Magic Words Monday

Happy new week!

This week we are focusing on the cycle of energy through an ecosystem. Today in class we played a fun game to introduce ourselves to this week’s vocabulary words.  It is a cross between BoomBag and another game (which the name of it has actually escaped my mind at the moment).

Content Cards 8.L.3.3

Just like BoomBag, students were grouped into pods of 4 (Partners A + B are a team and Partners C + D are a team) each team sitting across from his/her partner and the “Concept Cards” were placed in the bag.

Partner A blindly draws a card and holds it above his/her head – out of sight. Partner B (the partner sitting across from him/her) first reads the definition.If Partner A knows the concept/word he/she can guess, if not, then Partner B reads the critical attributes. If Partner A still doesn’t know, Partner B can read the IS/AND IS NOT statement. Partner B can add more details to the description if possible.

If Partner A gets the concept/word correct, the Concept Card is theirs to keep; if not, it goes back into the bag. The turns alternate between teams — Partner A / Partner C / Partner B / Partner D.

Note: This game could easily be played in pairs too, depending on the number of  Concept Cards you have available. 

It was a great introduction activity that kept everyone engaged and promoted a fun, safe practicing environment. Students were allowed to copy down the definitions after playing the game.

Here’s our vocabulary list for the week:

Weekly Vocabulary - 8.L.3.3 - Feb 2

Our Concept Cards (4 per page) can be found here: 8.L.3.3 – Vocabulary Concept Cards.

The homework can be found here: Weekly HW 8.L.3.3 – Energy Flow in Ecosystems

Flashcards are due tomorrow! Remember the criteria below: Flashcards Reference

Have a great evening!



Quick Update

Hey all –

Just a quick update as we wrap up the week. We’ve officially began our unit on ecology! Students submitted their flashcards on Wednesday for the following vocabulary words.

Weekly Vocabulary - 8.L.3.1 - Abiotic and Biotic Factors


Due to the high amount of student work NOT submitted in the 1st and 2nd quarters, we decided to implement a new framework to boost student work completion and turn-in. With this implementation over the last 4 days, we’ve seen a drastic decrease (read: 35 students down to 6 students) in the number of missing assignments. Students understand that they will continue to work within this framework until their missing work is submitted.

Want to get a head start on next week’s homework and/or vocabulary flashcards? Find the information below!

8.L.3.2 Weekly HW

Weekly HW 8.L.3.2 – Symbiotic Relationships in Ecosystems

Here’s your vocabulary information:

Weekly Vocabulary - 8.L.3.2 - Symbiotic Relationships - Jan 26

Forgot what your flashcards should have on them? Check out this reference below.

Flashcards Reference

Have a great weekend!


It’s Already December?!

Minions Christmas Gif

Hi hi hi everyone! It’s that time of year! December means celebrating and wrapping up 2014…. and ALSO the start of one of my FAVORITE topics to teach and learn: Pathogens & Disease!

Yesterday students focused on building their vocabulary knowledge for the unit by completing a puzzle! From there, the completed puzzle helped them complete their flashcards. (Side note: This puzzle is on TPT)

8.L.1.1 Vocab Puzzle

Today in class, we began by watching one of my favorite NPR clips about viruses and how they invade the body.

Afterwards, students received an informational text on the differences between viruses and bacteria. Students individually created a very detailed Venn diagram to help prepare us for our Writing Wednesday essay tomorrow. While working through the information text, students were to focus on these primary questions (HINT: These questions definitely help them answer their homework assignment for tonight!) Today’s material can be found below:

Viruses vs. Bacteria Informational Text – Text Tuesday and Writing Wednesday

Virus vs. Bacteria Questions to Think About

Tomorrow we will complete our Writing Wednesday assignment and then we will complete a gallery walk to gather more information on the different types of pathogens.

See you then!


Make It Up Monday

Hi everyone!

Well after 3 successful days of re-looping, we are [almost] back to our regularly scheduled programming. We are using these 2 days to make up any and all missing assignments, retake assessments we did not get 85% or higher on, and then get ahead so when we return back to school on December 1, we are READY!

Here’s an overview of what we are working through Monday and Tuesday:

Pre-Thanksgiving Class Plans

A couple of students requested to have the vocab words list posted so they can work on it over the break (in case the list above in step 4 is too small). Here is the list of words we will be focusing on as we head into December with our Pathogens & Disease unit.

Weekly Vocabulary - 8.L.1.1 - Dec 1Make up all your work and try to get ahead by getting these flashcards done!

Until next time!


Making It Count Monday: New Vocabulary 8.L.4.2

Hey everyone!

Happy Monday! Today we were formally introduced to our new vocabulary words. See the list below:

Weekly Vocabulary - 8.L.4.2 - Nov 10

In order to familiarize ourselves with these words, we played a game I named “Vocab Grab”. It is a slight spin-off of the original game called “Grudgeball” by Ms. Wilkin! For more detail on how you play you can read it over at her page!

Vocab Grab

Instead of using X’s, we used “badges” that I made. When one team got their answer correct, they “grabbed” another team’s badge and placed it on their side below the dotted line so it was clear which team was impacting the others.

So, how did we play? Each team was given a definition of a vocabulary word from our list. If they guessed the word correctly, they got to grab a badge from another team. If they guessed incorrectly, no harm done, I just moved onto the next team. If all the badges were gone from one team, that team could still participate to get their badge back. They had to answer their question correctly and then shoot the basketball into the goal from the 1-point line or 2-point line to earn 1 or 2 badges back.

Vocab Grab 2

I was so pleased with how students did while playing this game and judging by their performance on their launch to their exit ticket, their participation and engagement paid off!

Ask your student how s/he is doing on their exit tickets… I’m sure they’d be more than happy to tell you!

Remember, tomorrow we do not have school, so make sure you take the time to get your vocabulary flashcards done for Wednesday – and if you’re feeling super motivated, begin working on your weekly homework!

See you Wednesday!

Finishing Friday| Wrapping Up Comparative Anatomy

Happy Friday! YES!

Minion Celebration

Today students took their assessment on homologous and analogous structures and evidence for the theory of evolution. I must say, I was VERY pleased with the number of students who met or exceeded the 85% mark! To celebrate, students were informed about (and shown) the badges they’d received as a result (I’ll post more on that later – I’m really excited about it!!!). Missed your quiz? Come see me next week to do the make up.

Students can also receive another badge for getting perfect scores on their vocabulary cards and weekly homework assignment. So far, I’ve seen some outstanding students receive this badge as well. Mrs. Hill-Norman and I have a super special reward for the student who has the most badges at the end of the quarter on January 20th.

For students who want to get a head start on next week’s homework you can find it in the “Weekly HW” section or click here. Want to get a head start on your vocabulary cards? Find your word list below:

Weekly Vocabulary - 8.L.4.2 - Nov 10

Have a fun, enjoyable weekend and I’ll see you back here next week!

Monday: The Rock Cycle Review + Vocab

Happy new week everyone!

Today students had an opportunity to review their knowledge of the rock cycle by watching Bill Nye’s Rock & Soil episode (see below) and completing the corresponding worksheet (found here).

Also, students had the opportunity to begin this week’s weekly homework sheet (here) by working on vocabulary cards for the following words:

Week 10 Vocabulary List

As always, remember these components of your vocabulary cards:

Vocab Card Instructions New

Don’t forget – We have a 4-day week this week so our weekly homework is due on Thursday!

I’ll see everyone back here tomorrow!