Monthly Archives: April 2010

Comment Patrol

I love hearing from you what you are doing in your classrooms, so I’ve decided to set up a comment patrol!  Each time you comment on one of my posts, you will be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of my Ponds unit for FREE!!  You can leave a comment on this post if you would like…

How do you use inquiry based science and literature in your classroom?  What is your favorite literature tie-in?

Whether you comment on this post or another, I’ll keep track of them and then on a random day in the future, I’ll pick a name or two.  You won’t know when or where, so be sure to comment away and comment often!!! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

Jack and the Beanstalk

We are reading Jack and the Beanstalk this week.  Here are some of the activities we completed today:

First, we sorted eggs that Jack’s golden egg laying hen left us.  She also left us a note, but I can’t find the picture of that! 🙂  She basically asked us to take these eggs and sort them.  We sorted them face down, so none of the children could see the letters written on their friends eggs.  They had to sort strictly on size.  We then turned all the eggs in that group over to see how close we were.

Next, we completed this sheet that has us sharing eggs with our friends:

Then, we created rulers (centimeters) and measured things at our tables:

We will be measuring other things with these rulers this week so this was just an activity to get our exploring out of our system! 😉  I’ll post more this week.

Kristen 🙂

Earth Day

We celebrated Earth Day over several days last week.  One day we went outside to look at the dumpsters that are available at our school for recycling:

We also had a guest speaker in from the IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management).  She showed us the importance of recycling and how much of a difference it could make:

The pile on the left is the pile of things we recycled and the pile on the right is the pile of trash.  There was also a pile of “organic material” that could be composted (it was all plastic fruits, vegetables, and flowers).  WOW!! What a difference sorting though your trash could make!!

Kristen 😉

Painted Ladies

Our painted lady caterpillars have finally stuffed themselves full of yummy caterpillar food and have spun their chrysalids.  Now we wait…I took a short video of the last caterpillar as he was forming the last part of his chrysalis:

Okay, technical difficulties…working on getting that uploaded for you…

Here are the little guys “hanging” themselves:

This will be there humble abode once they emerge:

They will emerge in the next two weeks, so I’ll post pictures when they do.

Kristen 🙂

More Rainforest

Here are some more pictures from the rainforest that we have created in our classroom.  I got the patterns from The Learning Workshop.  You can order curriculum packs from them as well as big books.  They have a whole variety of packets.  The two geared at rainforests are “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Garden in the Sky”.  I ordered several from them.

I’ve also included pictures of the Big Book we read this week as well as the song we have been learning.  I need to give a shout out to Karen Berman…I did my student teaching with her a long time ago, and she decorated her classroom like this, so I needed to as well! 🙂  Thanks Karen! 🙂

Kristen 🙂

The Rainforest

Here are a few pictures showing the transformation our classroom made Friday afternoon so we can get ready to learn about the Rainforest for the next two weeks:

I’ll update more this week with pictures as we work our way through the Amazon Rainforest!

Kristen 🙂


All this week, we have been learning about insects.  This was a new unit to me (I usually teach about them as they come up in stories or during teachable moments).  I really could have done lots more with this idea than I did, but I was sort of pressed for time.  I will probably come back in a few weeks and talk some more about them.

These are the books that I had out in my Library Work Station during our Insects theme.

This area has be come one of our Science Stations, I have since expanded to ANOTHER table! 🙂

One of the activities we did was to sort various bugs/insects/other backyard critters into categories.

This is our OWL chart right before observing the plastic critters.  I had the children observe the critters and that’s how we fill out the “O” section.

One of the books we read…where we discovered that Insects are NOT bugs.  I need to stop called all bugs, bugs, they have different names! 🙂

Even though this is not an “official” IB unit (we did Ponds), we all are continuing to have these large question marks up in our classroom to help us to remember to write down the great questions the children have so that as we are learning we can answer them.

Sorting clip art pictures of Insects/Not Insects.  As I observed the children sorting in table groups, I heard some interesting discussions going on.  The threw in some “tricky” critters as an assessment–we ended up having a great group discussion about where the worm, stag beetle, and caterpillar belonged.

Here we are discussing the stag beetle.  Many children had counted his antennae and thought those were legs, so the children were having a discussion about that.  It was really neat to see them listening to each others ideas without interruption, and coming to a class consensus.

The beetle and caterpillar ended up under Insect and the worm ended up under Not Insect (we will revisit this activity to see if there opinions have changed in the next few weeks).

I made a list of critters and printed them off from Microsoft clip art.  We were reading The Grouchy Ladybug this week as well, so I tried to pull some things from that book.  When I re-assess, I will put in more Not-Insects and several that we have named Bugs.

Kristen 🙂

Setting Up a Compost Bin

I’ve had several questions about composting in the classroom and since our red worms just arrived on Thursday I took several pictures of us putting it together.

First you need a sturdy container.  I wrote a grant through and had it funded to get mine.  I have read about others who have used those large plastic storage containers and drilled some holes into the top of the sides (but not too big or your worms will escape–think thumb tack sized holes) for ventilation.

Here is a picture of my bin:

It does have a lid, but it is not on in this picture.

To set up your compost bin, you will need some soil (with no additives at all).  I used Miracle Grow Organic Potting Soil (no white fertilizer beads).  You will also need some leaves or grass/flower clippings and a little bit of “food” (orange peels, coffee grounds, egg shells, bananas, apples, etc.), anything organic–no meats and no dairy (ever!!)

Put the soil in the bottom of the bin and cover with leaves/grass clippings.  Mix well.  Add your redworms (no earthworms, red worms…you can either get them from a fishing/tackle store or I get mine from Carolina Biological Supply).

Add the worms:

Add your food for the worms.  They will all quickly dive for darkness!

Each time you add new food (gradually increase the amount so you do not overwhelm them!), make sure you mix it in or you will get fruit flies (ask me how I know!!).  If you do happen to get fruit flies, cut sheets of newspaper (black and white only) into one inch wide strips and cover the remainder or the space between the compost and the lid.  Leave the bin closed completely for one to two months and that should take care of the problem.

I use a shovel to mix and the kids usually do that after I have shown them how.  I think it’s also important to read some great books that go along with composting, so the kids can see what it happening below the soil:

I’m not an expert on Composting, but this is what has worked well for me!  There is a great book called “Worms Eat My Garbage” that you can get and there is a teacher’s guide available by the same author for use in the classroom.

I’m tagging this post with “compost”.  If you click on the blue tag below, it will show you more things we have done with the compost bin.


Ponds Available for Purchase

Nothing like waiting until the final hours of Spring Break to get all my projects finished!!!  I just completed work on my newest unit that is available for purchase: Ponds!!

The unit includes:

– An Inquiry Based Pond Unit based around the 5E model

-A Literacy Work Stations Grid so you can incorporate your pond theme into your LWS

-A Pond Mind Map

-5 green and speckled frogs math mat and frogs (made for use inside a sheet protector with a dry erase marker)

-Pond Journal (for assessment purposes)

-Pond/Frog booklist with ideas for other search topics

-5 green and speckled frogs mini book

-reproducible word family dice game sheets, writing station folder cover,  and several other games and activities!

The cost will be $30.00 and will only be delivered by e-mail (PDF files).  Files will be e-mailed within 24 hours of purchase through Pay-Pal.

You can purchase it by clicking here and visiting my Kristen’s Kindergarten Store.

Questions?? 🙂

Kristen 😉

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