Friday, November 30, 2012

7-12 Grade Holiday E-book

Last year I was a little slow on the draw and missed being able to contribute to the holiday e-book.  Fortunately, I did not miss it this year.  The books were divided this year into three volumes; primary, middle, and high school.  The 7-12 E-book was the one I contributed to and it is wonderful.  There are free products from all subjects on beautiful holiday pages.  All these products are just a click away.  You can download the great item by clicking on the cover page below!  Happy holidays!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Rhyme Scheme Practice

I created this little holiday practice and then decided to make it free.  This is a practice for rhyme scheme using The Night Before Christmas as the final challenge.  There are also some easier practice poems to start with before going to the ultimate holiday challenge.  Just click on the picture below to download yours.  Feedback is always welcome!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cyber Monday and Bonus Tuesday Sale


Well it is that time of year again!  I can't believe the Cyber Monday sale is right around the corner.  Many of us sellers will be putting our store on sale.  Mine will be on a 20% reduction starting Monday.  In addition, you can use the promo code CMT12 and get addition money off! This sale will run through Tuesday.  Stock up on all of your Christmas lessons and fun stuff to start the new year off right.  See you Cyber Monday!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fall in New Mexico

Every fall I look forward to a week off in October when I can drive to New Mexico and take in the fall colors and the land of enchantment.  My travels usually end up in Las Cruces but this year Cloudcroft was my destination.  Unfortunately, I forgot my camera in Phoenix.  I blame that on being sick the week before break and functioning and packing in a brain fog.  All the pictures you will see here were actually taken on my phone and look decent enough I think.

Cloudcroft sits on a mountain which overlooks the Tularosa basin.  This picture shows the view.  The white area is actually White Sands National Monument, one of the largest gypsum dune field in the world.
My husband and I stayed at the Lodge in Cloudcroft, a historic lodge which used to house lumberjacks instead of tourists.  It is a nice old lodge with a great restaurant and it is said a friendly ghost as well.
Cloudcroft had a railroad which transported people and lumber in historic times.  Some of the old tracks and trestles from the railroad can still be seen outside of town.

There are some great hiking trails in and around Cloudcroft.  One that isn't too long is called Osha Trail.  This hiking trail can be accessed from inside the town or from a parking area right outside of town.   It is about 2.6 miles long and a gorgeous hike in the fall.  This is how the hike began at the trail head.
There are many beautiful aspens and maples along the trail that are really breathtaking in the autumn.  Here are a few pictures from along this wonderful hike.
The interesting thing from a geology perspective is that Cloudcroft, New Mexico sits on Permian aged rocks.  If you know anything about geologic time, the end of the Permian ends the Paleozoic era with a mass extinction much bigger than the Mesozoic extinction event that did in the dinosaurs.  The Permian extinction basically killed of mostly everything.  The rocks on the Osha trail are Permian and they also have many fossils that are easily spotted on this trail.  Here is a Permian cephalopod I spied in the middle of the trail.

Cloudcroft is not far from a solar observatory in Sunspot, NM.  If you are ever in the area a visit to Sunspot is a must.  The road to Sunspot is a scenic byway and the telescopes are very interesting as well.  Here is a big solar telescope at the observatory.
White Sands is another must if you are near the Tularosa basin. The sand is gypsum and extremely white and soft.  I was messing around on the dune field when I took this picture.

It generally looks like you are driving on snow in White Sands National Monument.  This is a very odd sensation because it isn't cold at all in October.
Most of the animals, through natural selection, are white on the dune field.  However, I was about a mile into the field and I saw this black beetle.  Who knows where he came from but he left some cool tracks as well.
If you are every in the southwest, do stop in to see New Mexico.  It is truly the land of enchantment.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Clip Art

I found myself again sketching on my daughter's Ipad, (I really don't know how these things come about) and I created some new fall images.  I will most likely be using them on some of my fallish lessons, that is, if we ever really get below 98 degrees here in Phoenix.  It just doesn't feel like fall when it's that temperature outside!  My black cat inspired the cat in this set as she was sitting on my counter for the umpteenth time!  She did turn out nice though.  There are also several fall colored leaves, a witches hat, a spider web, two pumpkins, a cute owl,a full moon and a ghost.  All have transparent backgrounds (.png files) Below are some examples. Feel free to use these two fall clips for your own work, just please link back to my blog and my product link and give credit to Science, Etc. when you do.  Do not resell them as clip art. The complete product can be linked to here:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fish Clip Art!

