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Engaging 5th Grade Science Review That Will Save you Time

Engaging 5th Grade Science Review That Will Save you Time


As the school year is winding down, test prep is winding up! I've been racking my brain thinking of the most efficient way to get my 5th grade students ready for their science state test.

As the school year is winding down, test prep is winding up! I've been racking my brain thinking of the most efficient way to get my 5th grade students ready for their science state test. A good chunk of my students joined after the beginning of the school year so I have no real way of knowing what they learned prior to coming to me. This, to me, means that I need to review everything in a substantial way. It needs to be an engaging review of each unit and should include just enough information to not overwhelm them... see the dilemma?

So I sat down and started writing out the most important things in each unit. This is what I came up with:
As the school year is winding down, test prep is winding up! I've been racking my brain thinking of the most efficient way to get my 5th grade students ready for their science state test.
I cross compared my list to the percentage breakdown given by the state and I was pleased. If I can make sure my students have a good handle on the things on my list, they will be successful on the test.

Of course we need more than just vocabulary. I want them to take notes, I want them to watch videos. I want to reach as many types of learners as I can and go at their pace (the constant struggle of a teacher, I know).

I am a paperless classroom with 1:1 technology, so my method would certainly involve tech. This is the first activity I made, for Ecosystems.
As the school year is winding down, test prep is winding up! I've been racking my brain thinking of the most efficient way to get my 5th grade students ready for their science state test.

It is a little hard to see in the picture so I will explain how I included everything. I started with a box of "most important things." I color coded the vocabulary words. Then, to help them understand the topic thoroughly, I linked to 6 online interactive videos, games, activities, etc. Students can move through these interactives at their own pace. I expect my students to take notes and add to their "most important things." Then, the big vocabulary. I stopped myself at 6 terms per unit. It was difficult to choose 6 because there are dozens and of course they are all important. These are click and drag, so the students match up the term to the definition. Finally, an essential question to answer. Students type the response right on the screen. One unit done.

I continued like this for all 4 of the major North Carolina Science units for the year, but made sure to include information from all of the categories on the NC Science EOG.

My hope is that students will be engaged and interested in these activities (and learn without even realizing it). Would you link to use this resource, too? Click here to download it.

I've also started working on vocabulary pages, like this one:
I plan to use these for homework next school year. Each "week" has 3 vocabulary words, which means 4 nights of homework. We might do the definitions in class on Monday and then they only have 3 nights, but I'm not sure yet. What terms would you include in this?

Thanks for reading!

As the school year is winding down, test prep is winding up! I've been racking my brain thinking of the most efficient way to get my 5th grade students ready for their science state test.



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Brittany Washburn
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Teacher Appreciation

Teacher Appreciation


Teachers, let's appreciate each other for the hard work and dedication that is required to be a great teacher. This week I aim to make your life easier by offering resources to save you time and effort. Let me tell you about my top three wish listed resources in my TpT store. These three resources are what I like to call the "Technology Teacher Package" because they set up any tech teacher with everything needed to teach and assess the standards for students in grades K-5. 
Brittany Washburn's 3 top wish listed resources are on sale!
Let me help you clear your wish lists. You will be so glad you did!

Brittany Washburn's Top Wish Listed Resource is on SALE!
 When I was working as a technology teacher a few years ago, I discovered that there were no sets of I Can Statements available for the technology standards like there were for the grade level subject areas. My administration required that we post the objectives on the board for each class, so I got to work creating I Can Statements for my K-5 technology classes. I compiled them all and now offer them for sale in my TpT Store.

 The file includes over 100 I Can Statements in two formats. Half-page and full page. Here are two examples of the full page statements for the 3-5th grade students.

