Saturday, April 27, 2013

"tree" mendous week!

Hello Everyone!
We had a "tree"mendous week learning, observing, investigating, celebrating everything tree!  After reading a ton of literature, both fiction and nonfiction, about trees, we put our new learning to work.  We combined our author study, poetry, and social studies unit on natural resources and created some great little poems about trees. Shel Silverstein has some great poems, "Treehouse," and "Man Eating Plant" and of course his beloved book "The Giving Tree"  that we used as inspiration. We brainstormed all the things we get from trees, and created a free verse poem.  We published them on a tree made from a crumpled brown lunch sack, and a tree crown made from green const. paper.

We also enjoyed working together with the sweet class next door to create a giant tree made out of magazines that would have probably ended up in the landfill.  We rescued them and cut out all the green and brown that we could find.  All the kids working together to create this collage was an added beneficial lesson!!

On Friday we celebrated trees by going outside, finding a great tree and taking a rubbing of it's bark.  We discussed  that a tree is a plant and the trunk is like the stem.  The bark is the tree's protection as well as home to many animals.  We should never peel the bark off a tree.

Two of my little cuties won trees in a drawing our environmental committee held on arbor day!!

What a "TREE"mendous week!!  Hope you had one as well!!

Thanks for stopping by to take a little peek through our little window on wonder!!
Till next time!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Measurement Unit

Hello Everyone!
I wanted to just quickly share a unit we are starting next week...measurement.  We focus mainly on using nonstandard units of measurement to determine and compare length.  Using nonstandard units helps kids to really understand what is meant by measurement.  Using different sized nonstandard units can lead to good understanding of the reason behind standard units.  We also spend a lot of time estimating.  Estimating helps kiddos focus on the measurement process.  Here are a few pics of what is included in the unit. As always, if you see any typos of if you have any suggestions, concerns or comments, please don't hesitate to leave me a note or e-mail!

Unit includes about 45 pages of measurement connections and fun, math tub and whole group activities. 
You can download it HERE!! :)

Talk to you all soon!! Have a great night!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Shel" ebrating Words!

Hello Everyone!
I looooove poetry.  What an engaging vehicle from which to celebrate words and encourage kids to write!  Regie Routman has a great little book out, "Kid's Poems- Teaching First Graders to Love Writing Poetry." She discusses immersing kids in poetry to get them excited about writing their own.  Well, from Day 1, we have celebrated poetry...learning some, interpreting others, dissecting yet others.  This week with the help of Shel Silverstein, we ventured into writing some free verse. I used two of my favs from this renowned poet, "Ouch," and "Band Aids" as mentor texts.  We then brainstormed all the things that make us say "OUCH!"  And what kids doesn't love band aids?? We developed our brainstorming into list poems and published them on giant band aids. OH!  Then I let all my little poets have their fill of band aids!  So cute!

The mini unit includes Shel Silverstein poems, brainstorming sheets for "Ouch" and "Band Aids" as well as another of my favs, "Tired" to use as a mentor text.  There is a cute little craft connection for this one too!! I'll post pics as soon as my little poets get them done!

Hope you're having a great day!! Till next time, thanks for taking a peek!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baking Up Some Synthesis

Hello Everyone!
Synthesizing is one of those "How do I teach that?" kind of concepts. I love how Debbie Miller in "Reading With Meaning" uses rippled water when you throw in a pebble to show how learning grows with reading.  I actually used that idea last year.  This year I wanted to use something the kids could connect with maybe a bit more. When I began thinking of synthesizing as bringing schema and mixing it in with the text, and adding a little more thinking, a little more reading, some talking, etc, it sounded like a recipe. Hmmmm...Baking??? Cupcakes??!!  Kids' fav!! 
Today I introduced the concept of synthesizing with some quick cupcake themed anchor charts, a little song, and some modeling of my own thinking as I read a new book.  Then the kids got to once again use their chef hats and their "Smart Cookie Bakery" aprons and practice synthesizing with a friend.  Of course they needed some other manipulatives like "ingredients," bowls, spoons, etc. Each pair picked a story, talked about what they thought the story would be about, read a little, thought a little, talked a little, read a little more, and finally synthesized. They really could track their thoughts, changes, and new learning!
Then they got to make a paper cupcake on which they attached their thinking and synthesizing. Here are a few pics.

Thanks for stopping by our little window. Have a great night!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Creating Symmetry and a Natural Resources Unit

Hello Everyone!
You should have heard the OOOOH's and AHHHH's today during math. Yes, math!! :)  We continued our exploration of symmetry today by creating our own sensational symmetrical shapes. I know you have probably all done this before, but the kids loooooved it, so I thought I'd share. The kids had a plain manilla piece of construction paper.  They had to decide whether they wanted to fold their paper to find the line of symmetry vertically or horizontally.  Then they got to squirt a few different colors on one side of the line.  Next came the mysterious part.  They folded the paper again and rubbed the places where they could feel the paint.  Then, open the paper back up!  Tah-Dah!  OOOOH! AHHHH!  A quick, easy, and beautiful way to show symmetry.

I also wanted to do a quick share of a new ultra mini unit I put together introducing kids to our natural resources.  We begin this unit next week.  We will be studying this for several weeks, so I will be adding to it as we go along, but this 29 page cross curricular unit will help to introduce.  
Here are a few pics. 

Mini posters for air, water, soil, trees

subtraction mystery picture using a 120 board

Hands on activities
6 page problem solving mini book

You can click here for your printable!!

Till next time, thanks for taking a peek into our window of wonder!  Have a great night!