Saturday, May 21, 2011

I thought only birds came from eggs...hmmm

This week we learned that more than just birds come from eggs. We started the unit brainstorming animals that hatch from eggs & made an interactive writing chart. Of course, they were quickly able to tell me all types of fowl. Then, I told them to think of animals without wings that come from an egg. The first student raised his hand and said, "penguins". I said, "but penguins have wings". He said, "Yeah, but they don't use them." I guess I can't argue with that one. Anyway, I gave them clues about a turtle...hard shell, lives in oceans or ponds, hides inside the shell when he gets scared, etc. They figured out that it was a turtle. I read a book about sea turtles & then we watched a United Streaming movie about the sea turtles hatching and finding their way into the ocean. After that we made a turtle and wrote about him. Check it out.
 










The next day we learned that frogs come from eggs. Frog eggs look a little different from the eggs of other animals and it took a little convincing to persuade them that they were actually eggs. We talked about the life cycle of frogs. After that we made frogs, complete with long, curly tongues and wrote about them. Here is how they turned out...
 

I just love these little guys!










After frogs & turtles, we talked about snakes!
I am not a fan of snakes, but my students ALWAYS love to learn about them! This year my class is heavy on boys (12 out of 17) and this unit keeps them so engaged! I LOVE teaching through themes. I know that the theme keeps them so engaged that I can slip in writing, reading & math skills without them even realizing it! :) I do not have pictures of our snakes because I couldn't get them to turn out. We colored 2 sides of a paper plate and then cut them in a swirl so that they looked like curly snakes. Then, I hung them from the ceiling. They would twirl when the air kicked in and the kids loved it!

All in all, this was a great unit. My kids stayed engaged and excited the entire week. I was able to teach them valuable math, reading, writing, & science skills...what more could I have asked for? :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Things That Go!

Transportation is always a fun unit in Kindergarten. The boys especially love it! Being that I have 12 boys & 5 girls, this unit was a huge success this year. Each day we learned about a different mode of transportation and did a corresponding craft/writing activity. We learned about different types of trucks, aircraft, boats, trains and cars. I began this unit with an interactive writing about transportation. As I suspected, this is one chart that the boys were excited to make with me!

We started the week talking about different types of trucks. We learned about dump trucks, tow trucks, fire trucks, 18 wheelers, pick up trucks, etc. Our activity was to build a truck using different shapes & to decide what kind of truck they would have. Then, they wrote about their trucks & how they can help us. I am so sorry that I don't have a picture of this activity because they did an awesome job with it.

The next day we learned about boats. We talked about row boats, kayaks, canoes, motor boats, cruise ships, pirate ships, & submarines. Then we painted boats & wrote about them. Here are some pictures:
(Sorry that you can't really see these...but you get the idea)!

By mid-week we learned about ways to travel by air...planes, hot air balloons, rockets, helicopters, etc. We made a rocket by tracing the shapes, cutting them out & piecing them together. This always turns out to be one of my favorites during this theme. Check out the pics.

Don't you just love the fire alarm right in the middle of my display? :)

Ok, so you can't see the writing...pencil just won't show up in my pics!











Our next mode of transportation was trains. We made signs with this one. They are pretty cute...here they are.

They traced the shapes of the sign, cut it out & tore paper to make the designs of the signs. Love these!












To wrap up the week, we reviewed the modes of transportation that we have learned and added any new ones to our chart. Then we created a trasportation mural. A colleague drew the picture for me. My class made houses to put on the mural. After the houses were added, we cut out modes of transportation from magazines and placed them in the air, water, or on the land. Here is what it looks like. It turned out even better than I expected! It is so long that I couldn't get it all in one picture...
This is the beach side of the mural.

This is the neighborhood side of the mural.











All in all, this unit turned out to be a lot of fun for the boys & the girls! Everyone learned a lot of new information...that's always good! :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

May Flowers

Spring is such a fun time of year! It just such a good opportunity to teach so many fun themes and topics. While learning about bees, plants, and flowers, we decided to make a word garden. We talked about the parts of the flower & the importance of bees to the flower. Our garden grows flowers that have words on their petals!  Check out what a great job the kids did...I will definitely do this again next year!
close up of the bees & flowers

the students made the letters

another close up of a bee & flower

the finished product :)












This was such a fun project. The students picked the words that were on their petals. The only requirement was that they had to be spelled exactly right & they had to be able to read them to me before they were allowed to attach them to their stems. Otherwise, they would just copy words in the room & the words would really have no meaning to them. Several times a day I catch the students going over to the word garden & trying to read the words that their friends have on their flowers. They have also used the word garden as a resource during writer's workshop time. I have been pleasantly surprised at how useful this beautiful display has been to them.