPE and professional development workshops to prepare for the upcoming school year. I also get organized and set up for my school year in July. I am a bit of a planning nerd, so a good deal of my lessons and classroom were usually set up by the time I left the previous school year. But, I always used July to really get it together.

Okay, so where do I begin planning an entire year?

Evaluate, Simplify, Plan

step 1 evaluate

First, I evaluate what I need to cover. Your state and district standards are always a great place to start. Some schools provide a scope and sequence to let you know when to cover each standard. If you don’t have a scope and sequence, break up your standards across your year. I use a calendar like the picture below to organize the standards in a logical order and take into account school holidays.

planning calendar

2 simplify

Second, I simplify by planing out my system for teaching. I like to begin with a learning goal based on the standard(s) I have planned for the week(s). Having a specific method for teaching in your classroom will help you organize and streamline the planning process of each lesson. Here is the planning method I use:”IDEA” Introduce, Details, Experience, Assess.

lesson brainstorming img

Click here to download my lesson brainstorming pages! My gift to you to help get your school year off to a low-stress start 🙂

If you would like to see a whole year of my lesson planning, check out my Science Lesson Plans freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers. This might help give you an idea how I use resources to cover each part of my teaching process. Mondays usually cover the Introduce lesson, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the Details, Thursdays are the Experience and the formative part of the Assessment. Fridays are a day I use to spread out a longer lesson, or to complete comprehensive Science Stations to review the concepts from the year. This gives you time to work with small groups for extra learning or provide a reteach if the formative assessment doesn’t show the mastery you wanted. A week from my Science Lesson Plans freebie is shown below. I make sure to provide links to any resources I use for each lesson.
Free Science Lessons: Complete and Incomplete Metamorphosis

3 plan

Third, I plan. I look at each standard/ lesson and decide which teaching materials and resources will be the best to cover it. I have a collection of resources that I add to and update each year as I go along to meet new standards or new methods of teaching. I suggest storing your collection of resources in binders. Depending on the amount of resources you have, you can put everything for one unit, or one standard, into its own binder. I started my teaching career using filing cabinets. I swear I had a troll living in my filing cabinet because papers were always all over the place and I had a hard time finding anything. I soon figured out binders were much better for me 🙂 When building your collection, Pinterest is a great place to start! So many great ideas. I can get lost in my Pinterest “Planning” time for hours. It just sucks me right in! I have many education and science boards already set up if you need a place to start looking.

I also have a blog post for each week of the school year for my upper elementary/ 5th grade lessons.

Once you have a good collection of materials and resources, go ahead and start plugging them into your lesson plans!

Here are the big collection bundled resources I have been recommending to the teachers who have already been emailing me for planning suggestions this summer.

Everything 5th Grade Science

2nd grade interactive science notebook bundle

Week 24 Science Lessons: Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis

Grade 5 Science

Week Twenty-four Lessons

This week we will continue the Environments Unit. We are going to take a look at how the carbon dioxide- oxygen cycle and photosynthesis work, and why they are important. Links to actual materials and lessons are provided throughout this post. I hope you can find something to help make planning this year a little, or a lot, easier!

free science lesson - carbon dioxide- oxygen cycle and photosynthesis

TEKS/ Standards:

(D) identify the significance of the carbon dioxide-oxygen cycle to the survival of plants and animals. Supporting Standard

“I can” Statements:

I can identify the importance of the carbon dioxide – oxygen cycle to the survival of plants and animals.

Essential Questions:

Monday – What does a plant use for photosynthesis?

Tuesday – Why is the carbon dioxide- oxygen cycle important for life?

Wednesday – Why is photosynthesis important for life?

Thursday – How do the carbon dioxide – oxygen cycle and photosynthesis work together?

Friday – Could we live if the carbon dioxide – oxygen cycle stopped? Explain your thoughts.

Word Wall Words:

Photosynthesis

Lesson Ideas and Materials:

Materials:

Science Wall Complete each day with your choice of word wall words.

Organisms and Environments Interactive Science Notebook

Science and Literacy Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis

Organisms and Environments Anchor Charts

Life Science Vocabulary

STAAR Science Review Stations

Lesson Ideas:

(Monday) Students will complete the Photosynthesis/ Boiling Water Analogy Activity. Complete the first 2 columns of a Word Wall Builder Chart. –All this is in the Science and Literacy Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis

(Tuesday) Students will read an informational text about the Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis and complete a graphic organizer to process the information. Complete the third column of the Word Wall Builder Chart. –All this is in the Science and Literacy Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis

photoco23

(Wednesday) Students will complete a summary writing with key terms from Tuesday’s reading. –Science and Literacy Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis. Students will complete the photosynthesis diagram and writing activity in their notebooks- Organisms and Environments Interactive Science Notebook

(Thursday) Students will play the Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Balloon Toss Game.-Science and Literacy Carbon Dioxide – Oxygen Cycle and Photosynthesis. Complete the Carbon Dioxide- Oxygen Cycle Anchor Chart as a class. –  Organisms and Environments Anchor Charts The students can fill in their printable poster, and you can make one on chart paper to hang up around the room.

balloon toss materialslearning game balloon toss
carbon dioxide - oxygen cycle and photosynthesis

(Friday) Continue the STAAR Science Review Stations this week. Complete one or two rotations of stations this Friday. Only 9 weeks before the STAAR Science!

staarstationscover2014

STAAR review stations

Additional resources:

The following links to the pretty PDF of this lesson plan.

