Design an Ugly Christmas Sweater With Google

Have you ever gone to a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party? Designing a Tacky Christmas Sweater with Google is a fun activity that involves creativity, writing, and computer skills. Students can even add more descriptive words to each other's creation.

Have you ever gone to a Tacky Christmas Sweater Party? I've probably gone to parties not knowing my sweater was even tacky! Designing an ugly Christmas Sweater is a fun activity that involves creativity, writing, and computer skills.
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Classroom Holiday Activities: Websites and Apps

This holiday season, try some of these fun activities that are online and iPad apps. Your students can improve math, word, and problem-solving skills.

This holiday season, try some of these fun activities that are online and iPad apps. Your students can improve math, word, and problem-solving skills.

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Amazing Bargains and FREEBIES on Cyber Monday

It's Teachers Pay Teachers Cyber Sale. Take a look at my holiday products that include writing, PBL, legends, lapbooks, and more...


It's Cyber Monday and you can save up to 28% on all Teachers Pay Teachers products.

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Turkey in Disguise Using the App PicCollage

Try a different way of teaching the activity Turkey in Disguise. Students can use the app PicCollage to disguise the turkey.

After reading the favorite read-aloud Thanksgiving book Turkey in Trouble by Wendi Silvano, students can complete the fun Turkey in Disguise activity. Turkey in Trouble sets up the activity with the turkey trying to disguise himself as another animal so he won't be eaten for Thanksgiving. I've seen classes product the cutest art projects using a turkey template. But, this activity is a little different. Students will use the app Pic Collage to create their own Turkey in Disguise.

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How to Improve Math Skills With Real-World Activities

How many times have you heard your students say, "When will I ever need to use this?" Well, give your students an opportunity to work real-world math problems. If you have read any of my blog posts on project based learning, I love engaging students in real-life situations. And I truly believe you can improve math skills with real-world activities.

Teaching math using restaurant menus is a fun way for your students to add or subtract decimals (or money) and work multi-step word problems. Plus, when they go to restaurants with their parents, students can help figure out the bill!

Help your students improve math skills with real-world activities. Let students calculate orders, estimate, use a spreadsheet, and more. They'll learn so much! Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade students will fall in love with this project based learning unit. It's a great way for them to get real life skills in a fun, engaging manner. Click through now to see all the details. {first, second, third, fourth graders, PBL, real world, real-life, creative writing, fractions}


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Fall Activities With "Sophie's Squash" and Freebie


Get your free activities to go along with the book Sophie's Squash. Your students will love this sweet book and learn about life cycles.

If you haven't read Sophie's Squash, I highly recommend it. This Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book is the sweetest book about a little girl who finds a new friend... a squash. There are several life lessons your can learn when reading Sophie's Squash.

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5 Easy Tech Activities for a Chilling Halloween

I've shared some fun Halloween learning activities for your students. These include FREE products, activities for the iPad, and Google.

This is a fun time of the year. Fall is here and your students are getting excited about Halloween. Join the fun with your students with these fun activities.

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Bats: 6 Informative Resources for Teaching Nonfiction

Students can learn about bats as they read fiction and nonfiction text. I've provided lots of activities in this post.

People in Austin have a deep affinity for bats. Every evening between the months of March and October, hundreds of people line up along Congress Street Bridge to see the bats fly out for their evening meal. Bats along with other animals are becoming endangered. They suffer from loss of habitat, disease, and effects of pollution. With Bats Conservation International being located here in Austin, we have an opportunity to learn more about this important creature of the night.

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Election 2016: Exploring Websites and Activities

The presidential election is right around the corner. In this post, I've provided websites resources and units  in teaching the election.

The presidential election is right around the corner and there are so many skills that can be taught around the election process. Even though there's so much trash talk from both sides, there are ways to teach the political process in electing the president. And, there are some excellent websites and lessons that are available. I've come across several websites that have excellent online activities and ideas for teaching your students about the upcoming presidential election. Take advantage of these teachable moments surrounding the election.
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Teaching Inference With Mentor Text

Author Elvira Woodruff was inspired to write The Memory Coat after a visit to Ellis Island Immigration Museum. She came across an exhibit of clothing worn by the immigrants and was touched by the story of one piece of tattered clothing. After doing research, Elvira learned about the plight of Russian-Jews coming to America in order escape the cruel treatment. With this information and her imagination, the story came together.

Learn reading strategies for making inferences through mentor text. I've provided free lessons for the book The Memory Coat.

