All posts by Megan Thompson

Language Arts Mini Spark #63 – All About Axolotls

Do you love Axolotls? Learn more about the amazing Axolotl with this fun mini spark!

Step One: Read the Species Profile and answer these Reflection Questions. Axolotl Reading (Pages 1-2).

Step Two: Research. Find out even more by doing your own research. Use the sheet below as a guide (Description, Habitat, Diet, Lifespan, Conservation).

Step Three: Create! Show us what you learned about Axolotls in a creative way. Choose from one of the following options.

  1. Social Media Post – Using these templates, create Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter posts from the perspective of an Axolotl. Turn in your completed post(s) to your EY Coordinator.
  2. Minecraft Habitat – Design an ideal habitat or underwater playground for the Axolotl using Minecraft. You will need to complete this option at home. Take a photo or screenshot and send to your EY Coordinator.
  3. Regeneration Pic Collage – Did you learn that Axolotls have an incredible ability to regenerate? Watch the video below to learn more! What other Amphibians have this ability? Create a PicCollage that shows us what you discovered.

Language Arts Mini Spark #62 – Simile Me

What is a Simile? The official definition of a simile is a noun that means: “a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid.”

Step One: Watch this Brain Pop Jr. video about Similes 

and this word girl video

Step Two: Look at the Simile list below. Whisper read a scenario for each one

Example: as sly as a fox

Hillary was ______________________ , as she to gingerly placed the fruit bat into her backpack.

  • Easy as ABC
  • Like two peas in a pod
  • Straight as an arrow
  • Wise as an owl

Step Three: Watch and listen to the book, “My Dog Is As Smelly As Dirty Socks”. Click book image below.

Step Four: Write a “Simile Me”.

  • First, jot down five words you would use to describe yourself.
  • Use your five words and make comparisons to something else, writing your own version of a “Simile Me”

Here is my example:

1 – busy                                                                                                                                 

2 – creative

3 – hardworking

4 – happy

5 – sleepy

I’m as busy as a timer,

As creative as a stained glass window,

As hardworking as an elephant,

As happy as a well-loved dog,

And as sleepy as a pillow.

Step Five: Use an app of your choice to create a fun illustration/visual of your “Simile Me”

Step Six: Send your “Simile Me” and illustration/visual to your EY Coordinator!

Language Arts Mini Spark #61 – Caption This!

Even if a picture is worth a thousand words, it still needs a caption. Captions are easy to write if you begin with the basics. Let’s practice using the photo below.

Caption:  A caption is text that gives additional information about a picture or illustration.

Example: Begin by brainstorming Who, What, When, Where, and How. Once you have written down these details from the photo, write a caption that gives these details and some additional information (use the checklist below).

Caption Writing Checklist:

  • describe the picture
  • provide additional information
  • written in complete sentences
  • include adjectives and additional details

Now, try one a few on your own!

Teachers: Ask your EY Coordinator for this 65 page resource (PDF), would be great for warms ups and exit tickets to help students practice caption writing!

 

 

Mystery Bag Design Challenge

Looking for a really fun STEM challenge that you can do at home? This mystery bag STEM design challenge is a blast!

Step One: Gather Materials
  • One bag (you can use gift bags, lunch bags, grocery bags, or even large baggies.)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (scotch tape or masking tape)
  • Various kinds of recyclables (cardboard tubes, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum foil)
  • A variety of other materials (paper plates, plastic cups, string, yarn, pipe cleaners)
  • Mystery Bag Challenge Cards (print and cut these if you can)

Step Two: Fill Your Bag (Tip: it’s more challenging if a sibling or parent fills your bag)

Place about 8-12 items into the bag. You’ll want to be sure the items are varied. Each bag should contain at least one larger item that can serve as a base for the design, and then an assortment of smaller items.

Step Three: Print out the free mystery bag challenge cards. Cut them apart.

Step Four: Draw a challenge card. You could put the cards in a container to draw from or place face down on a table.

Step Five: Complete the challenge on the card using only the materials in your bag.

Bonus: Earn a  badge. If you complete FIVE mystery bag design challenges, you can earn the Mystery Design Challenge Badge. Go for it!!

