Category Archives: Uncategorized

Spacecraft 3-D

This is a super cool free iPad app that allows you to explore different spacecraft, rockets, probes, and satellites in 3-D. My kids love to play with it and they don’t even know they are learning ūüėČ Click here to get it!

I used this app for my formal observation lesson with my principal, so here is that lesson plan including all the standards and everything.  spacecraft 3d lesson plan РGoogle Docs

I also made a Mannequin Challenge video with my class using the app. Here is that video so you can see it in action! (sort of ūüėČ


Art Station Titan

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science used to have a class in their space exhibit called Art Station Titan. At a science conference I attended, they taught teachers how to teach it to their kids! It’s one of my favorite astronomy lessons. In it, you learn about Titan and Saturn, the water cycle (methane cycle,) being a scientific illustrator, making mistakes okay, and growth mindset! I always make a big fuss at the beginning about how you don’t get an eraser so even if you make a “mistake” you have to just go with it. (Almost every year I have a kid get frustrated and tear up or scribble on their paper.) AND nobody has been to Titan, so everybody’s art should look a little bit different, and that’s okay!

Here is the classroom setup:

  • Project the power point for everyone to follow along.
  • Print the script so you know what to say
  • Every student needs a piece of orange paper, a black colored pencil, and a white colored pencil.
  • Put up a big piece of orange butcher paper and get a black and silver sharpie so you can draw along with the kids

Art Station Titan ONEPROJECTOR-Mac

Art Station Titan SCRIPT

Creepy Crawly Crossword

I’ve been working with to post some fun school activities on my blog.

Second grade at our Core Knowledge school studies insects. This activity is great for spelling practice and science practice! Gotta love cross-curricular!

This cute bug themed crossword is a fun way to get some spelling practice. Looking for more exciting educational games that are sure to have your child asking to play again? Check out all the spelling games from!

Creepy Crawly.jpegHere are the links to download the worksheet and the answer key.

spelling games_crossword_crawlies

spelling games_crossword_crawlies_answers

Fold it Up!

Hey Everyone! Happy beginning of the school year!

If you’re in need of a beginning of the year activity to do with your kids, here is a great origami lesson from! You can access this activity on their website here.
Happy folding!

Origami Pinwheel

It’s a rare kid who doesn’t love a good origami project. Here’s one that takes the art a step further to blend in both writing and social studies learning. On the next patriotic holiday that comes up on the calendar, invite your child to celebrate by doing some amazing arts and crafts and help her make a festive origami whirligig.

What You Need:
Large (12‚ÄĚ) square of origami paper in red or blue
Push pin
Plastic straw or wooden dowel

What You Do:

  1. Place the paper on a flat surface so that the plain white side is facing up, toward you. Fold the paper in half each direction: vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.   Each time you make a fold, open the paper again.
  2. Fold each of the four corners into the center (one at a time) so that the flat sides of the corner touch the middle fold, and then open again. Repeat with each corner of the square. This step will create folds that form a diamond on the square of origami paper
  3. Now flip the paper over so that the colored side is up, facing you. Fold each corner into the center, and write a ‚Äúpatriotic wish‚ÄĚ on each of the four triangle flaps you have made. Have your child think about a person or issue¬†she wishes to address. What are four good wishes she‚Äôd like to make on this special day?
  4. Open all the folds again, and turn the paper over again so that the plain, white side is facing you. Fold the top and bottom and sides so that their edges touch the center line.
  5. This next step is a little tricky so make sure you take your time! Take the top corners and pull them out and down. Fold them along the inside diagonal creases, as shown below to make square flaps Then repeat for the other side.
  6. Pull out the top right and left corners, fold each one over to the side and press flat.
  7. Your origami windmill is now completely folded.  Place your pushpin into the center, and into your dowel or straw, making sure that the pinwheel is secured, but loose enough to still spin.  The wheel should easily spin in the breeze. Take it outside and see for yourself!

Origami Directions.jpgWhen you’re done, you’ll have a homemade, patriotic whirligig that you and your child can use to celebrate the holiday!¬† You can make as many of these as you would like, in red and blue, so that everyone at your patriotic party has one of their own!


Tattling vs. Telling

We have had a lot of issues of tattling in my third-grade class lately. It is very difficult to find a balance between we are a class community, like a family, and we need to help each other and work together, and everyone worry about themselves and then everyone will be taken care of. 

So today we talked about tattling vs telling. 83f659b7fe4c0f66a71474bda7a4e881.jpg

I think the biggest mindset shift for my students is going from “trying to get someone in trouble” to “keeping someone safe and helping them.”

They also can handle a lot more problems than they give themselves credit for. When a kiddo comes to me to tell me someone stole their pencil or whatever, my first question is, “well what did you say to them?” Most of the time their response is “Nothing, I came and told you!” I want to get them out of that habit, because¬†9 times out of 10 it was just a miscommunication or accident that can easily be fixed without my help.

Kids also have a very strong sense of justice and they want everything to be “fair.” I discuss that further in an old blog post you can read here.¬†So we really need to switch our thinking and ponder how we can help each other and NOT just try to get each¬†other in trouble.fair isn't equal.jpg


Bone bone bone bone bone bone muscle muscle muscle muscle muscle muscle muscle tibia tibia knee knee Ribcage Ribcage Ribcage Ribcage Ribcage Ribcage movement movement skeleton skeleton skeleton skeleton skeleton skeleton skeleton calcium tissue broken-bone broken-bone patella femur bicep bicep bicep triceps joint joint joint joint ulna ulna radius tendon humerus compact-bone spongey-bone marrow medullary-cavity periosteum carpals wrist skull skull skull humerus collarbone heel fingers shoulder exercise exercise strong strong strong abs spine heads legs legs legs teeth foot hands arms arms heart elbow 

That looks like a very odd assorted blurb of words. I had my kids at the beginning of our human body unit write down any word they could think of that has to do with bones and muscled. (Some of them used their resources. I already had a few posters up on my walls.) And then I put their reponses into a word cloud using Taxgedgo. We’ll do this again at the end of the unit. This is a great visual to show how much we learned!


There is a slight flaw in this system. It got the text from my blog post, and it included a few extra words like the title of my blog and all the months down the right side of my archives.


Parent teacher conference¬†day is really beneficial, but it’s a day I usually dread because it is such a long and draining day. Fall conference day this year, my seventh year teaching, was my best day of conferences I’ve had (and that’s impressive since I had a horrible cold.) I’ve tried really hard to communicate continuously with parents, especially if there are problems with their kids, so there are no surprises. Most of the parents were really pleased with how the school year was going and the progress their kids are making.

I love getting to hear from parents what the kids go home and tell them about school. Parents and teachers see very different sides of kids. And I kept hearing over and over that the kids are loving learning about astronomy. Astronomy is my favorite unit to teach and I get really excited about it, which gets my kids really excited about it!

I also heard from so many parents that their kids have¬†really started to love reading this year. This is the ultimate reward for me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE to read and I share that love of reading with my students. I really think that if I teach my kids nothing else, the year will have been a success if they leave third grade loving to read. So much of school anymore sucks the fun out of reading and that’s so awful!

Astronomy and reading are the two things that I love to teach more than anything else. It makes me wonder what kind of an impact I could have on my students if I got more excited about everything else that I teach.