Saturday, March 31, 2012

Plants in different environments

As part of our plant unit, and since we live in the desert, I wanted to show the students the difference between desert plants and plants in another environment.  I read the fabulous book Cactus Hotel one day and then The Great Kapok Tree the next day.  Then yesterday we pretended we were cactus in the desert.  The kiddos spread out all over the room and held up their arms like cactus arms.  Then we talked about how because of the little rain in the desert, sometimes plants need lots of room to spread their roots.  Then we pretended we were trees in the rain forest.  I asked them what they should do differently and they all got back on the carpet and stood close together.  Then we made a human double bubble map comparing and contrasting the desert and the rainforest.  I gave one student a plate with the word "desert" on it and one student a plate with the word "rainforest" on it.  They stood apart from each other with space in the middle and on the outside.  If a student knew something that the two environments had in common they came to the middle, touched each child's shoulder and said the similarity.  If a student knew something that just the desert had, he/she came and stood to the side of the desert, touched that child's shoulder, and said the fact.  The same for the rainforest.  The kiddos had a lot of fun with this human double bubble map and they were able to tell a lot of similarities and differences!  Great fun!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Read It, Trace It, Put the Sentence Together FREEBIE!!!

Here's a sample of my TpT product Easter Themed: Read It, Trace It, Put the Sentence Together. Enjoy!

Read It, Trace It, Put the Sentence Together Easter Theme FREEBIE

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Principal Visits

Don't you love it when your principal walks in and you are doing something that she might question the "Instructional value" of???  We don't have specials on Thursdays and usually I try to do something hands on or a instructional video or something in the afternoons because we haven't had a break all day.  Today, since we're learning about plants, I decided to make "dirt cups" with the kids.  You know, the pudding and crushed cookies with a gummy worm!  Well, this would be the day that the principal would walk in (and with a parent too- but not one of my parents).  Our principal is on maternity leave so it was our substitute principal who I haven't had much interaction with...I am not sure what she thought as my kiddos are all reading while I am mixing up the pudding for the dirt.  They stayed for what seemed like forever!  After I pulled the kiddos back to the carpet and we reviewed how soil is one of the things plants need- they left...  It was so frustrating because I have no idea why they were there and no idea what they thought of the whole thing...  UUUGH!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Math Notebooks

At least twice a week, we do word problems in our math notebooks. These are just spiral notebooks in which the kids put word problems or other math activities. Lately, we've been using address labels to stick our word problems into the notebooks. I have 27 kiddos, so a sheet works nicely without having too many extras. I cut them into sections of 5 and the kids pass the sheets around the table taking a sticker and sticking them at the top of the first empty page. Before I used strips of paper that I had to cut and we glued them onto the page. Our 4th quarter focus is subtraction so our word problem today was a Separate Result Unknown. I had 12 jelly beans. I ate 4. How many jelly beans do I have left? Many of my students are direct modeling with a picture, but some are using the counting back strategy. After we do the word problem, 2 or 3 kiddos share their journals using our document camera. They explain what they did and tell how they got the answer. Here are some samples of what they did today.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Today we read Eric Carle's The Tiny Seed. As we're about halfway through, one of my kiddos says "This is a counting book!" Then he tells me that the seeds are going away 1 at a time in the book. So, we looked back at the book and made story problems to go with the pages. For example, "There were 10 seeds. One got too close to the sun and burned. How many are left?" Then, since we're learning about subtraction I thought it would be a great idea to have the kiddos write their own seed stories. Here are some examples.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Celery Experiment

Today my kinders experimented with celery and purple water. We started by acting like "scientist" and examining the celery. We made a bubble map (and blew actual bubbles) when we said a describing word about celery. Then I put the celery stalks in purple water. We took some writing paper and the kiddos drew a picture of what it looked like before on the left side of the paper. Then they wrote a sentence about what they thought would happen. I introduced the word "hypothesis" to them. At the end of the day, we looked at the celery again and talked about what happened and why we thought it happened. Some pictures of their work are included here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Fever

Well, it's official! I have Spring Fever! We still have so much to do! Right now, we're in the beginnings of a unit on plants. Yesterday we made "posters" about what plants need. I'll try to get a picture of one up here. They turned out very cute! Next week, we are going to start some plant "experiments" - the old celery and colored water trick to start us off. I am going to try to incorporate some of the scientific method and some inquiry-based learning. It should be fun!