Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Do you want to code a snowman?

In your best frozen singing voice: do you want to code a snowman?

We did today for the hour of code! The kids learned a lot about computers and programming using the frozen coding game on Here's a picture of a firstie trying it out:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TPT Sale!

Are you ready for Cyber Monday? Be sure to head over to TPT and check out all the amazing savings you can get! Make sure you use the code provided! 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five for Friday

 I'm excited to be linking up for my second ever five for Friday!
 In past years I really never enjoyed the thematic activities for Thanksgiving. I don't know why... just never really loved it. But now I totally do! This week my kiddos had so much fun competing in STEM challenges. They made teepees, Thanksgiving tables and the Mayflower!

 Being from the south I am not a fan of cold weather, but it was nice to use our new wood stove in our new house! It made things nice and cozy!
The cold weather totally got me into the Christmas mood, so I went ahead and put up a tree in the kitchen! If you don't believe in decorating before Thanksgiving you better close your eyes!!!
Yes... I'm going overboard with the new house. I can't wait to get up the real tree in the living room! 

 Okay... back to school stuff! I'm so in love with STEM challenges right now. So much that I spent the last month making all kinds of fun Christmas STEM challenges. I can't wait for December!

We had a special visitor in the Hilley house recently. Buster the Bunny from my son's pre k class came to visit. It was too cold to have too much fun with Buster outside, but he had plenty of indoor fun!

Well... I really don't have anything exciting for number 5. Except this really cute picture of baby boy on his pony, Porkchop! I'm not sure I can handle much more cuteness than this!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teepee STEM Challenge

Can you build a teepee out of newspaper and tape that is large enough to sit in? My first graders can!
Aren't STEM challenges a great way to encourage science learning while staying within the Thanksgiving theme? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How Much Can Your Thanksgiving Table Hold?

I prompted my kids with the problem of needing to build a Thanksgiving table for their family because the one we have isn't big enough! The question was: Who can build a Thanksgiving table that can hold the most weight? They were given 5 pieces of white paper, 6 inches of masking tape and told to go to work. At first I got a few looks of confusion on how they were going to make a table that could hold "food" AKA books up. After about 30 minutes of thinking and building we had our "competition". The kids were amazed to see how successful their tables were. Who would have thought you could build a table that strong out of paper?!?! 
This table held 82 chapter books! Wow! 
This was so much fun!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mayflower Fun!

Don't you just absolutely LOVE STEM challenges? I do! If you haven't tried them and are looking for a way to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math learning into your themes, then you need to check them out. This week my first and second graders were challenged with the question: Can you build a Mayflower that can hold the most cargo. (Cargo being pennies) They were only allowed 1 foot of aluminum, 2 straws, 1 piece of paper and 6 inches of tape. They had a blast while learning about measurement, engineering, data collection, graphing as well as the new learning they acquired about boat shapes and buoyancy!
If you'd like to check out my collection of STEM activities for Thanksgiving, click here.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Five for Friday!

One of my favorite parts of being the gifted science teacher is robotics! This week the second graders were introduced to our Robo-robo robotics kits and built their first robot "Easybot". It is always so much fun to see their little hands and brains at work and to see them excited about robotics and coding! They are being set up for a bright future in STEM education!
Oh my! My third graders lost all power and ability to create fire! They must be able to make Thanksgiving dinner using a solar oven. What shall we do?!?! Well... they used their research and engineering skills to build their own solar ovens from materials in our room. But don't worry... the Thanksgiving dinner was really just cheese quesidilla!
I was so happy to finish up my Thanksgiving STEM engineering bundle. I LOVE LOVE LOVE engineering challenges and working alongside my kids. I will use these challenges in all grades of elementary.
In fourth grade this week we are learning all about weather and the weather tools meteorologists use. The kids have been challenged to make a weather box for our school that includes 5 homemade weather tools. Here is a box so far with a thermometer and anemometer:
I used my FAVORITE game this week! Most of you probably already know about it, but if you don't you totally have to try it out. However, you need a 1:1 classroom or a small group of ipads/devices. The game is called Kahoot and it's a game of knowledge and speed! My kids love racing through the game to see who is on top. If you are interested go to

This was my VERY FIRST five for Friday blog post! I hope someone out there enjoys it!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I'm back!!!!

Last year I was new to this blogging thing! About 6 months into it we were blessed to have the opportunity to buy some land and build a new home! We are finally "finished" (not sure you can ever be finished) and moved in.

I'm excited to be back and try again to share the happenings in my classroom!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Da da... da da... da da da da... SHARK!
Is it just me or do second graders LOVE sharks? At the end of the school year, I love to learn about all sorts of aquatic creatures and the kids do too. I've just finished my nonfiction sharks unit and wanted to share my ideas.

To remind the students of the important features of a nonfiction text, I've created some pictures to teach the features. Here is one:

I've also included lots of graphic organizers to organize our thinking:

My favorite part of this unit is the 11 informational shark posters:

I've also included a nonfiction book title page, table of contents and lined paper.

I'm so excited about this unit! If you are interested, you can check out the unit in my TPT store

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Engineering Anyone?

This year I have had the honor of teaching an advanced content group of second graders. Keeping them intrigued has been a challenge, but tons of fun! Last week I experimented with engineering in our space unit by challenging the kids to create a parachute with a slow fall time. The kids and I all had SO... MUCH... FUN and learned a lot! I really wish I had some pictures to add, but in all the excitement I forgot! The parachutes really got me thinking about STEM and how to incorporate engineering into the classroom more. Therefore, this week I have planned a "Tall Tales Engineering Challenge"! I'm pumped about this. I found the unit on TPT and if you are interested you can grab it here. Each day in reader's workshop, we are reading and story mapping a new tall tale then I'm challenging the kids with the engineering challenge. I'm really excited about this new endeavour and hope it is a success!
Pictures coming soon...