menu   Home About Me Home freebies My Store  
 photo 3am_AB_f1_zps652b0c0f.png    photo 3am_ab_gplus_zps3ab6fefc.png    photo 3am_ab_pin_zpsbfebd6d2.png    photo 3am_tpt1_zpse91e0740.png   photo 3am_ab_email1_zpsebc98a17.png

Search My Blog

Loading...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm Off to the Big Apple!


Headed to the Big Apple!

For her graduation present from high school, my daughter wanted to go to New York City.  Her every wish is my command!  So tomorrow morning we are off to the big city.  We have never been to New York, and we are VERY excited.  We are from the south....this is going to be like "Ma and Pa Kettle go to New York"!  We may be country bumpkins, but we know how to have fun.  We have tickets to shows and tours and have a few restaurants picked out.  Did I say that we are VERY excited???  The packing is done, and like my father always advised, we are "takin' twice as much money and half as many clothes!"  We are ready!


I'll be reporting here on my blog from time to time if I can, and let you know what we are up to.  How about leaving me some comments with your suggestions?  I am sure that many of you have already been to the big city, and have your favorite restaurants and spots that you love.  If you have a suggestion, please leave me a comment.  I have planned and planned, but I am sure that there is something that I haven't thought about.  What are your suggestions?

Contests, Freebies, and Giveaways! Oh My!




Hurry up!  Time is running out!  You can't win if you don't play!

It seems like everyone is having a contest or giving away a freebie these days!  There are several contests going on here and there with some really great prizes!  Check these out:

At Clutter Free Classroom:  Enter to win "Boost Your Book Sales Kit", "Emergency Sub Plan Kit", and the "Ultimate Teacher Organizer".

At Lesson Plan Diva:  FREE Space Alien Even and Odd Counter

At The Organized Classroom Blog:  FREE Memorial Day Printables Pack

At The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers:  Download a FREE product everyday.

At The Teacher Wife:  FREE mini friendship book


The Teachers Pay Teachers newsletter:  10 FREE downloads.


At Erica Bohrer's First Grade:  FREE end of the year thank you card.


At The Wise Owl Factory:  Many FREE lessons are given away

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Linky Party: Summer To-Do List



My Summer To-Do List


I had so much fun with the last linky party that I thought I would join this one.  I found this linky party on the blog called Littlest Learners.  What is your summer "To-Do" list?  Here are a few of the things I hope to accomplish:

1.   Spend as much time as possible with my two teen age daughters.  My oldest daughter goes to college in the fall.  Her younger sister is going to be lost without her!
2.   Add new products to my TeachersPayTeachers.com store.
3.   Update many of my older listings on TpT.
4.   Take a walk everyday.
5.   Visit both of my sisters.
6.   Read, read, read and then read some more.  I miss reading during the school year.

What is your summer to-do list?  Let us know your plans by joining the linky party!

Great Stuff!



I have some advice for all of you teachers and home schoolers out there:  Read the Teachers Pay Teachers.com newsletter!!

Many of the products listed on TpT are free.  You can see my free items listed in the top left of my blog.  The weekly newsletter features 10 free items each week.  The products vary by grade level and subject area, but there is probably a free item that is perfect for what you are teaching.

If you like your free download, take a minute to become a follower of that seller.  You can click the button "follow me" on the sellers page at TpT.  As a follower, you will receive an email notification each time the seller posts a new product.  But don't worry, you can turn off the email feature if you like.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Love Summertime!



I love summertime!


Nothing is better than waking up on the first day after the last day of school!  I always wake early, and as the rest of my family slept, I sat on my deck with a cup of coffee and the newspaper.  Life is good.  School is out and I have no papers to grade this week end!  Much was accomplished today:  I took a long walk with both of my daughters, I attended the Eagle Scout ceremony for the son of a dear friend, I planted my summer flowers, I filled my bird feeders, I did some laundry, and I posted a new product to my TeachersPayTeachers store.  I really do love summertime!

My new product is a lab activity on significant digits.  Here is some information about it.


