Simple Summer Science: Explore the Scientific Method with Lollipops!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 / Leave a Comment
Have fun this summer and explore the scientific method with a lollipop science experiment!

It's officially summer here (and I hope it is where you are too)! I'm trying to keep my own kids busy this summer, like many of you, so I decided some simple summer science experiments could be a super fun way to pass the time and sneak in learning {sorry kids- your mom's a teacher!}.  My own children are younger, so I used this experiment as a great way to introduce a basic scientific method and show them how you can conduct an experiment.

This would also be a really fun way to show review or introduce your students to the scientific method!  I know I usually started my year discussing this is science, since it's so important and some years, third grade was my kiddo's first time having to do an independent science project. I used Scholastic Study Jams a lot in science and math.  So, I often used this jam with my students before we did our experiment.

On to the experiment! All you need are clear cups, lollipops (I used Dum Dums), hot water, room temperature water and ice water. Our question was "What kind of water will the lollipop dissolve in the fastest?" We made our hypothesis based on things we already know. My son said he thought regular room temperature water, then he changed his mind and said hot water since M&M's melt in your hand because it's hot (he's thinking!).  Next, we conducted the experiment. We put half a cup of each water temperature in a cup and then put one blue lollipop in the cups. We started a timer and observed.

Have fun this summer and explore the scientific method with a lollipop science experiment!


We learned that the hot water dissolved the lollipop the fastest (in 10 minutes and 40 seconds)!
Of course, doing an experiment like this with my class, we would record each step of the scientific method as we went along. I have this fun Scientific Method Flip Book FREEBIE for you to use with your students (or your own kids). This can be used with any experiment of your choice!
Happy Summer!

Use this Scientific Method Flip Book FREEBIE to guide your students with ANY experiment!


Have fun this summer and explore the scientific method with a lollipop science experiment!


10 Money Saving Hacks for Teachers!

Saturday, June 10, 2017 / Leave a Comment

Hello fellow teachers! It's Anna from Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey! During the summer I like to plan ahead and get some things ready for next year! I thought I'd share with you some money saving ideas-- since we tend to spend our own money on our classrooms! So here we go!

1. Invest in an HP instant ink printer!
Now-- I know what you're thinking-- I already have a printer. But, if it's not HP instant ink compatible-- you are wasting your money! Basically, with this program you pay a monthly fee to print a certain amount of COLORED pages! The plans include:
     *50 pages for $2.99
     *100 pages for $4.99
     *300 pages for $9.99
They even let your unused pages rollover to the next month! You can change your plan anytime. The best part? They read your ink info and mail you new cartridges-- and you NEVER run out of ink! 
Finding an HP instant ink printer is easy-- just search Amazon for one. Or go to a store and purchase one there (make sure it says HP instant ink on it!) After you purchase your printer go HERE to sign up. You can also search online for promo codes for free months of ink. Here is one for 1 month of ink. Sometimes the printers even come with a code! Choose your plan, set up your payment, and print away! Definitely saved me hundreds in ink alone! 

2. If you purchase on TPT-- leave feedback for credit! 
It sounds silly-- but you'd be surprised how many people DON'T leave feedback on items they purchase. Essentially for every item you purchase and leave feedback on-- you get FREE credits that you can apply toward future purchases. Simple log in-- click on your TPT name, find "my purchases", change the sort by button to "needs feedback", and you are ready to go!
Still not sure how to do this? Here is another easy tutorial (with pics) to help you out!

3. Join local yard sale sites on Facebook
Last year I wanted to start flexible seating-- but I didn't have a lot of money or places for the kids to sit. I joined several yard sale sites on Facebook and scanned for furniture or cheaper items. Sometimes people will lower their prices or donate if they find out you are a teacher! I got this dining room table for only $20! I was stoked!

4. Buy things in bulk!
I know sometimes this isn't always an option-- but for some items it is! I love Amazon because it will show price changes in items-- so I usually put my favorites on a wishlist and keep an eye out! My favorite things to buy from there? These giant boxes of glue sticks and packs of Astrobright paper!
You can't beat those prices!

5. Copy on bright paper instead of using colored ink!
Using HP instant ink is great for printing out classroom decor and such-- but when you make copies for your students its a lot easier and cheaper to copy things onto Astrobright paper! I usually copy things like interactive notebook pages or classroom reward coupons onto bright paper! It makes it look amazing!

