Sound Science for Early Elementary

Teaching the science of sound to young students can be frustrating and difficult for teachers because our little learners are still concrete learners, and it's hard to illustrate sound when it is invisible! Every year when it is time to teach sound to my second grade classroom, my colleagues and I usually begin our planning with, "Ugh... Not this again."

Over the years I have learned that teaching sound doesn't have to be painful. It will get noisy, but it is a productive noise. My first year of teaching sound, I began and ended by reading one book. It was ineffective to say the least, and I knew it. I just wanted to target that standard and say that I "taught it" because quite frankly, I didn't know how to teach it.

Last year was the first year that my students and I both enjoyed learning about sound. I can say that I felt like they truly understood the concept, and the best part about it, is that they were excited to share their experiences about it with their friends and families! Without further ado, I am going to share some ideas for each multiple intelligence so that you can differentiate and target every learner.

I. Musical/Rhythmic: My kids love this Fun Science - Sound video. Not only is this kid hilarious, but he actually demonstrates sound through art on his video so the students have a nice visual. They have no clue they are learning and they LOVE it! It is sure to give your students a good laugh!

II. Bodily/Kinesthetic: This experiment is so simple. All you will need is a working voice box and your hand. Have the students place their fingers on their throat, then have them whisper anything like, "Sound science is super!" Using a triple vinn diagram, list descriptive words of what it felt like. Using the same method, have them say the same thing in a famous mouse (with really big ears) voice, and a deep manly voice. List descriptive words for each on the triple vinn diagram and compare and contrast each. Students will be able to FEEL the vibrations moving quickly and slowly. This is also a good time to discuss pitch.

III. Naturalistic: Take your students outside and observe different animal sounds. You will notice that smaller animals typically make higher pitch sounds while larger animals typically make lower pitch sounds. This is because there is less space for the sound vibrations to move in smaller animals while there is more space for it to move in larger animals. You can probably make some predictions about different animal pitches and organize them from highest pitch to lowest pitch based on size; however, this does not always hold true. An enormous whale can create very high pitched sounds.

IV. Verbal/Linguistic: Reading is always helpful for this multiple intelligence. This non-fiction read aloud on Youtube has a great example of a story you can read to your class. You can also use these Sound No-Prep Worksheets that I created to help reinforce vocabulary. My kids enjoy these because they feel like they are playing games.

We've only discussed four MI, so to target the next four MI I use these Sound STEM activities.
V. Visual/Spacial
VI. Logical/Mathematical
VII. Interpersonal
VII. Intrapersonal

These STEM activities are super engaging and rich with opportunities to dig deep about sound in creative ways.

To start with, I always begin by having the students create a three pitched instrument. I don't tell them whether it has to be string, percussion, or wind. I simply let them get creative and choose their own instrument. Warning: the classroom can get a little noisy and messy, but it is worth all of that! You will be amazed at how creative the kids can get. Then, I always let them demonstrate their instrument and improve on it. We create a class band and try to play hot cross buns. It's always fun and we usually never sound that great, but the kids enjoy it, and that's all that matters.

The next STEM activity I introduce is for determining how sound travels best. What material is the best conductor for sound to travel? We make the cup telephones, but use different materials for the string such as floral wire, ribbon, yarn, string, etc. Then we test out the materials and organize them from best to worst.

The next STEM activity I introduce is for determining which is the best insulator for sound. I always tell my students about the experiences I had with my Dad as a little girl when he was recording music. The walls, the floor, and everything else were covered in materials because they were preventing echoes in the song being recorded. My students create a sound proof box. I have an apple watch, so I place my phone inside the box, and I play a song. The students get really quiet and listen. After we have tested, improved, and tested again, we then organize the materials from best to worst insulators. Then we can compare the insulators with the conductors.

Finally, I like to get that cultural piece in there, so I read The Rainstick A Fable and we create our own rainsticks out of a piece of the cardboard paper towel holder, tape, and different sized beans, rice, and pasta noodles. We use floral wire for the inside, but you can also insert toothpicks through the paper towel holder for the beans. After we place the wire inside, or put the toothpicks through, we select a variety of beans, noodles, and rice to place inside to fill it up about a quarter to a third of the way. Then, we tape up the top and bottom of the paper towel holder, and students can decorate the outside of their paper towel holder. They look forward to this every single year.

I hope that these ideas give you some inspiration and help you look forward to teaching Sound Science. Below are the following resources that were mentioned above.


Fun Science - Sound
non-fiction read aloud on Youtube
Sound No-Prep Worksheets
Sound STEM activities 
The Rainstick A Fable

I Lost My Dog!

"Whoever said diamonds were a girls best friend never had a dog." 

     On December 22, 2016 at approximately 7pm, I let my dog outside for the last time. I didn't know it was going to be the last time, and I surely didn't want it to be for the last time. This little guy is my best friend! 

