Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Celebrating Imaginations and Inventiveness!

Hello Everyone!

Next week we will be finishing up our inventors unit in social studies, with a celebration of students' inventions and creations.  We will also celebrate imaginations by reading about two fiction characters and one historical figure who all happen to be girls! Meggie Moon by Elizabeth Baguley, Have Fun Mollie Lou Melon, by Patty Lovell, and Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully are the three books we will focus on and I'm happy to share a quick little unit which emphasizes asking questions before, during and after reading to help with comprehension.  The unit also has a quick little venn to compare the three characters and a hands on visual for kids to show off their imagination and creativity.


The little unit is about 15 pages with lots of opportunity for writing and connecting. 

If you missed the unit on inventors you can get it again!  Click here!!

I hope reading these selections will help kids to embrace creativity and to not give up on their ideas!! 

You Go, Kids!!! 
Can't wait to see your inventions!!
If you are a follower of this blog, stay tuned for pics of creativity in action!!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Terrific Terrariums!

Hello Everyone!
Happy Friday!  I hope everyone is staying safe and warm!  Prayers lifted for those of you in the extreme deep freeze. Please take care! This weather has been crazy!!
We had a great week!  In science we've been studying the interdependence of living things.  We believe in a hands on approach to science, so of course we had to come up with a plan.  Our district suggest we either study aquariums or terrariums.  Well, we tried the aquarium thing last year and enjoyed it for a while, but when the adult fish stared eating the babies...oops, that circle of life- that interdependence- got a little sad for our firsties.
This year we decided to try the terrarium route.  We did some research and tah-dah!! We made terrariums with our kids today!! Here are a few pics! First we reviewed and created a little response chart as we learned about the interdependence of living things:

Then we began our lab.

Gather soil, rocks, 2 litre bottles, and plants

Cut tops off two 2 litre bottles

Pour a layer of rocks for drainage

Add a layer of soil
Add some plants, and water until moist

Put the second bottle bottom over the first to create a terrarium!

Place in a window

make observations

I put all the directions and explanations into a little unit. Here are some pics

Unit also has observation recording sheets and a fun little vocabulary word search.
If you are studying living things, you may want to try this.  You can get the unit by

I can't wait for the kids to see how the plants depend on each other for survival (without eating each other).  As a bonus, we will be able to see the water cycle in effect!! 

 Each class made one terrarium, but I also think it would be fun to have the kids each make a mini one using small clear water bottles. Hmmm. Maybe next year!! If you do try this activity, please let me know how it went.  What would you change, what worked better for you, etc.  I am always looking for improvements and clarifications!!
Have a fantastic weekend, friends!!
Thanks for stopping by to take a peek!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Equal Shmequal!

Hello Everyone!!
If you are working on fractions, you have to read this book!
Equal Shmequal by Virginia Kroll is a perfect book to introduce kids to the concepts of equal and unequal, symmetry, same, congruent, etc. This week I used this darling book to introduce our fractions unit. Today we worked hard on the symmetry aspect of equal and unequal.
In first grade, symmetry is an important mathematical concept that  actually serves as a jumping off point for many different mathematical objectives.  We naturally look for balance and order in our lives, as well as in math.  Symmetry can be taught with real life examples and leads beautifully in to a study of fractions.
To help grasp the concept further, I made up a life sized game of equal schmequal!  Kids got some paper triangles. I made sure that there were two of each color.  I taped a line of symmetry down the carpet and we reviewed some of the math talk words that would be important for this game.  Then the kids took turns placing the shapes one at a time making sure that the design they were creating was symmetrical, the shapes were congruent, the sides were even, the same, mirror image, etc.
They were delighted with the design created and definitely understood the idea of symmetry.

Equal Schmequal!!!

I have some similar activities in a symmetry mini unit I shared last spring.  
This little unit includes :
2 mini posters with definitions
A hands on shape activity  
      creating a class symme “tree”
4 visual activities
3 center or math tub activities

A vocabulary word search

We had a great day!! We hope you had an equally great day!! Thanks for stopping by for a peek into our little Window On Wonder!" Let us know what you think!!

Oh! And stay tuned for a quick little terrarium unit to help learn about living things and dependency!!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Author's Audience

Hello Everyone!
Just a quick post and share tonight.  This coming week we will be working on understanding that writers write for an audience and that our writing changes depending on that audience. This is sometimes hard to teach so I wrote a quick little chant, made a mini poster and a quick idea recording page to help make that connection.

We will create a large chart in class with student ideas for audiences. We will also chart responses for how to make sure our writing matches our audience. During Writers Workshop mini conferences students will get used to my asking who their audience is? 
Can you use this little printable? Good! CLICK HERE!!
Yes! It's free!

That's all for tonight!! Have a memorable 
MLK Day tomorrow. 
We have teacher inservice, so we won't have kids, but I hope it will still be a memorable day!
Thanks for stopping by!! Don't forget to leave a little comment!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sweet Geometry! (and geome"trees!")

Hello Everyone!
Phew! Busy week of Middle of Year Testing, curriculum meetings, tutoring, faculty meetings, PTA meetings, etc, etc, etc, and oh yeah!...We did do some sweet learning along the way!!! We finished up our geometry unit this week with some culminating mini lessons and tub work.  We built figures with edges and vertices (toothpicks and marshmallows) and created some pretty sweet Geome"trees!" Take a look!

Two thumbs up!!

Let's make Geome"trees!"

                                        Got to dress the part!!

Tell me about it!!

 We covered our trees with clear cups, taped them down, and brought them home!!

If you would like a printable of our geometry unit, you can click HERE!! :)

Ahh!!  Friday evening!! Hubby's bringing home dinner, catching up on some missed calls, e-mails and terrible TV!!  Can't wait!!!

Till next time, hope your days are filled with
 sweet geometry!!