Using Cookies in Your Science Classroom

Earth Science

I don't know about your students, but food is a big motivator for my kiddos!  I love to incorporate food and hands on activities as much as I can into my high-school science classroom.

I use the "Cookie Lab" to have students review and demonstrate their knowledge of rocks and the rock cycle. Depending on the level and abilities of your students you can use just three types of cookies for the three groups of rocks or you can get really detailed and ask for more differentiation. I usually do this activity at the end of a Rock & Mineral Unit so that it's one of the culminating activities for the students. 

Here are the cookies I use for each of the different rock types - I would love to hear your ideas for some of the specific rocks types I don't have cookies for!!

When we do the activity I put out 4-5 different types of cookie "rocks" and ask students to work in groups of 2-3.  I provide enough cookies for each group to have one of each and a napkin / paper plate.  I usually buy my cookies from the Dollar Store and the kids never complain - they're just happy to have cookies! (Students may each the cookies when they've completed the activity.)

If you're looking for more Earth Science / Geology resources be sure to check out some of the graphic organizers and activities I have in my TeachersPayTeachers shop.

Have fun rockin' out with rocks!



Classroom Poster Ideas for Middle / High School

Looking for some free and fabulous classroom posters for your middle or high school classroom? Finding lots that are geared towards elementary students? Well... I've been looking too and have found a lot of great finds that I thought I could share with all of you.

I've been checking out blogs lately and noticing the fantastic amount of work that goes into setting up an elementary school classroom- the themes and ideas that some people have are amazing!! Never mind, the hours of time and the hundreds of dollars that have been spent on each room.   As a high school teacher who shares a room with another teacher (I think this is common in High School as many of us in my school teach in several different rooms) it can be hard to "decorate" a classroom to appeal to both teachers and students.

I have posted some subject specific posters in my room, but I also like to include some fun quote posters, some inspirational posters and some academic posters.  Thankfully, we live in the world of the internet and there are literally 1000s of ideas and examples available for FREE.

Here are a few of my favorite places to find some FREE and fabulous posters for your classroom.

Venspired Blog has a fabulous set of FREE posters on her Flickr stream that she encourages you to download and use in your classroom.  Krissy Venosdale has designed them all herself and they're beautiful!! You can print them at home or have them printed at a local print shop for brighter colors. (I'm going to print a few a my local print shop this year and put them in inexpensive frames - can't wait!!)  Her blog is amazing and one of my favorites!!

Technology Rocks. Seriously - Love, love, love the posters on this great blog.  They're colorful, but still printer ink friendly and will look great in any classroom. 

I have several sets of FREE posters in my TpT store - click to download a set of "The Outsiders - Quote Posters",  "Types of Sentences" or check out my newest set pictured below! Six posters to highlight six subjects!  Click the image to grab a set!

Pinterest - wow... you could literally spend thousands of hours perusing the poster possibilities on Pinterest (how's that for alliteration!?).  Here's a link to my Pinterest board of Quotes, Posters and Sayings.  Just be sure to check the terms of use before you download and post the posters and remember that all of the ideas on Pinterest need to be credited back to the original source - you can't just credit Pinterest. 

Teachers Pay Teachers - I just did a quick search for "posters" and then narrowed the search by clicking on "free" and there were over 5000 options for 6th-8th grade alone!! Use the search features to narrow it down even further.

EdGalaxy - I recently discovered this website with some fabulous FREE posters & resources covering a wide variety of subjects and grade levels.  ELA, Science, Geography & more!!  There are close to 50 free posters on this website!

Common Sense Media - wow... they have some fantastic social media and digital citizenship posters that I'm going to put up in my room this year. 


Here are a few more places to grab some awesome posters for your classroom!  Check out the posters at Light Bulbs and Laughter, Teach Junkie, and these great ones from Edutopia.

Have fun printing out and putting up posters!
If you have a favorite free poster website please leave the links in the comments below.  Thanks!


