April 2010

As a fun Easter activity I hid plastic Easter eggs all over the school yard and marked their co-ordinates on the GPS.  Each group had six eggs they had to find.  The catch was, inside the eggs, instead of sugary, unhealthy treats the students discovered exercises or “eggersizes!”  After they found the egg they had a task to perform outside.  They had a lot of fun with it.  Instead of sitting around eating snacks, candy, and being very unhealthy, we were outside, active, and having a great time!
It’s spring and while some people are cleaning out their yards or garage, geocachers are out checking on caches to see how they survived the winter.  When you hide a cache to go on the geocaching.com network there is a level of commitment involved in checking on it and making sure it is dry, hidden properly, and not causing any damage to the surrounding area.
I have 8 caches hidden.  Yesterday the snow finally melted and I headed out to check on my geocaches.  I’d had some reports in the logs that things were missing or damaged.
Flip for Baker logs:
I went prepared with new cache containers, new log sheets, new pencils, and my GPS to check co-ordinates.
I had reports that one of my micro caches (about the size of your little finger just had a log sheet, but no container, sure enough, I found the log, very wet from the recent snow. I replaced the log and container and tucked it back where it belonged.
I had to replace a few more full logs, and several caches were just fine (they must have been good hides in the first place!)
When I got to the cache Saskatchewan it was completely gone, but I had my new tennis ball cache ready to go. I hid it in the lower branches of the tree so a “muggle” would think it was just a ball caught in the tree if they spotted it, but a geocacher would have a second look at it.
My last cache of the day was Flip for Baker which had several logs posted that no one could find it. I had a new cache, a plastic lock and lock container covered in camouflage duct tape (you can find it in the hunting and fishing section of hardware stores!), ready to go. When I got there, to my surprise, it was right where it should be. I had set the co-ordinates on a cloudy day, and I think this was sending people off in the wrong direction. I marked the cache, uploaded new co-ordinates, and it was found almost immediately!
Geocaching is a great hobby, but remember if you hide a cache take care of it or it just turns into litter.  Happy caching!

I’m starting a unit about chemistry and it is very vocabulary heavy, so I wanted to find ways to teach vocabulary that are interesting, but effective in reinforcing the terminology. 

What I love about this lesson is that the technology is there, but it disappears to just become another engaging part of the lesson, not the focus of the lesson. The ideas here are nothing earth shattering or new, but when combined together they make for a very engaging, fun lesson, that really wakes up otherwise very boring topics.

Station 1: Vocabulary  Jenga Each jenga block was wrapped in paper and had a definition or vocabulary word, as they freed the blocks they had to match them, and if the tower tumbled they had to match them all!  I got the idea via twitter off of a blog which I didn’t bookmark, so it’s not original, but I loved it!

Station 2: Smartboard I had three vocabulary activities up on the board they were to work through as a group to match, drag, and review vocabulary.  They loved gathering around the board and trying things together, working through the activites.  A great use of technology embedded into a lesson instead of the lesson being about the technology.  The use of an IWB as a small group station is wonderful.  The level of student engagement is very high and a conversation about their learning always seems to develop.
Station 3: Paper Chains  The students had strips with a definition and a word (that didn’t match!) They had to find the matching definition that would connect to continue the chain. 
Station 4: Two Truths and a Lie  Students were given a word and had to come up with two facts and a lie about it.  Their group then had to decide what was untrue. 
Station 5: Head bandz  Students had words attached to headbands.  They had to ask questions of other people in their group until they figured out what word they were.
Station 6: Name that Mixture  Students had to identify what type of mixture was in the beaker, but it’s more fun that that.  There were six mixtures with 8 labels.  They would have to run and match up six labels to six mixtures.  A helper would see if they were correct and if not they would have to race back and try to fix them up.  They were timed and would race to make matches.  A helper would check and then they would race back to fix when they knew how many they had correct.  You could hear cheers of,  “No it’s  a suspension!” or “It’s saturated!”  Very fun!  This one would have been labelled a heterogeneous mixture!
Station 7: Looping  I did this activity as a large group.  Each student is given a card with a word and a definition that doesn’t match.  One student starts by reading their definition, then the student with the corresponding word reads their word, then the random definition on the next car, leading to the next student, and so on.  Eventually it loops back to the original student.  We then race to beat our own times to see how fast we can loop through the definitions