Saturday, April 29, 2017

Celebrating Earth Week and the start of spring

Last week was National Environmental Education Week, and also the first week of lovely spring weather! We did lots of reading, talking and observing what's happening outside this time of year. Here are some of the kindergarteners' predictions about what spring will bring:

We also decorated Earth Day bags to be given away at the local grocery store on Earth Day:

We also talked about the importance of wondering, and opened up a Wonder Table where the kids can bring in anything they find that makes them wonder. So far they've brought in fossils, rocks, sticks, photographs from nature walks, and more!

The Wonder Wall is a place where they can post questions they have about how things work:

Then we spent some time reading and talking about ways we can help protect the earth to make it a healthier and cleaner place for us to be. We read a few books, and then made posters about how we can help!

We also decided to take advantage of the nice weather and read outside with our 4th grade reading buddies!

Our school has a Little Free Library in front, so some buddies were curious to see if any good books were inside :)
On Forest Friday, we visited our Sit Spots again, which have changed a lot since the winter! After observing the changes (and getting caught in the rain), we went back inside to add our observations to our Time Wheels. The Time Wheels are also called Phenology Wheels, and each season the kids have added an illustration of their Sit Spots. In the end we'll have four depictions of the Sit Spots, one for each season, which will be a great way to highlight the seasonal changes that occur in nature!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Glimpses into our day

I seem to take a good amount of pictures that don't fit into a larger theme, besides a day in the life of a typical kindergartener in our class! So here are some more random photos that give a glimpse into what we do all day:

Working on self portrait skills
Spending some time in the reading corner
Kindergarteners demonstrating reading skills to their older reading buddies!
Working on vowel discrimination...always a tricky skill to master 

Sorting hair-face matching pictures of classmates
Practicing counting teen numbers with counting bags
Learning about measurement and balance with the new scales!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Forest Friday: Using engineering skills to build fairy houses

The new national science standards, which are slowly being adopted by states across the country, ask students to explore and know engineering skills, including planning, building, and finding solutions. I decided to put these ideas into practice in the classroom when I noticed that several fairy houses were being built in the forest during recess time. I also saw several students writing books such as "How to Build a Fairy House" during Writers Workshop time. So we decided to turn it into a larger project that would also incorporate science and engineering skills!

First, we wrote a how-to book about how to build a fairy house. I forgot to take a picture of this, but we had lots of experts in the classroom that could help us fill in the steps.

Next, we went on a hike to collect materials for our houses.

We looked at some existing fairy houses for inspiration:

The next week, we laid out our materials and made a plan for our house in our science journals. I was so impressed with the details and dedication in these plans!

Then we got to work. The houses turned out amazing!

We got pretty muddy in the end, so had to wipe our feet on some snow that had stuck around in early spring.

Overall it was a very cool project, and I'm so proud of how creative and hard-working the kids were! Sadly most of the houses didn't last long, since other grades use the forest during recess. But it was still worth the effort!