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Need supplies for your makerspace?  Get your community involved! What to collect?  Think: craft supplies recyclables old toys and game pieces old/non-working electronics (for reverse engineering) Not only do they love to help, you will undoubtedly collect some interesting things!  I found our collection drives to be an important part of bringing our elementary STEAM makerspace into existence.  Also, don’t forget to ask your fellow colleagues!  Additionally, if you are going through a science re-adoption, be sure to ask teachers for old science kit materials that they won’t need anymore. We didn’t have a lot of resources, and what little I brought with me from my first grade classroom, would not have been enough to equip 415 students with craft supplies, recyclables, and other resources.  Your students’ families, your colleagues, and your community at large are great resources and you’ll likely find, as I did, that a community drive is the best way to build your supply area! To get the word out about our supply drive, I created this flyer using Canva. Feel free to access the “community version” that I made available, so you could make a copy and modify to meet your needs! We hosted a summer and […]
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Moving classrooms is a challenge. At first I was pretty sure I wanted to keep my first grade room and transform that into our new elementary STEAM makerspace. I created a list of pros and cons for moving and staying. In the end moving made more sense. Ultimately I needed to SHIFT my thinking from being a first grade teacher to a K-5 STEAM teacher. I was certain that moving would help me do that. Additionally, it would allow me to touch EVERY SINGLE THING in the room and determine what moves with me, what stays, and what is donated/sold (I only donated/sold things owned by me, of course!).   The process of moving took three full days. I also prepped and painted the new space. My principal helped paint!  I ordered cardboard letters for our makerspace STEAM wall title.  The metal letters came from Hobby Lobby.  The cardboard cut outs are from Woodland Manufacturers, which I later spray painted.I also started collecting STEAM room supplies during this time.  It’s not uncommon for me to now enter the space and find a pile of donated supplies.  It’s pretty much like Christmas every week in our STEAM makerspace room!  Overall, designing […]
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Wondering what to start collecting and purchasing for your STEM/STEAM makerspace room?  I started this growing list to help guide what’s added to our elementary STEAM makerspace. Do you have any additions I could make to this list?  Comment below or message me!
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Hi, friends.  I do consider  you my friends!  I know I’ve been far, far less active on this blog, in comparison to when my site was first created in 2003 — way before blogs existed!  Since 2003 I’ve been either a first grade teacher or a kindergarten teacher.  And I’ve loved EVERY. MOMENT. OF. IT. Two weeks ago I became our elementary school’s STEAM teacher. “Wait, what?!” you ask, “What does that mean for this blog?” It’s OK, others wondered too and I’ve received a few suggestions that I “should keep it active” and “don’t delete anything!” I won’t delete anything.  Instead, I’ll continue to use this blog as a venue for communicating new ideas, my thoughts, etc. Thanks for inspiring me all these years and continuing to be the SUPER HERO teachers you are!  We are stronger because of our collaboration, sharing, and caring.  Although I love watching Little House on the Prairie, and visiting our school’s on-site, historic One Room School House, I am appreciative that I’m teaching in a day and age where collaboration, sharing, and caring extends beyond the classroom/school/district’s walls. Blessings to you as you plan for your new year.  Your students are fortunate to […]
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Check them out HERE!  
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Again? -YEP!  This past year we worked through the year using a few tweaks to our {previous} Words Their Way routines and procedures. I think we’ve almost reached….PERFECTION! FRESHLY CLEANED-UP SLIDES: I think I’m a closet-graphic-designer by  nature.  I just love making things look a certain way.  For some reason my slides were creating a desire in me to clean them up a bit.  I wanted my students to see a clear delineation between each day’s steps, or tasks.  So, we now have cleaned up slides! A few changes: I added the “I can” statement to each slide. I divided the three daily tasks by color (think paint chip). The activity divisions translate easily into a chant: Day One:  “Number, Cut, Sort and Read” Day Two: “Sort, Glue/Write, Picture/Read” Day Three: “Sort, Glue/Spell, Picture/Read”  OR  “Sort, Glue/Highlight, Picture/Read” Day Four:  “Sort, Glue, Picture and Read” As you can see, we have a four day rotation.  This allows us to get done with one sort per week — even if we have a short week. Download the SMART Notebook file here:   BETTER SYSTEM FOR LOST SORT PIECES: Coloring the pieces was JUST NOT working!  Adding the color to the fronts of their notebooks […]
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Jessica Meacham by Jessica Meacham - 2y ago

My first grade writers have been working to find small moment stories.  We’ve had success using the watermelon analogy, when paired with our own story ideas.  To introduce the concept, we took a walk in the woods.  Our “big idea” was the walk in the woods, and we worked to identify the smaller stories within that story. I modeled this a few times with my students before asking them to find their own small moments to write about.  We’re using Lucy Calkin’s Units of Writing as a supplement.  The strategies she suggests have been pivotal in growing our writing skills. Every day we review the process for generating an idea, planning out our story (pre-writing), and illustrating/drafting.  The above and below images are reviewed daily.  I often change out my ideas and have them occasionally vote which one they’d like me to write about. In an effort to keep the mini lessons short and to the point, I sometimes choose to not write every word of my modeled story.  Instead, I draw squiggles for words as I share my story out loud, and every so often model a previously learned skill — Hearing and Recording Sounds in Words.   Sometimes I’ll have the […]
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