Purpose:
1.   To observe how accuracy of measurements is dependent upon the instrument or equipment being used.
2.   To understand how significant digits are used when making measurements.
3.   To reinforce student knowledge of the rules of significant digits.






This lab is a  fun and easy way to reinforce the concept and rules of significant digits and how they are used when making measurements.  It is easy to set up, clean up, and provides hands-on experience and practice to your students in how significant digits are used by scientists when making measurements.


The completed document contains:

1)  A five-page handout for the student that is ready to be copied and passed out.  A five-page handout for the instructor containing answers and teaching instructions / tips.

2)  Student handouts include title, introduction, purpose, materials list, safety precautions, procedure, data tables, “analyzing the data” section, and final observations.

3)  Students will make measurements using instruments of various precisions and accuracies.  All measurements will be made using the correct number of significant digits.  Students will use these measurements in various calculations and calculate the percent error.

4)  Students will answer questions about the rules of significant digits.

5)  Practice problems are provided:  Students will determine how many significant digits are in a measurement, students will write numbers to an indicated number of significant digits, students will round numbers to an indicated number of significant digits, students will add, subtract, multiply and divide numbers and report their answers to the correct number of significant digits.


6)  Complete answer key is provided.

7)  “Instructor pages” include directions for the teacher and teaching tips to make the implementation of this activity more efficient and more effective for the students.

8)  The "handout from your instructor" showing three different rulers that was mentioned in the materials list is included in your download as a jpeg photo.

Here is the link to my new product:  Significant Digits Lab - Hands-On Reinforcement and Practice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"What I Have Learned This Year" Linky Party






Today I learned that there is such a thing called a "linky party".  Apparently it links all of us participants together.  I learned about this on a blog called, "Life in Special Education".   I am a newcomer to the world of linky parties, but it sounds like fun.  Let's see if I can figure out how this works!

As stated on the blog, Life in Special Education, the rules are simple.  "Link up and list as many things as you wish to share that you have learned this year or over the years teaching.  They can be funny, serious, and everything in between.  Have fun!"


Okay, here goes.  This is what I have learned this year and over the last 27 years:

1)  When your daughter is a senior in high school, the time passes faster than the speed of light!  (Sweetie, I am going to miss you next year!!)

2)  Apparently, the production of offspring by only one parent is not asexual reproduction, but immaculate conception.

3)  When teaching a standard class for the first time in 21 years, the teacher becomes the student and the students become the teacher.  I learned the true joy of bringing biology to life to these students.

4)  Many kids really depend on a teacher as a friend or a "mom" because they do not have one at home.

5)  I have learned that the rise in health insurance costs is indirectly proportional to my teaching salary.  ARG!

6)  Whatever shows up on the display of a calculator is the true answer, just because "My calculator says so!"

7)  A kid who appears to be the least interested in your class, is often the most interested.

8)  When a student hides his candy wrappers in the lab bench, the roaches, ants, and mice will find them, even if the teacher doesn't.

9)  The AP exam seems to come earlier and earlier every year.

10)  The joy of teaching a child grows infinitely each year!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Enter these contests!


Hurry up!  Time is running out!  You can't win if you don't play!


There are several contests going on here and there with some really great prizes!  Check these out:


At "Little Priorities":  Enter to win "End of Year Camping Trip Unit."  Contest ends on Friday, May 28.


At "Education Journey":  Win a $10 TeachersPayTachers gift card.  (Ends Sunday, May 29.)


At "Frog Spot":  Download FREE graphics!


At "Lesson Plan Diva":  FREE double digit worksheet


At "The Organized Classroom Blog":  FREE Mrs. McNosh Activity Pack


At "A Special Kind of Class":  $10 worth of products from TeachersPayTeachers.com (Ends Saturday, May 28.)


At "Runde's Room":  Win a premium membership to the Graphics Factory   (Ends Sunday, May 29)


At "The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers":  Download a FREE product everyday.