6. Shop at the dollar store!
We can't always afford the items at Lakeshore-- though we wish we could! Lately places like Target (dollar spot) and Dollar Tree have some amazing storage items in fabulous colors! Last year Target had a great deal on book boxes!

Dollar Tree also has great stuff-- one of my favorite purchases have been these water bottles (which I gave as student gifts last year) and these face scrubbers (which I use for dry erase boards):

7. Reuse or re-purpose items!
I know teachers tend to be pack rats (I am also guilty of this!). But some items can genuinely be reused! I love following other teachers on Instagram and Facebook and seeing great ideas! For example, Amber from TGIF had these great tips to use picture frames and plastic bags over again!

8. Know and use your teacher discounts!
Did you know many stores give teacher discounts? I wasn't aware of how many until I read through this giant list! Now I use my discount every time I shop in Michaels and Barnes & Noble! Be sure to read the list-- it's giant!

9. Use fabric or tablecloths on bulletin boards!
I love this hack because if you aren't changing rooms or themes, you can leave the fabric background up all year and it will not fade! That will save you a lot of time and money in the long run! Here are 2 examples from my room-- one was striped fabric and the other was burlap! I may go all burlap this year since it goes with everything!
I've also seen teachers purchase cheap tablecloths (hello Dollar Tree!) and use those as backgrounds!

10. Utilize Donor's Choose (or ask for donations)!
Summertime is the perfect time to think about Donor's Choose! You can set up a fund for whatever you need in the classroom! I've done 2 different projects-- one for flexible seating and one for books. Both projects were funded. I know other teachers use it for supplies, professional development opportunities, goods off Teachers pay Teachers, etc.

It's free. Use it. People want to donate and help!

Also, don't be afraid to ask for donations. Need pizza boxes for a project? Ask a local pizza chain-- they may be willing to donate! Need coffee cups? Ask a Starbucks-- I've heard of them donating! If you don't ask, you'll never know!

What is your favorite way to save money? Leave a comment if you get a chance!
I know it's hard-- especially because we only want the best for our students-- but don't forget to save a little for yourself! I hope this list helped you out!

Brilliant Ways Teachers Make the Most of their Summer Break

Friday, June 2, 2017 / Leave a Comment

Ah, summer time!  It is probably every teacher's favorite time of the year, including mine!  As much as we love teaching, who doesn't love a break with sunshine and flip flops?  As teachers though, we have learned we have to make the best of every moment.  How can we make the most of our summer break as teachers?  Check out these amazing ideas so you can start the school year refreshed and prepared.

Exercise and enjoy the outdoors

 Nothing could be better for students than a teacher who feels refreshed.   Get some vitamin D therapy, go for a hike on the trail, visit a local park.   Teaching is exhausting.  Take care of yourself so you can take care of your students when school starts again in the fall.   Getting active now and establishing a routine will help you stay in a routine when school starts.

Start gathering teacher and student supplies

 We go through a lot of school supplies throughout the year. Hopefully your school supplies most of those, but for those of us who need those extra items, summer is a great time to pick up some items on clearance or on sale. Look for sales on those basic items like glue sticks, composition notebooks, pencils, and paper clips.   One of my favorite places to shop for these items is Staples. Around July they start offering some amazing deals like 10 cent composition notebooks up to a quantity of 10.  However if you are a teacher they will also often let you buy more of that quantity. Just ask!   Last year I was able to score an amazing deal on glue sticks in the clearance section at Target. I try to stock up on those every year, but I usually run out. Check out this video for a great way to make glue sponges that will save you money in the long run.  I make mine over the summer.


 

Prepare the fun classroom items

 During the summer we need to relax and enjoy some things, but it is nice to be prepared when school starts and not feel as stressed out. (Let's face it; the first few weeks are hairy, but preparing a few items ahead of time can make all the difference!)  Prepare some fun items like birthday gifts and bulletin board items so you  can get your creative teacher juices flowing and start working to a fresh new start.   Check out this blog post by my friend Anna at Hanging with Mrs. Hulsey, where she shares how she prepares a birthday tub for her student gifts.