Brittany Washburn's second most wish listed resource on sale!
 My second most wish listed resource is Technology Essential Questions Posters. For each Technology standard, I created an essential question. These are great to use for project based learning, STEM, Genius Hour, or for any content area to bring in 21st century learning.
Here is an example of a poster from the set. I would use this in any subject area and with any grade level (even college). In fact, I think my Assistant Principal has brought up this very question with our staff from time to time. Display these posters in your classroom and refer to them to help your students develop their information literacy. 
Brittany Washburn's third most wish listed item on sale
My technology teacher planning and data binder is my favorite resource that I have ever created. I am so proud every time someone buys this resource because I know it will change his/her life- for the better! Everyone else has a teacher binder, so why not one for technology teachers? Everything you need from checklists to planning pages to student reflection sheets is available for each technology standard grades K-5. 

 In fact, I've created an email course to describe how I plan my technology lessons. There are 5 parts to it and if you would like to sign up, you can do so here. (It is completely free and you get a free planning page just for signing up).

Thank you to Teaching in the Tongass for coordinating this incredible collection of resources.
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Brittany Washburn
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Interactive Notebooks have gone DIGITAL

Interactive Notebooks have gone DIGITAL


Science Digital Interactive Notebooks You Need to See

Interactive Notebooks Gone Digital

Science Digital Interactive Notebooks You Need to See

Do you use interactive notebooks in your  classroom? 

Interactive notebooks are incredibly beneficial for students because they work on so many different skills. 
  • Improved information retention
  • Involves multiple learning styles
  • Helps students organize their thoughts
  • Proof of learning
  • Parent/teacher communication
  • Differentiation
Even with all of the good, there are some downfalls. Are you sick of all the wasted paper and the wasted time waiting for students to cut everything out? 

The negatives have nothing to do with the concept of interactive notebooks, rather all of the wasted time and supplies. There has to be a better way! 

Do you have access to devices like computers, laptops, or tablets? 
Then you will LOVE Digital Interactive Notebooks. 

Check out the capability in this demo video. In the video you will see a preview of the Water and Weather Digital Interactive Notebook for 5th grade Test Prep.


By transferring the content to digital interactive notebooks, you get all of the benefits of interactive notebooks with all of the convenience of technology. 



Students even get to work on some skills unique to using devices, like mouse and keyboard skills. It is never too early to help students work on their tech skills. Students in Kindergarten can benefit from digital interactive notebooks as long as they're designed for the age group. 

This poster is yours for free by filling out the info. 

Ask me your questions and/or put in requests for more content in the comments. Interested in the product in the promo video? Click here to see it on TpT.
Interested in digital interactive notebooks for other content? Here are some other resources I have:


Science Digital Interactive Notebooks You Need to See

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Brittany Washburn
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2016 Goals

2016 Goals


I've spent most of my break reflecting on how the school year has been going so far. I'm sure you can relate! This helped me come up with some goals for the remainder of the school year.

My first idea might seem strange. My goal is to stop looking for problems. You might be thinking that finding problems is one of the main jobs of the teacher, and I agree. I will not stop assessing students for understanding and fixing deficiencies. What I mean by this has much more to do with the job outside of my students. If you're anything like me, you spend your free time looking for things to fix, too. I realized that I am spending far too much time getting worked up over how to fix these problems than they are worth. Most of the time these things are out of my control anyway. I guess I'm growing up!

Second goal is to listen to more podcasts. I love the Smart Passive Income podcast and I recently found Zen Founder. When I do listen to podcasts it helps me feel like I am on the right track. I have a 30 minute commute each way and this seems like the perfect thing to do to pass the time.

Those are my goals. Short and sweet. What are you looking forward to in 2016? Any goals you would like to share? Let me know and we can keep each other accountable.