Teaching vs. Learning

We've had a busy and very fun summer this year and we've met a ton of interesting and great people in our travels.  The inevitable questions come up about "what do you do for work?".... and I always respond with... "I am a teacher".  Which is followed by "Oh.. what do you teach?"  I then go on to explain my grade levels and subjects I teach and the conversation goes on from there.   However, they always reminds me of a conversation I had with my 3 year old niece a few years ago whose innocent question forever changed the way I teach.
Here's the story... I was taking my niece out for the day over the Christmas Break and I had to stop by my school to drop something off.  As we walked in, I explained to her that we were visiting "my school"... her eyes widened and she asked where my classroom was and then she asked "Who's your teacher?"  I laughed and explained that I was the teacher and my students were much bigger than the kids she went to preschool with.  She then asked - "What do you want your students to learn?".  I just about fell over... what a brilliant question from my obviously brilliant niece.  Wow... how was I going to answer her?  I could think of a million things I want my students to learn... 
Normally when we're asked about our jobs, we get asked about a subject and grade level to which we reply "I teach ___________________." But this is just skimming the surface of what we do - saying "I teach Math" or "I teach 8th grade" doesn't really demonstrate the true depth of our jobs.  Teaching isn't just about giving students facts and figures... it's about helping our students become amazing, awesome people who have the tools to learn themselves.
How did my niece change the way I teach?  Well... her sweet question made me think about how I approach each lesson.  Instead of thinking "today I'm going to teach about _____________ and so I need to do ______________.  I think to myself "what do I want my students to learn about __________ and how I can I best encourage that?"  

Oh, by the way... one of the subjects I teach is geography so I answered my niece's question with "I want my students to learn about how amazing Earth is, to take care of our air, the animals, and the plants.  I also want my students to learn about volcanoes, earthquakes and rocks."  She signed and said "Auntie, the only thing rocks are good for is tripping over."   Too funny!!!
Perhaps, you've all already had this great epiphany, but for me it's made my teaching more fun, more engaging, more student focused and actually less work.  I give my students far less information than I used to and focus more on the tools they need to be able to figure out a problem on their own or with a partner, answer a question they have, show them different ways to demonstrate their learning, talk and question more, to think more critically and to put the fun back into my Middle / High school classroom.
So... What do you want your students to learn??
Would love to hear your thoughts!

Poster Graphics
 My Clipart Store -Chalkboard Paper
Tracee Orman - Circle Graphic
Poster Fonts 
Kimberly Geswein Fonts - KG Second Chances Sketch
Teaches Third in Georgia - TGGChalky

Phases of the Moon... With Cookies!

I love to keep my students on their toes and keep them guessing as to what I'm going to do next in my classroom!  I try to use hands-on activities whenever possible with my high-school science class and if I can incorporate food into a lesson... I usually am a hit with my students.

I've seen this idea floating around Pinterest, but hadn't seen one geared towards my older students, so I decided to create a lesson myself.  I'm not sure whose brilliant it idea it was to use Oreo cookies to model moon phases, but I think it's a such a fabulous activity! 

I do this activity towards the end of the year when my students have hopefully learned some independence. Furthermore,  I do it BEFORE I do any teaching about the phases of the moon as I think there's more power in having them figure it all out.  My students can find the information in their textbooks, but it's not laid out for them as clearly as they'd like... so there's an extra challenge for them.  I love listening to the students working in groups of 2-3 discussing how they're going to "carve" the icing and figuring out how the moon phases work.

This activity requires 7 cookies per group, which can get expensive depending on the size of your class or how many periods you teach, so I use cookies from the Dollar Store. (Students can use one cookie to represent both a new moon and a full moon - just pull one cookie apart and the icing side is a full moon and the empty side is a new moon.)  I also supply paper napkins and some plastic cutlery for students to use as "carving tools".

As the students are working I have an opportunity to wander through the classroom and meet with each group to see how they're doing.  I like to ask each group member a different question about the moon phases and see if they're able to answer orally using the cookies as props.  It makes for some great discussions! 

I encourage my students to use their labeled moon cookies to help them answer the questions I've included in the activity.  Once they have completed everything I allow them to eat the cookies... their favorite part of the day!!
Download a FREE copy of my Moon Phases Lesson by clicking the image below... have fun!!!



17 Secondary Teachers to Follow on Pinterest

I am totally addicted to Pinterest - from recipes, to design ideas, funny quotes and fabulous teaching tips it seems that I could spend hours on the site!  Here are some Middle / Secondary school teachers who are also using Pinterest - be sure to check them all out!  Oh... and if you want to see what I'm pinning... you can have a look HERE.

Bio:  Hi!  I'm Adrianne from The Tutor House.  I love tutoring and creating engaging lessons for math in reading for grades 3-8!  If you've ever thought about starting your own tutoring business, you should come on over to The Tutor House!

Follow Adrianne of The Tutor House on Pinterest.

