Classroom Solutions > 57 posts categorized "Science"

Connecting Children With Nature: Learning About Trees

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Our playground is surrounded by an abundance of beautiful trees, which always seem to captivate my very curious kindergartners. Who would have guessed that a group of five- and six-year-olds would find trees more intriguing than slides and swings? Read on as I share the lessons I created to capitalize on my students' natural enthusiasm for trees.

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The Challenge Based Classroom: Using Curriculum to Serve the Community

HabitatLast year I came to a crossroads in my teaching. During my annual review, I found myself agonizing over my goals for this upcoming school year. I was completely stuck. I browsed through our district's professional development opportunities with a sense of “been there, done that.” It surprised me that so early in my career I would feel this way. My classroom certainly kept me on my toes, but I was missing that spark that ignited my planning each year. An offer to explore curriculum development made me even more confused. Was I really ready to leave the classroom? I needed a teaching makeover!

As if on cue, two amazing things happened that would transform my teaching: the opportunity to be a teacher advisor here and the discovery of Apple’s Challenge Based Learning. The journey outside of my comfort zone had begun.  

 

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Comments: 6

Literacy in Kindergarten Dramatic Play Centers, Part 4

Kindergarten Weather Station CenterWhen we study weather in science, our dramatic play center becomes a weather station. With self-made instruments, hands-on experiments, and — as always — plenty of literacy, the weather station inspires the children with a sense of wonder and awe for the natural world.

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Comments: 4

Stretch Your Dime and Save Your Time

Miss Bindergarten Saves Money and Time Teachers need all the help they can get, financially and otherwise. Use these tips, shortcuts, and dollar store ideas to save your budget and your sanity.

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Simple and Impressive Planet Art

Vasicek Final PlanetMy art skills were arrested at about the 4th grade level: My students can attest to that! So, when I was able to produce a pretty impressive planet scene in under 15 minutes, I was very proud of myself. When I told my students that I used spray paint to do it, they were impressed as well.

 

 

 

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Comments: 10

Character Education and the Green Classroom

Thinking It really is easy being green. In this post, you'll find some great ideas for teaching character education in the context of the green classroom — just in time to plan for Earth Day.

 

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Comments: 2

Adventures With Books: One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies

One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies
Join my class as we turn the book One Tiny Turtle into a unit of fun and exciting learning experiences. This lyrical and informative look at the elusive and endangered loggerhead turtle is sure to delight young nature lovers.

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Nonfiction: Getting to Know Rachel Carson

Vasicek Carson CoverReading nonfiction is quite different from reading fiction. I find many upper elementary students have a hard time sorting through the facts and information in a nonfiction text. One series of books, Getting to Know the World's Greatest Inventors & Scientists, is becoming a hit with my students. These books are the perfect size for practicing nonfiction reading strategies, and the content is of high interest to the students.

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Comments: 12

St. Patrick's Day — Mischief o' the Leprechaun

St. Patrick's Day in  Kindergarten and PreK Yesterday, there was an incident in my classroom. My students and I walked in and found it torn apart. Furniture was tipped over; supplies were scattered everywhere; the whole place was a mess. And there were funny green footprints all over . . .

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Comments: 2

National Children's Nutrition Month!

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March is National Children's Nutrition Month! This is a great opportunity for you to help your kids learn to make healthy choices about food and exercise. Read on to learn about creating a Healthy Choices Unit in your classroom or school and to peek into my school as we celebrate Healthy Choices Week.

GIVEAWAY WINNER ANNOUNCED AT THE END OF THIS BLOG POST!

 

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Celebrate Reading With Dr. Seuss

DSC00415Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss's birthday are great reasons to celebrate reading. In the primary grades, we are all learning to read and love Dr. Seuss's colorful, wacky rhymes and imaginative illustrations. I have compiled tons of great articles, resources, and ideas to help you celebrate Dr. Seuss and reading. Go grab a book and join my class as we celebrate reading and Dr. Seuss all week long.

