Category Archives: education
For the past two weeks, we’ve been experimenting with ice. This is the first unit this year that has been truly all inquiry. Usually, I have to provide some leading questions (ok, MANY leading questions!) to get us around to where we need to be, but this time, it took only three.
What do you know about ice?
What are your experiences with ice?
When do we usually see ice?
We only got the first one answered and went in a completely different direction than what I had planned (at least that’s what I wanted them to think!!). I was expecting to use the other two questions and after 2 weeks now, we still haven’t gotten around to answering them!! Did I mention I LOVE INQUIRY??
Below are some pictures of the things we have been doing. Most of the charts you can probably figure out, but we did two experiments and I wanted to explain them at bit.
Yesterday, after talking about ice and how to get rid of it, we determined that we wanted to test different types of salt. I happened to have (wink, wink) rock salt and table salt in the room along with some ice and cups. We had 5 different types of things to test to determine how best to get rid of ice; the sun (a flashlight), our hands, rock salt, table salt, and a base (the control group). We waited 5 minutes and then measured to see how much water was in each one.
Today, we used dirt, gravel, hot water, and sea salt to try the experiment again. This time we used an ice journal to record our findings. I am presenting at NSTA in Philadelphia in March and this is part of what I will be sharing.
Okay, now on the to the pictures:
Sorry for the delay in posting…I’ve been taking loads of pictures, but I haven’t found anytime to post them. I’m busier than usual this November and am having trouble finding time to do much of anything!!! I’ve taken on several things at school, am preparing for our school Holiday Bazaar, and preparing materials for a few Kindergarten get-togethers. I am also getting ready to speak at two state conferences in February and March. I also have a rubber stamping business on the side and I just finished preparing materials for our class on Saturday.
If you want to check out what we’re doing, you can check out my posts from last November…we’re basically doing the same things and I will be adding lots of new things for Math very soon. My plan is to post on Saturday or Sunday this weekend. It was convenient for me to post at school, but when I tried last week, I found that our firewall is blocking me from doing that now, so I have to find time at home…and with a 5 year old running around…well you know how that goes!! 🙂
In preparing for the two conferences I am doing in February and March, we will be getting the new Farmer’s Market “Winter Packet” together, so I’ll be posting that along with our PowerPoint that we put together on my Kristen’s Kindergarten Store as soon as that’s done so you can see it too!! 🙂
If you’re in the Indiana area, you can see me at ISRA and HASTI in February and March along with some of my colleagues…we’re so excited to be sharing our ideas.
See you for an update on Saturday or Sunday!
I switched out my Math Work Stations (available for sale here) and updated them from Sorting to Patterning. I took several pictures and wanted to include them:
The children will be completing the patterns with Unifix cubes. I drew the patterns on sentence strips with markers and just drew squares.
Manipulatives Work Station-the children will be completing the patterns with pattern blocks. I created these patterns with die cut pattern block shapes. The idea is from Math Their Way.
Pocket Chart Patterns-the children will make patterns with the beads in the pocket chart. I got the bead pattern from a book from Scholastic (you can see it here–looks like you can get a used copy for $9.50 on Amazon.com).
The children will be using dry erase markers to complete the pattern going on their own laminated dot strips. Again, from Math Their Way blackline masters.
Eraser Pattern Station-the children will use the Halloween themed erasers (I got them in the Dollar Spot at Target) to make patterns on these placemats I got at Jo-Anns about 3 years ago. I cut the placemats in 1/2 because the kids were overwhelmed by the larger size. They will pattern along the lines of the placemats.
I posted these last year, but I always get asked where I get them from…They are from Scholastic and are little rubber stamps. The children take grid paper and stamp patterns with them. The dollar tree has them around Valentine’s Day and other holidays so be sure to check there. They are only a dollar for 8 stamps and an ink pad!
These are pattern cards I got just last week from the September Scholastic SeeSaw or Firefly leaflet. You get about 20 plastic shapes/characters and 15 cards and the kids can make various patterns (AB, AAB, ABAB, etc) They can be purchased with about 200 bonus points. I got 2 sets and I already had one from a few years ago. They also have had them in the past for the Winter holidays and Valentine’s day.
I got these playing cards last September at the Dollar Spot at Target. I thought that the kids could pattern with them or the numbers on the other side.
I couldn’t find my Roll-A-Pumpkin, so I had to make a new one, and this is what I came up with. I’ll try to get one posted soon! 🙂
Hope these give you some ideas! I have more stations than these, but they are exclusive to my Math Work Stations handouts! 🙂 )
Okay, so we really haven’t been doing the limbo in my class room in September, but it sure feels like it to me! I was able to teach my kids for the first 2 1/2 weeks of school, and ever since then, my student teacher has been teaching full time, so I feel like I’m in limbo!! She’s all done teaching next week and then I’ll ease my way back in, although, one could get used to just observing…you hear the most interesting things that way!
