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Technology Standards "I Can" Statements
Multiplication and Division Review Mystery Pictures

Science Interactive Task Card for Animals and Adaptations
Check back on February 3rd for a Pinterest Picks Linky!

Brittany Washburn
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Science Interactive Task Cards

Last summer as I was prepping to teach science specials for the first time, I was thinking about ways to integrate technology into my curriculum. I am very lucky to have 16 student computers plus 6 science tables in my classroom. At the time I was prepping to teach grades K-5, but then my schedule was switched to grades 2-5 for this school year. I had already developed 4 units of science "digital task cards" for both kindergarten and first grade for the school year.

It was critical to me that each set of task cards was developmentally appropriate. The kindergarten set is very simple. I set it up as a PowerPoint Show and put it in Kiosk mode, which means that it will take up the whole screen and can only be closed when the esc button is pressed on the keyboard. The idea here is that I could set up each computer before the students come (save the files to the desktop and access it when I need it). Since the students won't know how to get out of it, they will not be asking me for help when they accidentally close the screen. The links open on top of the PPT slide, so when you close each website after use, the PPT slide is right on the screen.

Kindergarten Science Digital Task Cards on Screen- Only Available as a Bundle
Since my classroom only had 16 computers, and all of the Kindergarten classes have more than 16 students, this is an ideal setup for stations. When it is time to transition to the next station, all the students are responsible for is closing the website they are on. Voila, it is ready for the next student. 

Developmentally, kindergarten students are accessing simple websites, practicing their mouse skills, and exploring science. Below is an example of a website chosen for the kindergarten level. 

By first grade, students are ready for an essential question to help focus their exploration. I had to somehow tackle the issue of students still not reading well. I developed a method to solve this problem. The essential question for each activity is given in both text form and audio file format. If the student wants the question read aloud, he/she just has to click the speaker icon- see below: 

There are less pictures and the website link is visible. Students at this age are starting to learn that blue underlined words are hyperlinks to a website. I would have students write the question and answer to each essential question in their notebook. Their goal would be to complete one task card each time they go to the computer during science. Non-writers could answer the questions verbally. 

This brings us to the readers and the scientists (a.k.a. grades 2-5). I use the same format for these grade levels. There are 4-5 essential questions and 8 interactive websites. I do require these students to write the question in the notebook and answer it with labeled pictures and a description. For the oldest students I make them cite which website they found the answer on. For my 2nd grade units, I even included 4 QR code activities for those with tablets that lack a flash browser. 

Second Grade Science Digital Task Cards include Essential Questions and 12 resources.

Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade Science Digital Task Cards
Some ideas for how to use these resources include:

  • A unit-long project, where students go on the computers when time is available and are expected to complete the activities by the conclusion of the quarter
  • As a teaching resource- 8 fantastic interactive websites plus essential questions, a picture, and vocabulary all in one place
  • Homework if you have students with access to technology at home (but you may not post the file online- flash drives are fine)
  • Extra credit for early finishers
  • Review before benchmark exams

Hopefully this has given you some ideas for how you could incorporate more technology in your science curriculum. It doesn't always have to be whole-group experiences, but should always be developmentally appropriate and require students to show what they have learned.

Thanks for reading!
Brittany Washburn
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You Oughta Know about Discovery Education's Techbook Trial

Today I want to tell you all about the Discovery Education Techbook Trial. I use the K-8 Science Techbook every single day in my Science and Technology specials (I teach grades 2-5). So, lets start with how to sign up.
First, go to and scroll below the header until you see

Now click on trial and go through the steps to sign up. If you already have an account you can enter it in, if not you will create one. 

Once you are logged in you will need to access the techbook from your main menu
Any other resources you have purchased through DE will also be on this list. 
Finally, here it is!
This is the course view, which I prefer. There is another view that is composed of text descriptions for each grade level and unit. I tend to be a very visual person so that is why I prefer to look at it this way. To dive deeper into how to use the techbook, let's check out 5th grade. 

I had to choose my state when I was signing up for an account, so here are the North Carolina units for 5th grade science. Again there are 2 views- one with pictures and one with text. We just studied the Human Body Systems so that is where I would like to go to show you around. 
 There are several mini-units in the Human Body Systems unit. This page gives an overview of the unit, including the objectives and essential questions. For the teacher the most logical thing to click next is "view model lesson."

Once you're in the model lesson, there are 2 ways to look through the resources. Across the top there are green tabs following the 5E model. This is considered their Core Interactive Text (aka text book with all the amazing DE resources built right in).

 Anywhere you see a blue vocabulary word in the text, you can click on it to bring up the interactive glossary. The glossary provides an explanation of each work in both text and multimedia formats.

You can view the video segments right from the page, and if you like them you can add them to your quick list with the plus sign so that you can get back to them when it is time to teach.

