Diving Into Matter!

An easy and comprehensive unit plan to get your students engaged and learning with matter! This packet includes five major lessons in note-taking format for your little scientists!

One of my favorite units to teach in science is our matter unit! Having fun with solids, liquids, and gasses, discovering those three states, and getting our hands dirty with exploration is just the best! I wanted to re-share my Matter Matters Unit with you all today and hope you can find it useful in your classrooms.

This packet contains all the important objectives in a fun fill-in-the-blank format, which is perfect for those beginner note taking skills. I incorporated videos from Scholatic’s Study Jams (which are fabulous resource videos if you haven’t already heard of them!) as well as Brain Pop Jr. I also use this packet as a companion to a PowerPoint slideshow I made, which helps me keep my lessons on track.

I made some edits to my original packet, but for the most part all of the content is still the same. If you have already downloaded this unit, be sure to re-download the newest version. For those of you who need it you can pick it up at my TpT store here.

Lesson 1: The Three States of Matter
Lesson 2: Mass & Volume: Measuring Matter
Lesson 3: Changing States
Lesson 4: Physical & Chemical Changes
Lesson 5: Experiment: Sugar Cube
Three States of Matter Poems

Another just for fun activity that has always been a hit, and one done at the very end of the unit (if there’s time), was creating Oobleck with my class. This was always a hit and something the kids really enjoyed year after year. All you need is water, cornstarch, and food coloring! We read the book Bartholomew and the Oobleck prior to the activity and discussed how students will observe that when we mix solid and liquid ingredients it creates something completely different!

November Currently

Happy Monday and the beginning of November! I say this all the time about how quickly time seems to fly, but seriously...it’s November already. In celebration of the harvest, everything Thanksgiving, and the approaching holiday season, I’m linking up with Farley and her Currently linkup and sharing what’s going on with me on this brisk November morning!


Listening // My husband just recently discovered Lisa Ling’s new CNN docu-series and currently watching an episode about motorcycle gangs. Not quite the best thing to listen to first thing in the morning, but I suppose neither is my Real Housewives to him ;)

Loving // With a show of hands, how many of us are excited that Starbucks has officially rolled out their red holiday cups?! I know, many people I know (and many more across the internet) believe that the holiday/Christmas season doesn’t/shouldn’t officially start until AFTER Thanksgiving, but consider me one of the few who gets excited nonetheless. 

Thinking // It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to visit Virginia to see my family since moving to California with my husband and I am so excited to get the opportunity to visit during Thanksgiving. We are trying to visit both my family and his family in Texas this holiday season before our baby is born in the spring. It’ll be a lot, both financially and in stress, to travel while pregnant and with a dog, but it’ll be worth it!

Wanting // This is the first week that we’ve had temperatures below 80 degrees and I am welcoming it with open arms! It’s only about 70 degrees outside, so not quite scarf and sweater weather, but I’ll take it! Celebrating fall has been an interesting thing, especially since it’s been unseasonably hot here in CA. More cold weather!

Needing // How many of you have seen and fell absolutely in love with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper?! I mean, seriously. I love their work and wish I lived in Waco just to have them makeover a house for me. They seem like an awesome couple and I love the example they set as Christians, spouses, and parents. Love them!

Yummy // I’ve been craving Thanksgiving Dinner, like the whole spread, for a few weeks now. This also adds to just how excited I am to visit my family since my dad goes all out for dinner and hosting our family. My heart skips a beat every time we walk into Trader Joe’s and I see the stuffing, gravy, turkey broth, etc. lining the walls. Just a few more weeks!

Preparing for Parent/Teacher Conferences


Today I am going to be discussing Parent/Teacher Conferences! These conferences are wonderful opportunities to meet with parents for the first time and discuss how the first couple months have been going for their child. Typically, after routines and procedures have been established, teachers hit the ground running with instruction and conferences are great times to share with parents the work students are doing and the progress they're showing! 

This means that teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!

teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!

Break down the information by quarter.
Obviously you want to focus on the immediate goals for each child so it's important to dedicate some time to look up student scores and make them easy to compare to quarterly benchmarks.
This resource includes conference forms for all 4 quarters. It includes areas to document important information about reading, writing, and math so you can focus your conversation with your parents. It also provides the teacher to discuss where the student is at in terms of their work habits and attitude. Having the benchmarks available helps show if students are below, meets, or exceeds the given benchmark for that quarter.
teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!
Include student work samples
Student work samples are great tools to use during conferences to show where students should be performing or the goals they should be working towards. I keep previous students' work to help compare. I've gotten a lot of compliments from parents on how helpful it is for them to see what I'm referring to in regards to what I expect each quarter {especially writing!}.

Planning and organization!
I always put out the conference time sign up sheet at my Back to School Night and Open House that way I can get the majority of parents locked in to a time early and it's one less thing to do. However, everyone is different! Plan your conferences to be about 15-20mins each, especially if you're meeting with all your parents the first quarter. Give yourself a few minutes between each conference to prepare and have materials ready. 

Tip: have resource information readily available too like:
-specialists emails or phone numbers
-a laptop or iPad with your schools website so you can show 
them how to navigate it to find other resources

Keep a record...
It's important that teachers keep records of their conferences with each child's parents/guardians. It's important because it can be used as documentation in other meetings, especially if it's related to academic or disciplinary issues. 
teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!

This form is good if you want to see your whole class at a glance as you have conferences throughout the year. Or...

teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!

You can use this form, which looks at individual students and how often you've met or talked with their parents. I like this form personally because I can keep it in their file in my classroom. It's also helpful if you have students with IEPs or Child Study (in LCPS that the initial meeting that establishes interventions before officially giving a child an IEP).

Don't Forget!
I've included Don't Forget! slips with my resource pack because it's another small thing that parents really appreciate {especially if they signed up for a conference back in Sept}. Just fill out the student's name and the time/date of the conference and send home a week or so before your conferences begin! 
teachers need to communicate a lot of information to parents and in a short amount of time. Here I have a resource that has been very helpful to me in the past and it keeps me focused the whole time! It's so easy to get sidetracked so here are a few things I've done that you may find helpful!

Every year this packet has been such a time saver and an easy way to organize student progress and work in a nutshell for parents. What are some tricks of the trade you utilize during conferences?