I don't really know who needs fish clip art actually!  I was doodling around on my daughter's Ipad.  I don't have one but everyone else in my house does. :(  Sniff!  Anyway,  there is a cool application for Ipad that's called Art Studio which allows you to draw onto a transparent background and make some cool clip art images.  You do have to know how to draw, however.  There are some tricks that I use to get more symmetrical images like horizontal and vertical symmetry, but generally I free hand my art.  I needed a few fish for an ecology lesson I was doing so below are a few of the clips.  Feel free to use these fish clips for your own work, just please link back to my blog and my product link and give credit to Science, Etc. when you do.  Do not resell them as clip art.  The bubbles are included in this set as well. You can find the complete product at:

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Hobbit Vocabulary

Here is the first installment of my Hobbit lessons.  The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey is coming to theaters in December so what would be better that reading The Hobbit once again?  I couldn't really think of anything.  I reread the book to complete this vocabulary study and found it to be as delightful as I remembered it.  This product has over 90 pages of vocabulary words from The Hobbit in graphic organizers.  Many of these organizers have student-friendly definitions, ways for students to rate their understanding of the word, and space for non-linguistic representations.  Take a look at the preview below.  If you like it, it can be found in my store at:
The Vocabulary of The Hobbit

Hobbit Vocab Preview

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School Sale on TPT

Need some new ideas and products for your classroom?  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale on Aug. 12-13 with up to 28% off.  Just use promo code BTS12 at checkout to get an additional 10% off.  Most top sellers will have their stores on sale as well.  Happy back to school shopping!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Mars Rover Curiosity Lands on the First Day of School

This is just the most exciting thing for an earth and space science teacher like myself.  I start back to school with students tomorrow and Curiosity lands, if everything goes as it should. 

Last year we ended the year in my astronomy unit with 6th grade and this year they come back as 7th graders to finish the astronomy unit.  This has got to be the greatest opening for an astronomy unit since Spirit and Opportunity landed!  I have been trying to find other rover lessons besides the one I wrote for this great event.  I have found a great resource through Mars Education (ASU) that has many STEM elements.  "Marsbound" brings the "E" in STEM to life by having students design a mission to mars while staying under budget and getting the best scientific return.  I would recommend this project to students 6-early college.  I will definitely be using it this year as a hook for getting students interested in science and engineering.  Here is the link:
Good luck Curiosity!  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Lesson Cloud Dollar Days Sale

Announcing the first ever Back to School Dollar Days sale...with a &$75 Gift Certificate to Really Good Stuff to boot! This Sunday, July 29th and Monday, July 30th, join us on the Cloud for an amazing sale and giveaway! The Lesson Cloud authors have put together an amazing list of hundreds of items for just $1 or $2!! Stock up on all your Back to School needs for just $1 or $2 each. Plus, once you've stocked up, enter our $75 Gift Certificate Giveaway to Really Good Stuff!! Couldn't you use an extra $75 to start off the school year? Keep watching The Lesson Cloud blog, The Lesson Cloud Facebook page and The Lesson Cloud Twitter feeds for more!  Also, I will be updating this post to include the link to all products on July 29th.  Come back and check it out!
 ****Update**** Please click here to see the hundreds of items on sale Sunday the 29th

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Classroom Makeover

Maybe this should be called classroom ongoing makeover because it isn't done yet.  I went in to school to work on it yesterday and the air conditioning has now been turned off for the summer!  Now maybe some of you can get by on no air conditioning for an hour or two but in Phoenix it is just impossible!  So needless to say, I stayed for 20 minutes and I was so sweaty I had to stop.  I will have to revisit this post when I am completely finished with my room, which will hopefully be before meet the teacher night!

