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Winter STEM / STEAM Activities Using Snow

It’s February…. Typically, in Utah, that means 50 degrees. This year missed the memo. I know we aren’t the only ones with a surplus of snow. I figured instead of wishing away the day, pining for warmer weather… We may as well put the snow to work. This post is a compilation of fun S.T.E.M. (or) S.T.E.A.M.  activities you can try with your class. I’ll give you a brief rundown, but if you are looking for more information or directions make sure to click on the link for the original author! Hopefully, these activities will help to chase away the winter-blues or winter-crazies. Literally, I’m going crazy. #cabinfever.

Stem and Steam graphic organizers that work with any challenge or experiment. Great for scaffolding students and setting them up for success.

Also you might be interested in my STEM / STEAM Graphic Organizers. These were created to be your one-stop-print-shop and go pages for ANY STEM or STEAM experiment or challenge. My issue with anything Stem in my classroom was the chaos and the disappointment at the end when I felt there was literally no educational takeaway. These graphic organizers are really great because they make the student, stop, think, plan, and relate. There is absolutely value in free play, but there is also value in scaffolding. The reflection page is my FAVORITE. If you want to see a full preview, or would like to purchase, click here. 

If you would like to read more about them, check out this blog post!

     

1. Make a Snow Volcano:

 

Now Before you roll your eyes at the suggestion of a #classic volcano…. I think there are some real learning opportunities here. First of all, if you teach states of matter or physical/chemical changes… there is a lesson, a GREAT discussion here.  Second, this is one of those find the ingredients in your kitchen the day of type of activity. Last of all, I feel like you can take this a step further! Challenge your students to create or design a mechanism that will add the vinegar to the mixture instead of just dumping the vinegar into the cup by hand and watching the chemical reaction.

The design process can all be thought out and tested inside with water or something else, then actually put to the test outside in the snow. Another thought would be to have the students design a way to get one substance into the other substance without holding the up in their hands.  *****I can’t think of a simpler, less messy, less clean-up type of environment to do the #classic Volcano experiment, than in the snow.

2. Snowball Launcher

Love this simple and cute idea for a snowball launcher. Students would have a blast designing and making adaptions to their launcher. I would then go outside and put them to the test with the simple challenge of creating something that will launch a snowball. If you want to take it a step further, I would do a follow-up activity where students have free reign on designing a snowball launcher. I’m thinking catapult/slingshots/rockets… 😀 A couple of things to keep in mind with this assignment. Try and keep the size of the snowball students are asked to launch consistent throughout. You could use a cookie scoop to help measure and ping pong balls for practice…. There are even actual snowball molds that would work! For those of you not living in the arctic Tundra, these pretend Snowballs could be a fun replacement or the simple Styrofoam balls you can find at any craft store.  Give students the simple challenge of creating a launcher that can throw a snowball the furthest, or take it another step and add a target for accuracy!

The following videos are to spur inspiration for distance/accuracy launchers

  • Pole Launcher
  • Catapult
  • Snowball Slingshot with Benedict Cumberbatch and Ellen… You’re welcome.
  • Snowball Launcher

Preserve snowflakes using inexpensive glass slides, and hairspray!

3. Observing Snowflakes on Construction Paper

I remember doing this for the first time in Middle School. I understand why you would think this is an activity meant for younger grades, but I REMEMBER doing this. There are few things in life that really cause you to stop and ponder like observing individual snowflakes. This activity is filled with beauty and is awe-inspiring. When adding a stem spin to the activity, I think it could be fun to challenge students with prepping for the process. What do they need, what should the do, to be the most successful in this activity. For instance, can they come to the same conclusion that black paper or a dark paper with the most contrast in color will allow them to see the flakes the best? Will any of them think to freeze the paper, or keep the paper outside until it is cold to prevent the flakes from melting before you can observe them. Is there a design that will allow a higher quantity of flakes?…etc.

Want to take it a step further….. with a few inexpensive glass microscope slides and some cold hairspray, you can actually “preserve” the snowflake, and save its imprint! Click here for more on this activity. 

Also if you teach symmetry, this is a great lesson to integrate it into!

