Saturday, December 13, 2008

2 Weeks in...

Well, two weeks into the quarter and things are going well.
First things first, I believe that this should the PowerPoint I mentioned earlier. It is an overview of the muscular system that gives the muscle groups we focus on.

The following week has some challenges for students. The science notebooks are in the process of being assessed and next Monday and Tuesday students take their first notebook quiz and start to learn how the skeletal and muscular system interact. Students will be given various scenarios regarding injuries to the bones or joints and will have to determine the best course of action.

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2nd Quarter... Human body

Hey there everyone!
The second quarter is all about the human body, genetics, and how science can solve problems. So far we have started off with the muscular system. I used a PowerPoint which I made years ago when I was just learning how fun making a presentation can be. Mr. Manolis is working with me to teach me how to upload them to this blog. We continued with the 20 major bones in the skeletal system. The goal is to teach students how these two systems work together by teaching basic first aid techniques. I really want to take some pictures of what they come up with. No homework as of yet but I have some great reading strategies for stories that will set up students for the CSI heading our way at the end of the quarter.

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For the last 2 weeks of the quarter students are challenged with our next project. Students will make a flip book of a cell going through all the stages of Mitosis (cell division). Packets were passed out this week and the project is due November 4th and 5th.
You may notice the side bar to the right. It has some videos that describe Mitosis pretty well. Students may also use the notes from their science notebooks as well as an activity that has Mitosis broken into 12 different pictures slightly changed just like a flip book.

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Friday, October 10, 2008

And the results are... Outstanding!!!

Many of you think that I don't like to toot my own horn, well it is just not true. The Pangaea House students did an Amazing job on their Edible Cell projects. So amazing that I had to share, so here is a very small selection from the 90 plus finished products. These are some of the pictures that turned out clearest. Enjoy!

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Wondering what a science notebook should look like?

Good Morning!
Many of you may be wondering, "What does my child's science notebook look like?" Some may be thinking, "Does my science notebook look right?" Well wonder no more friends! Below are examples of the work students should have finished in their science notebook as of 10/3/08. I just finished grading most of them and found a notebook with large, legible handwriting that is orderly and complete. If you want a really good look, click on the image and you can read every line, see every detail and point out every grammatical error. The class grades for the science notebooks on the whole were pretty good. I think this is going to be a good start to the year.

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Sunday, September 28, 2008

PJ's cell analogy

Hi there,
In my diligent research for the best projects, I found this YouTube video that I have to share. PJ created a video demonstrating how parts of his house and parts of a cell perform similar tasks. This is great because it is both really good science and really funny. Cell theory and the parts of a cell will be our focus for the week of Sept 29 through Oct 3rd. Enjoy!

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mid-terms are almost here

Hello there!
Mid terms are right around the corner (Oct 1st) and things are starting to move much faster in the Pangaea house. All the beginning of the year business, paperwork and procedures are finished and more time is being spent moving faster into the curriculum.
The week of Sept 29 through Oct 3rd will have students understanding the 6 traits of all living things. These are:

All living things are made of cells.
All living things reproduce.
All living things have DNA.
All living things respond to change.
All living things grow and develop.
All living things use energy.

Some scientists still argue over this topic mostly due to the fact that these 6 traits exclude viruses from the list of being technically alive.

Cell theory is the foundation of biology and one of the major standards students focus on this quarter. We will begin our investigation into the structure and function of the parts of cells starting next week. Below is a good visual of an animal cell which may aid in student study.

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space can be found at

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back for a new year

Welcome Back!

Crosswinds Arts and Science Magnet School is off to a pretty good start. Our 2008 / 2009 school year began a few weeks ago and we have hit the ground running. Students have received orientation and toured the grounds the first week. Students then took the Measure of Academic Progress or MAP test in math, Language Arts, and science (only 7th graders... not sure why) the second week. Finally, students have spent last week setting up their science notebook which they will use for the remainder of the year.
Somewhere in there we also found a little time to help out a non-profit in their efforts to gather 1,000,000 acorns used to start forests all over the world. Around the same time we made some leaf prints for a project students will not begin for some time. Leaf prints need fresh, green leaves to work well and this was the only chance we will have for many months.

