Friday, April 15, 2011

Eric Carle- The Honey Bee and The Robber

I've never included the Honey Bee and the Robber in my Eric Carle unit. I've thought about it before, but by the time we finish with the other stories it's usually May, and that means it's time for fairy tales. However, this year we had an odd two day week due to make-up days from our snow storm in January. This was a great opportunity to fit in this story.

The Honeybee and the Robber
Of course, the first thing that we did was read the book.

Then the students wrote about it. 

I wanted artwork to go next to their writing. I must admit that I came up with this project on the fly. I borrowed a bear pattern from one of my co-workers, and got the honey bees from another co-worker.

I was originally going to have them paint on white paper, but I didn't have enough. Instead I used light brown paper. It ended up working great! The light brown paper with the darker brown paint gave a layered look that reflected the style of illustrations in the book.

I incorporated science into the lesson by teaching my students facts about bees. We learned about their body structure, work habits, and habitat.  
Bee Facts
I had them organize their thoughts using this format.

I worked with the students on editing their work (the above picture was taken before the work was edited). Then they copied it onto lined paper and drew an illustration.

I wanted artwork to put next to the students' facts. This was another project I came up with quickly. I had the bee pattern from another project, and used pattern blocks for the hexagons that make up the honeycombs.

I let the students decide how many hexagons they used (they needed to use at least six), and how many bees they used. They had a lot of fun with this, and I am pretty pleased with the result. When  I do this in the future I will have the students label the parts of the bee.

Bee Adding
We've been working on adding. I would like to come up with an adding math center with manipulatives to use with this unit in the future. For this year, I made an adding practice sheet with a bee graphic on the top.

Up Next: Eric Carle- The Honey Bee and the Robber Buzz Words Activity

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Eric Carle Unit- The Tiny Seed

Each Spring my class works on an Eric Carle Unit.  This unit is a great way to connect math, science, and literacy. We start by learning about the author, and then use his stories as a starting point for lessons on insects, spiders, and plants.  Over the next few weeks I will be posting about the activities in this unit.

The first book we read this year was the Tiny Seed.

After reading the book my students wrote about the story.

Then they created this interpretation of the cover (we did not splatter paint our art this year).

When both parts of the project were completed I glued their writing next to their art. This will become a page in their Eric Carle book.

After reading the story we learned about the needs of plants, and the students wrote about the things that plants need.
Then the students completed this activity.  I love looking at the different flowers they drew! Both their writing and art will become another page in their book.

The final activity they completed was this seed planting sequencing activity. This can be a bit time consuming, but the students love it.

We will refer back to this activity in May, when we read Jack and the Beanstalk and plant beans during our Fairytale Unit.
Up Next: Eric Carle-The Honey Bee and The Robber

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blending Practice Game

In our school system we use the Scott Foresman Reading Street program. I like to begin each small group with fun "warm-up" activities. In addition to segmenting words, I like to include a variety of blending activities. These activities are usually very quick and simple. They generally involve words from that day's story or nonsense words.

Recently I purchased some tap lights at the Dollar Tree. I am using them for a simple warm up game. I start by giving two students a tap light and a word card. Their cards remain face down until I say "start." After they flip their card they practice reading their word. Once they know their word they hit the tap light. The first student to hit their light and read the word correctly gets a sticker (the student who taps in second must also read their word).

After each couple has their round, they pass the tap lights to the next two students. These students get two different cards. We continue this until everyone has had a turn.

My students absolutely loved this! Even if they didn't win a sticker they were so excited to press the tap light that their was no sulking or pouting. This was a really quick and simple way to practice blending, and using the tap lights was a great motivator.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Color Mixing Lab Report

Color Mixing Lab Report

What I learned about rainbows

What I learned about rainbows

Rainbows and Color Mixing

During St. Patrick's day we did activities about leprechauns and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. We followed this up by learning facts about rainbows.

We read this book, which is full of great facts about rainbows (Thanks for lending it out Julie!).

The students then wrote facts about rainbows. I will include the sheet we used in a follow-up post.

During our lessons on rainbows we began to discuss colors and the color wheel. After we finished our lesson we still had questions about colors. We had learned that different colors blend to form other colors, and we wanted to know which colors could be blended to make purple.  We decided to become scientists to help answer our question.

To start off I put three fizzing color tabs (these were purchased from Steve Spangler Science) into plastic cups. We had red, blue, and yellow. I had the students make hypotheses about which two colors they thought would make purple.

Then we worked in small groups. Together we mixed red and yellow, yellow and blue, and red and blue. We were so excited when we discovered that red and blue made purple.

After we worked together to find the answer to our question, each student got their own pipette and mixing tray (both purchased from Steve Spangler Science) for further experimentation.

Madi, one of our super fifth grade helpers, worked with some of the students on this experiment.

Once the students finished the experiment they filled out a lab report. I am including a copy of this in a follow-up post. 

My little scientists loved this experiment!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mardi Gras

It's been a couple of weeks since I've posted. I've been hard at work helping put together our school's yearbook. I've really enjoyed working after school with our fifth grade staff. What a fantastic group of students! I can not wait until our books come in.

While my afternoons have been occupied with yearbook meetings, during the school day my class has been very busy with reading, writing, math, social studies, and science activities. I hope to post several times this week, so I can share what we've been up to. I'm going to start with our Mardi Gras activities.

A few years ago I had a student who's birthday fell around Mardi Gras. His family was from New Orleans, and they brought in Mardi Gras treats (beads, coins, and King Cake). I thought I would use the celebration to teach my class about Mardi Gras. So, I did a lesson on the holiday, had my students write about it, and had them made masks. It turned out well, so I've continued to do it for the past few years.

I got this King Cake, which features the Mardi Gras colors (purple, yellow, and green) at Target.

I created a pattern for the masks. The students cut them out of yellow paper. Then we decorated them with sequins and feathers.

I found Mardi Gras beads and coins at the Dollar tree.

This year I found books to add to add to our study.
This book had some great pictures of Mardi Gras celebrations.
Petite Rouge: A Cajun Red Riding Hood (Picture Puffin Books) Cover
Petite Rouge is a Cajun Red Riding Hood story. I love to include different versions of fairytales and folktales
when we study various cultures. Next year I hope to use also use Cendrillon, which is a Cajun Cinderella story.

After writing facts about Mardi Gras and making our masks, we had a celebration. I passed out Mardi Gras beads and coins to the students, and we ate the King Cake for snack. I will include each child's mask, their writing, and a photgraph from the celebration in their kindergarten scrapbook.