Monday, October 19, 2020

Pumpkin Science and Halloween STEM

Halloween STEM | Apples to Applique

This is one of my favorite parts of the school year. We're in the swing of things, my kids and I have developed a relationship, and we get to start all the fun stuff. Last year, I shared some of my favorite Halloween read-alouds. This year, I took a couple of those favorite Halloween stories, and a couple of new ones, and created some STEM challenges to go with them.

Halloween STEM | Apples to Applique

After reading Room on the Broom, kids create their own broom that can fit the witch, her cat, and her cauldron. The broom needs to be strong enough to hold the weighted-down pieces, and yet made of lightweight materials.


Halloween STEM | Apples to Applique

In the Haunted House is a fun book with a lilting rhyme. Kids enjoy seeing the spooky things inside the house and then building their own haunted house.


Halloween STEM | Apples to Applique

Walter's Wonderful Web is a book I stumbled across this year for the first time. I originally purchased it for my two-year-old, because of the subtitle which says "A first book about shapes". However, it doesn't come across as "babyish" and I have no qualms about reading it to my first graders. It is a charming story about a determined spider trying over and over to build a strong web. The kids then try making webs in various geometric shapes to see which one is the strongest.

Halloween STEM | Apples to Applique

The Big Pumpkin is a fun story about a pumpkin that is too big to be moved. What better way to follow up this story than by engineering a machine to move a pumpkin?



Speaking of pumpkins, we recently finished up a week of pumpkin science and investigation with this fun writing prompt and craftivity. As much as I love crafts, it is important to me that they be purposeful. This one met that criteria perfectly! After writing about pumpkins, the kids create a 3D pumpkin mini-book which has pages about the life cycle, the interior of the pumpkin, and sensory words to describe the pumpkin.

Find the Halloween Storybook STEM here in my store or here on TPT.

Find the Pumpkin Science Craftivity here in my store or here on TPT.

Do you love fall activities in the classroom as much as I do? I would love to hear your favorite!

Keep teaching with heart and passion!


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Digital Shape Detective Activity

I am so excited to tell you all that I have made a digital version of my popular shape detectives activity!

Digital Shape Detective Activity | Apples to Applique
I love, love, love the printable version, and how it enables kids to be active while they search for shapes in their environment.

Shape Detective Activity | Apples to Applique

But we all know the importance of digital activities this year, with many districts and students doing remote learning, and the fact that many districts are not allowing students to share supplies this year.

Digital Shape Detective Activity | Apples to Applique

In keeping with the spirit of the original shape finders, I kept this digital activity simple. The kids locate as many of the shape as they can in the pictures, but they do not have to click on each one they see; they simply move the shaped magnifying glass over the picture to see what they can find. It is just pure play and exploration! 


Digital Shape Detective Activity | Apples to Applique

Lower level learners can easily find the few big, obvious shapes, while higher level learners can take their time searching for the smaller, less obvious ones.

I hope your little explorers love it!

Find "I Spy: Shapes" here on Boom Learning, or here in my TPT store.

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Run an Election Project Based Learning

     I am not a fan of politics, especially during a presidential election year. However, I believe it is vitally important to teach children about the election process. I may not be excited for the election, but I am excited about this Election PBL! 

Run an Election: Project Based Learning | Apples to Applique

Project-based learning is amazing! It is one of my favorite ways to teach, because it just makes sense. The subjects are all integrated and kids get to utilize critical-thinking skills while solving real-world problems. It makes for such an authentic, contextual approach to education.

I typically create resources for early childhood, but this particular PBL is more appropriate for upper elementary learners.

It is a fully integrated unit, containing all of the following:

  • Social Studies: Civics: Elections and Government
  • STEM: Building a ballot box; Designing a polling station; Designing a polling booth
  • Math: Budgeting; Scheduling; Graphing
  • ELA: Reflective and Persuasive Writing
  • Art: Designing advertisements
  • Technology: Creating a commercial
  • Public Speaking: Debate and speech

There is so much included in this unit, but I have broken it down into 20 manageable tasks. I've included tips for differentiation, which include the ability to easily eliminate specific tasks to better meet the needs of your students.