5. Design a Cooler

Super excited about this idea! Came to me this morning while I was trying to think of some fun ways to utilize all.this.snow. in the classroom! Give your students the challenge of creating a cooler that can keep snow from melting the longest. IF  you teach conductors or insulators this is an AWESOME activity to demonstrate insulators… Which if you’re like me, I did a great job demonstrating and explaining conductors, but I wish I would have thought of this sooner to explain insulators. 

I would do this by giving each student the same box or type of box. Shoe boxes are a great option, gift wrapping boxes, cheap Tupperware from the dollar store, or even cardboard shipping boxes that were mailed to the school. Check with your school’s secretary! Do your best to ensure each group or student has a box of similar material and makeup.

Again this is one of these activities that really lends itself to these STEM Graphic organizers I created. They are meant to be a guide that helps prompt the students to think deeply about the challenge at hand.

Students explore which materials are good conductors and which objects are not.

Next allow them to go wild with newspaper, magazines, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, masking tape, styrofoam, tinfoil, cotton balls, plastic wrap, balloons..etc! You could even use my static electricity activity and have students narrow down which materials would work best in their design!

You can give students free rein, limit their choices or use of materials to only 3 selections, limit the amount of each material, or even limit the weight or size of the end design.

When it comes to measuring and collecting data, make sure you take precautions about getting the same amount of snow in each cooler to start. Have the students decide what this will look like. Guide them to weigh the snow in the same container, even record starting temperature, start outside with snow placement then move inside..etc. Again if you don’t live in the never-ending winter zone, you could always freeze ice cubes of the same weight/ amount of liquid and test those in the coolers. Make sure to discuss with the class how, when, where, what time you will add the snow to the cooler. How often will you collect data? How will you know if a cooler is working or not? Is it possible to assign a numerical value to a successful cooler. **You could weigh the remaining amount of frozen snow after a certain amount of time, the “heaviest” could be concluded as the most successful….

**I would start this experiment in the morning, that way you have adequate time to collect data and record findings throughout the day. You could put a student in charge to record data every 10 minutes for an hour and then switch. By an hour you should have a good idea of what’s working and what’s not.

If you try this one out… PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tag me and let me know how it went! 

6. Snow Density 

I love the idea from Lemon Lime adventures of creating a winter-themed density jar. I’m wondering if you could take it a step further and have students experiment with the density of snow, water, and solid ice! Check out this article from Science Friday discussing the density of snow. I also loved this process from Little Bins for Little Hands used for adding each liquid.

7. Tissue Paper and Snow Art Project

I LOVE this art project by Fireflies and Mudpies! Click on the link for directions and more information! This project is perfect for S.T.E.A.M. in the classroom. This project serves well for a discussion on states of matter. This is another project that costs nearly nothing in materials, however, the end result is beautiful and fun.

I would love to experiment with these. Adding fun zentangle designs using a bold black marker before or after the snow would be fun. I would also love to know what would happen if you used a crayon on the page before adding the tissue paper or snow. Would it react similar to an easter egg, or would the color soak through? Either way, your students are left with a beautiful and fun piece that utilizes the snow!

8. Frozen Bubbles

How amazing is this? To my understanding in order to have success with this activity the colder the better outside. Also, you will be better off taking a DIY approach to the bubble solution than sticking with store-bought. A great recipe and explanation of what is happening as well as ideas to create your own bubble wands using pipe cleaners can be found here!

               

 

9. Snow Ice Cream

I feel like because it’s snow, and it’s ice cream, and technically you are doing some measuring… It totally counts as STEM. You could add another layer by having them create a container to mix the substance in, or add salt and discuss how salt actually drops the freezing level… Still a concept/ chemical change that completely blows my mind. Also if you haven’t made this…. Do IT. This is #childhood, and it’s also surprisingly delicious! Click on the title link for a step by step of this SIMPLE recipe. Literally, we’re talking 4 ingredients you can find in your kitchen at ANY time.

10. Sugar on Snow: Snow Candy

Watch out Laura Ingalls Wilder fans! Last, but not least…. SNOW CANDY. This one takes me straight back to childhood. I should have known I’d always be a foodie, my most memorable parts of childhood literature tend to be associated with food. Mostly sweets. Turkish Delight = Lion Witch Wardrobe, Chocolate Frogs, Butter Beer…etc = Harry Potter, Snow Candy = Home on the Prairie. Literally, I can remember reading this in 4th grade:

“Laura and Mary each had a pan, and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow.”
– Little House in the Big Woods

***Couple notes: Make sure you use REAL Maple Syrup, not the Maple Flavored corn syrup in disguise. If not you will end up with a gooey mess that won’t take its shape. Real Maple syrup can be expensive…. look into the process of getting one container and you’ll understand why! The most affordable real Maple Syrup I’ve come across is the Kirkland brand found at Costco! This is also a great option. 

