Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The One With Mitosis

I dare say cell division - mitosis and meiosis - might be my least favorite thing to teach in 7th grade Science.  It is such a hard concept for my students to grasp.  I have tried a variety of teaching strategies over the past few years, but it is just a hard concept.  
Plain and simple.

This week when it was time for a mitosis lab, I found myself scouring the Internet yet again, hoping to find something wonderful that would help make it a little easier for my students.

It is especially challenging to teach cell division without the use of microscopes.  The majority of labs that can be found have students look at slides under a microscope.  Unfortunately I do not have the means to do this type of activity with my students.

After a little hunting I found something that quiet honestly felt a little last minute and a lot like settling for something that would get me by.

(Please tell me you have used those "get me by" lessons at least once or twice!)

This is the activity I "settled" for.

I printed this worksheet that the students filled out using their book while we discussed the four phases.  Thankfully our Science books have a great flow chart that does an excellent job summarizing the events of each phase.
After we filled out that sheet together I gave my students the sheet below along with a bright colored piece of copy paper - because you know colored copy paper makes any assignment a bit more enjoyable especially when you allow students to choose their color.

Students wrote Mitosis in the center of their colored paper (landscape) and then glued the cells around the word to create a flow chart.

I forgot to take pictures of the ones my students actually made, but here is the example (answer key) from the link above.

My students enjoyed the colored paper along with cutting and gluing.  Sometimes I forget 7th graders love this as much as 1st graders.

This last minute lesson turned out to be the best thing I've ever done with mitosis.  It shows the cell between stages.  It was such a great visual for my students.

It seemed to really clear things up for several students.

I had them cut all cells out and "play" with them like a puzzle.  They were required to get my okay before gluing anything down.  When they were ready for me to check it we would discuss any mistakes they may have made.  

Light bulb after light bulb went off in my class today.

Love it!!

Thank you to the creator of this little lesson.  It is definitely going in my file for future use.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The One In The Bathroom

It never fails.  If one ask, they will all ask.  It doesn't even matter if you tell the first one no, they will all ask.

You know what I'm talking about.

Synchronized bathroom trips. 

It really doesn't bother me to let students go to the bathroom during class as long as they are doing so at an appropriate time and not in the middle of a discussion.

Unfortunately there is always at least one student, often more than one student, who wants to take advantage of it.  They need to go EVERY SINGLE DAY.  It drives me crazy.

My other pet peeve is when it seems like the entire class needs to go to the bathroom.

So often I hear the excuse that there is not enough time between classes.  My response to this is always "I managed to go downstairs to the bathroom and be back on time.  You can make it."  

I just hate saying no because what if it is truly an emergency?

One of my co-workers has a policy where students are allowed two bathroom passes a semester.  This works great for her.  How in the world she keeps up with it I don't know.  I can't seem to get organized enough to keep track.

What is the answer?  I wish I knew.  

Are you just hardcore and say not all during class?

Do you have a policy that works for you?  If so, please share.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The One With the Award

In the past week I have been nominated by two different bloggers for the Liebster Award.  Talk about humbling.

Thank you Sara and  Michele!  I am truly honored. 

The rules of the award are:
* Post 11 Random Things About Yourself.

     1. I had bunion surgery two years ago.
     2. I get a manicure once a month in order to avoid biting my nails....the nail polish helps. 
     3. I do not drink Coffee and I HATE the smell of Starbucks.
     4. Photography is a hobby I wish could be a second profession for me.
     5. I worked at Sonic for 6+ years before teaching. 
     6. Ten years ago I flipped my car into a tree.  Had I not been wearing a watch, I would have walked away without a scratch.  Unfortunately my watched ripped my arm apart and I ended up needing SEVERAL stitches.
     7. I love to Zumba! Great workout.  Hilarious too!
     8. I once had a nose ring and a belly button ring.
     9. Sometimes I think I want a tattoo.  But I'm a big baby.
     10. I am absolutely TERRIFIED of snakes - As in don't even show me a picture or let one come up on TV.  I will freak out and immediately start crying!
     11. I hate the dentist.  I'd rather go the gynecologist every day of my life than to ever have to go to the dentist.

* Answer the questions the nominator(s) asked you.

Sara asked...

1. Favorite Thanksgiving Food?
My Mommom's Chicken and Dumplings 

2. Best gift you ever received? 

 Tough.  I'm thankful whenever someone thinks of me.  I've received a lot of great gifts in my lifetime.  Probably those gifts from my students that are truly from the heart - things they give to me that belonged to them because they want to show how much they care and can't afford to go to the store to buy something.

