Monday, February 18, 2013

Teaching Strategy (and FREEBIE) Focus: Vocabulary

Today, I want to share a couple of strategies (and a FREEBIE!) for teaching vocabulary in the classroom. Since my first or second year teaching, I've used (with success) the same vocabulary strategies to introduce key terms at the start of a topic, and to review them later. Details below (with images).

In addition, click here to download the FREE resources described below.

Vocabulary Introduction: 
When introducing new and key terms, this strategy has proved successful for my students, as it provides them not only a list of defined terms, but requires them to analyze definitions as they write them.
Given a vocabulary worksheet, definition list, and textbook, students must choose and record the correct definition from the definition list and record it on the vocabulary worksheet. To help them select the correct definitions, a textbook is also provided. By asking students to choose a definition similar in meaning to that in their text (rather than simply copy a definition from the text), students are required to analyze and compare definitions, improving the probability of learning.
While students still require practice and regular use of terms to solidify learning, this slight change in the process of defining key terms makes a world of difference. 

Vocabulary Review:

This is one of the best vocabulary review games I've used:
     1. The focus of the game is student to student discourse.
     2. It's transferable - It can be used for any topic with any vocabulary words.
     3. Kids LOVE it.

Student groups of four (two students per team - a reader and a guesser) are given a timer and a set of index cards with one key term on each card. For a 60 or 90 second round (student choice), the reader begins by describing the term on the first card while the guesser attempts to say guess it. If the guesser successfully guesses the term, a point is scored, and the reader moves to the next card. If the reader decides to skip/pass on a card, the point goes to the other team.
While this is going on, the other team is looking over the reader's shoulder, making sure that he/she doesn't say the word on the card. If the reader does, the point belongs to the other team, and the reader moves to the next card.

At the end of the round, ALL cards get reshuffled and handed to the other teams, and roles reverse.
At best, students are discussing with each other the key terms and what they mean. At worst, students are listening to others describe words. Either way, it's a big time learning opportunity.

How do you teach vocabulary in the classroom? I'd love to hear any tips/strategies in the comments below!


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Monday, February 11, 2013

Calvin's Dad Explains!

If you're looking for the Remember Middle School? blog, you've found it! (Although you've probably noticed the new blog name and look)! After some thinking, I've decided to change the name of the blog to align with the  
STR store, Facebook, and Pinterest pages. The content will be the same - science, students, and education.

I'm glad you're here - now, onto Calvin's dad explaining science! 

Today, I wanted to share some of my favorite science lessons, as taught by Calvin's (of Calvin and Hobbes) dad. Funny enough, these were always some of my father's favorites, and I love them even more as an adult than I did as a kid.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Science FREEBIES - Round 3!

Please enjoy the freebies featured below, both from the Science Teacher Resources store, and donated from some generous TeachersPayTeachers sellers! Visit their stores, download some FREE resources, and show them some support!

Didn't see our prior freebie posts? View them here!


And now, onto the FREEBIES!

From the STR store:

FREE Science Discourse Writing Prompts Mini-Pack!
Engage your students in meaningful discourse with this free subset of the full Science Discourse Writing Prompts Pack resource. The Science Discourse Writing Prompts Mini-Pack engages students in thinking, discussing, and analyzing/synthesizing different ideas about science process, physical science, life science, and earth science content.

FREE Stomach Model Digestion Lab!
Let students explore the stomach - by creating stomach and using it to digest actual food!
FREE Rock Cycle Simulation Lab!
Make the rock cycle fun! This lab walks students through modeling rock cycle processes, and asks them to make analogies between the activity and the rock cycle.
FREE Heat MiniQuiz
Teaching about heat, heat transfer, conduction, convection, or radiation? This short quiz is designed to assess student understanding of heat transfer and knowledge of heat transfer methods.
FREE Identifying Variable Practice!
This printable, reproducible worksheet (answer key included) can help with independent, dependent, and control variables!

From other generous TpT sellers:

FREE! Christmas Sound Bingo from Oddball Science
Topic:  Animals Sounds and Math

FREE! Magnet Experiment on Attraction from Tab Purvis
Topic: Magnetism

FREE! Making Ginger Ale: Yeast Fermentation Lab from Cooking With Science
Topic(s): Cell Respiration, Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Respiration

FREE! The Scientific Method Presentation from Biology Roots
Topic: Scientific Method

FREE! Astronomy Terms Domino Puzzle from Mrs. Brosseau's Binder
Topic: Space Exploration Vocabulary
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

NFL Sport Science and the Sunday Super Sale!

The Super Bowl is almost here!

I hope everyone is having a great week! As we get closer to Sunday's big game, I wanted to let you know about the Sunday Super Sale at the Science Teacher Resources store!

All day on Sunday, February 3, all items (including the new STR Digestive System Teacher Pack) will be 28% off!

Below, please enjoy some Sport Science, courtesy of Fox, ESPN, and the NFL! 

Super Bowl Science!
David Tyree vs. Santonio Holmes

The Science of Accuracy
Andy Dalton

Neck Surgery and Recovery
Peyton Manning

The Double Catch
Greg Jennings

Ndamukong Suh

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Monday, January 21, 2013

MORE Awesome Science(ish?) Websites!

Today, I thought I'd highlight a few AWESOME science (and science-ish) websites.

Some of you may have noticed that my updates have decreased in frequency - sorry about that! From here on out, I'm planning on releasing a new post on Monday of every week, so please check back - I'm really glad you're here!

In addition, keep on the lookout for the next edition of Science FREEBIES!
Want your freebie included?
Email me at with the following information:
  • Freebie Name
  • Topic(s) Covered
  • Product Page Link

Today, please enjoy the awesome (and addictive) websites featured below! (Feel free to share your own in the comments below)!
Missed our previous awesome science websites?
See them here!


The only magazine for pandas! Self-described as "a highly visual art and design magazine dedicated to showcasing the world’s most creative artworks, offbeat products and everything that’s really weird or wonderful," Bored Panda offers a seemingly endless supply of interesting and thought-provoking articles, images, and stories.
***Warning: Some images not school-safe and not suitable for children.***

Early GPS

As a starter, check out BoredPanda's


 Answers to all of your most important questions! How does the internet work? Why does water expand when it freezes? What is the Higgs boson? Why do sprouts make you fart?
Well, maybe that last one isn't the most important, but they're all there - along with TONS more!

In addition, check out The Naked Scienctists' Science Podcasts, Science Articles, Kitchen Science Experiments, and Forums!



Reddit - Science               Reddit - AskScience

Two AMAZING compilations of science news, images, stories, questions, and answers! New content is added multiple times each day.
 ***Please be aware that much of the Reddit site is NOT school safe, although these two subreddits are usually pure science (although not closely moderated).***


Do you have any favorite science (or science-ish) websites to share? Leave them in the comments below!

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The Science Behind...

Let's take a look at the science behind...everything!
Today: Sonic the Hedgehog, Lucid Dreams, a Brain Freeze, and Why Onions Make You Cry!

The Science Behind
Sonic the Hedgehog!

The Science Behind
Lucid Dreams!

The Science Behind
A Brain Freeze!

The Science Behind
Why Onions Make You Cry

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Friday, January 4, 2013

BIG SALE at Science Teacher Resources!

Visit the Science Teacher Resources store this Saturday and Sunday (January 5 - 6) for 15% OFF ALL ITEMS!

Sale items include...

 Thanks for following the STR store!
Not a follower? Click here to follow!

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