Week 5 of Awesome

Giving students candy is a classic motivation tool. It is kinda amazing what kids will do just to get a piece of sugar. The reality is this though, teacher’s candy budget is low and that stuff is straight up expensive. I firmly believe in the idea that in the eyes of kids, candy is candy! Therefore, I supply my classroom with something I like to call “Old Man Candy.” Just by reading that, you probably got visions of butterscotch, lemon drops, and those adorable little strawberry filled hard candies that have jelly in the middle. This classic mix is not just nostalgic, it is cheap! And… it’s true. Little adorable old men all over the nations carry these types of candies in their pockets and cardigans when they have a hankerin’ for something a little sweet. I have made this a thing in my classroom, so much so it actually became an entry in my new book 180 Days of Awesome. Since that has published I get tweets and instrgram posts like this and it totally makes me laugh, smile, and appreciate the fact that kids all over the country are getting to experience this magical, motivational trick. For the record, going to a parade in your community and collecting candy for your old man candy jar is totally socially acceptable, even if you have no kids of your own! Click here to check out the book that celebrates AWESOME!
Some times all you need to teach an AWESOME lesson is a box of cereal and a lighter. Seriously. This week my students preformed incredible science experiments by simply analyzing delicious breakfast treats. Each period of kids got to form their own question to investigate. We solved problems like, “How long does it take Cinnamon Life to sink in comparison to Fruit Loops?” and “What cereal is the least flammable?” The only stipulation on picking a question was it had to be something that would help you in real life. The first question, totally legit, right? You don’t want your cereal getting all soggy because it’s sitting on the bottom of the bowl. The second question… sketchy! I was convinced they just wanted to set stuff on fire. In all fairness, who doesn’t like doing that, especially when you are twelve. So I said, “We will for real solve that flammable cereal problem if you can justify why it is important to real life!” Prepare to be blown away…. “Well, Ms. G. You see, I camp, and I have a dream to camp in California one day. But you see, they have random wild fires. And I would never want to contribute to causing those fires to be even worse. So I believe it would be important to know what cereal to buy at the Wal-Mart prior to the camping trip, so just in case a wildfire does  break out, I can rest easily knowing I made a good scientific purchase.” Whaaaaaat? I was mind blown and it was settled. The flammable cereal lab started!
I love teaching kids. So much. I have found that I love teaching teachers just as much! Presenting at workshops and conferences to educators on the edge of their seats, soaking up PD, is just incredibly refreshing. This week I got to teach teachers how to teach science and it was nothing short of 3 hours of AWESOME. The feedback was fabulous. “This was BY FAR my favorite pd seminars. The time flew by and I had actual activities I could bring back to my students that not only explain difficult science ideas, but are also interactive for the students.” Overall, I was surrounded by compassionate, eager, and willing elementary teachers who want to bring authentic science learning into the lives of their kiddos. Clapping and head nodding. Thank you for showing kids it’s not magic, it’s science! These two ladies above totally killed it when they were given the driving question, “How can I make a car that moves the farthest in the forward direction?” With limited supplies, teamwork, and critical thinking, they won the race, and more importantly won a prize. Flinging Chickens!!! What teacher doesn’t need these??? I love teacher toys. Absolutely one of my favorite giveaways at PD! Want awesome PD at your school, district, or event? Click here for more info!
We call our kids 21st century students, but that doesn’t always mean they have 21st century technology skills. Gone are the days of typing class where you learn “Mario Teaches Typing” or a computer class where you make PowerPoint Presentations where each key point is accompanied by a zooming car noise. Now we just kinda assume because kids can download apps and are flippin’ great at SnapChatting weird selfies, they also must be great at research. Today in class I broke down the walls of that assumption and put kids to the test with a really fun technology scavenger hunt. They got a list of 10 clues and it was their job to go online and find proof of each item. There is nothing greater than the sights and sounds of kids working on devices. The view of the classroom with kids huddled together around computers along with the tones of fingers hitting the keyboard. Ah! Love it! Giving kids to the tools to equip them with 21st century skill is AWESOME…Because the art of how to actually copy and paste something should never be lost!
Two Friends. Two matching binders. Two smiles. It is the perfect way to walk out of the building for the weekend. You see, on Friday it is nothing but total frenzy in schools all across the country! Kids can’t leave the room fast enough to get to their sleepover parities, county footballs games, the hottest movie that just came out, or just home for a snack and a nap. (Snack and a nap, my goodness, doesn’t that sound good?) These two dudes were still in my room after I got back from hallway supervising. One of them, god love em, couldn’t get his binder zipped. I asked what was wrong, and he said, “Well, I have such a great friend he is going to be late for his bus just so he could help me zip up my binder.” Using teamwork, one was jumping and thrusting all his body weight onto the binder in an effort to close it without the zipper catching. It reminded me of adults over-packing for a flight where they are hellbent on using just one carry-on so the other sits on the suitcase. When these kiddos finally got it zipped, one playfully dusted off his hands and they were out the door, but not before I hooked them up with a reward Paw. Friendship is AWESOME and it warms my heart to know those are built within school ways everyday.