Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Roar, Roar, Dinosaur!

We had a "Roar-in" good time last week learning about dinosaurs. Here are a few activities we enjoyed...

How many of our footprints could fit inside of a T-Rex footprint?  39! (We ran out of shoes, so I had to give one up to fill the remaining space.)

Before adding our shoes, we wrote estimates on a piece of chart paper.

Dinosaur Glyphs

I start by showing them two glyphs that I made. (I say that one is my husband's to see if they can interpret them.)

Then we make our own!

I have Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten to thank for many of these wonderful dinosaur activities. Check out her post HERE.

Dinosaur Fossils

I've done these fossils in previous years. I would save used coffee grounds for a few days prior, dry them, and mix up a fossil recipe to cover mini plastic dinos. I would bake them on low heat to harden into "rocks" and then hide them outside for my students to find .We would then take our paleontologist tools (aka: popsicle sticks and paintbrushes) to dig out our fossils.

Model Magic Fossils

This year, I went with "no-prep" fossils. After talking about fossils and how they give paleontologists clues about dinosaurs....

Cool leaf fossil a parent donated to our classroom!
...we made some of our own with Model Magic!

So easy! Roll ball, flatten, press and remove plastic dinosaur. (Let dry a few days. You can even watercolor them for an added touch.)











Dinosaur Bones Diggers Word Game

My class had enjoyed playing this game so much, they asked for it during free choice time. *teacher dance*
I used the four letter words to challenge my students. (I chose pom-poms since they are much easier to clean up than sand or rice.)

Click on the picture to see Marsha's post at A Differentiated Kindergarten with the corresponding FREEBIE

Good Reads

I don't have a picture of the cute easy dinosaur reader my students used to learn the sight words does and may. You can download it free from Hubbard's Cupboard. There are so many other great printable mini books on this site!

Cute opposites book!


Stegosaurus Patterning

We created spike patterns and recorded the "core" pattern.

Big and small,
God made them all!

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Five for Friday!

Thanks Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting the perfect linky party to end the school week!

This week was for the boys...the boys who know every name of every dinosaur. I'm always amazed at how much information they know about these creatures of long ago. It's like they have a special section of their brain set aside for all things dinosaur. To be honest... when I first started teaching, those kiddos intimidated me with their dino knowledge. I knew a little about the T-Rex, triceratops... uhhh....long necks.....Ducky?... (Yes, I watched Little Foot as a kid.)

Here is a unit where my littles get the chance to teach me.

I do get points for integrating reading and math with our dinosaur theme.

We created stegosaurus patterns and recorded the "core" pattern.

This was a favorite - making our own fossils with Model Magic!

 To see more dinosaur themed activities check out my Roar, Roar Dinosaur! post here.

I had big plans to make these ADORABLE Earth Day cookies...

That is until I came home from work exhausted and took a nap instead. Oh well! Kids need a well rested, happy teacher more than they need more sugar. Right? Savin' the idea for next year.

We read Help the Environment Reusing and Recycling. After we sorted pictures of things that are helpful and harmful to the environment.


One of my favorite songs to teach at the beginning of the year is He's Got the Whole World in His Hands. We did the age-old coffee filter + marker + water in a spray bottle Earth art.

When I individually helped them add their hands to their Earth, I let them create their own verse of the song to sing. "He's got _(student's name)'s_  family in His hands...." or "He's got _(school name)_ in His hands."

Math curriculum? Done.

Now we are reviewing, reviewing, reviewing!

I saw THE Shari Sloane present at a kindergarten conference last weekend and was AMAZED! If you haven't heard of her - check out her website here.

My favorite session of hers was on Math Games. I printed off several for my students to play as we revisit and cement the concepts we've learned so far. Her resources are free and ready to print with little to no prep involved! Click here to check them out. Your welcome!

Teacher Appreciation Week at Barnes and Nobel happened...

I couldn't help myself! 25% off!

Yes, I spent more money on these books than I did on gas this week.  I am not ashamed.   

I love it when an unplanned learning moment happens. This week, as my students did their usual caterpillar observation, one students said "One of them lost his tail!" This lead into a little spur of the moment research to discover that caterpillars shed their "skin" just like reptiles do as they grow. This is called "molting".

Our caterpillars are on their way to becoming beautiful butterflies! Now we watch and wait....

Happy Friday!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five for Friday:Under the Sea

Hello friends! It's Friday... again! The weeks are flying by! I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching.

Here are my five randoms from this week....

We "dove" into our ocean unit this week.
I used our literacy block to have my students work on mini ocean animal reports. Now that we are "practically first graders"... we were ready for a multiple step writing project.

I let them choose which animal they'd like to research. This year dolphins took the lead... surprising! It's usually sharks.

Each day we researched a topic: habitat, characteristics, diet, interesting facts...

I model how to use the contents page to search for specific information.

