Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Duck vs. Grace & an Election Day FREEBIE

        Well, today’s the day: ELECTION DAY! The last Election Day I was a student teacher, seems hard for me to believe. I am worried about voting today, simply because I keep hearing ‘horror stories’ about how long people have to wait at the polls here! So, today’s post will be quick, because I’m headed off to vote soon.

        Yesterday we did an activity that I have used in February around Presidents’ Day, but since it’s an election year, I felt it was more appropriate to do it now. On Friday we read Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio. We then identified what Grace did during her ‘campaign’ to be Class President. Then yesterday we read Duck for President by Doreen Cronin (I LOVE this book!). After reading we identified what Duck did during his campaigns to be Governor and President.  Then we also discussed which story was fantasy and which story could happen in real-life. Finally, I introduced our activity, a Venn diagram comparing the two stories. Click here for your FREE copy.

   Since we don’t have school today, as many of the schools in our district are used as polling places, I also gave my students this activity for homework:

    Click here for your FREE copy.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Leaf Man

Leaf Man Art Activity & FREEBIE

          One of my favorite fall books is Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. I read it to my kids this past week, and they seemed to enjoy it as much as me! On Thursday I read the story and then we discussed where Leaf Man had traveled and where he might go next. Then I had them extend the story using this page:

          On Friday we did a Leaf Man art activity. I had the students collect leaves of different size and color for homework. Then, when we reread the story, I had them pay extra close attention to the artwork in the book. We talked about other animals that Leaf Man might meet on his travels, and then I showed them these leaf pictures I found on Pinterest: 

          Several students brought in extra leaves so I put them on the reading table in case someone needed a certain kind of leaf that he did not have.

          I was really impressed with their artwork! Check it out:

A swordfish

A turtle

A fox

A turtle

A fox

Here is my lion 

What activities do you do with Leaf Man? I’d love to hear!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

STEM Project and Seed Diagram

First Grade STEM Project

          This week we dedicated a lot of time to our 1st grade STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) project. We started last week, by planting pumpkin seeds, from our class pumpkin. Each student planted a pumpkin seed, and we will monitor their growth over the next several weeks. Prior to planting our seeds, we dissected a black bean seed. One of my awesome teammates created this great seed diagram (inspired by one she saw on First Grade Shenanigans). Here is how our diagrams turned out: 

          We also discussed and recorded what our black bean seeds looked like, and how they felt.

          This week, the students worked in small groups to construct (or engineer) watering cans from plastic recyclables we collected. Before sending them off to get started, we talked about what a watering can is used for and what it looks like. Then, I introduced the ‘rules’ they had to follow when constructing their watering cans:
1. It must have a handle.
2. It must have a spout.
3. It needs to be made using at least 3 objects.
4. It must hold at least 1 cup of water.

          After going over these guidelines, I introduced a planning sheet for the students to complete to show how they developed their watering can. I had a difficult time knowing exactly what to say as I gave directions to the kids. I was honest, and told them that this was a new project for me too. They seemed to understand, so I sent them off to begin working. We collected a TON of plastics over the past three weeks! I dumped everything out on the carpet and then called groups up one at a time. I let each student pick two items that looked interesting to take back to their tables to try and use as part of their watering cans.

          Rachel and I walked around and monitored the students as they brainstormed how to construct their cans. Once students agreed on an idea, Rachel and I did any necessary cutting; we also helped tape their work together. Here are their finished products:

          Yesterday we observed our seeds for the first time. Sadly, there wasn't much to observe, but it was still good practice! Each student took their cup to their seat. Then, we recorded our observations in our science journals. 

        We also tested our watering cans for the first time! They all worked- a few had some issues with leaking, so I said we would try and patch them up with duct tape on Monday! The kids LOVED seeing their inventions work, it was so cute!