Monday, October 06, 2014

Insert Owl Pun Here

There’s an entire parliament of owl puns overused by the human population, so I’ve decided to respectfully withhold a pun-ny title for today. After completing the Fall Changes unit in Theme Studies (our time period for Science/Social Studies), we go on to learn all about owls. These two units not only go perfectly with the time of year, but also make it easy to provide a smooth transition from one unit to the next.

I like to keep my “theme” units in duo-tangs with a quick one-page overview of the unit for easy reference. All of the worksheets, printables, and activities are in sheet protectors following the order of the lessons from the unit plan. Here’s a copy of my owl overview plan:

As you can see in the plan, I focus on 6 owl species: Barn Owls, Burrowing Owls, Great Grey Owls, Great Horned Owls, Screech Owls, and Snowy Owls. (Side note: Snowy Owls have spent the past two winters in a farmer’s field in my city! It’s been incredible to see with my own eyes these northern birds of prey outside of captivity.) We focus on labelling the parts of the owl, and finding out what the specific owl eats, its habitat, and an interesting fact. The kiddos love to participate in the research aspect of our lesson for each owl. We use a projector with Internet access to look up the sound of the owls and videos of the owls hunting and flying. And the books from the library help us learn how to use a table of contents and index to find specific information. These are the resources I have used for this unit:

New to the owl unit is a play-based learning activity on owlets. I’ll give you a hint for what we are going to do:

Also, I found these at Ikea last year, (the owl is a hand puppet):

Of course, no owl unit is complete without some pellet dissection! I ordered box of barn owl pellets from Owl Brand Discovery Kits (link: It came from the states to Canada in really good time – although that is expected these days. I was really happy with the product – if you can say that about something an owl has coughed up like a hairball…Add the website to your list of resources, it’s been updated with great owl videos. This is a messy activity. If you have butcher paper or newspaper, lay it down EVERYWHERE. I like to use butcher paper so I can draw a big circle as a work area for each student/group and write their name on it. More often than not filling out observations and dissecting takes longer than one class period.

The kiddos do a Before Dissection Observation Report, match the bones they find to a bone chart while dissecting, and an After Dissection Report on their findings.

For a preview of my full owl unit, check out the link below.

Friday, October 03, 2014

How To in Blogger: Posts in your Pages

This tutorial is as much for me as it is for you. To me, using Blogger is similar to driving to a place a friend told me about with very limited directions. I miraculously arrive at that location (after many wrong turns), sing a celebratory song in my car, and then realize I have no idea how to get home... Thanks, Blogger. After combining 2 complicated tutorials I came across, I had finally created a tab that links to selected posts. I was all set to share that complicated route with you, when I discovered Blogger has a shortcut. Thanks, Blogger!

Here are the simple SHORTCUT directions for making PAGES redirect to select POSTS. Meaning – as you post, attach a label that will connect it to the other posts you want in this tab. For example, all of my tutorial posts are labeled “tech”. My new tab is “Tips for TPT”. After I complete the following steps, when I click on my tab “Tips for TPT” it will show my blog with all of the posts labeled “tech”.

1. View blog. Go to the navigation bar on the right hand side. There should be a screwdriver and wrench symbol. Click on it.

2. Click on the + Add External Link

3. Make your page/tab title. Enter this code for the URL:

http://YOUR BLOG ADDRESS/search/label/YOUR LABEL

4. Save Link. You can rearrange the order of your tabs at this stage if you’d like. Save again, and you’re done.

Click on my Tips for TPT tab to see how I linked to "tech" labeled posts. Happy Blogging!