At "Lesson Plan Diva":  Get a FREE Doggy dictionary Pack


Good luck everyone!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Teachers Pay Teachers Sunday Newsletter



I Made It!!


I am so excited to report that one of my labs has been featured in the TeachersPayTeachers.com newsletter.






This is one of my favorite labs when I am teaching thermochemistry.  It is so simple, and it works every time!  It really reinforces the concept to my students.  Click here to get your free copy of this lab:
Chemistry Lab: Heat of Crystallization






The weekly newsletter is a gold mine!  Each week, the newsletter features 10 free downloads.  They cover all subject areas and all grades.  If you are not already a subscriber, you can click here to sign up for it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Growing Up With My Biology Teacher Mom!


I am very pleased to have a guest blogger today.  It is my very own daughter!  Hope has just turned 18 and is graduating from high school this week.  Among many numerous accomplishments, she is a National Merit Finalist, Presidential Scholar Semi-Finalist, All-State French Horn player, and daughter extraordinaire.  Please forgive my bragging.  This week is a milestone in the life of our family, and I want to preserve a bit of it by posting it on my blog.  

Hiking to a waterfall on the island of Kauai 
I asked Hope to write a few words about growing up with a biology teacher mom.  Here is what she had to say:

Hi.  My name is Hope.  I am a graduating senior at the high school at which my mom teaches.  My mom has asked me to write an article regarding a childhood guided by a biologically minded mother.  Here you go, Mom! 

I learned to identify wildflowers at an early age.  The Indian Paintbrush will always be one of my favorites.
There were no easy answers to questions I asked as a child.  The question, “Why is the sky blue?” did not garner the usual parental response, “Because God made it that way.”  Instead, my mom attempted to explain to me that light reflects differently off everything in the whole wide world and that for the air particles in the atmosphere, that color sometimes appeared to be blue.  As you can imagine, such responses were often met with blank stares.  However, this veritable encyclopedia of chemical, physical, and biological knowledge found in my mother often proved extremely helpful.  

Hiking through the mountains of
northern Georgia.
This was one big tree!
When I was little, I played with Barbie dolls, but I also played with science kits.  While my little sister took naps, my mom and I would learn about the buoyancy and viscosity of different liquids or play with ladybug homes, caterpillar enclosures, or ant farms. 
Yes, Mom, I know they are lichens!








On our trips to Michigan in the summer, I learned that the orange color on the rocks was actually something called a lichen.  When we finally studied algae and fungi in school, I was the only child in my class who knew what a lichen was.   We looked for pitcher plants in bogs, made plaster casts of deer tracks, looked for crabs with flashlights on beaches, and snorkeled on coral reefs.

Crab hunting
Snorkeling













I will never forget what "allelopathy" is!


My science fair projects always actually investigated something.  We did not do “cutesy” projects like “Which gets you cleaner, a shower or a bath?”  Instead, I learned about allelopathy and spent a month squirting magnolia tree juice on poor little bean shoots.  I didn’t always win the science fair, but I always learned a great deal about science. 

Overnight spelunking trip

Hiking in Grand Teton National Park
Yellowstone National Park
My mom also served as a science tutor.  Where my textbook or teacher left off, she picked up.  In high school, she helped me understand electron configurations and light and dark reactions.  She worked me half to death when I took her AP Biology class, but I proudly earned a “5” on the AP Biology exam.  

While I do not plan to major in chemistry or biology, she has inspired my to pursue a career in science.  In the fall, I will be attending college to study computer engineering with a focus in robotics.  My dream is to become an Imagineer at Disney World.  I know that I will always have a proud scientific mamma and I’m sure she’ll love poking around in my lab as I loved poking around in hers as a child.
Mom in Yellowstone














My childhood was the greatest!  Thanks for all the adventures, Mom!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Let's Have Some "Pun"!