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How to Develop Successful Readers Through Project Based Learning

The first step in developing a Project Based Learning unit is to determine the instructional goals to be taught during the project. These are not the goals of the students but the core standards that need to be addressed during the unit. The standards may cover different subject areas such as science, social studies, math, ELA... This post focuses on how reading informational text develops successful readers through Project Based Learning.

Through project based learning students can become better readers. I suggest using reading strategies during the reading and research phase.

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Let's Celebrate Our National Parks With Deeper Learning


This year, we are celebrating the centennial of the National Parks Service. This is an opportunity for students and adults to learn more about our national parks and what we can do to preserve our natural resources and national treasures. The National Park Service is encouraging people to discover a park near them and become involved through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

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Saving Our Monarchs - 5 Ways Students Can Get Involved

The fall migration of the Monarch butterfly has begun. The Monarch butterflies are now migrating from Canada to the warmer climate of Mexico. Did you know that they travel about 3,000 miles and up to 500 miles a day? Austin falls in the path of the monarchs traveling south. So, it's important to get involved and for us to do our part to save our Monarchs.

Our Monarch Butterfly population is declining. Students can learn different ways they can help in this blog post. I've shared my Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle Unit and Project Based Learning Unit.

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Apples to the Core: Apple Life Cycle With Freebie

September is the time to learn about the apple life cycle. I've listed a few engaging activities for your students. This post comes with a FREEBIE.

Did you know that there are over 2,500 different varieties of apples? They come in shades of yellow, red, and green and they are grown in all 50 states. There are also many learning activities that can be focused around this delicious and healthful fruit.
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Go Paperless With ClassKick



Are you looking for ways to go paperless in your classroom? Try this great app that can be used for your assignments, review, and assessment. I like Classkick because teachers can create the lessons, students work during real time and they can receive instant feedback as they work. Students can even request help from the teacher or from other students while working on the assignment. Classkick is an excellent resource for students who are too shy to ask for help.

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All About Me - Back to School Activities

Grab these fun Back to School Freebies. Students can share their summer memories, learn about their new friends, and make goals for the new year.

It's time for school to begin and I know your students are eager to get to know their new classmates and tell all about their summer activities. I'm going to share some fun beginning of the year activities that can be displayed for Back to School Night with your parents. All you need are scissors, glue, staplers, and crayons.

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Building Community Through Project Based Learning With Freebie


Gear up for a great year with this back to school project based learning unit. I've included community building activities and a Back to School Snow Cone Party idea. I've included a FREEBIE!

Building a Class Community Through Project Based Learning

It's the beginning of the school year and your goal is to create a positive atmosphere and community in your classroom. It's important to set the tone at the beginning of the year so your class meetings go well, your students work productively in collaborative groups, and your students can resolve conflicts.

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Back to School Sale and Giveaway

Make sure to take advantage of the Big Back to School sale!

There's so much going on this week. Teachers Pay Teachers is having their Back to School Sale on August 1-2. You can get up to 28% off all of my products. 

But...

There's more...

There are two different raffles you can enter. You can receive up to $90 in TPT gift Cards.

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Road to Rio: 6 Summer Olympics Classroom Activities


Are you ready for the Summer Olympics? I love watching all of the events, especially swimming and gymnastics. There are some great learning activities that go along with the Olympics and your students will love beginning the year with this unit. And, I can't think of a better way for students to learn about countries and their cultures.

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Creating Editable Documents With Google Docs

Are you tired of dealing with stacks of papers to grade? Are your students constantly losing their homework or forgetting to turn in assignments? I'm seeing that more and more teachers are going paperless or wanting to make their documents editable to eliminate these issues.


I'm going to share an tip I have in creating editable documents using Google Docs with worksheets you may already have. It's easy to create editable documents in Google docs from scratch but adding documents you already have just takes it a step further.

Are you tired of dealing with stacks of papers? I've provided you steps in creating editable documents with Google Docs.


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World Emoji Day - Let's Celebrate

It's World Emoji Day! I've shared different activities to celebrate the Day.


I bet you had no idea that today is World Emoji Day. The truth is, I didn't either. A friend clued us in last week.

Emojis are small digital images or icons that are used to express an idea or emotion. They were actually born in the late 1990's in a Japanese research facility. A mobile phone provider in Japan was the first entity to allow users to add pictures to commonly used emotions to their text messages.