Relax and enjoy your time off

 Although it's great to prepare for the next school year, don't forget to enjoy your summer break. That's why it's called a break. Lay in the sun in that lounge chair with a cold drink. Go out to eat at lunch with friends. Take your kids to the pool and splash around with them. Sleep in!  It's sometimes hard for us teachers to relax. But enjoy a little bit of downtime so you'll be rested and ready to go for back to school.



Connect with other teachers on Facebook

No one understand you like other teachers! I love my friends, but for those friends who are not teachers, they just don't get us like another teacher. Find Facebook groups that match your grade level. I am a part of the All About 3rd Grade Facebook group, and I have learned so much this past year from other amazing third-grade teachers across the United States and around the world!   It's amazing to get to ask other third-grade teachers questions and get so many great ideas.   Follow your favorite teacher authors on Facebook too. They often share free resources and great new ideas to help you get excited about your upcoming year   I love sharing new fresh ideas on the Amber from TGIF Third Grade is Fun Facebook page. I'd love for you to join me there.

Read!

 Yes, professional development books are great. But, if you aren't ready to think about school right now, find some great, fun reads and get lost in an adventure or mystery! Ask your family or friends for suggestions. Tell them what some of your favorite books are and ask for some good suggestions with a similar genre .

 Start preparing items you use year-round

 Do you send home behavior or homework charts? Start copying those now and have a good supply ready for those first few months. Do you have benchmark assessments that you know you'll be using? Copy those now, paperclip them, and put a Post-it note on top to show how many copies do you have and what month the assessment should be given.  Put them in order from the first benchmark assessment to the last and all you have to do is grab and go throughout the year. Do you participate in the Pizza Hut book it program? Go ahead and copy off the sheets that you will send home for their monthly goals.  As I have learned to do these types of things over the years, it's made my school year so much easier.

 Spruce up your home

 I don't know about you all, but my home get so neglected during the school year.  I really don't enjoy housework, but I do enjoy starting the school year with a clean and organized home. Clean one room per week. If you spend one week on each room really decluttering and deep cleaning, you'll be able to bite off little chunks  at a time. Do any of the rooms need repainted? Now's the time to do it. You'll be so thankful when school starts.


 Prepare some items for the first week of school

 Do you have an already prepared first day of school letter that you will send home to parents? If not, go ahead and type one now! Go ahead and make the copies and that way you don't have to do it when you start school.

Do you need some activities to keep the kids busy while you do the necessary sorting through the paperwork that the office wants right away?    Try these back to school activities with your students. They are a lifesaver and they look great displayed in the hallway. They also help you get to know your students better.

Try out this 3rd Grade Back to School Freebie!



Prepare a few meals for those first few weeks

Cooking - ugh!  I hope you all enjoy it, but it is not my thing.  I do enjoy it more over the summer though.  As I do prepare some meals, I try to think ahead and prepare some extras that I can freeze.  I am a huge crock pot user, so one of the things I do is buy a larger pork loin.  When I prepare it, I get out two crock liners.  (If you don't know what those are, run to the store and find them in the aisle with the sandwich bags!!!  They will save you from having to scrub that crock pot!)  Anyway, I cut my pork loin in half and lay each half in each bag.  I season them and then one goes in the crock pot with some veggies and the other one gets tied up with a baggie tie and frozen in the freezer for the first few weeks of school.  When I am ready to use it, I seriously just untie it, put the bag in the crock pot, and add some veggies to it.  It makes my first few weeks so much better.

Another of my favorite BTS items is lasagna.  I make three lasagnas at a time near the end of summer in an aluminum pan.  I bake one at the time and freeze the other two unbaked lasagnas with aluminum foil on top.  When I am ready, I try to put it in the refrigerator on a Sunday.  Then it is mostly unthawed by Wednesday when I am already worn out.  I can come home, stick it in the oven and veg out for an hour while it bakes.

Reflect

 If you taught last year, now is the perfect time to reflect on your teaching practices from last year. Find a small journal and write down notes. What did you like? What do you want to change? Start jotting those ideas down now. You may not be able to implement every idea, but it will give you an idea of which ones are the most important to you next year.

Enjoy your summer teachers!  We get two months to focus solely on ourselves and our families.  Make the best of it.




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