Fun Activity For "End of the Year" Blues

We only have one week of school left, followed by a couple of days of final exams.  My kids are antsy, hyper, jittery, tired, and generally uninterested in anything that resembles school work.  After doing battle trying to keep their attention on Friday, I decided (on a whim) to have them write a pun about biology, or anything related to science.  It was initially met with the usual round of grumbling, but after a few minutes, my students really got into this.  Some of the "puns" were really good!  And some of them were absolutely awful!!  :)  And some of them were just repeats of classic jokes we told in the 3rd grade.  Anyway, it did keep them occupied for a bit while we waited for the final bell of the day.

I thought I would post a few of the puns my students came up with.  Beware:  Some of these are sooooo bad they will cause you to moan!!  Enjoy!



What did the alga say to the fungus?  I'm lichen you!

What did the mushroom say to the pepperoni?  I'm a fun-guy!

What did the lipid say to the H2O?  You water get out of here.

What element on the periodic table describes my school day?  Boron

What do you call half of your large intestine?  A semicolon!

Beware of the guy running a scam because he mitochondria.

The teacher's lounge is full of staph.

What do you call one-millionth of a straw?  A microtubule.

What did one gene say to a neighboring gene?  Crossover and see me some time.

What does a doctor do to his patients?  He either helium or barium.

One organism's pickup line to another in a bar:  What's your phylum?

If you breath, you will respire.  If you don't breathe, you will expire.

How do you know if an a cell is an egg cell or a sperm cell?  Pull down its genes.

What did one chromatid say to the other chromatid?  You've got chiasma.

What did the salt say to the water?  I solute you!




Try this with your students.  This can be done with any age group and with any subject area.
And don't forget:  The most important thing is to just have pun!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Exciting News!



The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers

I'd like to tell you about a new blog.  If you have ever used the TeachersPayTeachers.com website to look for teaching materials, then this blog is for you!!  It is called, "The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers".  This blog posts free products, featured articles, and descriptions of products created by the best teacher-authors on TeachersPayTeachers.com.  You will find links to free items for all age groups and for all subjects.  If you are looking for great "freebies" for your classroom, you really need to take a look at this blog.

I would like to thank Victoria, author of "The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers" for using one of my articles today.  She is featuring the article I wrote about nature. I get so excited about biology and teaching kids about nature, that I am thrilled to have her use my article.  I hope that you will take a look at her blog and sign up to become one of her followers.

Happy Teaching!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Teaching Viruses





How to Motivate After the "End of Course" Exam?





This is the hardest time of the year!   Students have already taken the state mandated EOC - end of course - exam.   We still have three weeks of school left.  Students are tired.  Teachers are tired.  I will not fall into the category of teacher who spends the remainder of the year watching movies.  So I continue to push onward.

What can I teach at the end of a biology course that will be practical for their life after my class?  I have decided to teach a unit on viruses and bacteria.  The student's lives will be affected by viruses and bacteria for the remainder of their life.


Trying to make thing a little more interesting, I put together this PowerPoint on Viruses and Bacteria.


I added a crossword puzzle....



And a 4 page homework assignment....




And a jeopardy review game.....




And finally a quiz.

Now I'm ready to start over with the bacteria on Thursday!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Tribute to My Mom, the Biology Teacher





