Fizzing Ice Experiment


Science experiments of any kind are always a hit in our classroom.

We often will experiment with mixing primary colors using water, food coloring and droppers. We tried a new experiment today using new materials. I would suggest having an old blanket under the bucket.

Materials needed:

crushed ice
food coloring
vinegar
droppers
bowl
blanket to catch spills

First, I crushed ice at home using my ice maker.


I ended up filling a cereal container with all our crushed ice. 

It was enough for two large experiments.

I also brought a full container of baking soda.


To prepare for the experiment I  filled up three baby jars with vinegar and food coloring with three primary colors and added droppers . 

I then spread a decent amount of baking soda over the ice.

The students added the drops onto the ice.

Student Observations

"The ice is changing colors!"

"Look, it is so pretty!"

"We are making colorful ice. This is fun!"

"The ice is making a noise. It sounds like it is popping."

"It sounds like pop!"


At the end of the experiment, the bottom our our bucket turned into a puddle of vinegar water. 

The children enjoyed mixing the colors together and watching it fizz at the end of the experiment as much as they enjoyed the beginning of the experiment. 

"We made brown!"



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Learning With Learning Buddies


Having learning buddies is a great way to foster friendships between students in different grades in a school and helps encourage a community.

I am always scrounging last minute to find activities. Not that I don't love our sessions with our learning buddies. I'll be brutally honest, I often forget about it in the midst of planning for everything else in the week!

1. Read library books together

2. Read home reading books or levelled books together

3. Go on a letter hunt in the school for hidden letters.

4. Go on a letter hunt in and around the school for letters found naturally in buildings or in nature and take pictures of them.

5. Go on a environmental print hunt in and around the school.

6. Create a puppet play together. Older students can write the script and the younger kids can create the puppets.

7. Create art to display around the school for a school event.

8. Educate the school about the environment by creating posters together.

9. Write letters to each other.

10. Create a presentation for an upcoming school assembly.

11. Spend some time "getting to know" about each others grade. What do you learn? What do you like to do? What do you find challenging?

12. Write some poetry about an approaching holiday.

13. Create a Mother's Day or Father's Day card together.

14. Create your costumes together for an upcoming concert. Older students can help the younger students do tasks much quicker than it would occur independently.

15. Fill in an "All About Us" booklet where they spend time getting to know each other about their family. What they like to do. Special occasions that they love. What they cannot do yet... etc.

16. Older students can scribe letters for younger children for their pen pals! They also can read the letters to younger students, if it is difficult for some students to read.

17. Solve simple math problems together to learn new strategies.

18. Play math games to support fluency in math.

What are your favorite activities that you engage your students with during their learning buddy time?
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Gak: Fine Motor and Sensory Fun


Gak is a great support for fine motor development. At the same time, it can fulfill a sensory need for many children. We often will set them out with scissors or just on its own to see what kids will do with it. Many will stay engrossed for hours at a time! The recipe is super easy to make!

Gak Recipe

White glue
Food coloring
Warm water
Borax

Mix these two ingredients together in a large plastic bag:
2 C white glue
1 1/2 C warm water which already contains food coloring

In a separate bowl mix together:
1 C warm water
3 tsp Borax

Finally, combine the two mixtures into the large plastic bag until it is a thick slimy consistency.

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Teacher Tips for Writing Report Cards

I don't know about you but there are a few things that I need to consider before I am in the right frame of mind to start report cards.

Many teachers do not need to do all of these activities, but I find them to be beneficial for me.

I hope you find something that helps you in your journey through your report card writing!

1. Have a good drink readily at hand. 

What I drink varies depending upon the time of day. Often my drinks are of a coffee early in the morning or an iced tea in the afternoon.

2. Have a  snack to keep me focused.

Although I don't like to admit it, a good snack helps to keep any urges to wander to the fridge due to boredom. Sweet peas and blueberries are my favourite to snack on.

3. Have a comfortable place to kick my feet up.

I don't know about you, but I need to be able to relax and write at the same time. Some need a good desk or table to write but I am not as productive as I am looking out my front window, enjoying the view to stay motivated.

4. Good Music

I think I use this as a deflection so I cannot always hear everything that is going on around me in the house. It helps keep me focused!

5. A general house clean up.

I do this because if I don't I'll stop writing due to the distractions all around me.


6. A clean classroom.

Yes, I did clean my whole desk this week and I did tackle my art closet in my classroom.

Sound crazy? Yes! But a good purging also declutters the mind!

It also is a nice reward to walk into your class in the midst of the stress, and after reports are done, knowing you don't have a mess to greet you.

7. Supportive colleagues who are willing to share ideas.

Don't be an island!

Find colleagues who are willing to collaborate with you and share ideas.

Writing report cards can be very stressful, especially if you are having to change how you write them. This term we have decided to share our comments on our Google Drive at work. It has worked fantastically for generating new ideas and different comments and allowed us to collaborate from home!

8. Find something to distract you.

Every once in a while you'll need to take a break. Find something that you'll find distracting enough to be a little lure for a brain break but not too distracting to totally disengage you from writing your reports!

Yes, I will admit, I wrote this post in the middle of writing report cards this year! Yikes! This was one of my "good" distractions! I hope you've found it helpful!

Good luck! You've got this!


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Snow Provocations: Having Fun in the Snow


Engaging in the snow is often our students favourite activity.

Usually for the first snowfall we do not set out anything to engage our students as they are filled with pure joy of playing in the snow with their friends.

After the initial "buzz" wears off we like to change up the learning environment to provide new opportunities for learning.


Spray Painting The Snow

Our students love to spray snowmen, pictures, words, patterns and designs in the snow!

The following image is a colourful snow fort! We reuse dried out washable markers and even have asked the whole school community for donations for our cause!

What you need: several good quality spray bottles, washable dried out markers, a tote to carry the bottles outside


Directions

The night before we go outside I place two to three dead markers with water into high quality spray bottle that will not leak and can withstand the cold without cracking.

Shake them in the morning and the colour will become more vibrant! Our spray bottles are in a little plastic tote which is easy to carry outside.

We usually have at least 5 bottles to spray but prefer more.

Painting Fun 

We have learned that we always have to give the students a lesson at not aiming at their friends bodies.

Only aim at the snow!

We usually set a timer for how long students can use the spray bottle. Some children easily share but often this needs to be teacher directed! I can usually refill the bottles with more water one to two more times before they no longer leach out any colour into the water. 

It is simple enough to empty the bottle, add new markers and refill with water ready go go for the next day of fun in the snow!

Snow Painting

Painting the snow is a simple provocation. All you need is snow, paint and water to spread the paint!


What you need:

Old paint brushes you don't mind getting wrecked in the snow
A bucket to hold the trays of water paint
A jar filled with water 

Although this is a lot of fun, it can be very messy!

The top image above is the paint tray before the students started painting and the bottom image is at the end of our outside learning.

Be prepared for a little bit of clean up!

Snowmen Ornaments

This past year we used salt dough ornaments with our students. They loved using their creativity to paint them after they had pressed their fingerprints into their ornament to make the body of the snowman.

These ornaments must be dried out before you can paint them so be sure to safely poke the hole through before you dry them out.

Each ornament was beautiful and unique!

Wooden Snowflakes

We left a variety of different popsicle sticks out at the art table with glue and let the kids go wild. They did!

Snowmen Art

The day of our first snowfall we provided the following materials and note the amazing snowman art that resulted!

What you need: 3 different sizes of white paper,  1 blue background sheet,  1 little square orange piece, some glue and  tiny cup with a little bit of white paint with Q-Tips 

I hope you found some great ideas for activities to use with your students this winter!

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