Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Five Senses Part I

We have tried to tie in our five senses study with a little more on birds.  We used to do a whole study on winter birds, and so even with some changes in our science curriculum we try to squeeze it in where we can.  I will post more on our texture and sight work, along with some fun bird nests we are making tomorrow, but first our really cool sensory table!

Week 1:  The Bird Lookout
We explore real bird nests with our senses of touch and sight.  There's two wren nests and a sparrow nest.

Week 2: Make a nest
The children use a real nest to inspire them to create a nest using craft materials. 

 I model how to tear a paper lunch bag down each side roll it down to the bottom to create the base.  Then some glue and materials--a super fun, sticky nest mess!

We are 100 Days Smarter!!

The 100th day is such a big deal, and man did our students work hard!  Each student spent the last few days writing 100 words each and writing their numbers from 1 to 100!  Our board is almost complete.

We made cupcake sliders (an old reproducible from The Mailbox, I think) that counted by 5s to 100, decorated 100 glasses and crowns (from Oriental Trading) and read lots of books about the 100th day.  One of our students brought a great book from Nancy Carlson about the 100th day in Kindergarten, displayed with the others below:
Each child also brought in a bag with 100 mystery objects and read their three clues to us.  We had several children leave us stumped with their clues--one clue for a bag of chocolate kisses said "you get these at home, but not as sweet!"  Another bag had a clue that read "they have pluses or minuses on top"--it was a bag of metal screws!  So much fun that I didn't take enough pictures.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Writing Process

Our students did a tremendous job with our first attempt at rough drafting in the writing process.  Since we have started our unit on the five senses (hopefully the next post will feature our bird lookout), it's a great fit to write animal riddles using our five senses!

This writing project was a little bit of research, and a lot of process.  I modeled two sentences (with spelling and punctuation errors) that describe how an animal feels, looks or sounds.  The children guessed what it was, and then we walked through my errors and I corrected them.  We talked about how our rough draft was putting our ideas on paper, and that we would use the changes and corrections  from working with the teacher to make a final "masterpiece" copy complete with an illustration inside.  I have lots of National Geographic Kids magazines for the children to research an animal and come up with ideas for five senses clues.  We hung the final drafts of the animal riddles on their lockers--so great to see them working hard on their phonetic spelling, punctuation and capitalization--and coming up with great clues!  I will post more pictures next week, but here are few pics of the rough
drafts and masterpieces!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Time for Tall Tales!

We started our literature study of tall tales and legends with the story of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe.  The children love the story The Bunyans by Audrey Wood and David Shannon, which I use to introduce the topic.  The illustrations are so over the top that it really brings home the idea of a tall tale, and we love to ponder the question "did that really happen?"  Our favorite part of the story is when the Bunyans' daughter gets honey and bears in her hair, and so they chop into a river and create Niagara Falls so she can have a shower!  After reading, we turned ourselves into legends and finished the sentence starter: "I am as tall as a____."

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Winter senses

Just a shout out to our Minnesota Arboretum here--they give me the best ideas when I go to their family fun weekends!  This idea came from their winter senses program--rice with cinnamon sticks and cloves.  It smells wonderful!
After a week or so of exploring and writing letters in the rice with the cinnamon sticks, I added scoops and different size cylinders, since we began talking about capacity and attributes.  Last week as we finished up attributes with magnets, I hid magnets in the rice and gave the children magnet wands.  They loved dragging the magnets through the rice and finding as many metal nuts as they could!

The Mitten

Everyone loves The Mitten!  To finish off BEAR week, we read both her Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Snow Bears.  We compared size words, and I used my small group time to cover the concept of synonyms.  We used a synonym word match from the terrific site for Florida Reading Research Center.  I use tons of their material for my small group work since they have printable activities for phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

We used the templates from Jan Brett's website to make our own animals and mitten pockets.  We read the Alvin Tresselt version and compared them with a large mitten Venn Diagram.  I couldn't find a template for the Tresselt animals, so we copied them from the book.  The children finished the sentence starter I found on pinterest.  It ties in nicely with the beginning of our unit on tall tales.  I can't wait to post our Paul Bunyan and Babe work next week!

Thursday, January 3, 2013
I have been spending a lot of quality time with the my kiddos this break out on the ice and in the snow. Now it's time to start thinking about BEAR reading, our home-school reading program we kick off in January.  We start with readings of Goldilocks and the Three Bears; I love James Marshall's Goldilocks and the Three Bears, along with Jan Brett's version.  We have bear masks and my Vikings Helga helmet (go Vikings!)  in the dramatic play area, along with different size bowls, spoons and seats.  Here's my little one modeling the Helga helmet during Vikings football:

I also have word labels on a sentence strip holder for children to match paper bowls and beds with size words large, medium, small next to dramatic play.  Here is a new template I made for the word and picture matching.  Here are some of our bears and books on display!

We also do some sequencing of the Goldilocks story once we have read several versions.  Here are the story line strips--I usually have the same story on sentence strips, which we read through as shared reading during the week.  Midweek, the children independently cut the strips and glue in order on the lined sheet.  For reinforcement of sight words, the children identify and color code sight words throughout the story.

We also enjoy a teddy bear picnic, where everyone brings a teddy bear from home and we celebrate with a bear story and Teddy Grahams.  The celebration gears everyone up for taking home their special BEAR bag to read their story with their family.  Each week they return their book and read it fluently to a teacher, they get a new and more challenging book.  Read read read!

I fluctuate between Jan Brett as my author/illustrator for January and the Berenstain Bears--I think this year I will probably try to sneak in both, since the Berenstain Bears have so many wonderful lessons to teach and, since we live in Minnesota, the Jan Brett illustrations are almost mirrored outside our classroom windows!  We've spotted deer and wild turkeys, but no hedgehogs yet!

Since BEAR stands for Be Excited About Reading, the children can also make their own acrostic, like the one here.  Here's our fantastic little bear puppet bag we made too!