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Brittany Washburn
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New Year's STEM Sale

New Year's STEM Sale


Start off 2016 right by engaging your students with STEM, and do it with these discounts on December 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Click on the graphic below to go directly to all of the resources discounted:
2016 STEM New Year's STEM Sale

I have been so blessed to work with some amazing STEM Resource creators. They make such engaging, fun stuff for elementary students. I don't consider myself a STEM resource creator. Rather, I provide the building blocks to be able to complete STEM activities successfully. For this very special sale, I am discounting 2 resources that will help any beginner STEM enthusiast learn the terminology and skills they will need for STEM challenges.
2016 STEM Primary Technology Task Cards
These "task cards" are really like entire lessons, just without a script and a perfect answer ending. They are meant to teach higher order thinking skills while using 21st century tools. The best part is that even if you do not have access to the recommended devices, you can still have students complete these lessons with the supplemental worksheets. These are wonderful for when you have an older "buddy class" work with students. I recommend previewing each activity whole group before expecting students to complete them independently. Since they are open ended your students will love being creative and using their 21st century skills.

2016 STEM Technology Vocabulary Worksheets
This set of technology vocabulary worksheets is for everyone! They are differentiated for grades K-2 and ELL students with pictures, graphics, and multiple ways to learn the same terms. There is spiral review with scaffolding to become more independent learners. You and your students will love learning technology vocabulary with cut and paste activities, foldables, fill in the blanks, search, find, and label, conversation cards, flash cards with QR codes, and more.

If this is the first time you've come across my blog and store, welcome! I aim to create teaching resources that are engaging for the students and time saving for the teacher. My years of experience as a technology teacher grades pre-k through 5th have instilled a passion in me for 21st century learning. Check out some of my blog posts for ideas for technology lessons that anyone can complete. You may even learn a thing or two!

Hop on to the next blog and thanks again for checking out my resources.
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Brittany Washburn
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Treadmill Desk

Treadmill Desk


Hi friends! I am writing to you today from my new treadmill desk! It is something I asked my husband to look into for me. We already have a treadmill at home so I have been researching ways to easily transition between using it for work (walking very slowly) and for exercise (my preference is HIIT). For now, I simply laid a heavy board across the arms. My husband promises to put it on braces and add about 6 inches so that my arms can be bent at about 90 degrees while working.

So far I've been walking at 1.4 mph for about 42 minutes and find it to be invigorating. I made purchases, did some product creation, and am listening to the new Adele CD 25 , which is phenomenal and motivating all on its own.
Treadmill desk DIY
This is the first prototype. We had leftover board from cutting a butcher block piece for our foyer. I took this picture before realizing there is plenty of space for my mouse, so I ran and got that from my sitting desk. I look forward to the next version because my wrists are starting to feel the strain.  What do you think? Would you use a treadmill desk?

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Brittany Washburn
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Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers


Classroom management can be so tricky, especially for a new teacher. I know I struggle with wanting my classroom environment to be "special" while also keeping students serious and focused enough to cover some intense topics. I am fortunate to have supportive team mates, but 4 out of the 5 of us have been doing this less than 6 years. We had to put our heads together to come up with a plan that would work for all of us, and it is still evolving.

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

Classroom Management System

We really needed a way to communicate with the homeroom teachers. The time we have between classes is so limited, so we had to come up with something quick and meaningful. We decided to do a scoring system. On the board, each class starts with 5 points (we use the letters ROCKS, because our mascot is a "Rocker Man"- imagine a teenager with a guitar).

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

The only time a letter (and point) is taken away is for voice level infractions. Each specialist has a chart similar to this one hung in his/her classroom.
Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

Establishing Classroom Expectations

We work so hard at the beginning of each school year to make sure all students understand the expectations. We practice the different voice levels. Model what each sounds like, and practice some more. Since we only see each class once per week, it is important to go over the expectations again at the beginning of each class. In my room, I expect them to come in without talking. If there are more than 5ish students talking when they come in and sit down, I take a letter away. This is a whole class consequence, so if it is just one student then I address it with that one student.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Whenever I have to take away a letter I stop the entire class and talk about why they are losing a letter. I usually ask the class why they think they are losing a letter. I call on 2-3 students to answer. I always try to call on someone who was talking too loudly and someone who was doing the right thing. Many times I can get an apology out of a student who was not following expectations! Then I send them back to work understanding that if the talking continues then I will have no choice but to take another letter.