3. Favorite scent?


4. If you had to change jobs tomorrow, what would you decide to do? 

5. What's your porn star name? (Middle name + street you grew up on) 
 Ann Meadow Lake

6. If you had to give up your cell phone or the internet, which one would you choose? 

7. Go to the mall or online shop? 
 Go to the Mall

8. Favorite song to sing karoke?
  I would never have the guts to sing karoke, but if I did I think I'd sing I Will Survive.

9. Why do you like blogging?
 It's a great way to share memories and ideas.  I enjoy going back and looking at past posts.  It's funny and I often find things I have completely forgotten about.

10. Are you scared of anything? 

11. One blog you visit everyday? 

Michele asked...

1. Favorite Thanksgiving food? 
My Mommom's Chicken & Dumplings

2. Best gift you ever received? 

I started my personal blog as a way to record the memories and events of every day life.  I decided to start a teaching blog because at the time I didn't feel like there were any middle school blogs out there.  I wanted a community for teachers to share ideas with one another.

3. What is your favorite thing to do with your family?

  Anything.  I love spending time with my family.  Honestly my favorite thing to do with the husband is to drive around looking at houses and just exploring & dreaming.

4. Coke or Pepsi?

For as long as I can remember it has been Pepsi.  I switched to Coke Zero last year.

5. Who is your favorite music group?

 Depends on my mood....right now I'm obsessed with Train.  My husband and I saw them for the 2nd time in concert back in September.  I'm ready to see them again.  It was a great show.  So much fun!

6. What would you purchase if you had unlimited budget?
  My personal makeup and hair stylist.  I dream about this every morning when I get ready for work. :)

7. What is your favorite book to share with your students?

 The Lottery

8. What household chore do you like the least?

  All of them!  Ha!  Probably dishes.

9. What professional book or conference changed something about how you teach?

 The Book Whisperer - Loved this!  It made me feel like the way I always dreamed about teaching was a real possibility that could be successful.  

10. What is your favorite color?


11. If you could eat lunch with a famous person, who would it be?

 Karen Kingsbury

* Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.

1. What is the best vacation you have ever had?
2. What is the one teacher supply item you can't teach without?
3. Board Games or Video Games?
4. What time do you start your day?
5. What is your favorite Christmas movie?
6. What is your favorite comfort food?
7. How many different grade/contents have you taught?
8. Artificial or Real Christmas Tree?
9. Favorite Harry Potter character?
10. What is your favorite children's book?
11. Favorite candy?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The One With ABCs

When I was student teaching (which feels like a lifetime ago) one of the many ideas that I fell in love with was an ABC accordion book made from index cards.

One of the biggest reasons I love this project is because of its potential to be used for so many different things.  If I can take something and use it in more than one content area, I'm a fan.

One of my English classes is working on their first accordion book this week.  They are creating an autobiography.  I supplied them with 27  index cards for the project.  One for the title card and then one for each letter of the alphabet.

I think pictures will make more sense than if I try to describe it.  I apologize for the poor quality of photos.  I took them very quickly with my phone.

This is the example I put together to show my students.

 My A & B

 Several of my letters.  You place the index cards right up against each other and place a piece of tape on the back.  I tried to show this in the picture below.  After you have taped all the cards together, you fold them accordion style so that the title page is on top.  When you let go the rest of the cards "fall" down creating a neat effect.  Students love it!

This can be used for so many different things.  Have students create an accordion book about a war or a specific era in history.

It could be about a type of animal for Science.

Vocabulary words in math.

A biography about someone they've studied.

The possibilities are endless.

If you would like to purchase the handout I created for students that goes along with this project go on over to my TPT store and check it out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The One With No Voice

I was sick with stomach flu Thursday and Friday.  I had a sore throat all weekend and the result was a loss of my voice.  I mean 100% loss of voice.

I woke up this morning not being about to talk at all.
The best I could manage was a very quiet whisper.

I don't know that I have ever been so thankful for technology.

As a means of communicating with my students today, I opened up Microsoft Word on my computer and turned the projector on.  

My students absolutely loved this.  

One of my favorite moments from the day was when a kid told the rest of the class to be quiet and listen.  Haha!  She quickly said "I mean read"

Their favorite moments from the day would probably be when I would type their names to call on them.  They thought this was too funny.

Honestly, they were probably on their best behavior today.  They were so sweet.  A few of them would whisper back to me.  Cracked me up!!

I'm curious.  Have you ever lost your voice?  How did you conduct class?  Or did you stay home?

I'm praying my voice returns tomorrow.  Though I may not let my students know if it does just to keep that good behavior. :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The One in November

Can you believe it is November already?  Oh my goodness, this year is flying.  Thanksgiving break is just a few weeks off.  CRAZY!!

A new month means a new Currently with Farley.  I find myself looking forward to these each month.

Happy November!