In the weeks to come students will begin their investigation of life science. We will explore the structure and function of the inner workings of cells, see how they clone themselves in the process of mitosis and start to apply this to the larger picture of tissues and organs of the human body.

If you have any questions please feel email me at my teacher space page is

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Science Notebook entries

In an effort to keep the blog current, here are more entries in the science notebook. I found a different student to donate their work mostly because their handwriting is so clear.

If you have any questions please feel email me at

Monday, March 17, 2008

Science Notebook update

Howdy folks!
I am ready to update the science notebook entries. These are a backup in case you are absent and can not ask anyone from your table group for help. This is also to give parents an idea of the kinds of things we are talking about in class and what kind of things may show up on the test.

If you have any questions please feel email me at

Monday, March 10, 2008

How about this weather, huh?

Well folks, here we go again!

Quarter 3 for Crosswinds Pangaea house is all about the weather. Cool weather, hot weather, bad weather and winter weather we shall discover it all over the next two months.

Anna Barker will be helping us out this quarter in the lab. She has many specialties from Master Gardener to Language Arts teacher, to International Baccalaureate guru. Her focus will be to help students make connections from the text to the classroom. She will be working with students to help get them prepared for State tests coming up this quarter. She recently returned from visiting her daughter in India and has lots of stories to share.

In order to tackle the complex topic of weather, we have broken it down into the study of air, the study of water, and the study of heat. We will devote a few weeks to each and then take the last few weeks to tie it all together.

The year is half over so now the expectations will rise even higher to help prepare them for next year. This will manifest itself in the form of more homework, more tests, as well as more challenging projects and labs.

To help students with their science notebooks, I hope to be able to post entries which include the warm up question (and answer), goal, and quote of the day to the blog so students can keep their notebooks up to date even if they are absent.

If you have any questions please feel email me at

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two weeks left until the end of the quarter and the middle of the year

Greetings again!
Last week was a flurry of skiing, plays, and MAP testing. The first big adventure was skiing. However, with this group getting there can be half the "fun."

Once there, some went tubing...

Others went skiing

By the end of the day everyone had a good time.

Then there was the play. When it was over, the principal complimented Pangaea house on how well we listened and participated.

And finally there was the MAP testing. We now have some new math scores and soon some new Language Arts test results to add to the other MAP testing data from this fall and years past. If you want to learn more or have questions your child's homeroom teacher should be able to help you. If not we will take some time during third quarter conferences to go over them and their implication.

Not to be outdone, Tuesday the 29th, students saw another play but things are back to normal... well "normal" may be a bit of an overstatement because this week is Spirit week so Monday was pajama day, Tuesday is school colors day (blue, green, and white), Wednesday is backwards / inside out day, Thursday is Twins day (someone else or the baseball team) and Friday is red, pink, black, white, (Valentine's Day colors) day as well as hat pass day and fancy dress day on top of all that Friday is also wear red for women day... phew, that is a lot for just one day.

So, back to the business of science class. First, this week I have returned a slew of student work and given students a grade update sheet so they know exactly what they have and what they need as well as how to get it. The first part of the week will include an activity designed to help students understand radiometric isotope dating. This method is used by scientists to determine how many years old a given layer of rock or fossil is. Some radiation is naturally occurring in all plants and animals. This material breaks down in a predictable pattern and once that pattern is understood, it can be interpreted and students or scientists can extrapolate (I love that word!) when the material formed give or take a hundred years. The latter part of this week and next week will focus on volcanoes and earthquakes. Remember that science notebooks are due to be graded at the end of this week. We have done several activities in which students record their data in them so they are worth more this quarter than last quarter. Check in with your middle schooler and ask them about it. If it gets "lost" it can cut a final grade in half so if there are any problems there is time to fix them if we start now rather than the last possible moment.

If you have any questions please feel email me at