As you work through the E's you will find video segments, reading passages, virtual labs, assignments, and printable pages to use as formative and summative assessments.

Another way to get to these resources is back on the Model Lesson page. If you click the gray tab on the side that says DE Resources, you will find a list of links for each lesson within the unit. Clicking on any of the links will bring you directly to the resource. 
Either way, you will find amazing resources to use with your science students. I integrate the reading passages when I want students to fill in a graphic organizer with very little input from me. Our text books are so old and we don't have enough of them. For me it is always easier to print a few pages to use with each class. I assign the virtual labs and have the students complete them at the computer stations. The assignments provided work like a webquest, except that all of the links stay within DE. I have my students answer the questions for the assignments in their notebooks to show what they've learned and share out when we review. 

I highly recommend checking it out. If your school (or homeschool) can afford it, you won't be disappointed!
What science textbook series do you use? My county is up for textbook renewal and I submitted DE's techbook to be considered. 

Thanks for reading!

Brittany Washburn
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Essential Oils

I'm relatively new to the world of essential oils. I have played around with tea tree, lavender, and peppermint, but never really knew each of their full benefits. I was introduced to Young Living EO's and absolutely love their Every Day Oils kit.
As a teacher, we are around germs constantly. Since I see 4 different classes every day, I am definitely diligent about cleaning and purifying my classroom. I diffuse Purification (which smells like Starburst candy to me) regularly, and Thieves if there is some kind of sickness going around. 

Any teacher that sees more than one class in a day knows how the energy is different with each group. I love to use Lavender mixed with Grapefruit, or Stress Away for a subtle mood enhancer- for me and the kids!

I'm just starting to explore recipes for taking Young Living EO's internally. I read about a detox of peppermint, lavender, and lemon so I'm trying that today. I put 4 drops of each into a capsule (made enough for 4 capsules so I don't have to do it each day), and swallowed it with a bottle of water. About 20 minutes later I definitely feel the peppermint in my esophagus- is that normal? Who knows, but it just feels cold, not bothersome. I will come back and update on how this little detox is going. 

If you use essential oils I would love to hear ideas for how to use them in the classroom and at home. Thanks for reading!
Brittany Washburn
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Teaching Basic Coding in Elementary Grades

Regardless of what type of devices you have, (tablets, PC's, laptops) your students can now learn basic coding for free! This series will outline some great apps and software programs and ideas for their use within the elementary setting. While I have only attempted to use these with 4th and 5th graders, (who are amazing at it) I will point out the programs that are meant to be introduced to younger students.

During last school year I was introduced to the idea of coding for kids but did not have the time in my schedule to explore it with students. This school year we had a unique schedule where we saw 4th and 5th grade twice each week. I jumped on the opportunity to make the second class of the week an introduction to coding through the program SCRATCH. Check it out yourself by clicking on the picture below- it will bring you to the website.

I also found an incredible study guide created by Jeremy Scott. By clicking on the picture to the left you will be taken to my class website where you can see how I set up the project. The first day together the students and I walked through the study guide together. I showed them where the screencasts for each lesson are within the document as well as the vocabulary and guiding questions.

The first few sessions together I had to be really tough on my students that they HAD to answer the guiding questions (not just play on SCRATCH). After they completed about 3 lessons, a shift happened. The students realized the value of the guiding questions because they are actually problem solving and learning so much about how to use the program. To this day I am still blown away by one of my 4th grade classes because they literally do not speak while they are working on SCRATCH. Most of my classes are quite social during our coding time and use each other as a resource, bot not this one class. They are engaged completely. I practically begged my Assistant Principal to come see them! 

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To the left is an example from the study guide. I told the students that any time they see the smiley face with the light bulb it was very important information. As you can see from this example, if a student runs into the problem of the scripts processing differently than expected, they can read this section again to understand why. Serious problem solving going on here!

Ideally, I would have had about 16 weeks of 45 minute classes to go through the whole study guide. Most of my classes did not make it past lesson 4 or 5 because we just didn't have the time. I encouraged students to save the study guide to a flash drive so they could continue to work on it after we were done with it in class. I still have students come back to me and tell me (or ask to show me) what they have created. I particularly love it if it is a female student coming back to show me!

Thanks for reading part 1 in my "Elementary Coding" series. Make sure to follow my blog or pinterest boards so that you know when the next segment comes out!

Do you have questions about how to implement coding and problem solving with your students? Ask a question!
Brittany Washburn
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Organization Mania!

Brittany Washburn
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[name=Brittany] [img=] [description=Hi, I'm Brittany. I'm an educator obsessed with teaching with technology. I love creating and sharing teaching resources for technology teachers, media specialists, and technology facilitators. Thanks for checking out my site!]

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