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Bio: Welcome! I am Connie from Teach it Write. I am a retired English teacher and I’m thrilled to now write curriculum full time that I love to share on my site My book, The House of Comprehension, shows how the elements of literature form the structure of any fiction or non-fiction text. Check it out on my blog site or on

Follow Connie of Teach it Write on Pinterest.

2PeasAndADog Blog

Bio:  Hi Everyone! It's Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog. I am a Canadian middle school teacher who loves to pin and blog about things related to Grades 6 and up.

Follow Kristy of 2 Peas and a Dog on Pinterest.


Bio:  Hiya there!  I'm Jamie but you may know me as MissMathDork! I am a lover of all things mathematical!  Patterns, sequences, geometric shapes, if it's mathematical, I'll find a way to make it fun!  Want to see some of my ideas? Check out my ideas and pictures at!  You won't be disappointed!

Follow Jaime of Miss Math Dork on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hello, there. I’m Charlene Tess from Simple Steps to Sentence Sense. Grammar is my specialty. I have always loved taking sentences apart and putting them back together, and I successfully taught my students using the simple steps method for over three decades. Visit my blog to get helpful tips on grammar, usage, and writing.

Follow Charlene of Simple Steps to Sentence Sense on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hi my name is Tammy and I've been teaching high school English for 13 years now. I know that teaching can be very stressful. My school is constantly changing the book list and I've taught every grade 6-12 as well. As a result I have unit plans for a large variety of novels, plays and memoirs. Come check out my store on TpT for a variety of ELA materials. Follow my blog for teaching related posts.

Follow Tammy on Pinterest.  

Bio:  Meet Sabrina, author of A Space to Create.  Find teaching resources for art teachers and classroom teachers alike. My art lessons teach students the creative process enabling them to build confidence and have amazing results.  Come visit my blog A Space to Create! (K-12)

Follow Sabrina of A Space to Create on Pinterest.

All Things Algebra

Bio: Hi there!  I'm Gina from All Things Algebra.  I have taught Algebra and Pre-Algebra for seven years and have a passion for creating activites and games that engage my students.  If you are interested in finding ways to have more fun in math class, head on over and check out my blog!

Follow Gina of All Things Algebra on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hi there!  My name is Amy Brown and I write a blog called "Science Stuff."  I am a 29-year teaching veteran of biology, chemistry and AP biology.  I love science and I love kids, so I have the best job in the world!  Hopefully, I have passed my love of nature and the environment on to many students.  My blog has tips and tricks for teaching science as well as a lot of free science teaching materials.  I hope to see you there!

Follow Amy of Science Stuff on Pinterest.

Bio: Hi! I’m Krystina from Numbers Rule My World. I love incorporating hands-on activities and technology into the classroom for Math: grades 7-9. If you’re looking for great ideas about math then you should come on over and check it out at Numbers Rule My World!

Follow Krystina of Numbers Rule My World on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hello, my name is Jennifer Smith-Sloane. I am a Middle School Math and Special Education teacher. I have a strong passion for differentiated instruction to meet the needs of each learner in and out of my classroom. I love seeing the light in a student's eyes when something finally clicks and I do everything that I can to make that happen as often as it can.  Visit my blog 4mulaFun!

Follow Jennifer of 4mulaFun on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hey! I am Ann Marie from Innovative Connections. I enjoy blogging about various topics: Projects and lessons going on in my classroom, ideas I've learned or ideas I've thought of at the most random of moments (At 2 a.m. when I can't sleep, I can come up with some stellar ideas), teaching resources I find beneficial to fellow teachers and/or bloggers. Due to the wide range of grades I've had the pleasure of teaching, Innovative Connections caters mostly to language arts but loves to share and collaborate with teachers/bloggers of various grade levels.

Follow Ann Marie of Innovative Connections on Pinterest.

Bio:  This is Madame Aiello, author of Teaching FSL. Although I've taught other subjects as well, French as a Second Language has always been my passion. My focus is the higher grades, since I taught high school originally but teach grade 7 & 8 since six years ago. I share lots of resources, blog about second language teacher specific topics as well as those that apply to all teachers.

Follow Madame Aiello of Teaching FSL on Pinterest.

Liz's Lessons
Bio:  Bonjour! Hola! I'm Liz from Liz's Lessons. Languages are one of my passions, and I love teaching with technology. I create fun lessons for teaching secondary French, and Spanish. I also make formative assessments and technology activities in English, that can be used in any secondary classroom. If you are looking for some engaging activities for your classes, be sure to stop by Liz's Lessons!