My mom passed away in 2001, but not a day goes by that I don't think of her.  My mom was a biology teacher, and now I am a biology teacher, too.  My mom was an inspiration to so many people.  We grew up in a very small, rural town in the deep south.  Many of her students never dreamed they could attend college and have a different sort of life than the one they were accustomed to.  She taught them that they "could" as well as teaching them biology.
I went back to my home town yesterday for my high school band reunion.  I kept hearing two comments over and over:  "You look just like your mother!"  and "Your mother was the best teacher I ever had!"  Both comments meant the world to me.
Growing up with my mother was quite the adventure!  At a very young age, I was looking at pond water under a microscope and marveling at the creatures I saw there.  I could spot liverworts and bladderworts growing so close to the ground in a swampy area that no one else would even know they existed there.  She always had her wildflower books with her, and the car would come to a screeching  halt whenever she spotted a potentially new wildflower along the road.  The car also stopped for turtles.  They simply had to be moved to the side of the road and out of harms way.  She showed me touch-me-nots and explained how touching them caused the cells to lose turgor pressure and that was why the leaves folded up.  Once on a family vacation to the beach, a dead sting ray washed up on shore.  We dissected it!  She took us fishing and canoeing and walking through the woods.  I caught lightening bugs like all kids do, but I knew the how and why of their flashing.
I have two daughters.  I have taken them on many of these same adventures.  They can amaze their friends with all sorts of biological  facts.  They love going on nature walks with me.  I thank my mother again for the closeness I share with my daughters.  She passed a love of nature to me, and as I passed this on to my daughters, we formed a strong and unbreakable bond to one another.
What choice did I have but to become a biology teacher, too?  I have now taught biology for 27 years.  I sincerely hope that I have inspired some young mind along the way.  Good luck to all my AP students who are taking the AP Biology exam tomorrow.  Thanks, Mom.  I love you.



PS - She was also an avid bird watcher.  She loved hummingbirds best of all.  Mom, this hummingbird is for you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Guest Blogging on "Vintage Teacher" Today!




I'm a Guest Blogger!

I am so excited to be a guest blogger today on a blog called "Vintage Teacher".  The author of this blog is a "vintage teacher", and she has just begun to blog.  Her site is adorable!  I hope that you will visit her blog and become a follower.  Her site has some really cool items and articles.  


"Vintage teacher" and I are of a like mind, and I am happy that she is helping me spread my message about the way we are testing students.  I just saw this on her blog and thought is was very funny:


NCLB doesn't mean "No child left behind" anymore.  It really means "No circle left blank"!  If you are a teacher, you get the joke!


You can visit vintage teacher at her store at TeachersPayTeachers.com by clicking here: Vintage Teacher TpT Store.

Have a great Mother's Day week end!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Check me out at "Life in Special Education"





I'm a Guest Blogger!

I am so excited to be a guest blogger today on Karla's blog called "Life in Special Education".  I have never considered myself to be a writer, and I am so new at the blogging thing, but I hope my message shines through, and that my writing mistakes are ignored!  I am passionate about kids, teaching and biology, even if my writing is not of Pulitzer quality.
Karla has been a special education teacher for 12 years.  She currently teaches a K-5 self contained classroom of students with varying disabilities.  You can reach her blog by clicking here:  Life in Special Education.  You can also visit her store at TeachersPayTeachers.com by clicking here:  Karla Banks

Have a great Mother's Day week end!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Validity of the EOC?? Questionable!

 This fish is disgusted by its environment.
This biology teacher is disgusted by the EOC.


So today in school, my Biology I students (my daughter included) had to take the EOC.  What is an EOC?  It is the bane of my existence!!  For those of you who don't know, EOC stands for "End of Course" exam. In my state, every student must take EOC's in certain courses.  We still have three weeks of school left, but the EOC was given today.  Why, you ask??  Because the exams have to be sent to our state department of education and graded.  We MUST get the scores back before the end of the year.  Why, you may ask??  So that the EOC can count 20% of their semester average.  Call me crazy, but this seems a bit much to me.

Here are my complaints with a state mandated "End of Course" exam:
1.   Who writes the questions on the EOC?  Certainly not me.  Is this fair to my students?  I don't think so.  I valued the information years ago, when we gave "achievement tests".  I could look at these test scores and see how my students were performing against various benchmarks.  This information let me know what I needed to do differently.
2.  I have a problem with the EOC counting 20% of the semester grade.  My final exam will count only 10%.  And 70% of the semester grade will come from the work done in my class during the course of the semester.  The questions on the EOC are written by some anonymous face that I will never see, and some of the questions are really bad.  I often think that whoever writes these questions must not know anything about biology!
3.   Teachers are forced to be automatons of information.  Many of the really fun and exciting things that I used to do in the lab had to fall by the wayside.  We are in a race against time to teach volumes of information.  Does this get kids excited about science?  NO!  Give me back some time for creativity.  Give me back some time to take the kids to the lab so that I can teach them what science is really about.