I thought I’d better get my blog updated and after some urging from a few friends of mine (Hi Ellen and Vicky!!), I knew that I REALLY needed to!! So here’s what we’ve been up to so far during September (what I can remember anyway! 🙂 )
Last week was all about Apples. My student teacher read the Big Book called Apples (it’s from Scholastic and has a book about pumpkins on the back side of it, so it’s really 2 books in one!). The children learned a song all about the life cycle of the apple tree (she got the song from the September Scholastic News) and then they cut out some pictures to help sequence it on paper. She also used another Big Book called “The Apple Pie Tree” and the children learned about what the apple tree looks like in various seasons. The children brought in apples and participated in several activities with them. On Wednesday, they each were given an apple and asked to observe it. They then put them back into a large group and tried to pick out their apple from that group. Friday, they had a tasting party, and had to decide which apple food was their favorite: apple juice, apple, cider, applesauce, apples. They then graphed their results.
This week, they are doing something with The 5 senses.
It’s so different updating for you when I am not the one teaching it! 🙂 I am aware of what is going on, being taught, and all that, but it’s different describing someone else’s teaching to you…especially since it’s not mine! 🙂 It’s very interesting watching a different style than I am used to…not as much Inquiry as I am accustomed to, and math in a different order, and no writer’s workshop yet. I need to teach something to someone before I go crazy!! I finally am teaching some in small groups during our Decodable book time and during math, but I’m also getting caught up on some things, and ahead on others. I’m going to try to post my October lesson plans for you soon…my to-do list is dwindling down to nothing, so that will give me something to do.
If anyone has any questions, requests, etc. now is the time to get them in…before I get busy again!
Not much of an update for you…but I promise to get going again here soon!
P.S. We’re on Magic Tree House Book #3 for those of you keeping track at home! 🙂 Oh, and we also started Name Work Station and Word Work Station today as well.
I charged my batteries in the camera and took some pictures. I’ll take you on a tour and you can also check out my photos from last year here to see the differences.
Everything is mostly in the same place, but a few things were changed. First, I’ll start with some general views:
This is a look at my new computer area; last year the table was perpendicular to where it is now and there was a tall white cabinet in front of the back half of the blue bulletin board you see there.
Looking at my Listening Center Work Station (it’s on the backside of my writing station)
Library Work Station–I moved the book cases around and added my light up palm tree for some fun
Calendar area, bench where I sit, my Big Book teaching cart
The back of my big book cart, this is where Drama Work Station will go–tentatively, I may move it
A view of the mess that is my room! 🙂 The house, loft, my desk and a few tables
My desk, this year I stacked my filing cabinets and moved a table next to my desk.
We moved my son’s train table from home to school and it’s up in the loft now.
Here’s a view of the rest of the loft
My pocket chart stand my hubby built last year–I’ve come up with some new ideas how to use it! 🙂
I use this pencil pouch to store what ever the children are working on at Pocket Chart Work Station
Here’s the new part: I’m using the back of the chart for Magnetic Work Station during LWS. Below is an explanation…
Here’s an upclose view. I just hung it on the 2nd rung down with some of those metal binding rings.
I put magnetic letters in these pencil pouches and velcro-ed them to the stand…
Here’s the velcro
Sometimes, the children will not be using the board with the spaces I’ve defined. Instead, they will use these sheets I made last year.
I put magnetic strips on the back to hold them on.
Here’s the desk where my student teacher will sit–do you think she has enough prizes from me?!?!
Binders–waiting for my classlist to arrive so I can write names on them and put their sheet inside for practicing their name
I signed my classroom up through TerraCycle so we can recycle our snack and Capri Sun containers. These are some I purchased from Target to show my children.
After our first round of Getting to Know you, we will put beads into plastic water bottles with sand so the children can find the letters in their name.
Some birthday certificates I got from the Target dollar spot to recognize birthdays.
A game called Whiz Kids from Discovery Toys I will use with my kids this year. You pick a letter and a category and then get the number of points on the letter card if you can name something starting with that letter in that category.
This shelf sits next to my bench and will be home to several Literacy Work Stations.
My small group area, parent volunteer area, and where the wonderful, amazing Pam will work!! 🙂
Listening Work Station
The tape recorder sits on top of the cart and the tapes and head phones are stored in the drawers
My basket of things for Pam (yeah!! Pam!!) to copy and pass out to the kids for me.
There it is…I’m going back tomorrow to clean up some more and work on pulling things out for my Math Work Stations and figuring out where they will go! 🙂
Only 4 1/2 more days of school left! 🙂 I’ll actually be really sad when the last day arrives, but it feels nice to say it now, being on this side of it! 🙂
I’ve been working on planning my workshop this summer. We’ve decided to call it, “The Farmer’s Market; Inquiry Based Science through Literacy Work Stations”. Catchy, huh?
I was asked today to present it (okay, more like told that I was going to be!) presenting at the ISRA (Indiana State Reading Association) Conference in March 2010! 🙂 What an honor!
Okay, on to the reason for this post…
I made several sheets to help me get organized so I thought I would share them with you and see what you think. Now, you can only have them if you promise to leave me a comment! 🙂 Honor system here! I want to know if you would use them, if they are user friendly, and if they make sense!
Here they are in no particular order:
LiteracyWorkStationsPlanningSheet (this one I posted a few days ago…but here it is in the same post with all the others!)