Here is video I made at my old school where I challenged my students to create an innovative dog toy. Just ignore anytime I say, “Hey Bobcats”

 

 

L. Arts Mini Spark #58 – Creative Tweets

Step 1: What is a Tweet? Read the definition below and look at the examples.

  • What is a Tweet?  A tweet is a status update on a social media platform called Twitter that is broadcast to other users. Limited to 280 characters or less, tweets can express how users are feeling, what they’re doing, and anything in between.

Step 2: Look over the Tweet options below and choose one to complete. Turn in your finished work to your teacher or EY coordinator.

  • Option 1: Character Tweet

What would a character from a favorite book “tweet” at the end of a chapter or section. Write it as though you are that character using Twitter.

Character Tweet Example:

Character Tweet Template:

 

  • Option 2: Chapter/Section Tweet:

Think of a chapter of a book or section of a movie and summarize what happened twitter style.

Chapter/Section Template:

  • Option 3: Book Review Tweet

Book Review Tweet Examples:

  • Option 4: Historical Figure Tweet

Choose a person from a historical event. What would this historical figure “tweet” after this event? Write it as though you are that person using Twitter.

Historical Figure Template:

Step 3: Use the contact form below and type your Tweet in the Message section. Hit Submit

SEL Mini Spark #6 – A New Routine

Across the country, many teachers and students have transitioned into some form of distance learning. This is a big adjustment for most of us. You probably miss seeing your friends and teachers, going to special events like games and dances and even participating in ordinary parts of the school day, like lunch or short breaks. You might also miss — without realizing it — the routine that school brings to your life.

A school-day schedule helps us structure our time. It tells us when the day begins and ends, and how to spend all the hours in between. The school day builds in time for learning, physical activity and play, creativity, socializing, eating and taking breaks, too. Without this routine, a day at home can feel endless. Luckily, there are steps you can take to create a daily routine that works for you and provides some of the structure you’re missing. You’ll want to make sure your new routine allows you time for both productivity and rest.

Step 1: Read the rest of the Newsela article, Establishing a new routine for distance learning.

Step 2: Create a chart that includes the activities in your morning, afternoon, and evening distance learning routine. You may use a table in Google Docs or create a presentation in Google slides. Include clip art or photos that go along with each part of your day.

AFTERNOON EXAMPLE

Step 3: Post your distance learning routine chart/slides in your home work space to keep you on track and get the most out of your distance learning journey!

 

L. Arts Mini Spark #55 – Bio Poems

bio poem is a simple poem written about a person, and it follows a predictable pattern. Bio poems generally don’t rhyme, and they can be autobiographical (about another person) or biographical (about yourself).

Step 1: Decide who you want to research for your Bio Poem. Here are some options to get your brainstorming kick started.

  • American Presidents
  • African American Leaders
  • Influential Women
  • Favorite Athlete, Musician or Artist
  • Family Member or Friend
  • Yourself

Step 2: Research your selected person (or interview family member) so that you have content for your Bio Poem. Take notes!

Step 3: Read the sample Bio Poem below about Rosa Parks.

Step 4: Use the guide and template below to draft your own Bio Poem!

Optional: Draw or include a picture of your selected person.

SEL Mini Spark #5 – Inner Voice

We all have an inner voice that speaks to us regularly. When this voice is kind and understanding, it can be a great guide to helping you through challenges.
This exercise is all about getting to know your inner voice better. How do you talk to yourself when you face a challenge? Are you compassionate? Do you speak to yourself like you are your own best friend? Or are you a little more harsh and critical? Which voice do you think helps you reach your goals.
Step 1: Read about the challenges below and see how a self-critical voice (left column) sounds versus a self-compassionate one (right column). The compare how these two different voices affect the character you’re reading about.
Next time you have an adversity, take a moment to notice how your inner voice sounds. See if you can choose to speak to yourself with greater compassion. Speak to yourself like a best friend would speak to you.
Step 2: Your turn? Use one of the templates below to write in what you think a self-critical and self-compassionate voice sounds like. You can even use the last challenge you faced as an example.