Monday, May 14, 2012

Look what we grew!!

My prayers to Mother Nature worked! All of the seeds that we planted last week have grown! AHHHH :) I wish I would have taken pictures of the kids faces when we opened up their bean seed baggies today. Priceless!

We planted our seeds in two ways. First, I bought one of those mixed beans soup bags at the grocery store. My kiddos got to choose two bean seeds. We put the bean seeds in ziploc baggies with damp paper towels (not dripping), and hung them on a sunny window. This was our experiment to see if a plant could grow without soil.

We put these up on the window last Monday, and today.....

These are just two of the dozens of bean seeds that were growing away! We had a wonderful discussion about the roots and the root hairs, and about how the seed coat protects the plant until it grows away and falls off. They just could not believe that these little seeds grew this much in a week. (To tell you the truth, neither could I!)

We also planted some seeds in our sensory table outside. We wanted to see what had grown, if anything, and we dug up all the seeds today. We planted 75 bean seeds, (5 for each student), and 55 HAD A ROOT! Is that not crazy? We are going to replant them individually tomorrow! I think I might be more excited than the kids...

Before we planted anything, we read How A Seed Grows by Helene J. Jordan.

This was a really awesome story to read to show students that seeds do not all grow at the same speed. We did a cute little drawing activity to go along with this concept. In the story, it talks about how when an oak tree seed is completely grown, you may be a parent or a grandparent. So we drew pictures of what we would look like when seeds turned into plants.

We also went outside and make observations about nature.

You can get both documents here!

We also used little plant literacy and math activities that I got from Cara Carroll. You can find them on her blog here. They were wonderful! My kiddos loved them :)

We also did a fantastic activiy that I found from Lisa at Don't Just Do It, Teach It! We were working on learningthe parts of a plant, and how each part works. Her little craft is an awesome visual of what we see outwardly on the plant, and what is going on underneath the surface. We labeled the petals, leaves, stem, and the roots in the flower pot!

My kiddos are unfortunately not-so-good with scissors, and I made them cut out everything by themselves, so they aren't quite as pretty but still cute!

I only have 9 DAYS OF SCHOOL LEFT!!! I'm not excited at all...

Have a great week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mother's Day Coupon Book and TPT Sale May 6-8

I just uploaded my Mother's Day coupon book to TPT for just $1! It is a simple, cheap, and thoughtful gift that any mom will love!

They are so easy to make, and the kids love the fact that they actually get to make something to give to their mom (or special motherly figure!).

Also, I am having a TPT sale for TPT's Teacher Appreciation Week from May 6-8! You can get products from my store for 28% off!

Happy shopping!

Symmetry, Long "oo" Zebras, Bossy R, Zoo Animals, AHH!!

Oh boy! We're getting SO close to the end of the year...I can taste it :) I love my kiddos but we're all starting to get summer fever... So we have been doing all kinds of activities to keep us motivated and excited to work hard!

We have been working on fractions and symmetry lately, and some of my kiddos were really struggling with the "mirror image" concept of symmetry. They could identify figures that were or were not symmetrical, but could not produce a symmetrical image on their own. So we did the cutest little activity that I got from my roommate last year.

Symmetry Art!
You need:
-4 pieces of black construction paper (1 8.5 by 11 paper cut in 4 pieces)
-Various bright paint colors (orange, yellow, white, etc.)
-Squirt bottles/ketchup bottles

1. Students get 4 pieces of black construction paper and fold them in half.
2. Open the paper back up and students draw a design (with minimal paint) on one side of the fold. (For my kids, my aide and I actually "drew" the designs, with the direction of the kids since squirt bottles are difficult to control, but they could easily do it themselves)
3. Fold the paper back in half again paint side in. Have students smooth it out on the table. (Depending on where the paint is, it may ooze out the sides a little....its no big deal)
4. Open back up and viola! A perfect symmetrical match.
5. Repeat with other three pieces of paper!

You would have thought that I gave them a big bowl of candy. This was the most fun I've seen them have in the longest time!

Our story this week is called A Friend for Little Bear by Harry Horse, and it was one of those cutesy stories that they girls love and the boys don't. So we had to make it fun!

The kiddos got to make their own "wooden horse." We LOVE crafts, so I cut out all the pieces and the kiddos put them together. Then, because our sound for the week was long u "oo," the kids had to cut out the wooden horse's red spots and write a word that had the "oo" sound in it. We had just made a list on our shamp"oo" bottle earlier that day, so we had tons of ideas. They were only required to make 10 spots, but some of my little overachievers did more like 20 or 30 :)They turned out so cute!

We have also been learning about Bossy R. I started out with the "ar" and "or" sounds, which I think are easier. We talked about how the a and the o do not make the short vowel sound or the long vowel sound, because the r wants them to say his name.

We thought of little sayings:
"Ar" is a pirate, and he says: "Arrrrrrrghhhhhhhhhh!" "Or" is what a seal says: "Or, or, or!" (And you slap your outstretched arms together like a seal!)

When I introduce sounds for the first time, I like for my students to practice reading words with these sounds as much as possible, to make them familiar with it. So I created these little sound cards. They worked SO well with my ELL students, because in addition to the ar/or word, there is also a picture to assist them! You can have them for FREE :)

To teach all of the Bossy R sounds, especially er, ir, and ur, I used Babbling Abby's R-controlled Vowel pack. It was fantastic. I already had all of her long vowel packs and this one did not dissapoint me! Her word work activities really helped me kids not only learn the sounds, but learn to differentiate between the r-controlled vowels and other short/long vowel sounds.

Lastly, we have been learning about zoo animals this week! Our field trip to the zoo was on Thursday, so we did all kinds of zoo activities this week! We started by talking about giraffes, elephants, and lions, which were three animals I knew we would see at the zoo! I split my class into groups, and each group received an info sheet on their animal. They made a web including three of the facts they learned from their info sheet. You can have them for free here!

We read Bringing Down The Rain on Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema. It was such a good introduction to the savanna/grassland habitat, which is where you can find giraffes, elephants, and lions.

I read the story once to the students, and towards the end, they were all reading it with me! So I divided the kids into little groups, and we choral read the story, each group reading a different part. They loved the repetition!

We also were being introduced to the concept of probability. And of course, I had to make it animal themed! We started by making a big circle of students, and putting a bunch of animal cards mixed up in the middle. You can get the animal cards here. I assigned 6 students to be "keepers." The lion keeper gathered all the lions, the giraffe keeper gathered all the giraffes, etc.

Before I introduced the concept of most likely and least likely, I wanted them to have a tangible experience of seeing a set within the large group. We counted how many we had of each animal, and then filled in that part of the response sheet.

Then, we mixed up the animals and put them in an opaque bag. Five students came up and chose one of those animals out of the bag. Luckily for me, they ended up choosing monkeys (which I made the most of) 3 out of the 5 times. When we were finished choosing our 5 animals, we looked at our information and decided what animals we were the most likely to choose and least likely to choose and gave a reason why.

Then, we showed how out of all the animals put together in our zoo, you can write a fraction to show that number. That fraction is the probability that you would choose it. They completed this part of the activity independently. The next day, this was our math journal prompt!

We also made our own animals, and wrote nonfiction facts about them. Here are what they looked like when we were finished! I am working on trying to scan the templates so you all can use them too :)

I only have 15 days of school left. I can't believe it! Next week my kids have their spring concert, the talent show, and our school Olympics. We are busy busy busy!

Happy weekend!
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