Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The First Thanksgiving Retelling

The First Thanksgiving is an awesome example of non-fiction that is great for retelling. In order to help us retell the story we used a little reader and mentor texts to help us connect. In small groups students created his/her own retelling bracelet. Each bead color represents a different part of the story. Please have students use the retelling bracelet to share the story with you!

Can you build the Mayflower - A STEAM project

STEAM is defined as "science, technology, engineering, art, and math". Boy, did we rock that on Monday! We did an awesome Mayflower project where the students were given a challenge to work in groups of three and make a boat. The boat had to hold 5 pennies without sinking and students could only use certain materials. Here is the breakdown of this awesome lesson:

First we had to learn about what the Mayflower is! We discussed the historical aspects of The First Thanksgiving. We learned about the Pilgrims and the Wamponaogs (Native Americans). We read several non-fiction books to help us. We also did our Scholastic Let's Find Out which illustrated different parts of The First Thanksgiving. Doing this research really helped us as we prepared to do our special challenge. 

The science part of our STEM project came from the idea of sink and float. This is a NexGen science standard for kindergarten. We had to remember what it means to sink and float. The technology piece came into play through our research. We also looked at different pictures of ships from that time period to give us ideas on how our boats should be built. The engineering portion was the actual building and rebuilding of the ship. The art piece came into play when we recorded our results and drew our ships as well as in the design phase. The math portion came when we counted the pennies and the materials we needed. 

This collaborative effort was incredible! I could not believe the sophisticated science and engineering conversation. It was a great teaching opportunity for how to solve small problems especially to accomplish a task. Personalities always come into play, but the kiddos were effective communicators! 

First we explored blueprints of Mayflower replicas. We discussed the different things we noticed and what would be important for our ship to hold as many "people" as possible. 

These were the only materials we were allowed to use; no scissors, no glue! 

We then went into the planning stage. We used dry erase markers to create a blueprint of what our ship would look like. 

Then it was time to create! 

Our two most successful ships in action! One ship held 88 people and the other 77! It was quite an experience. 

We hope you will review this experiment with us. We have our "reports" coming home on Tuesday. The technology portion of our project was taking and printing the pictures of our ships. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Handwriting Without Tears

Teaching handwriting can be a finely nuanced process. Each child comes in with a different grip, different habits, and different knowledge of letter recognition. I thought I would share the language we use for forming upper and lowercase letters through the program Handwriting Without Tears. This may help you guide your writer if he/she looks to need some help. The biggest habit for students to get into is starting all letters at the top.

Looking Closely - Writing like a Scientist

Our most recent writing unit combined with our tree unit. We were writing like scientists by looking closely and finding the smallest details in our tree artifacts. First, we had to collect a few different things to write about. Writers were given a baggie and the job to collect three different tree artifacts that they found interesting. We then explored with our senses. What does it look like? What is the texture? We discussed these things with a partner. Over the course of the week we learned how to turn our scientific observations into non-fiction books. We used a few mentor texts to guide us. These mentor text were pattern books (predictable books that follow a pattern). This really helped motivate students to write. "I see the vein. I see the stem. I see the leaf" It was a great way to motivate our writers and promote success.

Discussing the details of the bark they found. 

Our class brainstorm to describe my leaf collection. 

"Pine needles smell like Christmas."

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Disguise a Turkey -- Family Project!

Gobble, gobble! 'Tis the season to celebrate all things turkey! On Wednesday your child will be coming home with the attached family project. Have fun with it, get creative and don't stress! We will be reading Turkey Trouble to help get us thinking. Let me know if you need any help. 

Halloween Crafting

We were so lucky to have five parents volunteer their time, talent, and enthusiasm with us on Friday as celebrated Halloween! The crafts were amazing and kiddos (and me) had a wonderful time. Thank you to Mika, Eliza, Erica, Jodi, and Joy for your awesome work and help!