Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I am thankful...

We had a great few days before Thanksgiving break! We did a bit more on being thankful, including making these turkeys that show the sight words that we now know how to read. Our third grade reading buddies helped us put them together. Here are some pictures of the kids working on them, using the Word Wall to find words!

Blake figured out that if you put the words together, they make a sentence! 

Last but not least, I sent this home in the kids' folders yesterday. I am very thankful for such a wonderful class of kindergarteners!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

We are thankful!

Thanksgiving is approaching, so we have been spending time learning about what it means to be thankful. After reading Todd Parr's book The Thankful Book, we drew two things we were thankful for and shared them with each other. Then we put it together into a class book. Check out what we are thankful for!

Owen: trying new foods and saying sorry to my friends
Argjend: my mom and my sister
Amara: firefighters helping us and fire trucks
Blake: my stuffie that has a heart inside, and my stuffie that is orange
Jacob: my whole family and getting food like Indian turkeys
Kira: my family and the earth
Liam: my town and Earth
Erblina: my daddy, my mommy and my toys
Myles: Legos and eating
Trevor: flowers and me
Dustin: my mommy is still alive and my daddy is still alive
Lillian: Millie and my family
Millie: my dog and my brother's lizard
Ava: my family and the Earth
Leo: I'm still close to getting my own phone, and turkey
Ethan: my family and my friends
Grace: my dad and my dad
Alex: me, my family and my pets
Lily: my stuffed animal dog and my dog named Jake
Veronica: turkey and pumpkin pie
Kahlan: my cat and my bed
Aidan: God and my family

Sunday, November 16, 2014

All about nocturnal animals

We have been studying nocturnal animals for the past month! The kids are fascinated by bats, owls and other creatures of the night. Here are some of the ways we learned about them:

Reading about nocturnal animals
We kicked off the unit by getting together with partners and looking through lots of non-fiction books on nocturnal animals. Each partner got one sticky note, and marked where they found something fascinating to share with the rest of the class. Then we sat in a circle and shared our findings.

Which animals are nocturnal?
We read lots of read alouds on nocturnal animals, and also made a few predictions about which animals stay awake at night and which don't. We then filled out a chart with the correct answers.

Later in the unit, we completed this book on nocturnal animals.

Bats, bats, bats
Next we started learning more about bats. Did you know that bats can eat up to 600 mosquitos an hour in the dark of night? We split into six teams and each cut out 100 tiny mosquitos! This helped us get an idea of how big the number 600 really is. Check out the posters below.

Do you like bats?
We learned how to record information using a survey and graph for the first time. We visited our first grade science buddies and asked them the survey questions "Do you like bats?" (Unsurprisingly, since their class was studying bats as well, we ran out of room on the "yes" side of the graph.)

Onto owls
Then we dove into learning all about owls! I work at the nature center during the summers so am very lucky to be able to bring in some of their learning materials. We got to see a real great horned owl mount, as well as a wing, so we could study how an owl's body parts helps it survive. Below are pictures of us practicing how an owl's ears help it to hear better.

We also learned about an owl's life cycle, practiced how to draw an owl in our science journals, and created several owl art projects!

Owl pellet dissection
One of the most fun projects was dissecting owl pellets! The kids were fascinated by the bones that were found inside of these real owl pellets. Here are some pictures of the little scientists hard at work dissecting and categorizing the bones that they found:

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Publishing our first books!

This week was a big week for our kindergarten writers -- they published their first books! We have been working for at least a month on writing All About books, books with topics on which we are experts. For most kids, this is the first time they have been very deliberate about planning, illustrating, and writing a story. Many kids are developmentally ready to begin writing letters and sounds to approximate what they want their pages to say, but up to this point have only been using pictures to convey their thoughts. So it's very exciting to plan and write a whole book!

Here they are working in small groups to edit their final drafts. Stronger writers helped other classmates stretch out words and add labels to their pictures, while our ESL teacher and I helped.

Then they prepared their cover pages:

And displaying their books proudly:

As part of our celebration, we invited another kindergarten class to come listen to us read our books aloud, which was really exciting.

Here are our finished pieces, as well as one whole story called "All About Stars" by Kira so you can see a sample!

"I like stars."
"Stars are good for the earth."
"Stars are good for the universe."
I'm so proud of all our writers!