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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Animals in the Classroom - A Bright Idea Blog Post

Over the years, I have seen many different kinds animals in the classrooms I have visited. Primary classrooms usually have hamsters or guinea pigs. 

In MS/HS Science classrooms I have seen snakes, hissing cockroaches, mice, fish, frogs, lizards, turtles, and even tarantulas.

My Biology classroom pet was much more fluffy and interactive. I chose a rabbit and my son named him Dexter after the cartoon show "Dexter's Laboratory." Rabbits are very social and smart animals and make excellent pets. 

I bought him a large cage for when he needed to be away from the students and my husband and I made him a set of carpeted wooden stairs that led up to his cage. Under his stairway was his litter box. What?? Who didn't know that rabbits could be litter trained (feel free to admit it in the comments below!) Yes, rabbits are very smart and crave their human owners interaction. 

Now, I will admit that a couple of my students were not thrilled at first that I had a roaming rabbit in my classroom .... yes, I also said roaming!!  He was not locked up - it was very important to me that my students interacted with him, but they all (even those initially skiddish) warmed up to Dexter within a few days. 

Students volunteered to come in during their homeroom to feed him and play with him.... although none volunteered to clean out his litterbox every day! If a student was having a bad day, they would stop by and ask if they could pet and hang out with Dexter. I was truly amazed at the bond that I was seeing between my students and Dexter. It came to a point where I found that I could use Dexter as a calming agent in my classroom. I worked in an inner-city classroom while I had Dexter. Sometimes there were fights between students. When I noticed this occurring, I would immediately tell one of the students (usually the one most likely to outburst with a threat/or get physical) to go pet the bunny!  It worked so well, and quickly that I had other students stepping in when a classmate was becoming agitated in the classroom telling their classmate to "go pet the bunny."

Now, before all of you go out and buy bunnies for your classrooms - there are a few things to consider:
1. Get your administrations approval for any classroom pet.
2. Make sure that you have a personal budget set aside for pet needs: food, bedding, litter, toys, vet bills (bunnies need to be 'fixed').
3. Weekend and long weekend plans. I had a great custodial staff that stepped in on weekends to feed Dexter and change his litter. I will admit that I gave these wonderful people special treats to help me take care of him so that he did not have to leave his 'classroom home' on the weekends.
4. Have a sub/snow day plan - someone still needs to feed the classroom animals if school is closed or you are not there.
5. Have vacation and summer plans for your pet.
6. If you have a 'roaming' pet be sure to baby-proof your classroom. Bunnies love to chew through cords and anything left on the ground (including student's shoes and backpacks).



If you enjoyed this Bright Idea Blog Post,
please consider following me on Facebook, Pinterest
and Teachers Pay Teachers for more great ideas!!



For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pinterest Peeps Spring GIVEAWAY! It's Huge!

 
Hey, ya'll! FlapJack Educational Resources reached 10,000 followers the other day on Pinterest, so they decided to celebrate by asking a BUNCH of awesome bloggers (84 actually!) to donate spring-themed resources for 7 special winners! 

In order to enter any of the following giveaways, you just need to follow some fabulous TeacherPayTeacher Stores. 

Each bundle will have one winner, and the winners will be notified on March 20th, the first day of spring of course! 


Thank you for being here and Good Luck!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Using Music in the Classroom!

Parents and Preschool teachers often hear how playing classical music can potentially increase a child's ability to reason and think and may even increase a child's IQ.  When thinking about this early in my teaching carrier, I often wondered if any of these thoughts toward using music could also benefit students of all ages - even up into High School level?

What I found among my Inner-City High School students lead me to believe that students of all ages can and do benefit from the increase exposure of music in their daily lives. 

When I first started experimenting with using music in my High School Science Classroom, I used traditional classical music. 


At first, my students protested, but I found that with increased exposure, the complaints decreased and soft music provided a wonderful environment during laboratory experiments, and other group work situations.  
After a few weeks, I began introducing more new-age type music, Yanni being my favorite.  I was always careful to use music without words and ones that would instill a calm atmosphere.

After about a semester, I began to wonder why I was only using music without lyrics. I then began experimenting with different Disney themed CDs.  Because my students were now very used to having background music during much of their science work, they easily adapted to the vocal tracks and were not distracted - in fact, many sang along quietly as they worked in their small groups.
Walt Disney Movies and Cartoons
My inner-city students (ages 14+) never protested the Disney CDs - this surprised me.  However, they did ask that the door be closed so that they were not teased by other students in the school. 

As a High School teacher, I never originally thought my students would enjoy having music in their Science Classroom.  I was wrong, and I encourage all educators to experiment with school appropriate music in their classroom.  You may be just as surprised as I was about how easily music can be included in any classroom.

If you are looking for more great ideas, please visit the next blog on this blog hop, written by Chelsea Allen! She shares some great tips on avoiding junky student desks.  
 