MonarchplanningsheetLWS (this one is the sheet that is posted above, however I filled this one in-at the workshop, this will be given; along with several others to the teachers to help them plan/get started planning and it will also show them the activites they will complete during the workshop)
sciencethemegrid (I created this sheet to show when I teach particular science themes throughout the year, some overlap from month to month)
LWS Check Sheet (This little beauty I created about 5 minutes ago–I wanted to have a sheet that would not only help me make sure that I had materials for every station this summer during our workshop, but also throughout the school year as well. It makes the planning sheet above seem a little redundant, but think of this one more of a quick check sheet that you could use when getting materials out/storing them away. I envision myself putting this sheet into a large Ziploc with the materials that are checked so that they are ready for next year and I know what stations can be open/closed during that theme)
Anyway…there you go! Remember HONOR SYSTEM–I want comments here people!!! 🙂 If you leave me a comment, I might be persuaded to send 4-5 people a copy of all the handouts given out at my workshop–and I know from the daily hit counter that there are more than just 12 of you out there! SO LEAVE ME A COMMENT, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???!! 🙂
We are reading a big book this week titled “Seeds”.
Because there are a few students who will be leaving early this week to head out on Spring Break, we did not do a Predictable Chart, however we did do several neat Inquiry Based things in Science. I like to begin almost all my themes/units with a KWL/OWL chart to asses where my children are at and what they are interested in. We completed the “K” portion of this chart first, then after Observing the seeds (see below) we completed the “O” portion and the “W” (wonder) section. I like to change the “W” from “What we WANT to Learn” to “What we WONDER” because it gets the children asking questions of the “I Wonder…” variety, something that is holding them back from exploring the world! At this young age, they know what they want to learn about somethings, but they have no basis to draw from for many Science concepts (some do!!). Asking “I Wonder…” questions sets the ground work for them to wonder, so ALL of my KWL charts are either KOWL or OWL charts.
This is the “Wonder” section continued…
Today, Tuesday, we planted all kinds of vegetables in Containers. My kids took such an interest in the Seeds book that I went and got many of the seeds mentioned in the story.
The next few months (until the end of May) will be spent on growing things/plants/bugs/insects/Monarchs/Jack and the Beanstalk/and anything else that fits in to one of these categories! 🙂
Here are the pictures–a little bit late…
I made the graphing sheet and sorting sheet MANY years ago and we always end up having to scribble out some picture of a marshmallow and adding whatever the new “special” marshmallow is for that year. I can’t find it yet (still looking on my computer) so when I do, I will come back and edit that in for you–there’s always next year! 🙂
I’m tired of the cold weather, so I decided to get everyone excited about Spring and do some planting! But plant what??
That’s when I chose our Big Book for this week: Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert.
We also started a new Predictable Chart:
(Sorry the computer is being funky here–I’ll try to undo it’s funky-ness later!)
Each child was given two deli containers, one small and one large. I cut holes in the bottom of the small one and the children put some wicking through and then put it on top of the larger container. They then added peat and some soil to the small container and planted their choice of 6 vegetables (squash, cucumbers, radishes, peas, tomatoes, peppers). We then watered them from the top and all the water seeps through to the bottom and collects there. The wicking helps keep the plants constantly moist, yet not too wet and so the plants grow much faster and the quality is always better. This is how you grow Wisconsin Fast Plants as well–those are amazing if you’ve never tried them. I was going to do them again this year, but I cannot for the life of me find the seeds from last year’s crop! 🙂
We had two 1/2 days this week, so we did a lot of writing and catching up on things. I need to go type my newsletter now–so I’ll be back in the next few days to update more! 😉
Have you ever had one of those crazy weeks where the gods seem to be working against you? Yeah–that’s been my week so far and it’s only WEDNESDAY!!!
My poor assistant Pam is out with strep–GET WELL SOON PAM!! and has been out all week so far. You don’t realize how much you depend upon them until they’re not there! 😦 Actually, we’ve been managing just fine–the kids and I, we’ve done everything I had planned and even more, so I guess it’s not all that bad! 🙂
I’ve been trying to take some pictures for you this week-but as luck would have it, my batteries are dead and can I find my charger–NO!
It’s only the 3rd day this week and we’ve already had two meeting afterschool at my building and then one I volunteered for (to look over this year’s Golden Apple entries for our district). So that means for the rest of the month, I have 1/2 hour left that I am required to attend in meetings and we’re only on the 4th day of the month!
I am however on top of report cards–only 4 left to do and I still have a whole week and a half left! This time I’m going to do student led conferences–anyone else done these? I hear they’re great and I want to give them a try–any suggestions? I’m going to have a “tour guide” sheet for each student to help them show their families around the classroom and explain what we do in a day, and then I will be there to help and answer any questions. I thought this would be much more powerful for the students and their parents.
Is anyone else attending NSTA in New Orleans this year? I will be there and I see some great Inquiry sessions I can’t wait to attend! 🙂
Got to go now…thanks for letting me vent a little! It’s 8pm and I can get a decent amount of lesson planning done before bed–or maybe just a bath! 🙂
P.S. I’ll try to post tomorrow about our Big Book this week and what we’ve been up to since Monday!