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Christmas in July - I Teach Linky

It's Christmas in July! Grab this great freebie for Back to School.
It's Christmas in July and I'm sure you never stop thinking about all that you need for your students and classroom for the new year. I'll make your life a little easier with this FREEBIE.
At the beginning of the year, there's so much you need to discuss with your students and parents. Many of you have a back to school night when you go over Snapshots of what's coming up during the year.
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6 Takeaways From iPadpalooza


If you need ideas and inspiration in using ipads and technology in your classroom, iPadpalooza is just the conference for you! It's held here in Austin every June. The conference grows every year and brings in big names like Wes Fryer, George Couros, Kathy Schrock, and so many more. Carl Hooker has done an amazing job in developing the conference to reach educators across the world.

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Shark Week Blog Hop

To share the results of research threats to sharks, Students can create a cartoon story with this editable PowerPoint.
Welcome to our Shark Week Blog Hop. Take a "bite" out of learning with these amazing ideas and "FREE" lessons from my Shark Week blogger friends.
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Google Lit Trips: Books Come Alive

Make your books come alive with Google Lit Trips. Your students will love visiting all the locations mentioned in your book.

Have you ever read books with your class and wanted your students to actually visit these places? With Google Earth and Google Lit Trips, you can take your students to these different locations around the world. Two of my favorite books are Make Way for Ducklings and Big Anthony: His Story. With Google Lit Trips, your students can follow the ducklings to all the places they visited in Boston and travel with Big Anthony through his disasters in the cities of Italy. By using Lit Trips, you can easily incorporate literature and social studies.
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Flip Flops, Beach Chairs, and Teaching With Mentor Texts


Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.

School is out for most of you and I'm sure you've encouraged your students to read, read, read during their summer vacation. I always recommend books on the Texas Lone Star Reading List and other award winning books. This year's Caldecott winners are amazing. They teach life lessons about diversity, emotions, and friendship. 

Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.


Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.

I came across Last Stop on Market Street and immediately fell in love with this sweet book. There are so many lessons to learn in this award winning book by author Matt de la Pena and illustrator Christian Robinson. In fact, it won both Caldecott and Newbery Awards this year. 

A little boy named CJ is not happy about riding the bus across town with his grandmother. He wonders why they don't have a car like his friends and questions things he sees while riding on the bus. CJ's grandmother wants him to appreciate the world and people around him. Nana finds the beauty in unexpected places. The author even uses visualization as a passenger plays his guitar and a blind man talks about using his other senses.

Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.


I suggest introducing the book by talking about the different ways students get from one place to another. Ask students if they have ever taken a bus or some type of public transportation other than their car?
1. What are some things they notice about taking this type of transportation?
2. Do they study the people traveling? Wonder where they are going?
3. Do they notice things outside?
4. Would they rather ride in a car or enjoy public transportation? Why or Why not?
5. Do they ever get upset because they don't have things that other friends have?

Draw the students' attention to the inside cover. It's filled with pictures that are seen throughout the book. How is this different from other books? Ask the students if they can visualize how these may be used within the book. Hand out the picture cards. Ask the students to listen to the story as it is read. When they hear the word of their picture bring it to the front of the class. The pictures can be displayed on the board or anchor chart. 

Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.

Tell the children that this book is about a little boy who rides with his grandmother on a bus to the last stop on Market Street. He's not happy because they don't have a car. He notices things that others have and he doesn't. Listen as the book is read to see how the boy changes and begins to appreciate the world and people around him. 


1. Discuss the difference between physical traits and character traits. Students will write all of the physical traits of CJ and his nana, then write all of the character traits. 
2. Not all traits are written. Students can infer the traits from reading the text. Students can write the quotes of CJ and then write the trait they infer from the reading.
3. Sometimes characters change from the beginning of the book. Students can list the events that may have influenced the ways CJ changed after his nana helped him appreciate the beauty around him.

Creating mental pictures is important for reading comprehension. As students read, they create mental pictures. In the book, a man plays a guitar and people close their eyes. CJ closed his eyes and visualized things he saw while listening to the music. Students have their own unique pictures as they visualize during their reading. They can draw what they visualize from reading the book and compare drawings. 

Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.

Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.

The last stop on Market Street was at a soup kitchen where CJ and nana were going to volunteer. Visit with students about different ways they can volunteer. They may volunteer through their community, church or other organizations. Your students may even come up with ideas for their class to volunteer.

For your free resource, just click on the image below.

Last Stop on Market Street is filled with life lessons. This post contains a book summary, character study and ways to use visualization. A FREE product is included.



