Sunday, March 24, 2013
Fellow teachers, I just uploaded a new product to my TpT Store: Addition Connect Four. This engaging game allows students to practice math additon facts to sums of 12 or sums of 18. Students work in pairs to roll dice and adding their sums. They cover the corresponding number sentence on the board with a two color counter. The first student to get four number sentences covered in a row wins the game. Addition Connect Four would be a great addition to your math centers to build math fact fluency.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
After learning about the two types of whales, baleen and toothed, the students focused more specifically on researching Beluga Whales. Ms. Willemin, our student teacher, facilitated the students in researching what Belugas look like, what they eat, where they live, and other interesting facts. As they learned new facts, they recorded it to a Circle Map. They then used the Circle Map to write a shared writing research paper. In shared writing, every child gets an opportunity to write and the students help one another with spelling and sentence structure.
Ms. Willemin, our student teacher, taught the students about the various ocean zones. To help the students further understand the different depths of the ocean, they created a four tiered foldable to show the different ocean zones. They colored each part a darker shade of blue to show that the farther away from the sun, the darker it gets. They then read about the different zones and the animals that live in each zone.
The students learned about the Kelp Forest during our ocean unit. They learned about the parts of the ocean plant and made comparisons to the parts of land plants. They also learned about how animals and humans depend upon the Kelp plant. The students created Tree Maps and diagrams to show their learning.
In Science the students created "Oceans in a Bottle" to model how the ocean gets darker the deeper it gets. The students first poured in sand, followed by oil, and then water. Last they added blue food coloring. After making their bottles, they completed an "Ocean in a Bottle Lab Report." Fellow teachers, you can download the lab report from my TpT store.
As a part of our weekly character education lessons, which we call Mindful Mondays at our school, we read Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. As we read the book, we discussed how it is important to share but that does not always mean giving away everything you have nor does it mean others always have to give you things. We also discussed that we should care for one another. The students then colored a Rainbow Fish of their own.
Ms. Willemin, our student teacher, taught the students a Social Studies lesson on the different types of whales and their habitats. She taught them about the similarities and differences between toothed and baleen whales as well as their migration patterns. The students then created a whale booklet to sort examples of toothed and baleen whales.
To review addition and subtraction word problems, the students worked in groups to solve two problems using fish clipart. As they worked, we practiced strategies such as counting up or down, using pictures or manipulatives, or identifying related fact family number sentences.
During our ocean unit, we read Dory Story by Jerry Pallota. Before reading, we took a "picture walk" to ask questions about what we saw and to make predictions. As the students asked questions, I charted them on the board. Then, as we read, we charted the answers to those questions. If we did not find an answer in the text, we left it blank to reinterate using text evidence to support answers.
The next day we read the story again but this time the focus was on sequencing the ocean food chain from the book. As I read the students verbally retold the order of the food chain. They then wrote the food chain on a Flow Map and illustrated their favorite scene from the book.
In reading we have been learning about author's purpose, informational texts, and using text evidence. As a part of these lessons, the students worked in small groups with our Instructional Media Specialist, Ms. Hollingsworth, to research various ocean animals. The students took notes about the appearance of the animal, where they live, what they eat, and other interesting facts. They then used those notes to write a research paper. Their research papers were displayed with scuba divers in the hallway for Open House.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Using an online spinner on the Promethean Board, we practiced identifying what was certain, possible, and not possible. To assess the students understanding of probability, the students worked in small groups to create probability spinner foldables. On each flap of the four-flap foldable, they created a spinner by tracing a small bucket. On the first flap, they could only use one color. Under the flap they had to write one sentence about what color it was certain they would spin and one sentence about what is was impossible to spin. On the remaining three flaps, they created spinners with two, three, or four colors. They then wrote sentences under each flap about what was possible and what was not possible.
Our student teacher, Ms. Willemin, recently taught a grammar and writing lesson using Empowering Writers. After listening to part of a story, the students diagramed sentences to identify the noun and verb of each sentence as well as what goes at the beginning and ending of each good sentence.
Our class is blessed to have a student teacher for the next month or so, Ms. Willemin. She will be gradually taking over teaching lessons one or two subjects at a time, with my help, until she reaches full responsibility. Ms. Willemin is a student at A&M University and we welcome her to our school and class! She has already taught many great lessons, including this small group lesson below, over long and short vowels.
The students recently visited the school garden to plant potatoes and onions. The students took turns digging the holes, planting the potato pieces or onion bulbs, and then covering them. They have been watering them every two weeks. Upon our return to class, they wrote a How To paper on the steps to take in planting potatoes. The How To writing is a part of our writing program, Write From the Beginning.
As a part of our lessons on author's purpose, we have been discussing different types of media and their purposes. One of the lessons we had was over the purpose of advertisements. After looking at various examples from newspapers, we discussed how author's use bright colors, catchy shapes, pictures, the price, etc. to draw in the reader. The students then created their own advertisement to sell something from their "camping store."
The students brainstormed steps that must be taken in order to go camping and recorded their thoughts on a class Circle Map. The students then individually put the steps in order on a Flow Map with transition words. They used the Flow Maps to help them write sentences to tell how to go camping.