 

 

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Comments: 6

I Love to Read! Surefire Ways to Create Lifelong Book Lovers

I Love to Read Month February is “I Love to Read Month,” the perfect time to assess if your students do, in fact, love to read. Are they captivated by good stories? Does reading fill them with excitement and enthusiasm? Do they play with the sounds of language in a literature-rich environment that promotes active learning through highly engaging activities? If the answer to any of these questions is no (and even if it’s yes!), it may be time to arm yourself with a repertoire of techniques guaranteed to get every child in your class saying “I love to read!”

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Comments: 10

Valentine's Day Sweets & Heartbeats Across the Curriculum

The Heart on Valentine's DayValentine's Day is my favorite holiday at school. It's easy for kids to understand.  The decorations are pretty hearts and flowers, and the focus is on friendship, love, and kindness. I like to extend the easygoing and cheerful atmosphere all day and all across the curriculum. Read on to find activities in every subject area that center around my favorite thing: the heart.

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Comments: 2

Heads Up on Substance Abuse

Heads_upThere are two schools of thought on the prevention of alcohol and substance abuse. Some believe that educating our youth will intensify their curiosity and perhaps encourage them to experiment with alcohol or drugs. Others believe that educating young people will deter them from experimenting with alcohol and drugs because they will understand the psychological and physiological effects these substances have on their bodies. Either way, I am sure that if you are a middle school or high school teacher, you are aware of the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. This article provides resources and classroom activities for educating middle and high school students about substance abuse.

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Comments: 8

Educating Teens About Drugs — The National Institute on Drug Abuse

DSC01340Drug and alcohol abuse continues to plague teenagers, and parents and teachers are often at a loss about how to handle this important issue. I grew up in the '70s, when there was a great deal of glorification of drug use in the media and very little information about the dark, dangerous side of drug use and addiction. With the advent of the information age, however, there are plenty of resources to help educate and inform students about the dangers of drug use.

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Comments: 8

Brrr! A Blizzard of Winter Ideas

Winter Theme Activities for Preschool and KindergartenWhatever climate you live in, you can celebrate the winter season with these fun winter activities, crafts, games, and snacks!

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Comments: 3

The 10/24/7+ Review

Blue brainThe brain stores two kinds of memories, in two different ways. One is spatial/experiential memory. This kind of memory is very easy and automatic. For example, you do not have to memorize the location of each desk in your classroom by doing flashcards. Your brain sees them and makes a mental note of the arrangement of the desks in space. Likewise you don't have to memorize how you felt the time you thought you lost a child on a field trip. You automatically remember the feeling.

The second type of memory is rote memory. This is the type of stuff you must rehearse and memorize to get it to stick. Multiplication tables and state capitals fall into this category. I try to have students experience and visualize vocabulary words to make them more memorable. Read on to see how I review vocabulary words with my students throughout the year to make sure they stick.

This post contains a video demonstration of the word wall review game. Brain image courtesy of clker.com.

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Comments: 6

The Skinny (or the Non-Fat) on Nonfiction

NonfictionMost of the reading and writing we do in life is nonfiction. Informational text helps us live, work, learn, and communicate with society. Facts and data come in an infinite variety of forms, yet most classroom libraries mainly feature fictional storybooks. Surprisingly, students actually enjoy them as much as, or even more than, fiction. Fiction is enjoyable, and can be inspirational and informative, but the ability to decode, comprehend, and analyze knowledge is all of that and one other thing — necessary.

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Comments: 4

Learning Centers, Part 3: A Learning Carnival in Your Classroom

Carnival In "Learning Centers, Part 1," I talked about the various reasons learning centers are important for the classroom. In "Learning Centers, Part 2," I shared ideas for managing your centers. Now, here's the good stuff.

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Comments: 8

Easy Halloween Tricks & Treats Across the Curriculum

Masks As if teaching weren't chaotic and stressful enough, there's holidays to deal with. The first major holiday of the school year is Halloween, and aside from all the projects, parties, and pigging out you'll have to consider, there's also the question of whether you should celebrate at all. First of all, 5-year-olds don't always like spooky things. And second, some parents don't approve of the holiday. What's a stressed-out teacher to do?

