Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We love worms (well, some of us)!

Last week we learned all about worms in our class. Why worms, you ask? I'm a big believer in cross-curricular studies and integrating a topic throughout all content areas. The kids seem to stay more engaged (which is what we want!) and learn more (which is what we want!).

For our school science fair project we chose the popular growing gummy bear experiment,  but we  I adapted it a little and used gummy worms instead, because little did my kiddos know that we'd be studying REAL worms too! 

We started out by having a class discussion about what we thought we already knew about real worms.  We made some predictions about vocabulary that might be used in the books we would read. Here is some of their work.

After making our predictions, we read this book I got from Barnes and Noble. It is a great book for early readers and it gives the information on a level they can understand better.

As we read, we started completing a tree map. I didn't let them fill it completely, just one fact for each section. I wanted to emphasize to them the importance of reading multiple books to gain information instead of just relying on one text. 

We then read a couple more non-fiction texts and listened to a PebbleGo article about earthworms. I loved this book because it was a rhyming book and was funny- the kids were in stitches when we learned that (gasp!) worms poop too! :-)

Don't forget to throw in a little fiction in there too! Gotta love the Diary series by Doreen Cronin

We completed our tree map and wrote a fact we learned. Yep, you guessed it. Most of them couldn't get over the pooping thing. Shocker. But I was impressed by a couple others.

A worm can eat leaves.

A worm can do number 2. (He even labeled the "numb2," bless his heart!)

A worm can dig under ground. (Look at the detail on that worm- those are the hairs on the segments that help them crawl. Not sure how I missed giving him a stamp!)

Then the real fun began! I brought the kids up a few at a time to explore the worms. Some were super excited; others not so much... girls AND boys. I had two different species so they could compare and contrast them. I'm seriously not sure who had more fun, them or me watching them! (I was sad to discover many of them had never even seen a real worm. Too much TV and video games, I tell ya.)

I so wish I could show you their faces, because their expressions were priceless, but have to follow privacy procedures.

We recorded our observations after we explored the worms. 

Slimy, tickle, crazy (there was one worm that really was going a little berserk the whole time, trying to jump out of the plate), cold. "I saw the worms move and tickle me."

Pink, wiggle, wet, funny. "The worms was playing in my hand."

Slimy, cold, crazy, pink. The worms was escaping from the plate. 

This was only part of our worm study. Stay tuned for a sequel post all about our gummy worm experiment. 

All of the recording sheets came from Kristen Smith's All About Worms unit

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five for Friday

First week back from Christmas break- done! Overall, it went pretty well. I was hoping that second semester "light bulb effect" would kick in and it did for some of my kiddos, so that's definitely a positive! 

It's Friday so that means.....

Here are my five highlights of the week.

Let me give you some background info on this email... Our school lets a few kids give appreciations at morning assembly each day. They tell who they appreciate and why. Kindergarten finally got a chance on Monday and one of my little gals (who was very shy at the beginning of the year) got up and said "I appreciate Ms. Christian for teaching me how to read." Be still my teaching heart! So sweet. This is why I teach and work so hard. It was the perfect way to start the week. 

Math was all about coins this week. I found this  coin sort and my original intent was for the kids to just cut, mix, sort and glue on manila paper. As they were cutting I felt that wasn't very rigorous and WAS really boring. I love flip books so I quickly cut some and this lesson turned out to be one of the most engaging ones for my students this year. And we all know that students process and remember content better when they write. Simple but a success.

We wasted no time getting back into the guided reading groove. I love this interactive notebook from The Therapeutic Teacher. Many of my students are still struggling with their sight words so I try to use as many different methods as I can to keep them engaged.

I use a clip chart behavior system and supplement it with these gold tickets. They get a certain amount of tickets (or have to give me a certain amount back) depending on which color they are on at the end of the day. On Fridays they "buy" prizes with their tickets. This particular little girl is one of my lower students who couldn't count to 10 with correct one-to-one correspondence before the break. She wanted to buy some stickers worth 15 tickets and successfully counted out her tickets to me with no help! Light bulb moment! 

And last, but most certainly not least... How 'bout them Cowboys!! If you know me personally, or follow me on IG, you know I'm a crazy, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and I was pretty much walking around like this all Sunday afternoon. Hoping for that feeling again this Sunday against the Pack. 

One more week then a 3 day weekend!

Have a great weekend y'all!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pinterest Pick 3 {January}

Raise your hand if you love discovering new link-ups to join in on... I do too! I came upon this one through my IG account. PAWSitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner are the hosts. The purpose of this linky is to share your top 3 favorite Pinterest finds for the current month. It gives me an excuse to spend some more time on Pinterest so what's not to love about it? 

January means a unit on all things Arctic in our class so that's what my three pins are about.

One of my goals as a teacher is to integrate more art into my classroom. I don't mean just cute craftivities (which, don't get me wrong, I love them) but genuine, authentic student art. My class hand drew Rudolph in December (I posted a picture of them on my IG account @terrificteachingandlearning). It was the first time we attempted a free hand project like this (with my step-by-step modeling of course) and I fell in love with the results. You can truly see each student's personality shine through in their art. So we're going to try penguins this month! I actually did this exact project my first year with April Larremore. They turned out super cute and I can't wait to see how this year's class does on them. 

One of the things I love most about teaching a unit on Arctic animals is all the science topics you cover. Life cycles, weather, animal adaptations...there's so much! This is a fun and easy way to help students understand how Arctic animals can withstand the cold temperatures, specifically the oil coating on a penguin's feathers. 

This pin is from Deanna Jump's blog. I like this activity because it integrates science (comparing polar bears and grizzly bears), ELA (she provides a free recording sheet) and math (analyzing the class graph) all in one. 

Click here if you would like to follow me on Pinterest and make sure to check out some ideas from all the other bloggers who've linked up.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Top 10 Instagram Pics of 2014

I think this may be my favorite linky idea in 2014. It comes from Natalie at Teachery Tidbits. I don't know about some of y'all, but my IG account gets a lot more action (hee, hee) than my blog. It's just so easy! Snap a pic and boom- it's out there. I'm going to do more blogging in 2015 though (says blogger as she crosses her fingers). 

By the way, I'm @terrificteachingandlearning on IG. If you aren't following me yet and would like to, you can find me here!

That was so fun to re-live all those moments! Here's to making many more in 2015. 

Happy New Year y'all!