My students LOVE science, so when we came back to science after several weeks of social studies they were pumped! We have done several fun and easy science activities with this standard and I wanted to share some of them … Continue reading

Cells are Building Blocks

As a science teacher it is our jobs to teach the information, give students opportunities to explore the standards, and engage the learners in real science! This year I started my cells unit with a great video. The video has dramatic music, but I wanted to make it more dramatic, SO not only did we turn the lights off and turn the volume up, I read the words that come across the screen in my best and most serious dramatic movie introduction voice.

Then we began our unit. We talked about the standard, achievement descriptors and I gave them a few teasers on what was coming their way (Fear Factor lesson, growing mold, and medical masks). We also put our vocabulary into our journals (I still haven’t found a way to do digital interactive notebooks, but I am open to suggestions) You can grab my vocabulary packets (which also have the standard posters in them) for these two units here and here. They will be on sale until February 1st!

5th Grade Cells Vocabulary Packet 5th Grade Microorganism Vocabulary Packet

We will look at several power point presentations during this unit, but that is not the focus I want to give you. We used technology (computers, cameras, microscopes) to look at cells. My new school had several prepared slides for the kids to look at cells under microscopes and I had a few slides to share with them also. While I was pulling kids up to the microscopes the rest of the kiddos were playing games with our vocabulary words on Quizlet. You can access my word set for FREE here. If you haven’t used quizlet before, now is the day to start. As a teacher you type your words and definitions in and share the link. Quizlet does the rest! They make several games and activities out of the words you enter in. My students love it and we have access without a username or password because my word sets are not private.

We start looking at the organelles of the cells using Jennifer Findley’s FREE poster resource found here.

Plant and Animal Cells Science Poster and Vocabulary Cards

Then we complete a webquest here. I like for students to have as few struggles as possible though, so I offer diagrams for my students who do not want to draw. Smith Science and Lit has a great set of FREE plant and animal cell diagrams here.

Animal and Plant Cell Match and Color Pages FREEBIE

After this we really get into the hands-on stuff!!!!! Eeeeekkkkk!!! I love hands-on learning and so do my students!

Germ Lesson

My students had done the glow germ lesson before, so I wanted to do something different. I started the lesson with putting on my lab coat (one of my new “costumes” for teaching), lab safety glasses (the kids each had a pair to wear too!) and medical mask! We talked about sneezing and the different ways kids sneeze (uncovered mouth, Kleenex, into their hands, into their sleeve. Then we started our lesson!


Each team had a piece of large white construction paper (I would have preferred white bulletin board paper but we didn’t have any at school —also next year I will have 4 different sheets of paper for each table), a spray bottle with water and food coloring in it (I did all different colors, but that didn’t matter —next year I will not use yellow because it didn’t show as big of an impact), a Kleenex (they really need about 5 Kleenex though), a piece of a T-shirt (I used gray this time because it is what I had with me, but next year I will use white), and a latex glove.

We used a spinner with the four different options on sneezes today and did 20 spins for the 20 sneezes. Next year I will do 5 sneezes of each type onto their own piece of paper for better scientific analysis.

When we landed on uncovered sneeze, the students simply sprayed the paper with the colored water. When we landed on sneezed into hand, the students sprayed the glove (on one of their hands) and then touched the paper once. When we landed on sneezed into sleeve, the students sprayed into the piece of T-shirt. When we landed on sneezed into Kleenex, the students sprayed the Kleenex and then crumpled it and set it on the paper.


We talked about which one had the least spread of “germs” (colored water), which one had the most, why they should cover their mouths with something when the cough, sneeze, or having a runny nose, etc.

It was a great lesson! They had so much fun with it! And the safety glasses and masks were a hit!

Fear Factor Lesson

I started with a Google Slide presentation on the board that had the Fear Factor logo on it. I also played some dramatic music. You can find a YouTube video of the Fear Factor theme music here. I used blind folds to add to the intensity of the moment, but I didn’t blind fold the students until I explained how the game would work.

Students would roll a dice to get a random number. Each number on the dice correlated to a edible microorganism. I promise that none of the foods will cause them to be sick or die, but that they may or may not taste very good. Then we put on our blind folds!

