Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rainbow Floats, Prepositions, and Chicken Life Cycle

Hello Everyone!
And Hello, Saturday! What a crazy, busy, fun week of learning!  I can't believe how tired I was...and very thankful to have this morning of peace and time...except for the cleaning, the yard work, the  laundry, the grocery shopping, you know, all the "stuff" you don't have time to during the week when you work full+ time.  But...I wouldn't have it any other way!
Anyway, I wanted to show you some fun word work we did this week. We were working hard on oa and ow words, so it was the perfect time for our Rainbow Float unit!

As a special memorable treat on Friday, we made Rainbow Floats!! 

(please note--these have not been edited)

Of course we had to write about our treat!  I don't think the kids will forget about oa and ow!!

We also worked hard on prepositions this week.  I shared my preposition unit already, but I wanted to show you the end products for using Rosie's Walk as a mentor text.

Our cute little preposition anchor 

What? An interactive anchor? 

Oh! I also wanted to share with you the hand to head and heart visual we made to culminate our study of the life cycle of a chicken. This was def. a feat of organization, and perseverance. The kids did it all except for the eyes.  I finally got some of those circle punches!  They are on sale this week at Hobby Lobby! Hooray! If you want to do this, make sure you have a hefty chunk of time!  

As you can tell, I almost always have a hands on visual component to any unit of study! Some may think this is just fluff, but I will tell you that this hand to head "fluff" is incredibly beneficial on so many levels. The activities not only help cement the objective to be learned, whether it be science, social studies, math, reading, or writing, but they are also lessons in listening, following directions, problem solving, organization, creativity, sequencing, fine motor development, visualization, differentiation, etc., etc., etc.  Yes, for many of the visuals, there is a lot of guidance, and teacher direction, but sometimes kids need that component to help build confidence.  Please know that I give my kids plenty of free creative development opportunities as well.  The key is to strike a balance. 
Anyway, off my soapbox...If you would like the chicken life cycle unit and didn't grab it a few posts ago...You can get it HERE!

Til next time, have a great weekend! I'm off to get all that fun weekend stuff done! Thank you so much for stopping by for a peek through our Window!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Critical writing and "Eggs"act numbers

Hello Everyone!
Hope your week is going well. Friday's coming!! And Spring is definitely in full swing! At this time of year we work hard to keep kids engaged in their learning and excited about math, writing, reading, etc.  Yesterday our team met with our wonderful math instructional specialist.  We got on the topic of writing critically during math. I do have to admit that I don't always give the kids time to write about their thinking after lessons in math. It's a time crunch thing, and an engagement thing!
 I posted the other day about math talks, but I have made a renewed effort to bring more writing into math as well.  So, today, I scrapped my initial math plans and pulled a rabbit out of my hat. (Or should I say "pulled a Jelly Bird out of my hat!)  Our mini lesson from Tuesday about comparing and ordering numbers by using hidden numbers was still fresh on our minds.  Today I gave each kiddo his/her own 120 board and about 9 "jelly bird eggs." (We are studying the life cycle of birds, so the connection was obvious!)  Each kiddo had to cover nine numbers on his board in a similar way as what we did earlier in the week.  Then elbow buddies had to tell each other which numbers were covered. Of course they had to tell how they figured out the hidden numbers. After doing it several times, it was time to write about our thinking!  We got a chance to do it in an engaging way for those who needed some extra encouragement.  The kids wrote on an egg shape and then added a little face and nest.  I love their thinking, their risk taking, and their confidence. Here are a couple of pictures!

Great job, kids!!! I love it when spontaneous lessons work out!! This quick lesson showed me the importance of the written component to every day math.  I hope I can keep the enthusiasm and engagement going!!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

That's "eggs"actly what I was thinking!

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for stopping by for a peek today!! When I tell parents that they won't see a lot of math papers, flash cards, timed tests, etc. coming home and that we do a lot of talking in math, they are a bit surprised.  "Math Talk" is a huge part of my math mini lessons.  After we are finished with our math notebook (where self discovery spiraling number sense is abundant) I usually have a lesson with abundant math talk. This week we are working on understanding, describing, and generating relationships between numbers up to 120. So, it was time to bring out the lifesized 120 board. Yes! That shower curtain one. ( If you haven't made yours yet, I'm just here to tell you, I use it all the time!! )  Today, along with the board, I also had a cute little stuffed chick and 8 paper eggs with question marks on them, and a paper frame. We called the lesson "Eggs"act Math! The kids also brought their whiteboards.  I asked the kids to close their eyes as I placed the chick, the frame, and the eggs on the board. When all were set, the kids opened their eyes and had to figure out what numbers were covered and ultimately what number was hiding under the chick! OH! The conversations!! "What clues do we have?" "Where should we start?" "I think we can figure it all out with just one clue!" Then they got to work on their whiteboards. After recording their thoughts, there was more "talk." Kids shared what strategies they used to help them solve.  There were many different ways. I heard a lot of comparative and relational language!   Here are a couple of pics. I wish I could have recorded their voices!

After doing it once, I picked some kids to "hide" some numbers.

Doing math lessons with a lot of constructive math talk takes some important pieces all working together.  We first work hard on building a safe classroom environment where everyone's ideas are valued and respected.  We can learn so much from each other...if we are willing to be risk takers. Sometimes our thinking is not correct, and we can also help with rethinking if we feel comfortable with each other.  
We also have to encourage the talking that helps all of us find different strategies to get our answers. math is not just about getting the right answer. Of course computation is very important....but it is so much more! It is problem solving and exploring many different thinking patterns and strategies.  
I also work very hard on stepping back from explaining everything and letting the kids make sense of numbers and the relationships they have to each other.   I am there to spark, guide, and nurture.  

The best part of this lesson??  When I hear the kids say they were going to do this at home! OOOOOHHH YEAH!!  

I can't wait for tomorrow!! A bigger frame and a couple more chicks!! :)

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great week!!  Hope you can fit some math talk into your day!!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Animal Feet and Chicken Life Cycle

Hello Everyone!
Another rainy day??? I had full intentions of working in the yard and doing some spring planting!  Oh well, The change in plans gave me some time to post to this little blog!  YAY! I couldn't wait to share with you our "Animal Feet" hands on visual!! The kids loved Sandra Markle's new book, "If You Had Animal Feet!" We loved learning so many fun facts about animal feet and enjoyed the fun illustrations of kids with animal feet! This author is nothing short of genius!

After reading and brainstorming what kind of animal feet we would like to have, the kids wrote about their ideas and then went about creating their visual.  

If I had animal feet I would want owl feet!

If I had animal feet I would want Kangaroo feet!

If I had animal feet I would want lizard feet!

Lizard, kangaroo, mountain goat, rhino, cheetah!!  Having these feet would be fun...for a little while!!!

I can't wait to hang these up!!

Up next week? We'll be working on life cycles.  Our first graders will specifically be learning about the life cycle of chickens.  Last year we were able to watch the hatching of some little chicks. It was a school wide project. Oh my was it exciting for these little ones to experience little babies coming out of their shells. I haven't heard if we are doing it again this year, but I hope so!!  In prep for this unit of study, I put together an ultra mini unit to help kids visualize and organize thinking about the life cycle of chickens!
Here are a couple of pics of what is included in the unit!


The kids are going to love making this hands on visual!!  Stay tuned for pics of their efforts!!

So hoping this brightened this rainy day for you!!  So happy to be able to share!!
Have a great rest of the weekend! Don't forget to leave a comment!