 

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Comments: 6

Data Gleaning From Glyphs: Math in Pictures for Kindergartners

IntroGlyph12 You may have heard the words pictograph, pictogram, ideograph, ideogram, logogram, phonogram, grapheme, petroform, petroglyph, hieroglyph, etc. These are all forms of writing that use pictures or symbols to represent things such as sounds, letters, words, phrases, concepts, and data. A more general term is simply glyph. Any picture that represents something can be called a "glyph." And for your class, the construction and interpretation of glyphs that represent information about themselves and other topics is an interesting, useful, and engaging math lesson!

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Comments: 11

Differentiated Instruction

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Two words that are pounded into every rookie teacher’s head.Two words that are uttered at staff meetings across the globe. Two words that together pull up more than 324,000 results on Google. What are these two words? Differentiated Instruction. 

This blog contains two short video demonstrations of the ideas in action. Photo: Students kinesthetically learning science vocabulary. 

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Comments: 12

Building Excitement Into a Classroom

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Week after week, millions of viewers are engaged for an hour as they await the news that comes during the last few moments of American Idol. As I was watching the show one day, I thought to myself, This is a simple 30 second announcement. Why must they take an hour to deliver the goods? The producers of A.I. seem to be the masters of building anticipation and excitement. Below you will find some inexpensive examples of how I work curiosity to my advantage with students.

 

 

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Comments: 18

A Chrysanthemum by Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

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A child's name is their first gift, the first thing that gives them an identity. It's placed on hospital cards. It's made official on a birth certificate. It's lovingly handwritten in baby books. It might even be announced in the newspaper. A name says "I am a specific and unique individual."

Photo © Juliana Coutinho

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Comments: 8

Welcome to Nancy Jang's Classroom

NANCY_J My name is Nancy Jang and I have been teaching 2nd grade for twelve years at Woodland Elementary School in Newport-Mesa Unified School District. The unique grade configuration of the school — kindergarten to second grade — enables us to specifically target our funding and resources to primary instruction and interventions. Since our school boundaries include two cities, Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, the socioeconomic backgrounds of our students are quite diverse. Each classroom serves approximately twenty students, with about seven classes per grade level.

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Comments: 6

Ensuring a Tremendous End to a Memorable School Year

Scrapbook2 In just three weeks, the 2009-2010 school year will be coming to an end, and prior to then, I plan on doing a few things to ensure it is a memorable time. This week, I invite for you to read about my plans, some of which you can incorporate on your own. Some you will be able to incorporate this year; others you can try for next year!

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Comments: 1

Using Primary Sources in the Classroom

Photo 2 For some of us, the end of the year is imminent! After state testing you may have more time and need some relief from the pressures of going over test taking strategies and test prep packets. What do we do with ourselves? Start a project of course! Now is a perfect time to allow students time for inquiry and research into a subject that you may have touched upon earlier in the year. This also may feel like it's a good time for your students to learn more about the history or natural history of the the area in which you live.

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Comments: 3

Incorporate Math and Science with an Outdoor Camping Day Event

IMG_7646 In my parting weeks as your grades 3-5 teacher advisor, I want to advise something important to all teachers: DON’T EVER BE AFRAID TO TAKE RISKS. Last year, I envisioned having a day of camping with my fourth grade students on our school’s nature trail. Today, it became a reality as my students participated in the first outdoor camping event I ever hosted. I am grateful I took the risk. Read on to see the ideas I came up with for this year's event.

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Comments: 1

Happy Arbor Day!

Hello Friends!


Happy Arbor Day! April 30 is Arbor Day! It's a holiday that's been in remembrance since 1872. You may want to take a few moments in your classroom to discuss the importance of trees and their effect on the environment. You can (cheaply!) order trees from www.arborday.org and plant them around your school or send it home for a writing or science project. One way you can help students understand how we can recycle and nearly eliminate the need for deforestation is to show them how paper can be made new again. Make some paper!

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Comments: 1

Linking Non-Fiction Works to Blog Posts

 
StaceyClass With the end of the school year quickly approaching, I would like to link some non-fiction literature to a few blog posts from earlier in the year. It makes sense to use good books to support some of the lesson ideas and strategies presented in these posts. The titles I have selected are all available from the Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard, and are currently in stock.

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Happy Earth Day!