Get the actual recipe used in the book by clicking here!

If you’re looking for a more detailed tutorial, click here!

 

 

Can’t wait to see what you do! If your looking for more ideas or would like to share your own ideas please join our member-only  Teaching on Lemon Lane Facebook Group!

I hope you enjoy the activities listed, I would LOVE to hear from you and how they go. Nothing brightens my day like being tagged in your classroom work on Instagram! Happy Teaching!

To stay up-to-date on new blog posts, freebies, exclusive promo codes, and sales… Join the Teaching on Lemon Lane Community! Pick any or all of the following to stay in the loop of all things Teaching on Lemon Lane. 

If you enjoyed this PLEASE SHARE! Sharing on Pinterest, Facebook, or tagging on Instagram is a simple, yet wonderful way to support the efforts of Teaching on Lemon Lane!

 

I love the idea that the best way we can remember September 11 and #neverforget is to remember the love, and unity that was felt September 12th, and to strive to live that way each day.
On September 12th we were one nation under God.
Indivisible.
Seeking justice for all.
Love this beautiful depiction by @paigepayne_creations see her thoughts on September 12th below.
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“ And on September 12th, we all came together. We were one. My family was living in Scotland when 9/11 happened. It was everywhere, all over the news. In school the day after, we had a long moment of silence in remembrance of those who were lost. We continued to have an annual moment of silence every year after that. It was incredible that even thousands and thousands of miles apart, we were mourning with those that mourned. We were one. At that time, we all displayed what we are capable of. Even in the face of incomprehensible tragedy, humans are capable of immense love. Capable of setting aside differences and coming together as one. As we remember and pay tribute to the thousands of lives the were lost that day, let us also strive to be more like how we were on September 12, 2001. Full of love, understanding, and compassion for each other. “

