Friday, February 27, 2015

Final projects: What happens in winter?

Earlier this month we finished up our inquiry unit on "What happens in winter?" The kids learned so much! We read many books, searched for signs of animals, watched videos, and did research to answer our big question. They learned that animals usually do one of three things: hibernate, migrate, or adapt to winter conditions. We learned to take notes in a graphic organizer (aka a bubble map, such as the one on migration below), and as we researched, we continued to ask questions and read books to find the answers.

 Eventually we moved onto working on our final projects, which we would present to our reading buddies to share what we had learned during our inquiry. The kindergarteners were SO excited when they heard their options for presentation. They could choose one of the following to represent their knowledge:

There was a tie between the popularity of making a model and making a poster.

The next step was to make a plan! The kids could choose who they wanted to work with, and what they wanted to make. Here were a few of the plans they put together. I should mention that they made these plans with very little help from me. It's incredible what they came up with independently!

I needed a day to get the materials together. Then they got to work!

When they were all finished, we invited our third grade reading buddies to our classroom so they could present their final projects. The third graders were VERY impressed with vocabulary and knowledge that the kindergarteners shared (so was I)!

This ends our inquiry into what happens in winter. Our next inquiry unit is on weather!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Chapter book read aloud: My Father's Dragon

Our school is hosting a book club for parents and teachers on the book The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. I just started the book, and it's great so far! It's full of good information on the importance of reading to your children as often as possible. And while pictures books are fantastic for kids of all ages, kindergarteners love to hear chapter books read to them as well!

With that in mind, we began reading aloud a chapter book in our class. This has quickly become one of our favorite times of the week. The students can take their reading journals, markers or pencil, and a stuffed animal to a cozy spot in the room, and listen quietly as I read aloud from the chapter book My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett.

The kids quickly got hooked to the story, which is filled with talking dragons and tigers and boars. While I read, the room is so silent you can hear a pin drop. And the kids have produced some amazing art both while they listen to the story, and later on during the day. Below are some pictures of what they made while listening. I love to see how engaged they are in the story. Fortunately, the author wrote two sequels, so we already moved on to the second book yesterday!

P.S. If any family members would like information on the parent book club, just let me know!