My six foods are:

  1. vanilla yogurt
  2. blue cheese crumbles
  3. buttermilk
  4. bakery fresh bread (yeast!)
  5. pickle
  6. sauerkraut

With each student, I place a die in their hand and have them roll it. Then I give them the food that they have rolled. Some of them feel all over it. Others smell the food. A few will decided not to eat what they are given. Others will dive right in!


We have a great discussion afterwards of why foods would have microorganisms in them, like bacteria.

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The Standards have Changed…AGAIN

The Georgia Standards of Excellence are being taught this next school year and that means more changes. Luckily for fifth grade there are not a ton of adjustments to be made. I have updated four products to include these new … Continue reading

Check It Out!

I have added several new items to my Teachers Pay Teachers store! These items are all fifth grade mostly because of my new position in fifth grade…so if you are looking for:

  • Math Standards Posters: These simple posters are great for any classroom theme! Simply print and mount to any color paper, then laminate! Super easy and super flexible when it comes to matchy-matchy classrooms.
  • Social Studies Standards Posters
  • Science Standards Posters
  • Interactive notebook science standard, can do, and EQ: I love these interactive notebook additions! They include each standard with the achievement indicators (beginning learner, developing learner, proficient learner, and distinguished learner) so students know how to best learn the standard, and a place to write the essential question. I love to have students try to answer the EQ before I have taught anything, then draw a line (we call it the line of learning). After the standard has been taught I have students answer the EQ again under the line! This allows me and the students to see the growth of their learning, misunderstandings, and reflection of the week!
  • Interactive notebook social studies standard, can do, and EQ
  • Interactive notebook science set up kit
  • Physical science vocabulary: All of my vocabulary is interactive! Cut out the word and definition attached, then fold it into a little booklet with the information on the inside. Have the students write the word on top and quiz themselves on the definitions! It is super easy, and fun! Plus the parents always compliment this simple entry into the student notebooks.
  • Life science vocabulary
  • Earth science vocabulary
  • Characteristics of science vocabulary
  • Teach 5, 1st nine weeks: Teach 5! This was the first thing I began working on when I heard about my move to fifth grade…I cannot begin to emphasize how important Teach 5 is in my classroom! This is a spiral review of the math standards. It is leveled and easy to differentiate in the classroom. Plus I have a free Teach 5 Set Up kit that lets you know how to make your own Teach 5!

Yes, I have been busy creating, but I have also realized that with my first baby on the way I will not be able to make everything myself. I have purchased many items on TPT and found tons of FREE stuff to help me!

Teachers, what are you doing with your summer?


Spiral Review

As a third grade team we have started to discuss how we did on last year’s GMAS (If you aren’t sure what that is take a look at this). We have discussed how a great spiral review in mathematics really seemed to benefit the students and keep all of their learning in their minds.

I use Teach 5 to do this with mathematics. To learn more about Teach 5 read some of my older posts about it and take a look at these resources.

Teach 5 Sample

Teach 5 Bundle

One of my coworkers found this great resource for social studies today.

Social Studies Review is created by Ashleigh over at Ashleigh’s Education Journey.

We are still on the hunt for a great science spiral review for third grade Georgia Performance Standards. If you know of one comment with a link to the product. I am open to all things at this point. That or I am going to have to make one!

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Science meets Art meets Writing

I love when a creative idea comes to mind. This one was inspired by Teach Like a Pirate (read more about that here). The “P” in pirate stands for passion. Dave Burgess says that you’re not always going to be passionate about the content you are teaching and when that is the case you should include something else that you are passionate about. I am not passionate about animal adaptations, but I do love creating, crafting, painting, anything artsy. So this lesson focuses on the life science standard of animal adaptations but includes art and writing also!

Prior to the lesson we learned all about adaptations and why they are necessary for plants and animals to survive. I also took photos of all of the students’ faces, cropped them, and put them into the Sketch Master app on my iPad.

sketch master

This app can take any photo and turn it into a sketch. There are many different versions of the sketch to choose. I simply chose the one that gave each students’ face some definition without too much shading.

Before the kids started the lesson I cut just their faces out from these printed sketches.