My main problem with my room is that it is purple.  Actually the whole school was painted purple until last year when they finally painted it a color that won't fade so bad in the Arizona sun.  The inside, however, is still purple.  I was just sick of my color scheme from last year.  I am not even going to show any pictures of it here!  So let's start with purple:

This was the big mess I walked into at the beginning of summer.  I promptly went home and Googled "What goes with purple?"  Of course I got the complementary "yellow,"  but I didn't feel like doing yellow.  Then I came upon a great site:
color scheme designer

The color scheme designer will tell you which kind of monochromatic hues look best, and what the complimentary colors are.  It also gives you a triad and a four color combo that includes an accent color to the triad.  It also gives an analog combination and an accented analog combo.  This really made my day!  Yellow is the complementary color to purple but there are many other unique colors to choose from.  I ended up choosing a blue, a lime green, and purple.  It doesn't sound good at all but it works with the black- purple thing I've got going on in there.  The first thing I did was dump my bookcase and line the back of it with a limey green contact paper:
Let me tell you that contact paper is a pain!  It looks pretty good now though.  I then ripped down all my bulletin boards and replaced my word wall with this:

I got some great tips from a website called School Girl Style.  Her post on how to decorate without upsetting the fire marshal can be found here:

It is really an excellent tutorial in using color without getting carried away by the cuteness of borders etc.  and overdoing things.  Here is my coordinating bulletin board on the other wall:

See how it's the same color scheme?  It looks much better this way than having a million different patterns and colors in your room.  The little poofy flowers were made by me with Martha Stewart's help!  Here are the pictures of the other paper poofs I want to put up this week or next (whenever the air is back on!)

My kitty Pippen attacked these right after I took this picture!  Let me know what you think so far.  I am by no means finished.  I will have to post the final look when I get it done:-).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

File Cabinet Nightmare!

My filing system was getting a bit out of hand!  I knew at the end of last year I could stand it no longer.  It was time to go through all of my lessons and redo the files!  This is easier said than done, however.  I have been a science teacher for 15 years.  I had lessons for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade.  I basically had to go through every file and relabel every one *sigh*.  I even color coded my files by unit:  Green was ecology, red was astronomy, etc...

While I was completing this monumental task, I had the great idea of making new file labels to go with my units.  I don't really know why I wanted to do this.  No one will ever really see these but me.  I might just leave my file cabinet drawer open when the principal walks in and casually pull some files out!  Anyway,  I am posting one of my labels here for the taking.  Maybe you have a science unit that needs relabeling!  All clip art was purchased through Digi-Web Studio.

Space Labels

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to Survive a Road Trip!

Everyone is out of school for the summer and it's time to get out of town and go on a road trip!  The destination may be wonderful, but sometimes getting there with kids can be a trial!  I was surfing through Pinterest for ideas and discovered a wonderful post by "The Dating Divas."  They have some incredibly cute stuff for road trips as well as some free printable games and labels.  The post can be found here:

Here is a picture of the state license plate game and some caramel corn I made for my kid's trip to San Diego.  Please notice the very cute label!

The post at The Dating Divas has other great ideas to pass the time in the car that would work very well for kids.  I am going to include my grandma's recipe for caramel corn here because it is to die for!  My grandma used make it in Colorado and chipmunks used to climb her window screens to get it!