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Project Based Learning: Deeper Content Knowledge Through Ask an Expert

An important element in Project Based Learning or PBL is to develop deeper learning of the content. In doing this, I provide students with many types of resources. One of the most important resources is connecting with an expert in the field. When students ask an expert they learn more about the world around them and gain valuable life experience.

Help your students deepen their knowledge of various topics by participating in Ask an Expert. This project based learning experience is a great learning tool! This post gives students seven manageable steps to conduct interviews, helping them develop a deeper learning of a real-life problem or challenge. The ideas presented at this post will work for your elementary, middle school, or high school classroom or homeschool students. {2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade}

I have had experts speak to my students as a whole group and have encouraged students to conduct personal interviews. Interviews take lots of preparation so the interviews will be successful. I have a few suggestions for your students so they will feel confident when speaking to adults.

1. Do your research! 

Never go into an interview without knowing about the subject. Doing research helps the interviewer come up with good questions to learn even more.

Help your students deepen their knowledge of various topics by participating in Ask an Expert. This project based learning experience is a great learning tool! This post gives students seven manageable steps to conduct interviews, helping them develop a deeper learning of a real-life problem or challenge. The ideas presented at this post will work for your elementary, middle school, or high school classroom or homeschool students. {2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade}

2. Contact the person ahead of time

Whether you are going to a business or someone's home, contact the person first. Set up a good time for the interview. If the person cannot be interviewed in person, you may need to do a phone interview or even Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangout.

3. Prepare questions ahead of time

After researching, write down between 10-15 good questions. Don't ask yes or no questions. Ask questions that are open-ended so the person has an opportunity to elaborate. Practice asking questions with a friend or your parents.

Help your students deepen their knowledge of various topics by participating in Ask an Expert. This project based learning experience is a great learning tool! This post gives students seven manageable steps to conduct interviews, helping them develop a deeper learning of a real-life problem or challenge. The ideas presented at this post will work for your elementary, middle school, or high school classroom or homeschool students. {2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade}


4. Be prepared and on time for the interview


Bring your notebook, pencil and questions. If you are recording the interview, bring the device. Always make sure to get permission if you want to record or video. And, make sure to be on time.


5. Be courteous and professional during the interview

  • Be friendly and relax during the interview.
  • Dress nicely to show that you are serious about the interview.
  • Give the person a chance to answer the questions without going on to the next question.
  • Listen carefully as you take notes. Feel free to ask follow-up questions.
  • Sometimes one of your questions may already be answered during the interview, so don't ask it again.
  • Ask the person if there's anything else she/he would like to add.
  • Thank the person for taking time to be interviewed.


Help your students deepen their knowledge of various topics by participating in Ask an Expert. This project based learning experience is a great learning tool! This post gives students seven manageable steps to conduct interviews, helping them develop a deeper learning of a real-life problem or challenge. The ideas presented at this post will work for your elementary, middle school, or high school classroom or homeschool students. {2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade}

6. Review your notes

Review your notes right after your interview. You may remember some information that you didn't write down.

7. Write a thank-you note

Follow-up the interview with a thank-you note.

If you enjoyed this post about ask an expert, you'll also enjoy the other PBL ideas at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. You can view all of my Project Based Learning resources here.

Help your students deepen their knowledge of various topics by participating in Ask an Expert. This project based learning experience is a great learning tool! This post gives students seven manageable steps to conduct interviews, helping them develop a deeper learning of a real-life problem or challenge. The ideas presented at this post will work for your elementary, middle school, or high school classroom or homeschool students. {2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th grade}



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Hands On Math Linky

Math Games

There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.I love having games available in the classroom. Students learn so many skills when they play strategy games, board games and simulations. They are perfect for struggling learners because students are using their senses and higher level thinking skills. It's a wonderful way to present concepts and address differentiation in the classroom. Stronger students can even peer tutor.

1. By playing games, students learn and practice math skills. Students are able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the concepts.

2. By playing games, students learn life and social skills. They can learn critical thinking, teamwork, to cooperate with others, sportsmanship, and communication.

3. By playing games, students are more apt to retain the information. Students not only learn math concepts, they learn skills in reading, following directions, and vocabulary.

4. Games are motivating! Students don't even realize they are learning when they play games.

5. Games are fun for all ages. Many games are still fun to play no matter how old you are!

Here are a few math games that have a spring theme. These are perfect for math stations:

1. Ice Cream Scoops - Just write numbers on cards. Students will take turns turning over a card and subtract it from 99. Then, continue subtracting from each difference. Write smaller numbers on the cards for easier problems.
There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.
2. Double Bee's - This is a fun game with multi-steps. Students will roll the dice. (You can use blank dice to add numbers 4-9.) Multiply the two numbers. Add the two numbers and then add those totals. Find the answers on the bee hive. 

