Friday, November 30, 2012

Run, run, run

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We have started our holiday gingerbread story study!  We do a comparative literature study and chart the setting, characters and ending of each story.  Our stories include: The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone, The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski, The Gingerbread Man by Karen Schmidt, The Gingerbread Cowboy by Janet Squires, The Gingerbread Man by Jim Aylesworth, The Gingerbread Girl by Lisa Cambell Ernst and of course the Jan Brett Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends.  I found two new stories at the library and will add them to our study--The Matzo Ball Boy by Lisa Shulman and The Library Gingerbread Boy by Dotti Enderle.
I love this time of year!

Each child finishes the sentence starter "I can run as fast as____" and illustrate themselves as the gingerbread boy!  Lots of children wrote of "I can run as fast as a cheetah" and "I can run as fast as a fox."  The personalized gingerbread illustrations are so much fun!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

BEAR Time begins this winter!

Get ready for BEAR Time--Be Excited About Reading!  Our individualized reading program is so much fun and the children love their special BEAR bags they get to take home each week with their book. I will update this post as we get closer to our BEAR kickoff, featuring, of course, a Teddy Bear Picnic and a mini-literature comparison study of different Goldilocks and the Three Bears stories.  I can't help putting up our Berenstain Bear family early to get the children's interest piqued.
Then I hide Honey Bear and they have to find her!
Monday, November 12, 2012

Water, Water, Everywhere?

To finish our study of recycling and natural resources, we did a mini-unit on water conservation.  It also ties nicely with our school-wide community service project this holiday season for clean water systems.
We started by reading Water by Frank Asch and Common Ground: The Water, Earth and Air We Share by Molly Bang.  We brainstormed how much we use water daily and each child tallied their water use.  Each child illustrated two ways they use water each day.

At the end of the day, we added up all our water tallies to see how many times we use water in one day:

The following day, we read about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and how it affected fishing, beaches, wildlife and much more.  We also talked about how we could try to clean water.  We used the following tools:

Each table got some dirty water and the table group took turns trying to clean their water.
Cleaning dirt water:

Cleaning paint water:

Cleaning glue water:

Cleaning glitter water:

After about ten minutes, we regrouped and discussed our findings.  We checked off the tools on our chart that were most effective and then completed our water booklets with drawings of clean vs. dirty water and drawings of our different tools.  The last page of the booklet is where they dictated and drew one reason they want children to have clean water (to drink, to live, to bathe, etc.).  You can download the water booklet here.  I tried to upload a fancier version I made, but it wouldn't take.  This version has all the same components though!
Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mouse Shapes

We are coming to the end of our first term of the school year, and to add some fun to our shapes and number review we made shape mice!  We read Ellen Stoll Walsh's book Mouse Shapes and then created shape mice from different die-cut shapes I had.  I gave the children the sentence starter "My mouse likes______"  and they had to finish the sentence with our sight word to and then an action word (a verb).  It is hard to tell in the pics, but many of the children wrote "My mouse likes to play" or "My mouse likes to swim."  One child wrote "My mouse likes to party!"

A picture of the whole door to our classroom--the colorful mice contrast nicely with our purple door!
We also gave the children scrap paper to tear to create the legs and tails.  I love the Ellen Stoll Walsh Mouse books; we read Mouse Paint at the very beginning of the year when we cover primary and secondary colors, and we will read Mouse Count later in the winter.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ready, Set, Vote!

To prepare for election day, each grade at our school completed a president project.  In kindergarten, we decided to make "Georges" and "Abes."  We read about President Washington and President Lincoln.  We discussed and charted their important accomplishments as well.  Each child created a portrait of themselves as an important President--to simplify things, the girls did Washington and the boys made Abe!  I found this project on the great blog Chalk Talk but made our own template.

 I am new to Adobe but made a crude template available here.  The ones in the picture we traced by hand.