     He was born on February 24, 2008. I took him to my new home just six weeks later. He was the cutest ball of fur I ever held! I was nervous and afraid of being in a new town and all alone. That fluffy little 6lb. dog made me feel safe and kept me company. I remember taking him with me everywhere I went because he was so small and ignorant to the world around him. We went to fairs, stores, and mostly on walks all around our neighborhood and park. He followed me everywhere I went. I called him, "My Minion." I'm not exaggerating when I say that I could walk him off of a leash and he would follow me. 

     I had recently moved eight hours away from my parents house into my new home with my new (at the time) husband. My husband was gone for months at a time due to work. I was left in a new town alone. Although nobody knew, I had anxiety about meeting new people and being alone. The longer I had Pongo, the better my anxiety became. He gave me a sense of security and reassurance that everything was going to be okay. 
     Fast forward eight years, 13lbs., and two children later...
     I know have a career, my kids are in school, and this new season of life has been difficult for our little guy. He spent countless hours in his kennel patiently awaiting the arrival of his buddies. He was such a good boy. I encouraged him to play outside so he could get some exercise. I felt guilty that I couldn't show him the attention that I thought he deserved. My attention is demanded by a grown man, little people, my business, and so much more.

     The thing is, is that I didn't realize this until after he left. It is like my brain has been stuck on autopilot, and I have been going through the motions to get through the day-to-day routine. My boy has ran away, yes. But I have faith that we will find him. I feel that in some ways this has been a blessing to me and my family as we have all been dealing with this in our own ways. In the past two weeks, my daughter has learned empathy. My son has learned to persevere. My husband has been more compassionate. I have learned patience and so much more.

     I am hopeful that we will find our boy. We have had great success networking in our wonderful, little community. There have been so many people searching and helping us in the search. We have had several sightings, and I know that they will soon lead to his rescue. I am going to continue being patient and have faith that this will all work out.
Please pray for him!

#ThankfulforTeachers Dollar Deals

It is DOLLAR DEAL DAY today because we are #ThankfulforTeachers 

What an honor it is to work along side so many admirable professionals! I am forever grateful! 

Type #ThankfulforTeachers into the teacherspayteachers search bar to find a complete list of Dollar Deals for today, November 15, only! There you will find one of my best sellers for only $1!!! Click here to get it for dirt cheap! 

This could possibly be better than the dollar section at Target. 
Also, don't forget to sign up for our Gift Card Giveaway Extravaganza. Today is the very last day! You can do that here.
Good luck!

Thankful for Teachers Giveaway Extravaganza

I would like to THANK my fellow teachers for all of the hard work you all put forth each and every day. It is an honor to work along side with some of the most caring and selfless group of individuals. Educators, you really are inspiring and molding our future, and for that we say THANK YOU! 

As a small token of appreciation, my fellow teacher - authors and I have organized a giveaway of over $500 worth of gift cards. How perfect are these before the holiday season? We will be giving away 11  - $50 gift cards to stores like Target, Amazon, TpT, and Starbucks! The Giveaway Rafflecopter will run from Sunday, 12:15 am through Tuesday, 11:59 pm.

Entering is super easy! Here's how you do it... 
Step 2: There are 50 calls-to-action. For every call-to-action you complete, you will receive one entry in the giveaway.
Step 3: Wait for the winners to be announced on Wednesday. 

My two calls-to-action are: 
1: Like my Facebook Page
2: Like my TpT Store

Since you like my store, go ahead and download your special FREEBIE!

Remember, the more you do, the better your chances to win.

Good luck!

Math: The Daily 3

The sisters have done it again! Not only do we have a Daily 5 for literacy instruction, we now have a Daily 3 for math instruction. I am really excited about this! 

I'm going to be focusing on three parts to math this year: number sense & facts, real world application, and common core. 

So I am thinking since I have one hour for math instruction, I'm going to divide it up by three. That's 20 minutes per round. I need about 5-7 minutes for a mini-lesson, and about 3 minutes for transitions. That gives us about 10 minutes per round for independent practice. It also gives me 30 minutes of small group instruction for those in the MTSS Tier II level. 

I am really excited that I will have 5-7 minutes to explicitly reach number sense and math facts because let's face it- one month out of the year is NOT enough for primary students! Research shows that students in K-2 need to conceptualize numbers. That takes repetitive practice. 

I also have time to teach the common core, which if my students are having ample practice with number sense, they should theoretically be able to grasp the core quicker.  I plan on doing a quick assessment afterwards using plickers multiple choice sign language to choose my small groups. 

Finally, we have time to teach and model real world applications - or solving word problems! Again, there is real time set aside to learning how to conquer those pesky word problems!

I think the Daily 3 is going to be a win for my classroom. I'm excited to see the results. I plan on beginning the implementation of our Daily 3 after reading assessments are over and after I have introduced place value to the whole group. So maybe by October we will be up and running with our Daily 3. 

Is anyone out there already using it? Please post in the comments below and let me know if you plan on using it, if you are, or if you are thinking about it. I'd love to get some feedback and get a group together to support each other. 

Happy teaching! 


Punctuation Presentation - Gets a Makeover

As I’m getting ready for back to school, I’ve been organizing my documents and found this old gem in my flash drive. Punctuation PowerPoint. I probably made this in my first year of teaching. Wow! It was so boring, but the content was RICH!