At the end of class, we look at how many letters we still have left. Each specialist has a cute little slip of paper with our symbol on it where we write the score.

Classroom Teacher Buy-in

I wait until the teacher has arrived to write the score. I make them line up following all expectations and leave the sheet blank until we can talk about what the score is and why they are getting it. I love it when we can do this with the teacher standing in the doorway. It helps her/him understand how class went without us having a separate conversation.

Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

When I walk around the school, I see our score sheets hung on the classroom door (but only if its a 5). Many times when a teacher drops a class off, she/he will remind them that a 5 is expected ("Class, show me on your hand what score you are aiming for today," and all the students hold up their hand showing a 5). If the teacher doesn't do this at drop-off, I will ask them before they walk into my classroom. I like to remind them each week.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Individual Students Not Following Expectations

So what do we do if an individual student is causing the problem, or if the infraction has nothing to do with voice level? We have a "Think Sheet."
Sometimes it is necessary to send a student out of the classroom (he or she is being disruptive, showing anger and needing a break, or came into class with something going on and just can't get it together to focus on the lesson).

We are so lucky to have the other specials classes in the same area of the school. I can send 3 students out at a time if needed, but I've never had to send more than 2. The Art, Music, and PE teachers are all on board with this method. We take a minute to grab a Think Sheet and fill out the top (name of student, what student needs to do while out, how long I expect it to take). Depending on the student, sometimes I send them with a responsible buddy. Or, I send the student out and send another student over with the Think Sheet a minute later because sometimes the disruption just needs to go!
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.


The bottom half of the sheet is to be filled out by the student. It starts with a simple checklist of what he/she did. Then some short-answer questions asking the student to reflect on his/her behavior. I expect the student to sign it. When the student finishes the Think Sheet, he/she can come back to class. Usually by the time the student comes back, the rest of the class is working and I can take a minute to talk with the student. I always let him/her know that their teacher and parents will be signing this form as well. Most students aren't happy to hear this, but they need to take responsibility- especially when they interrupted the learning of their classmates.

Most teachers are happy to receive the Think Sheet and send it home to the parents, because they are seeing the same type of behaviors throughout the day. Having feedback from someone else is reassuring. I try to snap a photo of the Think Sheet before it leaves my classroom because they rarely make it back to me. I want to have the documentation.

Only once this school year did I have a student come back acting worse than when he left. I called the office for someone to come get him and I was able to use the Think Sheet to show that I tried on my own, but was unsuccessful.

Student Buy-in

Finally, I think it is so important to be open with students about what is expected of them academically each class. Since I teach Science and Technology, my "I Can Statements" display is packed. There is always at least one technology standard and one science standard addressed for each grade level.
Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

I start class with a warm up question and then tell them the standards we are working on that day. I can then use that I Can Statement as a guiding question during the lesson. In my experience, students are more engaged when they can see and understand what they are working toward.

Most of the time during the last 5 minutes of class, I bring the students back together and let them share at their tables a specific question, or what they learned that day. I love to tell them to also choose one student who will be responsible for sharing what his/her table learned. Even if I don't get around to letting every table share, by having them think they will have to share out (and usually I have time for 1 or 2 tables to share) they will take the conversation more seriously.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Hopefully this post will help you with some ideas for your own classroom. The main advice I can give is to have the same schedule every day (warm up questions, directions, independent work, group reflections, wrap up, etc.). I also keep them very busy. It is rare that everyone finishes the entire assignment. These 2 things have been the key to my successful Science and Technology program.

Do you want all of the tools in a kit ready to prep and go for your classroom? Click on the picture to go to the resource on TpT.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Are you looking to connect with other technology teachers? Join my Technology Teacher Tribe Facebook Group.

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers
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Brittany Washburn
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