We are really working on starting our sentences with a capital letter and ending with a punctuation mark. If I catch them remembering these things without a prompt, I'll draw a doodle of their choice (shooting star, smiley face) on their hand with a colored marker. I guess it's like a little "Way to go!" tattoo.

During free choice time this week I had a variety of ocean animal coloring pages for everyone to color, cut, and add to our ocean habitat mural.

I was surprised at how many students wanted to spend their precious play time adding to it.
Maybe these bad boys were the real draw....

Mr. Sketch Markers!
I recently added them as a privilege students can earn - a box of Mr. Sketch Markers for the day. This week they were open to the public. (Families are probably wondering why their kiddos are coming home with a rainbow spotted noses?!? The cinnamon scent is my personal fave!)

Next, we will add labels to each ocean creature.

 Here was another one of their favorite centers this week - sea shells!

They sorted them and measured them... oh, and tried to look for pearls. Hehe! Since they couldn't find any, I added some plastic pearl beads for them to pretend with.

Our new favorite sight word activity..."Beach Ball Sight Words"!

We stand in a circle and toss the ball. Whoever catches it spells the sight word closest to their right hand. The other students raise their hands if they know it. The catcher calls on someone to say what word was spelled. If correct, they get to catch the ball and have the next turn. 

Our school had their annual Spring Banquet and Actions last week. One item up for bid was a 1/2 day off for your teacher of choice.... subbing services provided by none other than our principal.

Guess which lucky duck got it this year? Bam!

Two student families went in on bidding on it for me. I feel so special. I think it's cool that our principal is willing to come into our classrooms and teach for 1/2 a day. My kids think he's a rock star.

Looks like I'll have to plan a "Treat Yo Self" afternoon... I'm thinking lunch, shopping, and massage!

Each year we order painted lady butterfly caterpillars from Insect Lore. My students love watching them grow, molt, and eventually emerge from their chrysalises as beautiful butterflies! Our little caterpillars seem to change in size each day. They will be forming their chrysalises soon.

One student said with excitement "We should let them go free on the last day of school!" (Which is fast approaching. Can it really be May in 2 weeks!?!)

I plan my butterfly unit around the time the butterflies are predicted to hatch. I don't mind stopping our lesson to rally around the net to welcome each new butterfly into the world. Priceless moments.

Have a happy weekend!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mission Exploration: Using our Five Senses

"Our Five Senses" is a unit I do each spring. My students enjoy learning how their senses help them explore and learn about the world around them.

I usually focus on one sense each day. Monday - sight, Tuesday - hearing...

We did a plethora of hands-on activities, here are just a few...

Sense of Sight

We briefly learned about the parts of an eye and then graphed our eye color.

If I would have realize how many students had blue eyes,
I would have created my graph a little taller!
During this unit, our Bible lessons focus on the miracles Jesus did during his ministry. When learning about how Jesus gave sight to the blind man I shared how Jesus has power over spiritual blindness - He is the Light of the World (John 8:12)! I wasn't sure my kiddos were understanding the analogy until one girl said "That's like the song 'Open the Eyes of my Heart Lord'!" I happened to have that song on CD, so we popped it in and sang the chorus together. Those unplanned "lesson diversions" are the best!

This was a fun transitional activity using our eyes AND brains: What's Missing?

Look at the left picture and then the right. Can you tell what's missing?

Let me tell you... students had skill! I had to start taking away two items at time.

Sense of Taste

This next activity is totally worth the prep time... just to see their reactions! We talk about how our tongue is like a map - different parts of our tongue taste different kinds of food. As we taste tested we categorized: Is it salty? Sweet? Sour? Bitter?

I couldn't help laughing at the reactions to the pure lemon juice. Haha! One little guy shook all over with a cringing face... and then gave it a double thumbs up. 

Each time we tasted an item, I had everyone show me if they did or didn't like it by circling or "X"ing the picture on their recording sheet. I took a tally of each item on the whiteboard.

When we were done, we counted the tallies for each item and figured out which "tastes" were our favorites. Can you believe popcorn and M&Ms beat out straight cocoa powder? Crazy kids!

Sense of Hearing

This bingo activity was a highlight when we learned about our sense of hearing.

(Be prepared for laughter.... one sound is a flushing toilet. Haha!)


Sense of Smell

We passed around these containers, each taking a sniff, to see if our brains could recognize the smells. They did very well (considering it's allergy season...didn't think that one through...) I gave a few clues as the smell was being passed around: "You may have smelled this when dying eggs for Easter. (vinegar)"

One girl said the taco seasoning canister smelled like her grandma's dog's breathe!

Sense of Touch

Each student got a turn to put their hands in the "feely" box and try to figure out the mystery object. I would choose one from my pencil box and they would describe what they were feeling for the class. They came up with some creative adjectives!

What activities do you do when teaching about our Five Senses?