5th Science Lesson Plans

Need materials for younger grades?

The materials in this lesson are intended for 5th graders in Texas, but are taught in a way that they could be easily modified for younger and older grades.

Here is what I have for Earth and Space so far.

Kindergarten Interactive Science Notebook with Word Wall Cards

2nd Grade Organisms and Environments Interactive Notebook

Week Twenty-Three Science Lessons: Biomes and Predicting Changes in Ecosytems

Grade 5 Science

Week Twenty-three Lessons

This week we will continue the Environments Unit. We are going to take a part two look at how organisms interact in their environments. This lesson will cover biomes and the changes living things make in environments. Links to actual materials and lessons are provided throughout this post. I hope you can find something to help make planning this year a little, or a lot, easier!

wk23

TEKS/ Standards:

(C) predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living organisms, including humans, such as the overpopulation of grazers or the building of highways; and Supporting Standard

“I can” Statements:

I can predict the effects of changes in ecosystems caused by living things.

Essential Questions:

Monday – What are the things you need in your environment to live?

Tuesday – How does the location of a biome affect what can live there?

Wednesday – What affects does rainfall have on a biome?

Thursday – How can living organisms change an environment?

Friday – Why is it important to be able to predict the effects of changes in an ecosystem?

Word Wall Words:

Organism

Population

Ecosystem

Food Web

Niche

Consumer

Producer

Carnivore

Herbivore

Omnivore

Decomposer

Lesson Ideas and Materials:

Materials:

Science Wall Complete each day with your choice of word wall words.

Biomes Stations and Task Cards

Organisms and Environments Interactive Science Notebook

Organisms and Environments Anchor Charts

Life Science Vocabulary

STAAR Science Review Stations

Lesson Ideas:

(Monday) Students will work the Biomes Stations. Complete the first 2 columns of a Word Wall Builder Chart (Use words you didn’t get to last week). –All this is in the Biomes Stations and Task CardsBiomes Stations and Task Cards cover

(Tuesday) Students will continue the Biomes Stations. Complete the third column of the Word Wall Builder Chart. –All this is in the Biomes Stations and Task Cards

(Wednesday) Students will complete the Biomes Task Cards – Biomes Stations and Task Cards. Students will complete the Word Map and Food web activity in their notebooks- Organisms and Environments Interactive Science Notebook

(Thursday) Students will complete the Biomes Task Cards – Biomes Stations and Task Cards. Complete the Changes in Ecosystems Anchor Chart as a class. –  Organisms and Environments Anchor Charts The students can fill in their printable poster, and you can make one on chart paper to hang up around the room.

Biomes Stations and Task Cards sample

(Friday) Continue the STAAR Science Review Stations this week. Complete one or two rotations of stations this Friday. Only 8 weeks before the STAAR Science!

staarstationscover2014

Additional resources:

The following links to the pretty PDF of this lesson plan.

5th Science Lesson Plans

Need materials for younger grades?

The materials in this lesson are intended for 5th graders in Texas, but are taught in a way that they could be easily modified for younger and older grades.

Here is what I have for Earth and Space so far.

Kindergarten Interactive Science Notebook with Word Wall Cards

Planning New Years Resolutions That Stick

New Years Resolutions that Stick

The time is here again for the “new year, new me” plans! Being an over ambitious planner, I love making lists and calendars to organize my hopes and goals for a new year. I get pretty nerdy when it comes to these things. This year I’m thinking about health and organization and personal bests! It’s easy to start the first week of the year off well and following your plans for your big resolutions. It’s also easy to slide back after the first of the year, and lose sight of your goals. I have some tips for your resolution planning and how to keep it up.

2015 goals

A few other goals I have in mind:

*organize one area of a room each day/week

*sign up for a few 5k’s this year

*turn corrections from “no” or “don’t” to a more positive statement

Grab this free collection of planning pages!

How to make your New Years Resolutions Stick:

1. Think personal, reasonable, and achievable.

Plan your goals for your personal best. Don’t focus on others as your bar for success. We are all in different places in our lives, in different situations, and with different motivations. By all means dream big! Just set your goals with a focus that builds yourself towards your dreams.

List your goals

2. Make benchmarks, or mini goals to hit on your way to a big goal.

Some goals are long winded, making it easy to get lost along the way. Set mini goals to see progress and achievement along the way.

3. Post your list where you will see it each morning.

I like to post my goals on the inside of my closet door. I don’t like my goals posted on the refrigerator because they are personal, and for me to see.  Everyday when I get ready, I go to my closet and use the full length mirror on the door. That is a private place where I can place reminders, and I know I will see them. You could even write on your mirror with dry erase marker!

4. Mark your calendar.

Reminders, goal achievement days, and mini goals need to go in the calendar that you check regularly. I like to use printed calendars, but your phone’s calendar might be a better option.

Mark your calendar

Grab this free collection of planning pages!