Cash for Cans Hello! Happy Earth Day! Summer is steadily approaching, here in the desert we're hitting highs close to 100 already! Now is a perfect time for our students to learn about reducing their energy usage and ways in which they can become "green" citizens. Here are a few things that I've done and books that I found online and have used in my classroom to make Earth Day a day where we remind ourselves to reduce, reuse, and recycle!

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Testing Days: Take Time to Explore!

Start you butterfly garden! 'Tis the season for state testing. Many of us may be taking time to go over last minute skills and cram in as many review problems as possible for students to practice just before the test. During high stakes testing – between reviewing concepts and recalling facts – take some time to do some fun activities to get your kids' minds off testing. Even if you are not in a testing grade, you can try a couple of ideas I've taken from the internet to work on student skills and get them exploring and using scientific investigations to keep their minds engaged in more authentic learning.

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Using Construction to Reinforce Math

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There is nothing more rewarding than to step back and admire a job well done. Students appreciate the opportunity to apply their knowledge in unique ways. As often as possible, I try to incorporate “construction” activities of some sort into my math curriculum.

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Another Take on Earth Day

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A celebration that began in the 1970’s is bigger and better than ever. While raising awareness as to the importance of protecting our environment, Earth Day also provides our schools the opportunity to enlist our student in engaging and meaningful project-based learning.

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Encourage Creativity with Engineering Activities

IMG_6840 In my six years of teaching, I have learned a valuable lesson: One cannot always provide clear-cut instructions or directions for their students on how to create something. Sometimes, the teacher has to provide a little leeway, let their students explore and determine which way is best.

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Utilizing Web Cams for Classroom Instruction


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The “millennials” that sit in our classrooms each day, bring with them a unique and exciting skill set, mastery and command of technology. Utilizing web cams to enhance and enrich content is a free and exciting opportunity that teachers can share with students. Not only does it give students resources that are directly related to concepts being taught, but it also provides data in real time.

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Comments: 1

Egg-cellent Eggs-periments

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Spring fever is the air and our young students are excited about preparing for Easter or other spring celebrations. Many students are learning about farms and reading spring stories this time of year. As you plan spring related stories, crafts, and activities – why not put in a few science experiments with eggs to challenge your students’ thinking? Take a look at my fun eggs-periments that are egg-cellent for your students to get their little hands on!

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Comments: 2

Planning Engaging Units in All Subjects

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"We're building and racing rubber-band propelled vehicles? What will we do at the Renaissance Festival next Friday? ...When is Mr. Jasztal coming in to launch rockets with our class? ...We will be simulating craters with flour, chocolate powder, and rocks?  ...Who painted that, Leonardo DaVinci or Michelangelo?"

These questions and more have arisen in my classroom this year, generating a great deal of excitement by my students. By keeping these questions in mind, and tapping into their multiple intelligences, I have planned some tremendous units across the curriculum that address a variety of learning styles. Read the rest of this post to find some great resources and steps for planning superior units in any subject area!

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Comments: 2

February Activities for all Subjects

Electricity There are many intermediate teachers who enjoy publications like Mailbox Magazine because it offers convenient, easy-to-incorporate seasonal ideas. Though I have never used many of their ideas, I thought a general post about February activities you can use in your classroom would be useful. From Thomas Alva Edison's birthday on February 11th to Valentine's Day to President's Day, February is a month full of learning opportunities. Today's post will give you ideas that you can incorporate to reinforce skills your students need to practice for state testing.

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Comments: 2

Snow Day! Science Activities with Leftover Snow and Ice

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O.K., so school has been out for two days and everyone has cabin fever. Here are a couple of ideas for not only your students, but perhaps your own children as well. Just what the meteorologist ordered, some cool science experiments using all that left over snow and ice.

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Comments: 3

iPod Invasion: Energizing Students to Learn!

IMG_5555 This year, I am incredibly blessed to have five iPods in my advanced fourth grade classroom. However, I never used them before and had absolutely no idea how I would utilize them in the academic setting. Thinking back to when I attended FETC (the Florida Educator's Technology Conference) in Orlando, Florida four years ago, iPods were starting to become popular in classrooms nationwide and teachers were beginning to share ideas about how they could be used to increase academic achievement. iPods offer music, movies, Podcasts and lots of FREE learning resources that students can use as a tool to enhance your curriculum!

