Friday Loves = Nordstrom + Organizing "Stuff"!

Hello there!   I 'm delighted to link up today with The Blended Blog for Friday Loves 
and Anna Nuttall's Bloggers Link-Up!

Hello Nordstrom Sale!

I'm jumping on the Nordstrom Annual Sale bandwagon!  I bought four items!  Of course, they're all in transit so I can't tell you if they fit or if I even like them in real life!

Click here to check out these pants and here for this adorable hat!

 I've wanted a sweater blazer for a long time, and I'm hoping this one fits well!  Also, I do love Kate Spade and plaid so I have high hopes for this scarf!

 Hello Organizing!

 At the annual fundraiser for my local public library, I bid on two hours of organizing with a professional organizer, Simplify with Eileen.  I have bid on this prize for years, and finally, I won the prize!  When she came for the initial consultation, I ended up with homework:  organizing my necklaces.  I needed to purchase mini Command Hooks and hand up my necklaces.  Check out the finished product:

 Hello Purging!

To further help in my organizing effort, I am now reading this book:

 I'm not in love with the title, but I've already made strong connections.  The author - who is between 80 and 100 years old - speaks about cleaning out someone's "stuff" after they've died.  I did this job for my mother and my father, and I would prefer to clean out my own "stuff" ~ not that I'm planning on dying; I'm just planning on purging my unnecessary "stuff!"

Almost Time to Say Good-Bye to my Boot

I'm in the home stretch with my orthopedic boot.  On Thursday, I'll be getting an x-ray which should show that my foot is all heeled!

Hello Jellyfish~!

Check out this behind-the-scenes picture from the New England Aquarium. 

These jellyfish are being groomed to be part of an exhibit or food for other fish.

I really enjoy hearing from you.  Please let me know in the comments if you bought anything at Nordstrom or if you have a must-read book to recommend!


Science + Inquiry Based Teaching = Super Learners!

     As part of my course at the New England Aquarium, I have homework.  This week's homework involved reading an article:  Using Inquiry-Based Teaching... by Paula Magee and Ryan Flessner and sharing our insights on their ideas.

     How do you teacher science?  Have you had professional development about teaching science?  Does your administration provide you with sufficient and usable resources to teach science?  If so, you are not alone!  This article reviews and supports a new and improved way to teach science:  Inquiry Style Science!

     Inquiry science is a collaborative approach to teaching and includes these five steps:

1.    Use “Thinking Starters”

The first step of this strategy is a fun and engaging hands-on activity that introduces/review the science topic.  After the activity, students generate questions stemming from the activity.

Here are my students building levees to prevent flooding in hurricane prone areas:
Click here or on the picture to read more about this amazing activity!

2.    Listen to Children’s Ideas

In this step, the teacher listens (and documents) the students’ own ideas.  It doesn’t matter if their ideas make sense, the teacher needs to accept these ideas to tease out misunderstandings and to know what needs to be taught/reviewed next.

Teachers can and should continue to use the content standards that are expected as well as enable their students to have a “scientist-like” experience.  In the real world, scientists solve problems and decide how to proceed in order to solve the problems.  By incorporating the principle of listening to student 
ideas, teachers can then allow and guide their students to solve the problem needing to be solved.

4.    Develop Complex Questions

In this step, students “dig deeper, make connections…like the real questions that scientists pursue.”  Of course, my students never run out of questions to ask!
5.    Document and Reflect

Students now write and/or draw the important details they discovered during this whole inquiry-based process in order to remember and be able to revisit their findings.

My Thoughts
     I LOVE inquiry-based teaching and learning!  I did cringe though when I read how science used to be taught using a textbook and learning vocabulary ~ that’s how I’ve been teaching science for years.
     Luckily, we’ll be starting a new program next year:  STEMscopes!  This new program utilizes hands-on experiences throughout the whole learning process.  At the end of last year, we completed the Weather and Climate unit.  My students’ favorite part was building a levee to prevent a flood.  The kids worked in small groups, and they all figured out how to prevent the water from breaking the levee (although some needed a second try!).  In addition, we received all the materials needed to construct the levee which was an enormous help!

      What about you?  How do you teach science?  What program do you use?


It's All About The Water!

Happy Summer Weekend!  Summer is the BEST!  I'm delighted to connect today with the Blended Blog for their weekly link-up as well as B Loved Boston for her weekending link-up!

It's also the season in which we use the MOST water which is a great segue into this blog post about my class at the New England Aquarium Teacher Resource Center last week!

Saving Water = One of the Most Important Things to Do!

Most parts of the United States have plenty of fresh water ~ except the southwest where water is in short supply.  However, there are so many people in the world who do not have access to clean water:

   1 in 9 people world wide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.

On the last day we did a water simulation activity in which we had to carry a hand weight, walk to the other side of the room and get our water.  The problem:  the water was full of dirt.  I just can't imagine not having clean, fresh water ~ it's a resource I take for granted every day.  We also learned that each minute you are in the shower, you use 5 gallons of water.  Of course, I shower as quickly as possible any way, out of habit, but I do remember my own children taking such long showers that there was no hot water left afterwards!  What a waste of water!  From now on, I'm going to try to find as many ways to save water.  If you have any unique water saving tips to share, please let me know in the comments.

Behind the Scenes at the Aquarium!

One reason I love to take on-site courses is the opportunity to see things not normally open to the public.  Our class got to go see what happens to the fish when they're "off duty" or retired.  For example, this turtle - nicknamed Killer - tried to or did bite a child during a presentation.  Now he's an official "behind the scenes only" sea animal:

The Aquarium also has two electric eels.  One is one display while the other recuperates:

In one display tank, several cobras live.  Once they get too hefty, the employees can't remove them to get their measurements.  As of last year, here's their weights and lengths:

By the way, Wilson is a girl!

Visiting a Salt Marsh

Boston used to have many salt marshes.  Now there is one left, and it's a beautiful place to walk and to see many different birds!  We visited Belle Isle Marsh on Wednesday, and it is even accessible by public transportation!

Growing up I always played in the marsh (not Belle Isle) across the street from my house, and now that marsh is a protected area!  I'm so glad that the government is protecting these important to the environment places!

 Field Trip to Spectacle Island

If you want to get away from it all, head to Spectacle Island which is a four mile boat ride away:

If you can spot the water tower on the small hill, that's Winthrop ~ the town where I grew up!

Upon arriving at Spectacle Island, there is a Visitor's Center complete with bathrooms and a small restaurant called Salty's.  The beaches are pristine and chockfull of sea glass and old pieces of pottery. It's an amazing day trip, and if you're really adventurous, you can travel to other Boston Harbor Islands!

Well, there is plenty more news to share, but I'm stopping here.  Thank you for visiting and reading about my adventures from last week.  Please let me know if you've even been to any of these places or if you have recommendations for must-see places!

Have a wonderful day!

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