There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.
3. Flower Power and Sweet Treats - You can write your own problems for these games. Make sure to laminate all of these so you can use them over and over. Students get a different experience every time they play. Use erasable markers so you can just erase the problems and write new ones.

There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.
4. Roll and Cover and Catch the Bug - I love using themes for games. You can incorporate games into all curriculum areas. Catch the Bug involves working with coordinates and the flower themed Roll and Cover is also played with dice.

There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.
You can find all of these games in one product. Or, you can purchase a year of themes in one bundle. And, they are discounted just for this linky! Just click on the images below.
There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.
There are so many skills students can learn with hands-on math games. I've given you samples of games you can use at your math stations.
















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Implementing Successful Project Based Learning Units

When implementing a successful Project Based Learning unit, there are several questions you need to ask yourself. What is your overall goal for the unit? What skills do you want to cover in the project? Does the project fit into your curriculum? And, is your unit really project based? Many times commonly used terms such as inquiry based learning, authentic learning, problem-solving... are confused with actual project based learning.

When implementing Project Based Learning, teachers and students can think about different types of challenges or problems.


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Exploring the Life Cycle of a Plant: Engaging Springtime Fun

It's spring and flowers are beginning to bloom. It's warming up and your students are anxious to go outside and explore. This is the perfect time of year to focus on life cycles, or - more specifically - the life cycle of a plant

Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade elementary classroom or home school students are going to love learning about the life cycle of a plant with this springtime resource. It has many engaging components they're sure to love! Help your science lesson come to life with the QR codes, video, PowerPoint, vocabulary, and nature hunt ideas included in this blog post. Any time you're teaching about life cycles, this resource will be a huge hit! {first, second, third, fourth graders}

Nature Hunt

Take your students outside on a nature hunt to identify the parts of the plant. Students can record their observations. As students learn about the life cycle of a plant, they can color and cut out each phase and put them in the correct order.

Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade elementary classroom or home school students are going to love learning about the life cycle of a plant with this springtime resource. It has many engaging components they're sure to love! Help your science lesson come to life with the QR codes, video, PowerPoint, vocabulary, and nature hunt ideas included in this blog post. Any time you're teaching about life cycles, this resource will be a huge hit! {first, second, third, fourth graders}

Vocabulary

As students learn vocabulary related to plants, they can create their own mini-book.

Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade elementary classroom or home school students are going to love learning about the life cycle of a plant with this springtime resource. It has many engaging components they're sure to love! Help your science lesson come to life with the QR codes, video, PowerPoint, vocabulary, and nature hunt ideas included in this blog post. Any time you're teaching about life cycles, this resource will be a huge hit! {first, second, third, fourth graders}

QR Codes

Put QR Code task cards at centers so they can view videos and learn more about plants.

Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade elementary classroom or home school students are going to love learning about the life cycle of a plant with this springtime resource. It has many engaging components they're sure to love! Help your science lesson come to life with the QR codes, video, PowerPoint, vocabulary, and nature hunt ideas included in this blog post. Any time you're teaching about life cycles, this resource will be a huge hit! {first, second, third, fourth graders}

PowerPoint

This fun interactive PowerPoint explains the parts of the plant, life cycle, seeds, pollination and how plants are useful.

Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade elementary classroom or home school students are going to love learning about the life cycle of a plant with this springtime resource. It has many engaging components they're sure to love! Help your science lesson come to life with the QR codes, video, PowerPoint, vocabulary, and nature hunt ideas included in this blog post. Any time you're teaching about life cycles, this resource will be a huge hit! {first, second, third, fourth graders}

Video

This Claymation video is a wonderful way for students to understand the life cycle of a plant. These are so easy to create.


For all of these life cycle of a plant activities, drop by my TPT store. You're going to love the life cycle of a plant resource (or the other bundles it's included in)! 

Your 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade elementary classroom or home school students are going to love learning about the life cycle of a plant with this springtime resource. It has many engaging components they're sure to love! Help your science lesson come to life with the QR codes, video, PowerPoint, vocabulary, and nature hunt ideas included in this blog post. Any time you're teaching about life cycles, this resource will be a huge hit! {first, second, third, fourth graders}

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