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Comments: 17

A New Year and Decade: A Stronger Teacher

IMG_5428 A new year, and a new decade, has made me particularly ambitious about my teaching goals this winter. I dedicated part of my winter break to making a plethora of new materials for my fourth grade classroom. Here is a preview of what I will introduce to my students this coming week when they step through the door of my classroom.

This entails reading skills charts, math and science charts, a vocabulary book, task card boxes, a Cruising Through the USA board, iPods, new books, a new classroom microscope, and a student reading handbook. Hopefully, these resources will compliment our new classroom enrichment center as well as heighten my students' interest in studying science and social studies.

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Comments: 1

Winter Science Craft Activities

IMG_0555 "Oh the weather outside is frightful..." Well, it really isn't here in San Diego! Despite the difference in winter weather, we still love to get into the winter holiday spirit! Here are two of my favorite winter-themed activities that promise to engage your creative little scientists in the scientific process!

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Comments: 3

Use Community Gardens to Build Student Engagement

AC Garden The Agua Caliente Elementary School, where I work, has a "dream garden" where all students in grades K-5 have projects growing in the garden. This community garden program has been "designed to connect young people with their food, and provide meaningful, hands-on food experiences and education as a step to ensure a future full of good, clean and fair food." I dedicate this week's blog to a hard working, inspirational teacher, Ms. Cathy Liss, who has spearheaded the community garden project at our school – teaching students responsibility, teamwork, cooperation and school pride. 

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Comments: 4

Conquer the "Fourth Grade Slump" in Reading!

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Nationally, there has been a baffling trend that has concerned educators and researchers called the "fourth grade slump." This realization came to my mind today when I was talking to a parent. Her daughter, exceptionally bright and quite motivated, possesses interests in a great deal of areas, yet her mom is slightly concerned about her general enthusiasm for reading. Very understandable. Quite interesting, in my opinion, is that there are several parents across the country who share the same exact woes. We as intermediate teachers need to help parents to understand this issue and find ways to overcome it in our classrooms.

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Ramptastic: Calculating Speed Part II

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Putting a twist on rate calculations is exciting when adding the fun of ramp construction into the mix. This week in math students are building ramps to make more speed calculations and explore how slope affects speed.

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Students Start Your Engines: Using Toy Cars to Calculate Velocity

Stacey_toycars This time of year everyone loves toys, and 6th grade students are no exception. In this simple introduction to calculating rate (velocity and speed in particular) students make the connection utilizing toy cars.

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Comments: 1

Building Field Trip Excitement


Glasses Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, are you ready to embark on a sensational adventure? Taking a field trip, whether actual or virtual, offers a plethora of benefits. From a historical adventure where students travel back in time to the colonial period of St. Augustine... to an excursion through Florida's scrub habitat... to virtual explorations where my students can be transported to other places in the United States and world, I feel field trips expands my students' schema, piques their interest in local history and promotes reading a greater variety of literary genres. 

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Comments: 2

Not Your Momma’s Oven: Using Solar Ovens to Teach About Heat Transfer

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Teaching students about the greenhouse effect is fun when paired with the construction of solar ovens. Using a pizza box, students made solar ovens to cook s’mores and study the transfer of heat. Check out the links and information that follows to get your students cooking with solar energy.

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Comments: 1

Superior Strategies to Encourage Reading and Enhance Comprehension

IMG_4176 How do you define yourself as a reader? Are you an avid reader who reads every chance you have outside of work? Or would you rather define yourself as more of a newspaper or magazine reader? Just like us, every one of our students possesses different reading interests. Not every student is realistically going to devour every single Harry Potter book or excitedly head over to your classroom library to peruse the historical fiction books about World War II. Additionally, not every student is going to understand every word he or she reads. Their fluency or prosody may be strong, but their comprehension may be a struggle.

Here are some ways you can make reading better for your students and enhance their comprehension in the process:

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The opinions expressed in Classroom Solutions are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Scholastic Inc.