Election Connection Linky, Freebie, and Tech Resources

It’s hard to believe there are only 9 more days until Election Day!  I’ve been working hard all week (and weekend!) to create an election unit for my 4th graders.  I found some amazing online resources and thought I’d share them with you and how I plan on incorporating them into my unit.

I plan on introducing the election process with this FREE Brainpop video.  Then my kiddos are going to do some research on the Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates’ backgrounds using this site and this site.  They will record the info they find on these handouts, which are part of my unit

If we have enough time, we’ll go to this Time for Kids site to research the major issues of the 2012 election (the economy, taxes, education, health care, and defense).

I LOVE this site, which has an interactive tour of the White House with lots of interesting facts, photos, and videos.  When you go to the Cabinet Room, there’s an amazing behind-the-scenes video about the Cabinet, which I plan on showing on the SMARTBoard when we discuss the Cabinet.

I like this site and this site, which explain what political parties are and give some history/background on our major U.S. political parties.

Ben’s Guide to Government for Kids does such a nice job outlining all the basics about government and the election process.  It’s even divided up by grade level.

This Congress for Kids site has a little bit of everything and is very fun and interactive. 

Once we get deeper into our unit, I would also like to do this national mock election.

Time for Kids and Scholastic have glossaries with election terms.  You can use this with my FREE crossword puzzle.  Click the image below to grab it for free.

If you are interested in seeing my election unit for grades 3-5, head on over to my TpT store where it’s 20% off through tonight!

What resources have you found to teach the election process?

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Friday Flashback, Freebies, and I've Been Boo-ed Times Two

For Friday Flashback, I’m sharing a couple of my favorite activities from this week.  In science we’ve been studying vertebrates/invertebrates and animal behavior.  We observed and did an experiment with live earthworms, which the kids loved!  Here’s a picture of them shining a flashlight on the worm to see if he’ll go in his little tent.:)

In reading, we’ve been focusing on drawing conclusions.  I used one of my favorite wordless picture books, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg, to practice this skill.  I projected images from the book on the SMARTBoard and we drew conclusions about what was happening in each picture.  The kids then chose their favorite image to use as a story starter to write their own mystery/spooky story in Penzu.  They asked me to turn off the lights to set a spooky mood and they really got into it. 

Speaking of spooky, I have been boo-ed twice by two amazing bloggers—Donna from Working 5 to 9 and April from The Idea Backpack.  If you don’t already follow their blogs, you should head over there now!

Here are the rules from the first linky:

Here are the rules from the second linky:
Choose a fellow blogger that has MORE followers, another that has about the SAME number of followers, and last, someone that has LESS followers.
Highlight their blogs with links to encourage others to check them out. Don't forget to let your fellow bloggers know that you shared about them. 
Lastly, leave them some love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat."

My favorite Halloween/fall book is The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg.  It's perfect for teaching questioning and inferring, which I posted about here.  

Here's my version of putting overused words to rest.  

In this FREE file, I included the gravestone, flower template, and a handout for the kids to keep as a mini thesaurus.  (Click the image below to get it.)

Here are some Halloween multi-digit addition and subtraction problems I created, which you can grab for FREE by clicking below.   

I also cannot wait to use April's Halloween writing prompts this week. Click the image below to take you to her store.  

I'm off to tell these lovely ladies that they've been boo-ed.:)
Mrs. K from The Teacher Garden
Kristen from Teacher Playground

Freebie Fridays

Student-Created Newsletters Using Fodey.com

After seeing this recent post by Mrs. K at The Teacher Garden, I knew I wanted to try out this amazing resource with my kiddos.  I had my students work in small groups to put together a classroom newsletter for the month of October’s happenings.  Each group had a different topic to focus on: reading, math, science, social studies, specials/clubs, technology, and a recent visit to our classroom by IL Governor Pat Quinn. 

Once each group was finished typing up their story, we put the text into Fodey.com and it generated a newspaper clipping.  I printed these out and put together a bulletin board for our room.  I also compiled all the articles into one newsletter to send home to parents and put up on our classroom website.

My kids LOVED this activity!  I now plan on having them do the newsletter each month and changing out the bulletin board so anyone who comes into our room can read about what’s been going on.   

Thanks Mrs. K for the awesome idea!  If you don’t follow The Teacher Garden, you should go check her out—I get so many great techie ideas from her.:)

Integrating Technology into Science

In preparation for our unit test on plants, I had my students watch a couple of videos on their laptops and type up a response in Pages.  The processes of pollination and photosynthesis were two of the most important (and complicated!) ideas in the unit and I wanted to make sure my students thoroughly understood them. 

I searched online and found a video on each process and inserted them into a Pages document for my students to download from my classroom website.  I only recently found out how to do this!  You simply download a video (I did it in Quicktime) and drag it from your desktop into the Pages document.  Underneath each video I typed “Describe the process of pollination/photosynthesis in your own words” so that my students could type their responses in the same document.

I liked this method of “studying” because the kids could work at their own pace and pause/replay the videos as needed.  I also believe that anytime we ask our students to explain something in their own words, it really enhances their understanding of the concept.

There has been a lot of talk lately about “flipping the classroom” and I thought this might be a good way to begin.  Since my students are allowed to take home their laptops, this method could potentially work very well for my classroom.  I especially like the fact that an internet connection is not needed to watch a video in Pages (since some of my students don’t have internet at home).  Anyone out there have experience/ideas with flipping your classroom?  I would LOVE to hear from you!:)

Here are some other photos taken in the past couple of weeks during our plant unit:

We learned about germination with a lima bean experiment.  We kept an observation journal and took notes each day. 

Then we completed this Kidspiration scientific method activity based off of our experiment. 

We wrote journal entries about our field trip to a plant conservatory in Penzu.  (You can read my recent post about Penzu here.)

What are some ways you integrate tech into science?