Friday, October 13, 2017

Designing Bat Habitats

We did a unit on bats this week. We read some great stories both fiction and non-fiction. The students learned about their habits and vocabulary like echolocation and nocturnal.

I wanted to see what they learned so I asked them to apply their learning by thinking like a zookeeper who was designing a bat habitat. We just did it on paper this week just because we ran out of time. But here are some of the blueprints.

The bats have stick on the ceiling to hang from and they are feeding them lots of bugs.

This one cracked me up. She even included a tv for the bat. When I asked if that was something the bat would need she said "well, they are probably going to be bored just flying around all day".

This one gave them vegetables to eat. I asked if bats eat vegetables and she said "well, they could!".

I cut it out of the picture with her name but this one put stars on the ceiling so the bat would think it was nighttime and fly around for people to see.

This one had a stick for the bats to roost on and a hole where they could eat bugs.

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Using Nature to Make Self-Portraits

I want my students to learn to see all different kinds of materials as ways they can make art. I read them the story Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert:

We went for a walk outside and found sticks, leaves and rocks to make self-portraits with. Now here in Texas we don't exactly have "fall" but we were able to find some materials on our playground to work with. I don't think I've seen such focus from my students as they made themselves using nature. I think they really enjoyed this project.

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

My First Attempt At Project-Based Learning

I have been wanting to implement project-based learning for years! I have read the books, I have attended the trainings, I have followed PBL people and websites. For me, it was just finding a way to squeeze it in with the myriad of things we are expected to teach-even in Kindergarten!

This year didn't start out ideally for us. We started school 2 weeks late because of the hurricane and were supposed to jump into our curriculum beginning with Week 3-so we were already behind. I told my principal that I wanted to start implementing a Genius Hour/PBL type plan every Friday afternoon. I would use different materials and the kids would work in groups to create/invent something based on our unit for the week. Well, the first 2 Fridays passed without me being able to fit it in. I was determined to do it this week.

The unit we were doing was about apples-not really ideal for creating structures, but I really wanted to get started-so we made it work. I started the week with inquiry-what questions do you have about apples? We watched videos about how they are harvested and stored (they can be stored in silos for up to a year by the way-even I learned something new from our research). We read stories about apples and did apple activities all week. Friday afternoon, I split them up into groups, gave each group a different material to use-blocks, legos, etc. I asked them to create a structure that could be used to store apples-what things would they have to consider?

First of all, let me say that I had to walk around the room several times encouraging them to work together and make one structure-everyone just wanted to make their own. After that about half of the groups really embraced the challenge. I asked them to present what they made to their friends and recorded the explanations to post on our Seesaw accounts. I was amazed at some of the considerations they made when building-"here is the entrance", "after the farmer harvests the apples"--this is vocabulary we learned this week.

I didn't take pics of their finished products which I am kicking myself for-but I did take some pics of their work in progress.

It's something I will definitely continue to fit into our curriculum. I think despite their inexperience in working in groups and despite this not really going along with what I am supposed to be teaching :) --it was a great start!

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ethics and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

We read the story Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. In the story the letters go up the coconut tree, fall down and have to be rescued by their parents (the uppercase letters). At the end of the story "a" is headed back up the tree calling his friends. So we discussed the story in the light of ethics. Was it right for the letters to go back up the tree?

Here were our responses:

(Love the details of the mommy and baby letters here).

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. with David Goes to School

S.C.A.M.P.E.R. is an acronym for ways to inject depth into your activities. I wanted to give an example of how I use these with back-to-school reads. David is a book I love because the author's note in the beginning states how this story is basically autobiographical of David Shannon when he was young.

Here are ways to incorporate S.C.A.M.P.E.R. with this story:

1) Substitute another location for David-what would David at the mall look like? the zoo?
2) Adapt a classroom so that it would be an ideal learning space for David-maybe stain-proof carpet.
3) If you were the teacher, how would you have to modify your instruction because of David?
4) Another use for a paper airplane.
5) Rearrange the classroom so it would become David-proof.

So we substituted the mall for school--how would David act knowing what we know about him?

P.S. So I went back through old blog posts for a presentation I was giving and realized when I first started blogging I would only share the writing that was the best academically. Somewhere along the line that changed and I decided to post pics of all my students' writing. This is where we begin in Kindergarten-this is our handwriting, this is how we write down the page. If nothing else I will show the progress we make over the year!

Here's what they wrote:

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