This painting is inspired by a beautiful photo taken by @masseya ❤️

#911 #911memorial #9eleven #911remembrance #thetwintowers #neverforget #neverforgotten #unity #love
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💡🚨PSA:🚨💡
ATTENTION ALL TEACHER FRIENDS
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Tag your #teachertribe and every #firstyearteacher below for this important reminder:
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As you set up your classroom for the new school year, and start divvying out materials… Do no forget to set aside 2-4 new student kits.
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Just like @adifferentiatedclass (shown in picture) I made sets using Gallon ziplocks.
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If you are in a developing community with new housing I recommend a minimum of 4 bags 🙀
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What to include:
🍋Name-tag/Desk-plate
🍋If you adhere the plates to the desk, have a segment of what you use in the pack.
🍋Welcome Treat (same one you’ve given to each student at the open house/back to school...etc.
🍋Whatever else you’ve set aside for students that begin on the first day of school.
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📣📣📣There will likely come a day when without warning you will be notified you have a new student, and the student will start THAT DAY. Save yourself and your poor new student the stress of frantically trying to get everything set up, by preparing NOW.
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Veteran teachers what else do you include in your new student kits?? Share in the comments below⬇️⬇️⬇️
📸: @adifferentiatedclass
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How satisfying/ beautiful 😻 is this #classroomorganization tip by @the_organized_classroom
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Use paint swatches as a visual to help students sort supplies! Keep this is mind as you set up your classroom for the school year!
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HELP ME BRAINSTORM:
What’s a brilliant #teacherhack you’ve tried or seen done with paint swatches??? Comment below 👇
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I’ll leave mine in the comments!
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Guys… I had a baby 🥰 Almost 10 months ago 😳 I STRUGGLE to consistently show up on this platform, but know how happy I am that you are here!
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There are a lot of new faces around here so I thought we should take the time to get to know each other!
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PLEASE comment below with what we have in common, or something we will never see eye to eye with 😜
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A few things to know about me😬
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🍋 My name is Tara, I’m the creator behind @teachingonlemonlane
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🍋 Lemon was my maiden name and my love for all things lemon runs deep.
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🍋 I’m a fresh lemonade connoisseur, and will not touch store bought/ from the tap.
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🍋 My patronus is a wolf 🐺 #potterhead
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🍋 A piece of my heart will always be in #5thgrade and New Orleans
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🍋 I’m a novice flower gardener and LOVE to experiment with different blooms.
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🍋 Ben and I will celebrate our 10 year this year and have 3 kiddos under 5 💀
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🍋 Go Red Sox ⚾️
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🍋#bucketlist item: New Zealand, Hobbiton, ride the #nevisswing 😳
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🍋 Teaching item(s) I can’t live without…Binder clips😎 You should see what I can #macgyver with a couple clips… also, flair pens. #cliché 🤓
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YOUR TURN: Tell me something about you in the comments!
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To my dear teacher friends still in school, I've got a FREE Father’s Day project I think you will love! Those of you are home with kiddos of your own, consider this fun activity for your Father’s Day Celebration! This is a great #endofyearproject that doubles as a #fathersdaygift 💛🍋💛
This product is available in both a printable and digital version that’s completely editable through Google. If you have a student or child interested in Digital Design, this is a fun way to introduce and experiment with different design tools. Because there are so many different types of situations and circumstances when it comes to a father the words father or dad are never actually used. Which makes this the perfect card to give to any figure that has taken on that important role. Whomever that is, they should be celebrated!
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Need #bulletinboardideas for March.... I’ve got you👊 like almost all of my Bulletin Board Kits, they center around student work and are made up of EASY TO CUT, Editable 🙊, ready to print and assemble slides!
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Make sure to check out the Lucky Because Bulletin Board BUNDLE get ALL this for only $3.99☘️☘️☘️☘️ The Clover craft is the PERFECT craft for tomorrow!
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If you’ve followed me for long you know I love all things March and Irish ☘️ it’s in my blood 🙃
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My love of March shows in my resources, of all the months to have the most projects... March (of all the months???) is at the top of the list!
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I just added this CELTIC KNOT inspired Lucky Clover Craft and it turned out so fun! Use either the DIGITAL version and insert pictures into the leaves that represent why you’re lucky, or pick from one of the 18 different top layer options to create a beautiful clover like the one shown above! If you do go this route make sure to check out the EDITABLE bulletin board kit to really put these beauties on display!
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Do you love March? Why or why not? Drop a comment below 💛💛
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Selection Sunday and PI Day falling on the same day... Somebody pinch me. Two of my very favorites because of the projects you can start in your classroom 😍 Take for instance my March Math Madness PBL
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Think March Madness + Fantasy Basketball + Lots of Math + A sprinkle of ELA = Engagement & Excitement & Learning 💛🏀💛
Students are separated into the 4 divisions then work together to put together a new starting 5 from players in their division. #dreamteam Each round their individual players are awards point values for how they played. At the end of each round students will calculate their team’s total points and decide which dream team comes out victorious! There are some really great opportunities to see Math in action. There’s opportunity for measurement conversion, converting fractions to decimals, ordering decimals, ratios, mean-median-mode, adding and subtracting decimals, multiplying decimals...etc. This is quickly becoming another tried and true favorite in the classroom!
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Also if you think your too late to the table, the only thing you are late for is brackets! The dream team activity can be started before any round! Second round would actually be ideal 👊🏻👊🏻 LOTS of FREEBIE extensions for this product that can stand on their own! Head to the website for more details!
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The most beautiful illustration by @paigepayne_creations Keep reading for some of the most powerful quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King’s powerful, “I have a Dream,” speech:
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“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.”
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“I have a dream that one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.”
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“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
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“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed — we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
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“I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”
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“In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds.”
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“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
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🎉🎉VISION BOARD G.I.V.E.A.W.A.Y
YOU GUYS!!! This one turned out better than I expected 😍😍😍 EVERYONE NEEDS A VISION BOARD.
🍋 TEACHERS
🍋 STUDENTS
🍋....EVERYONE
This became more and more apparent as I created this product and researched the value in having one. Due to it’s late debut in the #goalsetting season you can snag it at 50% off (the lowest price it will EVER be).
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In a nutshell, you and your students will create a digital vision board that will act as a daily reminder when you set it as your computer, tablet, or smart phone’s new wallpaper or lock screen! I’ve created 26 EASY to use templates that create completely customizable and BEAUTIFUL designs, along with over 150 moveable “stickers” to make something truly eye catching (one of the requirements of an effective vision board) If that weren’t enough, I wanted to make sure you had the support materials to provide a really complete and educational project. So I’ve also included over 30 support activities, video tutorials, and extensions. Students will learns about vision boards, what makes them effective, the elements of a wellness, their circle of control, SMART goal setting.... and MORE! I know you are going to love this and so will your students. Even more, I know this has the potential to make a difference and lead to growth, and that is pretty satisfying. I’ve been working hard on this beauty and I NEED to get it in some classrooms!
Want this pretty little thing for you and a #teacherfriend for FREE???
🍋Like this post
🍋Tag a Teacher Friend
🍋Comment one thing you would put on YOUR Vision Board
🍋Share this post to your story for EXTRA Juju
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Each year our family gives a favorite Christmas book to some of our loved ones. (I wish I was able to get my hands on more of them!😭) With the passing of author Tomie dePaola, it seemed appropriate to give one of his. Reading this book, THIS year, made me cry. I struggled to make it through as it highlighted my weaknesses and put into words what I've been trying to set aside and not deal with. Last year I had great intentions of celebrating a more Christ centered Christmas, December arrived and again my intentions remained only that. Reading this story struck a cord in my soul. I'm old Befana. There may only be a few days left until Christmas, but I'm going to be intentional with them. On that note, I'll be taking a break from social and working to reground myself with the foundation that matters, and refocus my attention on Him. Love you all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!
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Head to my story for a swipe up of a reading of, ”The Legend of Old Befana, ” by the late Tomie dePaola
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Excerpt from a personal post 💛 Thank you all for your patience as we welcome the newest member of our little family🍓
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2020 the Year of the Poppies
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“... You may not know this about me, but I love gardening, especially flower gardens. I'm no good at it, and again my good intentions out do any action on my part, leaving an often neglected and overgrown sight, however, I still love it and love learning, reading, and experimenting with different blooms. One of my favorite flowers is a poppy. I think there is so much to be said about and learned from these flowers. From the alien-like tubers you plant, to the fury foliage it produces, one would NEVER think that something so weed-like could ever produce such a gorgeous sight... And then... It does. Is that not life? Is that not 2020? This year has been hard for everyone, especially for some that I love the most, and yet despite everything, there has been beauty.

