Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wow! What a trip!

Have you ever had a trip that left you breathless?  My trip to San Francisco is one that did...besides the usual sight seeing trips to the Golden Gate bridges, Fishermen's Wharf, and more I was able to visit Napa, Muir Woods and Sonoma.

 Have you ever been to a Redwood Forest? The majestic trees were awe inspiring, the mountain and valley views on the trip up there were magnificent.  Napa.....was pure beauty.  The weather was perfect, the air smelled so clean, the fog was fantastic!  Did I mention we rented a convertible?  That's the only way to go!  We stopped at a petrified forest, and even saw Old Faithful of California. This Virginia gal was in heaven!!!

One more funny thing happened while I was in Berkeley.  We happened to be staying at the same hotel as the Real Madrid soccer team.  Can I say the most FAMOUS soccer team in the WORLD?  (Not to mention....extremely good looking!) We played paparazzi for a while and took some great pictures.  It was very EXCITING.

But of course the real reason we were there was to get some training in FOSS 3rd edition.  Going to the Lawrence Hall of Science at U Cal Berkeley was a life, long dream.  This, my friends, is the birthplace of greatness....where GEMS was created, Seeds of Science, and FOSS.

First, I must mention the view.  The Hall is located on top of a mountain and the views of San Francisco are amazing. I told one of the instructors that I would never get any work done, because I would be so distracted gazing at the view. (By the way, that's not my hair sticking up, but a plant in the background!)

We spent three days learning about FOSS 3rd edition and the upcoming additions based on the Next Generation Science Standards. Can I say, phenomenal?  I am still wrapping my mind about everything I learned and am not quite ready to blog about it....yet.  As soon as I am, I will roll out another blog.

My new friends....Marty and Sarah with my bestie Sherrie. 

Until later....


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bucket List

I have been looking at pictures from this past year and realized I did not take as many pictures of the work we were doing in the classroom.  Have you ever had one of those years that was just "off"? For me that is how I would describe last year.  Now, let me start by saying - It wasn't the kids.  The kids were typical, fun loving fourth graders.  We had a blast learning, growing, building, creating and ... yes, they even scored well on the end of year tests.  It was me.  First, the school year was choppy with snow days and polar vortex days.  Second, my teenager was struggling in school - that was hard on the whole family! Third, morale was down in my school and district due to a new teacher evaluation system and lack of funding/raises and more. So what did I take pictures of? My family.

As I looked at them, I saw great photos of family gatherings.  My husband holding my four year old  nephew upside down!  My son playing soccer and eating ice cream.  My teenager in marching band and on the kayak.  My dog playing with toys and looking adorable!  My friends were doing silly things with props, at pool parties, at school events and more.  This made me feel happy.

Tomorrow I am leaving on a trip of a lifetime!  I am going to San Francisco with one of my closest, silliest friends.  We are going to the Lawrence Hall of Science where FOSS is headquartered.  I am so excited to do this!  Yes, I will have three days of training...but I am also going to have some FUN...biking across the Golden Gate bridge, visiting Pier 39, tasting some delicious wine in Napa, and visiting the Redwoods at Muir Park.

Don't worry, next year I will get back on track...documenting my science instruction with a literacy emphasis. But for the next few weeks, I will enjoy my time with family and friends...and FOSS!


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer fun with Camp Invention

Have you ever heard of Camp Invention?  This is one of the ways I have spent my summer vacation!

Camp Invention is the only nationally recognized, non-profit elementary enrichment program backed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame. 

I had the opportunity to be the director of this year's camp.  It was our first time having the camp and the kids had a blast!  My principal's own children had attended this camp at another location one summer and he was very excited to introduce the staff to this STEAM related camp.  From a director's standpoint, I will tell you that the company provides ALL of the curriculum, material, training and support.  On my end, I helped to find the kids and take care of problems during the week.

Here is a great video clip from the camp that showcases more information about the camp's activities and the connection to real inventors.  

Here are some pictures of the kids and the products they invented.  Enjoy!

Using fabric to create and design fashion.

Taking apart electronics!  The kids loved this...who wouldn't? They then used pieces from the inside on a pinball machine that they created.

Can you hear inside the room?


Look at the hat I engineered for Crazy hat day!

Prototypes for new car designs.

Tinkering and creating with recycled materials. 

For more information, contact Camp Invention at