Monday, March 21, 2016

Spring Painting Process Art

Spring is coming and the birds are starting to sing again! Today in art, I put out some spring colored tempera, a bouquet of flowers, and a jar of feathers. 


Naturally, the kids started painting birds. This one on the right has a speech bubble that says "peep!" :)




This was so simple and fostered so much conversation about the different color birds children had seen these last few weeks.


It will also be a great lead-up to our birds unit we'll do in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Why do you feel lucky?

For St. Patrick's Day,  we wrote about reasons we feel lucky.

Most kids wrote things like, "because I have a family," "because my mom makes me dinner," etc..

This was my favorite------ :)


Monday, March 14, 2016

Dragon Small World Play

When I was at Michael's a few weeks ago (I spend way too much time and money there), I found this really fun Safari Ltd dragon. I needed an excuse to buy it, so I decided that for our Fairy Tales unit, we needed a medieval play tray!

 
 

What I Used:

  • Safari Ltd Dragon, Trees Toob & Days of Old Toob 
  • Gold (vase filler)
  • Navy Beans
  • A Few Large Rocks


The kids really enjoyed talking about who all the different people were, and who would be the dragon's "friends" and "enemies." Right away they started making plans together for stealing the dragon's gold and where they would hide it! Higher-level thinking! The boys especially loved this center.


After a few days, I added some blocks that I thought they'd use to build a castle. Instead they built a wall all the way across the table!


Lots of learning about symmetry & balance!


In all small world play, we're covering these Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.1
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.6
Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.5
With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

     -Especially CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.5.C
      Identify real-life connections between words and their use 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.6
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Polar Bear Small World Play

Playtrays.com is an absolutely fantastic online resource. They have so many great ideas for small world dramatic play that kids love!

All year, I have some version of a play tray available for kids' use during center time. 

This year for our winter/habitats unit, I set up an arctic themed tray. It's awesome seeing kids use the vocabulary they've learned for an authentic purpose!


All the materials for this came from a Michaels Craft Store but could be easily found elsewhere. The animals are Safari Ltd brand.


What I used:



  • Safari Ltd Polar Bear, Cub, Arctic Wolf & Eagle
  • White sand (sold as vase filler)
  • Transparent Blue and White Rocks (also sold as vase filler)
  • Blue paper



This cost me a total of less than $20, and will be easy to throw into a ziploc when it's time to switch it out!

In this center, kids are working on the following Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.1
Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.6
Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.1
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on kindergarten reading and content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.5
With guidance and support from adults, explore word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

     -Especially CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.5.C
      Identify real-life connections between words and their use 

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.K.6
Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Travel

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Maps!

March Week 1

To coincide with the Iditarod start, we are learning about maps and ways we can travel. 

We started by talking about what maps are. Nobody knew! So we read Me on the Map and a REALLY cute book called My Map Book.

http://www.amazon.com/Map-Dragonfly-Books-Joan-Sweeney/dp/0517885573/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426463689&sr=8-1&keywords=me+on+the+map
http://www.amazon.com/My-Map-Book-Sara-Fanelli/dp/0060264551/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426463711&sr=8-1&keywords=my+map+book

Map of My Heart


In My Map Book, there is a "Map of My Heart." We made a list of things we loved, and got to work making our own heart maps. We used sharpies for drawing and writing, and then painted with watercolor pans.



In the above map, the student likes fishing, boats, bikes, school, juice, and his family! So much practice sounding out words, spelling sight words, using spaces, and seeing an authentic reason for writing!


This student put a ton of detail into her work!




Here are the finished products!

Pirate Treasure Maps

 

http://www.amazon.com/How-Became-Pirate-Melinda-Long/dp/0152018484/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426463730&sr=8-1&keywords=how+i+became+a+pirate

We couldn't talk about maps without talking about pirates. This really got the boys interested. We looked at a few examples from How I Became a Pirate and My Map Book, and then worked with partners to make our own treasure maps. They had to label at least 5 items on their map.


This one has an island, some boats, 2 suns (!), and an X marks the treasure spot.


This one has a shark and a dragon!

Going on a Bear Hunt Story Map


Finally, we read Going on a Bear Hunt and made a map to sequence the story. I was afraid this would be too many directions and materials for them to manage, but I was happily wrong! They worked in partners for this one too, and now have the labeling thing down pat!

http://www.amazon.com/Were-Going-Classic-Board-Books/dp/0689815816/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426465053&sr=8-1&keywords=going+on+a+bear+hunt

The idea for this one came from Buggy and Buddy.


I used the Nature Papers from Lakeshore Learning for a lot of this, but you could definitely use construction paper too. The snow was made from cotton balls, and we used colored pencil for the mud and labels.