Caramel Corn

1 cup brown sugar
1 stick margarine
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. butter flavoring
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Cook above for 2 minutes and pour over 6 quarts of popcorn in a paper grocery bag.  I usually add some caramel and then shake the bag before adding more.  Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  Shake bag.  Microwave for 1 minute.  Shake bag.  Repeat one more time.  I let my caramel corn cool on a baking sheet before putting it in a container.  Enjoy!  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Lunar Phase Game

Well I am finally done with my Lunar Phase Game.  I started working on this game because I will need something like it next year for my 7th graders.  I don't know a better way of getting students to learn a concept than a game!  Below is a preview.  Students move around the board and have to name the lunar phase to keep moving forward.  The cards are upside down because when assembling you fold them in half.  My son and I played it together and it worked very well.  He knew his phases, however, so it could be a longer game if you had students that didn't.  Let me know what you think.  I will definitely be using it during my astronomy unit! 
To find this game in my store please click here:

Lunar Phase Game Preview

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Organ Mountains, New Mexico

On a clear day, the Organ mountains can be seen from 100 miles away.  They are a rugged spine of needles that rise nearly a mile above the Tularosa Basin on the east and the Rio Grande valley on the west.  They are undoubtedly one of the most picturesque mountains in the southwest.  The stark, bare spine of rock and the changing colors of these mountains makes them a favorite among artists, photographers and rock climbers alike.  Here is a picture from my latest trip to southern New Mexico:
Organ Mountains, June 2012

The Organ Mountains are part of a tilted fault block which stretches from El Paso, Texas northward to central New Mexico.  These needles are the crown on this system which becomes less imposing northward.  As you can see, in the winter they are just as beautiful covered in snow:
Organ Mountains, December 2010

Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses,
And whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles,
And warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages,
Tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favorite things . . .

Especially the whiskers on kittens!  Here is my fun list of some of my favorite things!  This is a linky party that was created in about 20 minutes (graphic and all, no joke) by Sharing Kindergarten.

In education my favorite thing is:

teaching geology because it is just so cool!

Personally, right now I really like:

I haven't seen the HBO series, but I love the books!

Technically, I love:

We have a whopping three of these in our house!  They are just outstanding!  Link up at sharing kindergarten so we can read about your favorite things!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solar Eclipse May 20,2012

We haven't been able to see a good solar eclipse for many years in central Arizona.  Today's solar eclipse was fantastic!  An even better spot would have been the Grand Canyon.  Grand indeed!  Unfortunately, I couldn't quite get up there in time, as it is approximately four hours away. 

Of course you never want to look at an eclipse directly.  Unless you have the correct solar filters, your best bet would be use an indirect means of observing.  There are many ways to do this.  The simplest way to observe a solar eclipse would be to make a pinhole through some cardboard and allow the sunlight to pass through to hole to a paper.  This works but makes a very small image.  For today's eclipse we rigged a pair of astronomical binoculars by allowing the sunlight to pass through the large end and projected it on a piece of white paper.  We could even see sunspots using this method. Here are some pictures of what we could see from the Phoenix, Arizona area:

My favorite way of observing an eclipse does not require any equipment.  All you have to do is look around you.  As light gets filtered through tree leaves, blinds in your home, and other small pinpoints of light, crescents appear around you.  This is an actual image of the eclipse, similar to the way the pinhole viewer works.  Here is an example on my neighbor's house where the sun's crescent appeared everywhere:

The blinds in my house were also allowing just the right amount of light to allow multiple little eclipses on the wall.
I hope you had the opportunity to be in the right location to see this fantastic event.  The next one in my area is not until 2023.  I am sure I will out observing it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two Great Space Science Lessons

Here are two fabulous astronomy lessons that I do with my 6th and 7th graders.  The first is an ordering activity called Cosmic Survey: What are your ideas about the universe?  This is a lesson I start out with when I begin teaching astronomy.  I comes with pictures of different objects in the universe and asks students to put them in order from smallest to largest, closest to the earth to farthest away, and youngest to oldest.  It is a wonderful beginning activity.  Here is a picture of one of my groups looking at the different pictures:

This activity can be found at this address:

Another great activity for beginning students is a lesson that incorporates plotting about 100 stars using brightness and temperature of the star.  This lesson also has some questions that go along with the graph and a couple of articles about what a star is, as well as, information on habitable zones around stars.  Here is a picture of one of my students plotting a star:

This is another great, hands-on lesson that can be found here:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Three Day Teacher Appreciation Sale

Starting on May 6th and continuing through the 8th is the teacher appreciation sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Many sellers will have their stores on sale for the three days.  You can also take another 20% off with the above code of TAD12 at checkout.  This is one of our best sales of the year so don't miss out. My own store will have every item reduced!  I like to pick up some things for the next school year during this time.  Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why It's Good to Take Those Upper Level Math and Science Classes!

For those of you who thought in high school that you would "never use that math stuff anyway," here is the video for you.  One of my favorite personalities, Niel deGrasse Tyson, suggests that one good thing to come out of challenging yourself to learn difficult math and science would be the connections that happen in your brain.  These brain pathways help us to become better problem solvers. Unfortunately, most of us shy away from difficult things and never create these pathways.  He goes on to suggest that people who are science and math literate are the people who create new industry and are invaluable to companies. Basically, these are the people we need right now in the United States to sustain a bright future.  I showed this to my 7th graders before we started our astronomy unit and they really got a lot out of what he said. Anytime they get stuck on a math or science problem and have to really think hard to come up with the right answer they talk about the "pathways" they are creating!  Let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Get Into the Green- Earth Day 2012

Sunny Days in Second is have a great linky party for all your free earth day products.  Just click on the above picture to get there.  I have created some great little free stickers for earth day.  You can print them to the labels specified in the download.

The link to my stickers is here:
Have a great earth day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A Very Lovely Award

A big thank you to Michelle Baldwin from Apples and ABC's blog who nominated me for The Lovely Blog Award! 

Please check out her wonderful kindergarten blog.
Here are the rules for this award:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2.  Follow the person that sent it to you.
3.  Pass it along to 15 (ish) other lovely bloggers.

Here are some of my favorite blogs.  Check them out!

Frog Spot

Go Figure!

Life in Special Education

Teacher Park

Lessons From the Middle 

 Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings

It's Elementary

Smart Chick

The Teched Out Teacher

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beautiful Arizona

I am taking a little breather from science fair to post some pictures and scenery from around Arizona.  Those of you who read my last post know why!  Actually, my 6th graders did very well with their science fair project today.  Hopefully 7th grade will do the same. 
Those of you who have been to Arizona probably know how varied the landscapes and geology are across the state.  For those of you who haven't been here I hope you can visit soon!  Here are some great examples of scenery from around Arizona. 

These are Aspen trees up from Lockett Meadow in Flagstaff.  Do you know that aspens have a particular smell when they turn yellow like this?  Wonderful!

Meteor Crater:  A huge hunk of space debris smashed into the earth here near Winslow, AZ about 50,000 years ago.  This is one of the best preserved craters due to the dry climate.

This has got to be one of my favorite pictures ever taken in Arizona!  Sedona is a great place to go to get out of the summer heat.  This is Courthouse Butte with a nice storm behind it.  You will see this picture all over my blog and button.  I just love it. 

 This is Montezuma's Castle that can be seen driving from Phoenix to Flagstaff.  It is a Sinagua cliff dwelling that is actually a national monument.

This scene also graces my blog.  It is a photo taken by my husband of Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson.  It is a wonderful place to go at sunset.  Those are metamorphic rocks  in the foreground.  

This is one of my favorite parks in Arizona.  Most people do not know that we have volcanoes here!  This picture was taken at the cinder cones at Sunset Crater National Monument.  A great place to visit near Flagstaff.  

 I will end near Phoenix with a picture taken in the White Tank Mountains.  These rocks show pictographs that could approach 10,000 years old.  

Hope you enjoyed some of these pictures from around the state.  It is truly a varied place with a lot of great outdoor adventure.
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