I hope this unit is useful for you as you teach your students about the elections process! You can find it here in my store or here on TPT.

Keep teaching with heart and passion!



Saturday, September 26, 2020

Build a City: Mapping Skills Activity

Hi, Teacher Friends! I hope your school year is off to a great start! We have been in person the last three weeks, and it has been wonderful. Yes, things are different with trying to keep 6-year-olds socially distanced and wearing masks, but they have been rockstars, and it has been fantastic to be back doing what I love!

I usually like to do lots of hands-on centers throughout the day so that kids can collaborate and learn all the important social skills that come with working in a group, as well as apply content in a more age-appropriate way. That has been more of a challenge this year, for sure! I have been trying to get creative with individual centers that don't involve a screen, but one day a week we have digital Boom centers. 

I try to balance it so the kids don't get too much screen time, but they also get to use technology enough to become proficient in it. I typically start digital centers a little later in the year, but considering we may have to go remote at a moment's notice, I want my kids to learn all of our online platforms while I'm there in person to give support.

The kids love Boom cards--they are always asking to play "those games"--and I love that they give the kids immediate feedback and that I can see data on how they did. It is quick and easy to assign different decks to each kid, so, during reading, for example, I have some kids working on basic sight words while others are working on blends and other skills.

This particular deck focuses on mapping skills, which is one of our first grade standards. Working with cardinal directions can be tricky for 6- and 7-year olds, so I love the immediate feedback they get with this Boom deck! There are few things as damaging to a child's understanding as practicing something the wrong way.

This deck focuses on the directions north, south, east, and west, as kids take on the role of helping design a new city. It makes a no-prep and engaging way for your students to practice their mapping skills, and works just as well in-person as it does with remote learning.

Find "Build a City" here in my TPT store or here on Boom Learning.

Keep teaching with heart and passion!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

DIY Teacher Survival Kit: 2020 Style

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I will receive a small compensation at no cost to you.

Teacher Survival Kit | Apples to Applique

Getting ready to go back to school is totally nerve-wracking this year, and wrought with so many emotions. I am excited to be back in the classroom, which is my happy place; I've missed it terribly since March, when we transitioned to remote learning. I can't wait to meet a new set of kids to love and learn with, forming a tight-knit community. I even miss the little things, like putting up new bulletin boards and decorating for the holidays. My teacher-heart is thrilled to be heading back!

Mixed with all of the excitement, however, is a feeling of unease. Will we be able to help the kids understand the importance of social distancing? Will we still be able to foster the same feeling of community when the kids have to stay so far apart? Will our school have a coronavirus outbreak? Will our students and staff all stay healthy?

Understanding these mixed emotions, I decided to make a 2020 style Teacher Survival Kit as a back-to-school gift for my teammates. My teammates are the most amazing people out there; we work together so well and they inspire me to be the best teacher I can be. We are very close, and always give each other little gifts for occasions like this. However, this gift would also be great from a student to a teacher!

Most of the things included are often seen in teacher survival kits, but some I selected specifically for 2020:
Chocolate (always a necessity! These Dove dark chocolates are my favorite, and I love the little affirming messages inside each wrapper)
Stickers with inspirational messages (I purchased different styles to match my teammates' classroom decor; the ones pictured I found from Happy Honeycomb Studio on Etsy)
Travel hand sanitizer that can be put on a lanyard (Because, 2020...I purchased these holders)
Lotion (to combat the dryness from the frequent hand washing. I purchased this lotion with a calming lavender scent, because goodness knows we need a little calm this year!)
Box of Blessings (this little deck contains 101 blessings for teachers)
Emergen-C (not pictured, but I added it in after taking the photo. Teachers can always use this immune system boost in a good year, but in 2020, we need it in bulk!)

Last but not least, I found these adorable Teacher Survival Kit bags to package it all in.

Teacher Survival Kit | Apples to Applique

Hopefully these goodie bags will bring a smile to my teammates' faces as we face the uncertainties of this upcoming school year.

Is there anything else you can think of that should be put into a teacher survival kit, especially this year? Let me know, I would love to hear your ideas!

Keep teaching with heart and passion!