I truly believe that some of life’s most beautiful moments are produced after the hard or ugly. Is that not the Gospel and Hope found in Christ? Through His Grace the hard and ugly things we go through can actually be the source of something really beautiful, something better than we could have imagined, even a better version of ourself? 2020 has been hard, it’s still hard. But because of that hardness I’ve seen growth and light and beauty that I never would have expected. From repaired and renewed relationships, to a new focus on family and what’s really important, to things working out when they shouldn’t, to a beautiful new addition to our family... The increase is through Him. I think for me 2020 will always be the year of the poppies.
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EEK! You guys, I’m SO excited about this one🍋😍🍋 Introducing the Morning Meeting you NEED in your classroom. This one does it ALL.

🍋Digital Daily Attendance
🍋SEL Learning & Awareness
🍋Grit & 🌱 Mindset Challenges
🍋Daily Interaction & Connection
🍋Build Classroom Community
🍋Improve Organization
🍋Daily Challenges & Class Games
🍋Set-Up Routines & Structure
🍋100% Paperless
🍋100% Virtual Classroom Ready
🍋100% Any Classroom Ready
🍋EDITABLE
➕➕➕SO MUCH MORE➕➕➕
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I’m SO sure you’re going to LOVE it, I’m giving ALL of the August slides away for FREE! If you want more information on how and when you can download ALL of August, comment below! Don’t forget to spread the love by tagging a teacher friend that NEEDS this!
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Guys. I don’t even know where to begin.... Except be on the lookout for this fun little DIGITAL project to be added today!
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🍋Students come up with a One Word Goal for the school year/ first term...
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🍋Students then create a “quilt” piece of their 1 Word, using figurative language and pictures to illustrate.
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🍋Students will then upload their piece to a COLLABORATIVE Class “quilt”
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🍋You can then use this Collaborative Class “Quilt” to create a DIGITAL Bulletin Board for your Virtual Classrooms, OR print it off and assemble in your actual classroom!
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🍋More details coming soon! Comment below if you have a Virtual classroom you would like to try this out with!
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