Follow Liz of Liz's Lessons on Pinterest.

For the Love of Teaching Math
Bio: I'm Andrea Kerr from For the Love of Teaching Math. It is my mission to change traditional math classrooms one game and activity at a time. If you like to incorporate hands-on, group activities and games into your classroom, check out For the Love of Teaching Math!

Follow Andrea of For the Love of Teaching Math on Pinterest.

Bio:  I'm a high school English teacher in a 1:1 school who loves books and fostering creativity. My blogs are Mrs. Orman's Classroom and Hunger Games Lessons. I share my teaching resources on TeachersPayTeachers.

Follow Tracee Orman on Pinterest.

Bio:  Hi! I'm Kim from Teaching Math by Hart. I am forever planning and thinking of new and innovative ways to teach math to my students. Why, you ask? Believe it or not, I think learning Math should be FUN and it should be REAL! If you are looking for some ideas to engage your students in math class, come check out Teaching Math by Hart - in the middle years classroom! Follow Kim of Teaching Math by Hart on Pinterest.

Calming the Chaos Blog Hop

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Welcome to the Calming the Chaos Blog Hop hosted by 2peasandadog.

All of us bloggers have come together to share our top tips for making the last month of school run smoothly. Visit each of our blogs to learn something new and catch a freebie or two! Happy Hopping! 

Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to hop to the other blogs.

At the end of the year I think we're all feeling a little frazzled - the students, parents, staff and teachers all feel the rush to the end of the year.  The sunny skies and warm temperatures don't help either... none of us want to be inside a warm stuffy classroom on a beautiful day, and the students drag their heels.

One of the things that I like to do at the end of the year is to hold a little classroom chit-chat to get a sense of how the year went for my students.  I think it's important to have the chit-chat in a different venue from my classroom, so I book into our Library and hold my class there instead.  (We're lucky enough to have a wonderful comfy lounge area we can hang out in.)  I find when I combine comfy couches and snacks the students open up a little more.  I like to give my students an opportunity to provide me with some feedback and I have learned some really great things about what works and what doesn't work for them in the way that I teach.

I also give them a few Top 10 Lists to work on - they love to share their lists with each other and the class.  Here's a set of 6 different Top 10 List activities that work at the end of the year.  Use one or use them all!  Click on the image below to grab a FREE copy! 

I also sell an End of Year product called 
"Time Flies...End of Year Literacy Activities" 
in my TpT Store!

Blog Hop Participants
Check out this Great Giveaway!


End of Year Ideas and Blog Hop - "School's (Almost) Out!"


Welcome to our "School's (Almost) Out! blog hop hosted by Krystal from Lessons from the Middle and Joey from Create, Teach and Share!  There are some excellent resources to be WON - be sure to the click the button above to enter the contest.  Also make sure to "blog hop" by clicking the links below to check out some great end of the year teaching tips / ideas / strategies and freebies being offered by the generous bloggers below.

As much as I love the countdown to summer, it can sometimes be a stressful time of the year as students prepare for tests, teachers have to finish up final report cards and then begin the often gargantuan task of cleaning their classrooms and prepping for next year! 

Here's a fun activity I like to do at the end of the year with my students - it's called The Final Countdown. (You can grab a free copy by clicking the image below).  I ask the students to list 5 of something, then 4, then 3...   I like to do this activity and have students share their answers with each other or the entire class. It's fun to hear what everyone has to say about their year. 

If it's a nice day I like to take this activity outside - it's a nice change from the classroom and students can relax a little bit.  I also often use this time for students to provide me with some feedback - what worked for them and what didn't and why.

  I have also included a blank version of The Final Countdown that can be used as test prep - just fill in the blanks with questions that relate to your topic.
Click on the image below to grab a FREE copy! 

As part of the blog hop there's also GIVEAWAY - scroll down to the bottom of the post to see all the awesome prizes and to enter!!

Each blogger has donated a fabulous product and the winner will walk away with some awesome prizes!  I've donated one of my newest products called "Time Flies - End of Year Literacy Activities".  I had a ton of fun making the activities and I can't wait to use some of them with my class this year.  You can check it out in my TpT store by clicking on the image below.

Be sure to hop through the blogs below!!!
Little Lovely Leaders Addie Education – Teacher Talk
The Teacher Wife 2PeasAndADog Blog
MissMathDork Composition Classroom The Teaching Bank
An Educator's Life Numbers Rule My World The SuperHERO Teacher's Adventures and Advice!
Good luck!
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