So we started the lesson by reading two books.

animal hair animal teeth

What If You Had Animal Hair? and What If You Had Animal Teeth?

We then talked about which adaptations they would pick if they had to choose. It was a great conversation and I wish I could have recorded it (hahaha!!!). I want rattlesnake teeth so that I can bite and kill anything I want to. I want reindeer hair so that I float all the time. I then explained what was about to happen by showing them my animal hair and teeth on my photo face.


I the have each student a plain sheet of paper and their sketched face. We glued them together and then they sketched in their hair and teeth. It was a blast watching them create these little details and explain to me why they picked them. The last thing I had them do was write two sentences about why they chose the hair they did. What adaptations does that give you? They wrote two more sentences about the teeth. Some of the kids wrote more which was awesome! They turned out so cute!

Next year the same authors are putting out another book.

animal feet

This will add another great dimension to this fun school craftivity!

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Why is insulation inside a house?

It never fails. My students struggle to understand what insulation is and how it works. I had seen this experiment demonstrated at the Georgia science conference in 2014. I finally had the time to make the materials needed for the experiment. 

Materials needed:


  • 3 empty, clean milk jugs
  • 3 bags of cotton balls
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue sticks
  • Box cutter

How to make it:

Cut a flap in the side of all three milk jugs.    

 One jug will be left completely alone. No cotton balls anywhere. 

One jug will have cotton balls glue all over the insides of the jug. 

One jug is covered with cotton balls on the outside.   The experiment:

You will use three thermometers to determine which “house” contains heat the best. 

  1. Using hot water, warm the thermometers up to the same temperature. 
  2. Quickly dry all the thermometers off and place one inside of each “house”. 
  3. Check the temperature every 10 minutes for thirty minutes. 
  4. Discuss what happened. 

I can’t wait to try this with my kids this year!

Line of Learning

What is the Line of Learning?  you may be wondering. The Line of Learning is many things. It is a time and money saver. It is a line. It marks growth in student knowledge. 

Okay. I should probably clarify.

This is the Line of Learning


Now please allow me to clarify.

  • It is a time saver: I used to use post it notes as before and after informal assessments in journals. Counting out two for each student and passing them out took class time and left many students waiting on me. Drawing a line is all students will have to do now and they won’t have to wait for me to draw their line. 
  • It is a money saver: Post-it notes are expensive. My students were using about 300 a year to do vocabulary and pre/post post-it notes. 300 per kid when you teach 50 kids is a lot! Drawing a line is FREE!!!
  •  It is a line: Look at it. It is simply a line that says “Libe of Learning” above or below it. 
  • It marks growth in student knowledge: my students put the standards we are learning in their notebooks. They also write the Essential Question down. Then, before I teach anything, they answer the EQ. They can put I don’t know, ?, or write what they think the answer is. After I am done teaching they draw THE Line of Learning. This symbolizes the time we have spent learning over that week and practicing the standard. Below the Line of Learning they answer the EQ again. This time they should have way more to write. Maybe they draw a picture with it or give an example. Who knows?

The Line of Learning is simple and complex. Here are some example pages of my Lines of Learning.




As you can see I use the Line of Learning can be used in any subject, for EQs or science probes. 

Super simple! Super cheap! Super useful!

New Way to Organize My Interactive Notebooks

I use three interactive notebooks in my classroom each year. In years past I have had three composition notebooks just like my students. But this year I will be organizing my notebooks, not my students, in a three ring binder. This will allow me to lay each page flat under the document camera. I can change the order of the pages that I prep this summer as I am teaching them. 

The materials I have at home this summer to help prep and reorganize my interactive notebooks are:


  • 3″ three ring binder
  • 3 packs of notebook paper
  • Colored paper
  • 3 dividers 
  • Markers
  • Color pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Post it notes
  • Tape

The notebook is divided into three sections:


  • Math
  • Science
  • Social studies

To ensure that I include all of my favorite notebook activities in my new notebook I have my interactive notebooks from the past two years to guide me. 

I have started prepping many units in my new notebook. Here is a little preview of posts to come!

Standard, EQ, and the Line of Learning

Math Practice and Answer Keys