I knew that other teachers would love it too, so I decided to give it a makeover. What do you think? 

                                                           Old Title Page
                                                         New Title Page
                                                             New Slide 1

                                                              Old Slide 1

You can find the actual PowerPoint in my TpT store HERE. I made it all editable so you can modify it to fit your needs. 

OMG I could not get over the difference in the presentation. It totally sets the tone for the lesson. The old one seems a little dreadful to me... kind of like prison. The new one makes me feel happy! It's truly a phenomenon how design affects our psychology. 

Hope you like it! For now, I am going to keep looking at more OLD stuff. LOL 

Best wishes for this new school year! 


THRIVE: 7 Tipes for Managing Time

7 Tips for Managing Time

         People know that I have 100,000 roles that I have committed to in my life. I am a mom (of two small children), wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, science coach, health coach, leadership coach, teacher-author, blogger, the list goes on  Everyday, I have people asking me, “How do you have time for all of this?” Today, I am going explain how I do it all. These tips will be clear and to the point so that you can THRIVE in all of the roles you play in your life! 
Tip 1: Healthy Balance
We all need a healthy balance in our lives. Think about a balloon with air in it. If you put too much pressure on one side, the other side will inflate and get super large. If you put more pressure on that one side, you increase the chances of that other side popping. That’s an example of an unhealthy balance.
We tend to find ourselves in an unhealthy balance when we feel overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, etc. To create a healthy balance, we must put our priorities in order. Create a list of 5 10 things you are responsible for in your everyday life. Now rank each of those roles 1 10. Can you eliminate some of those roles? Some of those roles may be toxic to your health, which brings me to my next tip

Tip 2: Time for Yourself
         Who are the most important people in your life? Do you ever consider putting your needs before theirs?  It may sound selfish, but putting your needs before the most important people in your life will make you a better person. I’m not saying you neglect those important people, nor rob them for their time, but rather, you MUST take time to nurture yourself each and everyday. You can do this through exercise, eating healthy, meditation and prayer, reading, enjoying a hobby, etc. Taking the time for yourself helps relieve stress, helps you prepare for life’s challenges, and because of that, it helps you to be a better person to all of those who are most important to you in your life.

Tip 3: Plan Your Day
         It took some time in creating a schedule, but it has been worth every effort because I have been so successful in completing everything on my to-do list. Knowing what’s ahead on the day eliminates over commitment.

Tip 4: Just Say “No!”
         Once you have your schedule down packed, you are going to be more aware of what you need to accomplish in the days ahead. When someone asks you to do something, you can take a look at your schedule and ask yourself these three things,
1.    “Can I commit to this?”
2.    “By doing this, will it fill up my bucket?”
3.    “Does this follow my goals?”
If you say, “No!” to any of these questions, then you should say, “No!” to the person who asked you to do something in the first place. Just because you said, “No!” will not make that person dislike you (disclaimer: they may be initially upset), and if they do dislike you, then let that be their problem. You’ve got too much going on in your life to give it your best. They’d probably be more upset at you if you said, “Yes!” and only gave it a little effort instead of your best.

Tip 5: Exercise in the Morning
         At 4:30am, my alarm goes off. I get up, get dressed, and put in a workout. To me, that is the hardest thing to accomplish throughout the day because so many things tend to pop up throughout the day. When making my schedule, I knew that I had to schedule my workouts during the day when I had the least amount of interruptions. I know that if I wake up at 4:30, I’ll be the only person awake in our family, and I’ll have the most willpower at that time!
By putting my exercise first thing in the morning, I know that I am not going to have the choice to say no throughout the day. Your willpower is like an energy/stamina bar in a video game. It starts off as a full bar, but as the day goes on, you have more and more tasks to complete, and your willpower dwindles. By the end of the day, your willpower is at an all time low, and it is very easy to put off the exercise.
Exercising in the morning sends off dopamine and serotonin in your brain causing you to be happier throughout the day. Imagine going to work happier and the copier breaks again Hey, no big deal! You are a smart and strong person. You’ve got this!

Tip 6: Take Breaks
         I personally believe that no person should be sitting down for more than 29 minutes at a time. Time yourself, take short breaks, and return back to your task. In doing this, you prevent burn out by keeping your brain fresh and on task.

Tip 7: Cut Out the Unnecessary
         Do you really need to watch that show at 10 o’clock at night? Do you really need to check up on your notifications every five minutes?  The answer is quite simple. You do not! People, if you want to be more effective throughout the day, then put the social media and TVs away. Set aside a small amount of time where you can check your notifications and watch your favorite shows, but try not to mix those with your tasks at hand. Your smartphone is the biggest distraction to you. In fact, people are dying in car crashes checking them. Why would they be safe doing any other task?  Set aside time solely for the smartphone.

Now that you have these seven tips, you are going to apply them to your life today to make you a more productive, more present, and more accomplished person. I promise that by doing these things, you are going to see improvements in relationships, your self-confidence will increase, and your stress level will decrease. Above all, take time for yourself and love the ones around you!


Sarah is a second grade teacher, science coach, and an author for TpT