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How You Can Build a Worm Farm at School

Recently I taught some lessons about earthworms and ecosystems. I did this in a series of short lessons that you will enjoy. Even your children that don’t like to do their work will work for you if they get to touch a worm. 🙂

Lesson 1: We read the Diary of a Worm. This book is so fun and helpful to boost creativity. Students gladly named their worm. Next, we learned about the anatomy of a worm. You can find diagrams in lots of places showing worm anatomy. Then we observed a worm wih a magnifying glass to see how it moved.

Lesson 2: We did three simple worm experiments with our worms in a plastic Dollar Tree dish covered with another clear dish so that it made a kind of petri dish. 1. Does the worm like moisture? Half the dish is covered in wet paper towel. Students place one worm inside and see which way it travels. 2. Does the worm like darkness? We covered half of the roof with black construction paper to see if the worm would like dark or light. 3. We tapped one side of the dish with a pencil to see if the worm would like or not like sound.

Lesson 3: We build a worm farm/ecosystem. I used old lettuce containers that can be found at the grocery store like these. On the bottom of the container, we placed brown paper to soak up any water from when we added a fine mist. Then of course we added some dirt. I let several children come and add a cup of dirt so there would be lots of involvement. Next, I let children add their worm. Finally we added some food such as celery leaves and fallen oak tree leaves. Ta-da! Earthworm Academy is open for business!

Happy New Year 2023

Merry Christmas!

Do You Need a Candy Cane Forest?

At school I’m in an outdoor trailer with several other specialists. I have wanted for several years to have a candy cane forest like is described in the Elf movie:

“I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly-twirly gumdrops, and then I walked through the Lincoln Tunnel.” 

This year, I had several others on board with me, so we collected supplies from parents to build one. In order to make this happen, we would need the main things. candy canes, gum drops, and any other random Christmas decor, We did work in a trailer park, so we had liberty to be “trailer parkish” :D!

I did not make these, but I thought it was so very clever! I had wanted to gather flower pots because I knew they wouldn’t blow away and spray paint the flower pots. Much more cost efficient was the use of plastic bowls hat were spray painted with rock Salk glued to them. I thought this was so very clever! Next year, there are promises that we will go every bigger! Love it! I hope we spread some Christmas cheer to you a well!

Moon Pie Phases

Do you need a simple moon phases lesson. This is it. First we discussed how the moon reflects the light of the sun and how the moon is orbiting around the earth and how the earth is orbiting the sun. Then I used a flashlight to reflect off the aluminum foil paper plate moon I had made so that the students could see how this worked. This video helped discuss the moon phases.

Next, we discussed the simple phases of the moon and shaded in eight circles to represent each phase. We also discussed the reason for the name “quarter” and related it to fractions. Here is a great website to visit about moon phases.

*Full moon

*waxing gibbous

*first quarter

*waxing crescent

*new moon

*waning crescent

*3rd quarter

*waning gibbous

Finally, I assigned students to look at the night sky each night to color in their moon calendar which I downloaded for free here. I had students watch the moon for an entire month, color, and label the phases. I told students I would have a “little something” for them if they brought their paper back completed.

Cyber Sale

How Can You Build a Turkey Gobbler with Your Students

First, what does a turkey even sound like. We mislead students many times by saying, “gobble, gobble,” when in fact they sound nothing like this. Show students this video so they can hear a real turkey.

Then I have them practice making a turkey sound. Next I hand out toilet paper rolls to everyone and ask them to see if they can make the turkey gobbler sound. We discuss how something must be missing. I direct students to feel their throat and discuss what they feel. Some students will be able to name what they feel as the word vibration. I then have them make their turkey gobbler after we talk about how sound is made from vibration. Oh and by the way, did you know that turkeys only “gobble” when they are looking for a mate OR lying down to rest similar to the sound we make when we are stretching to lie down.

After they receive their cardboard roll and unsuccessfully make a turkey sound, I come by and attach wax paper over the top with a rubber band directing them to be careful with the wax paper. If they are not, it can tear, of course. While I am attaching wax paper, I let the students decorate the cardboard with markers etc. I also tried this with red tissue paper so that it looks more like a turkey and while the sound works, I didn’t trust small children not to make a hole in the tissue paper with their wet mouth. 🙂

I did this lesson with kindergarteners and first graders. It actually worked best with first graders and they were able to have more self control with stopping their turkey gobbler sound. I have them put the “gobbler” in their backpack after we have made it and after they have all made a little sound together–for the sanity of the classroom teacher (wink, wink) and me.

Happy Thanksgiving my teacher friends!

A Worm Named Oreo

Leaving school one day I hear a discussion among kids on the playground. “What did you name your worm? I named mine Oreo.” The girl says she named hers Oreo because it looked like an Oreo with all the dirt on it. Paper plates seemed to work well for containing the worms for observation. You have to be careful though because the worms can wander off if you don’t watch them. I found one trying to crawl off of a student desk. I lost another one, but the custodian found it on the floor. Hey, I added excitement to his day! LOL!

This discussion came as a result of me teaching them about worms and them looking closely at the body parts of a worm. To add an element of creativity, I had students name their worm. We did this after watching the Diary of a Worm on video. I love this book for it’s imagination into the creative world.

Students are studying ecosystems, so I plan to build a worm farm of sorts in their classroom. For now, I am just holding onto the worms until we learn a little more. To build a worm farm, you need a container, dirt, old newspaper, and some vegetable scraps. Of course, you need worms. I purchased mine at Wal-mart in the sporting goods section. Until we learn more I am storing them in the refrigerator on a not too cold setting in some dirt. I have given them an old banana peel in case they need a snack. This website has some good information on worm farming. You will need a container, dirt, old newspaper, and some vegetable scraps. Until we learn more I am storing them in the refrigerator on a not too cold setting in some dirt. I have given them an old banana peel in case they need a snack. This website has some good information on worm farming if you want to build one.

The great thing about showing students worms is that I got some work out of some students who don’t normally produce work just so they got to look at a worm. I will give you more information soon about our worm farm adventures.

Is Your Brain Sweating? You need this.

I had listened to Ian Byrd over at wh’llenging to do. I have borrowed his idea when I give my students difficult puzzles etc. I tell the students they are going to need brain deodorant because I am going to make their brain sweat so bad. Well this year, for humor’s sake I actually brought in a tube of brain deodorant. This is actually a tube of deodorant that I don’t use. I just added a label that says brain deodorant. The students actually rub their head with it (haha!) when I ask them to do something hard. I kind of love this. :). When I am not so teacher busy, I will make a better label for it, but you get the idea.

What Can You Do with a Mirror to Educate?

I recently saw this in a school I visited. This was not my idea, but I thought it was a clever use of a mirror. Supposedly this is something that “Leader in Me” schools do. Do you have any ideas for a clever use of a mirror in a classroom?

In addition, this summer my aunt was getting rid of an old mirror from her house. When I asked about where the mirror originated, I learned that it was from the home of her late friend’s mother-in-law. That would make this beautiful mirror an antique. I plan on putting inspirational phrases above the mirror throughout the school year. Some children have said the mirror reminds them of some fantasy books they have read. I love the way the antique mirror in beautifully unexpected in a classroom.




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