I understand all about accountability.  I understand that the "powers that be" want to make sure that every teacher in the state is teaching a core set of objectives.  I think this is a mistake.  Just as asexual reproduction produces offspring with no variation, mandated state testing is producing students who are clones.  Every biology teacher worth their salt knows that variation is key to adaptation.

It is my belief that we will eventually realize that the massive testing of students at the end of each school year is a mistake.  Students are not going to remember the volumes of information that we cram down their throats prior to the EOC.  Along the way, the teaching of critical thinking and problem solving skills are being lost in favor of fact after fact after fact.  An education does not consist of a set of facts.  A good education consists of the ability to be able to think and respond, not recite back facts.

Thanks for letting me vent a little steam today.  If you have opinions on this topic, please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The sale has been extended!!


TPT site buckles under "sale pressure".  My sale is extended!


Well, the sale was so big on TeachersPayTeachers.com today, that the site had technical difficulties.  Evidently the traffic to the site was too much to handle.  I know that many people had difficulty accessing the site.  I am extending my sale for 2 more days.  My entire store will remain on sale at 20% off through midnight on Thursday night.  I hope that you will return and try again if you had trouble today.  Paul, the owner of TPT, has extended his discount code, so please use promo code "TAD11" at checkout to get the full 40 % off.

I also wanted to give a "shout out" to Kim Collingwood, author of the blog called "Science etc".  She graciously allowed me to be a guest blogger on her blog today.  Her photography is simply amazing.  Click here to go to her blog and see some amazing photographs!  Keep up the great work, Kim, and thanks for having me on your blog today!!

Teacher Appreciation Sale


Happy Teacher Appreciation Day everyone!!

In celebration, TeachersPayTeachers.com is having a 20% off sale on the entire catalog of lessons.  Please use discount code "TAD11" at checkout to get your 20% off.  In addition, I have added my own sale of an additional 20% off.  Both offers are combined for a total of 40% off.

This includes all digital downloads, but also includes all of my books and CD's.  My CD's contain entire units of materials:  Powerpoints, notes for teacher, notes for student, labs, homework assignments, crossword puzzles, quizzes, and a unit test.


Currently I have the following topics available:  (1) Introduction to Biology, (2) The Chemistry of Biology, (3) Cell Structure and Function, (4) Photosynthesis, (5) Mitosis and Meiosis, (6) Genetics, (7) DNA, RNA, and Protein Synthesis, (8) Classification and Taxonomy, and (9) Viruses and Bacteria.

Enjoy this great sale!  For the link to my store, click here.

Monday, May 2, 2011

40% OFF - Wowser, What a Sale!




In honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, TeachersPayTeachers is throwing the biggest sale ever!

When?  Tuesday, May 3



How much?  TeachersPayTeachers.com is offering 20% off all items you purchase.  Use promo code "TAD11" at checkout.

How much more?  In addition, I have placed my entire store on sale at 20% off.

Can I combine both?  YES!!

That's a total of 40% off all items.

The sale is one day only!  Tuesday, May 3

What's on sale?  Everything in my TpT store is on sale.  I have tons of books listed, which means they will be 40% off.  All of my shipped CD's are 40% off.  And, of course, all digital downloads are also at 40% off.

My store is called "Science Stuff".  Click here!




So today in my Biology class we did an activity called, "Let's build a Dichotomous Classification Key!"    I think this is a great activity to reinforce the biological concepts of classification, and at the same time, it builds strong problem solving skills.






The students begin by learning to use a dichotomous classification to a few of the members of the conifer family.  This key has already been prepared for them;  they are simply making observations about 7 different gymnosperms.




Next, the students are given pictures of 12 different monkeys and apes.  They have to make their own dichotomous classification key for these 12 animals.  












To check to see if their key will work, I have the students exchange their key with another student.  The key has to work!










And finally, to their great dismay, students complete the activity with some follow up questions!  It makes for a great class period!