Wednesday, March 2, 2016


March Week 2

This week we're studying vehicles! At the same time, we've been exploring long vowels.

One major change I've made this year is making activities more hands-on, self-differentiated, and flexible.  With our long vowel work, the higher level kids are getting some good practice with the concept, while the lower level kids can focus on the art and following directions.

Here's what we did this week:

Foil Boats

This is one of my favorite projects each year. Kids are given sheets of foil and work in groups of 3 to construct a boat. I don't give any instruction beyond that. They have to problem solve on their own!

It takes about 10 minutes, but once every group is finished, we gather at the circle with a bucket of water, our boats, and a jar full of marbles.

Each child comes to the board to write an estimate of the number of marbles their boat will hold before it sinks. Then we test these estimates out- we add/count marbles until they sink!

Sometimes the number is 0- it sinks right away, but this makes for great discussion as to why the boat sank and how it could be improved. I've never had a child get upset about his/her boat sinking right off. It's a learning experience!

One of the great things about this project is that kids are motivated to continue it at home. The following day the kids will tell me about the foil boats they made with their parents, brothers/sisters, or friends, and what they could hold without sinking.

Oh, the Places You'll Go

Hot Air Balloon is a new vocabulary word for most of my students. Before this project, we read Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. We made a list of all the places we could travel, and children painted their balloons with watercolor. Once dry, they wrote a sentence about where their balloon could take them.

The template comes from a Yahoo Image Search.

Sheep in a Jeep

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw is one of our favorite stories, and this extension comes from Life in First Grade

I wrote the words to the story on a large sheet of construction paper ahead of time, and together, we read it through a few times. I allowed each child to come up and highlight a double E word. We counted and read all those rhyming EE words (sheep, jeep, beep, steep, etc.).

Finally, the kids put together their sheep craft, and copied at least 5 EE words onto them.

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

This craft idea is from Growing in PreK. Mo Willems is another of our favorite authors, especially as my kids are becoming readers. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is becoming a classic in my room.

All I provided for this project was the speech bubble, eye, collar, and the blue pigeon outline.  The kids had to draw their own beak and fill in the blank. We made a long list of possible vehicles and they got to work.

Name Rockets

So, this is what the project is meant to look like, and this comes from Mrs. Karen's Preschool Ideas.

Ours turned out a little differently! All I gave the kids were small squares, metallic paper, white pencils, and black paper. The only requirement was to use 1 square for each letter of their names. They could use the metallic for stars, but didn't have to.

Here is one of the more creative rocketships:

Long E Eagles

Okay, this one has nothing to do with vehicles, but flying is a way of transportation for birds!

We practiced writing some long E words on whiteboards, and then made a list of words together on the SMART board.

This project took quite a while, but they had fun making these their own. We didn't use any templates for this one either. Each child had a sheet of blue construction paper, 2 sheets of brown, a small white square and a small yellow square.

They traced their hands and feet for the wings and body, and then drew and cut their own legs, head, and beak. Finally, they used a sharpie to write the words (they could pick at least 5).

This child made the beak 3-d!


Book List

Here are some other favorite travel books:

The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney

This is the Way We Go to School by Edith Baer

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

On the Go by Ann Morris

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