Saturday, October 22, 2011

1950's Number Matching Game

Each year our team celebrates the 50th day of school by learning about the 1950's. It's so much fun. I'll be doing several posts about our Fifties Day activities.

My students had fun with this number matching game. I cut apart the cards, and they had to match the number card with the picture card that had the same number of objects. I taught them how to play in small groups at my table, and will put it in a center next week.

Fifites Number Cards 1-10

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rock Science Mini Unit

I love to use rocks to teach the five senses. I know that you're probably thinking, "You can only teach 4 senses with rocks. You can't taste them!" If that's what your thinking then you're wrong! I'll get to the taste part later in this post.

I begin this mini-unit by reading the book "Everybody Needs A Rock." This book gives tips on finding the perfect rock. The tips encourage students to use many of their senses in their quest for a rock that is perfect for them.

After reading and discussing the book we go on a rock hunt.I give each student a plastic bag to put their rock in. I label the bag with their names. They have so much fun looking for their rocks. This year they found some really cool rocks.

When we come back inside from our rock hunt, the students draw a picture of their rock on the sheet below. They also finish the sentence "My rock is..." They have to choose a word to finish the sentence (we did this in late August, so I filled in the word for them), and they have to tell me which sense the word is associated with. For example if they choose brown they will tell me they used their sense of sight, and if they use smooth they have to tell me they used touch.
Rock Hunt Writing

I like to pull literature into my science activities. The story Sylvester and The Magic Pebble by William Steig goes well with this mini-unit. We talk about the ways that Sylvester's pebble is described, and what senses are used for those descriptions.

After we read the story I tell my students that I found some colorful pebbles, which I've put in a plastic bag. I tell them that we will be describing them with our five senses. They usually correct me by saying "Four senses Ms. Holzer. We're not going to taste them."

I pull one of the pebbles out of the bag. I hold it up and say "we're going to look at the pebble." Then I hit the pebble on the table, so it makes noise, and say "Then we're going to listen to the pebble." I run my fingers over the pebble, and say "We're going to feel the pebble." Next I hold the pebble up to my nose and say "We're going to smell the pebble." Finally, I hold the pebble up and say "Then we're going to taste the pebble." I then proceed to pop the pebble into my mouth and chew it up.

My students usually freak out. I get a lot of grossed out expressions. It is so funny.

Then I tell them that the rock was actually a chocolate candy, and they think it's hilarious. I give them each a bag of chocolate rocks to bring home. I tell them that their homework is to go through the five senses, and trick their family with the chocolate rock. They love this!

Before this year I hadn't done this activity for a few years. It's one of my favorites, but I had not been able to get to the store where I'd found the rocks. The realistic rocks are the heart of this activity.

 Last year a fifth grader, who I'd had in Kindergarten, was telling me that the rock activity had been one of her favorites. Not only did she remember the activity, but she could still remember exactly how I'd done it. This motivated me to go online and search for the chocolate rocks.

Amazingly, I discovered that they had them at my local Wal-Mart. Yay! I love Wal-mart.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

I have seen a lot of blog posts on Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. There are so many great activities to do with this story. I thought I'd share the things that we do in our class.

Of course, we start by reading the book.

Then we make our own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Trees. My first few years teaching I traced all of the leaves ahead of time, since we do this the second week of school and I usually don't start teaching my students to use tracers until September. Thankfully, one of my teammates had the brilliant idea of copying the leaves on green paper (why didn't I think of that?).  It's a total time saver.

I used to have my students use foam letters to spell our their names. This year I let them choose their favorite letters. I think they came out really cute!

In the past I've had my students draw a picture of their favorite part of the story. This year I spiced it up a little bit by asking them to choose their favorite letter. They were so sweet about trying to figure out which letter they liked best. The first letter of their own names seems to have been a popular choice.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Favorite Letter Writing

After we finish I hang them in the hallway. They look so cute! When they come down I save them for the children's end of the year scrapbooks.

I also like to incorporate science into our unit. Since we start off our year learning about our five senses I incorporate science by having my students observe a coconut. We begin by observing the outside of the coconut.

The students look at the coconut, feel the coconut, smell the coconut, and listen to the coconut (we shake it to hear the milk swishing around and we hit it against our tables to hear the sound it makes).

We record our observations on a chart that is divided into 5 columns (one for each of the senses).
Unfortunately I did not take any photos of our chart. After making the class chart the students record their observations, using the sheet below. They draw a picture of the outside of the coconut, and complete a sentence that describes the coconut.
Coconut Observation Sheet

After this we crack the coconut open. My students look forward to doing this all week. In fact, this year they were very concerned when I loaned my hammer to another class the morning we were supposed to crack it open. I had to reassure them that we would get our hammer back.

After we crack it open we look at the coconut milk. Then we observe the inside of the coconut using our 5 senses, including taste. Then we record our observations on the class chart. Lastly, the students complete the bottom of their observation sheet by drawing a picture of the inside of the coconut and finishing a sentence that describes it.