Alternatively, you may visit the link-up below
and choose a topic that interests you. 

Thanks for visiting!



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Check out Our Newest Science Task Card Bundle!!

Do your students need extra practice with
The Scientific Method?  
Microscopes?  Measurement? Lab Safety?

Then this Science Task Card Bundle is a
'must have' for your Science Classroom:

This bundle includes the following 4 Task Card Sets: The Scientific Method, Scientific Measurement, the Microscope, and Laboratory Safety. Details about each set can be found below.  

Along with each of the 4 sets of 32 Task cards, there are 3 blank Task Cards, student direction cards, Student Answer Sheets and Teacher Answer sheet/Guides.
 
Scientific Method Task Cards for Middle and High School
This set of 32 Scientific Method Task Cards will provide Middle and High School Students with Review and Reinforcement of the concepts found while studying the Scientific Method. The following concepts are covered in this set of Task Cards: Collecting Data, Theory, Inference, Data Tables, Hypothesis, Observations, Steps of the Scientific Method, Controlled Experiments, Dependent Variables, Independent Variables, Control Group, Writing a Hypothesis, Sample Size, Conclusions, Error, Experimental Results.
 

Microscope Task Cards for Middle and High School
This set of 32 Microscope Task Cards will provide Middle and High School Students with Review and Reinforcement of the concepts found while studying Laboratory Procedures. The following concepts are covered in this set of Task Cards: Parts of the Microscope, Field of View, Measurement, Microscope Safety, Magnification, Focus, Observations, Total Magnification, Resolution, Wet Mount Preparation, Leeuwenhoek.


Scientific Measurement Task Cards for Middle and High School
This set of 32 Scientific Measurement Task Cards will provide Middle and High School Students with Review and Reinforcement of the concepts found while studying Laboratory Procedures. The following concepts are covered in this set of Task Cards: Metric System, Length, Ruler, Graduated Cylinder, Volume, Measurement Conversions, Temperature, Celsius Scale, Thermometer, Triple-beam Balance, Weight, Time, Lab Tools, Displacement.
 

Laboratory Safety Task Cards for Middle and High School
This set of 32 Laboratory Safety Task Cards will provide Middle and High School Students with Review and Reinforcement of the concepts found while studying Laboratory Procedures. The following concepts are covered in this set of Task Cards: identifying dangerous activities in the lab, identifying safety equipment, chemical spills, heating methods, eye care, safety symbols, safety procedures, broken glassware, fire safety, movement of equipment, post-lab clean-up, laboratory instructions.


I hope that you will follow me at:
 My TpT Store
 My Facebook Page
 On Pinterest
 On Twitter
 Lisa Michalek

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

TPT 3 Million Followers Sale

Have you heard? TPT is 3 million strong now! 
That's a lot of talent in one place! 

They are gearing up for a 2 day celebration for their grand milestone and it's THIS Thursday and Friday! 
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Lisa-Michalek


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Free Science Resources February 2014


Free Science Resources February 2014
Are you looking for free, excellent, interactive science web resources to plan lessons, share with your students or provide enrichment materials? 

We have compiled a new list of Free K-12 Science Teacher and Student Internet Resources. 

Subjects included are General Science, Biology and Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physics.

I hope that you will follow me at:
My TpT Store
My Facebook Page
On Pinterest
On Twitter
Lisa Michalek (The Lesson Guide)


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Stress Relievers for a Bright Teacher!!


 

Stress Relievers for a Bright Teacher!! 

Mid-Winter and what teacher isn't at least a little stressed and tired?  We know that stress relievers can help rejuvenate you and get you through the remainder of the school year!

So, how does a Bright Teacher start to de-stress?
Here are some helpful ideas:
  • Play relaxing music in the classroom while your students work. My favorite CDs are my Yanni albums. No words, just pure music bliss!
  • Exercise right after school to clear your mind of classroom worries.
  • Eat Healthy - this includes a good breakfast, healthy snacks, and pack your lunch (skip that cafeteria food).
  • Manage your time and be realistic with the goals that you can accomplish each day.
  • Sleep - yes, get 7-8 hours of sleep each day.
  • Reward yourself for sticking to your goals, eating healthy, exercising and taking time for yourself with a small purchase, a nap, a massage, or more time to read that book on your desk!!
 
Try it out for a few weeks and then check back and leave a comment to let us know how you are doing and what you have implemented to make your day less stressful!

If you are looking for more great ideas, please visit the next blog on this blog hop, written by Jeannie Hunter! She shares some great tips on Technology in the Classroom 

http://the2ndgradesurprise.blogspot.com/2014/02/bright-ideas-blog-hop-technology-in.html

Alternatively, you may visit the link-up below and choose a topic that interests you. Thanks for visiting!