Monday, April 22, 2013

Every day is Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! My kiddos were all about it today. We started off our Earth Day activities by watching the Earth Day video on one of our favorite websites, It has a cute little recycling game where the kids have to clean up a forest by sorting the recycled items by paper, cans, and plastic. As the forest gets cleaner, more animals begin popping back out to return to their home! It's so cute!

After that, we read "It's Earth Day!" by Mercer Mayer.

Then we created a web of ideas for how we could help clean up the earth. My kids kept wanting to add more great ideas but we ran out of space!

We then used our ideas to create this little craftivity, "I Can Help the Earth!" The kids wrote about what they would do to help clean the Earth. Then they traced their handprint and used it to create their own little Earth and then we put it all together! The one pictured below was my absolute favorite... created by one of my super smarty-pants little girls. First of all, she labeled each part of her Earth with various labels including "Arizona", "Tucson", "Asia", "Mali", "Togo", "Madagascar", and "Pirate Island". Oh and the little island with no name? She informed me that it was a "secret unnamed state". LOL! I love kindergarten so much! I loved her writing, too: I can save electricity so I can save energy for our house and our Earth.

Here's another sample. "I will help plant trees. I will pick up garbage."

Later on in the day we watched the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle video on Brainpop Jr. - it's the free video of the week if you don't have a subscription! To cap off the day, we went out to our playground to pick up all the trash we could find. They couldn't even get over it! Every time we walked past a piece of trash in the hallway or anything, they'd gasp and say "That's not Earth Day!" and then run to pick it up and throw it away. Love that my kinders care so much!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Five for Friday {with a Saturday twist!}

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday goodness! You should too!

We've been working hard on measurement activities this week and we began the unit by measuring our own shoes with linking cubes. Who knew letting the kids take off a shoe would make them crazy engaged in learning? They couldn't even get over it.


Speaking of measurement, on a different day, I let the kids measure me with linking cubes to see how many cubes long I was. In case you're interested, I was 83 cubes long!


We use the Houghton Mifflin reading series at my school, and right now we are in the "Spring is Here!" theme. We've been learning about the four seasons and we created these seasons circle maps in our interactive notebooks. We created a big poster together as a group as we brainstormed all the things we would see during each season and then the kids made their own little versions inside their notebooks.


I love this book! We read Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash. The kids always laugh so hard at all the silly thing she hangs up on her clothesline. To retell the story, we made our own Mrs. McNosh clothesline story sticks.


I posted about this in my last blog entry, but my kids are currently obsessed with non-fiction and have been begging me for more books every single day. They have recently begun using them to create their OWN non-fiction books and pull these out every time they finish their work early! It's so awesome to see the kids excited about learning independently... and the fact that they came up with this idea on their own thrills my teaching heart! You can read more about it in my last blog post here!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! The end of the year is coming soon!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My class' obsession with non-fiction!

It's official.

My class is completely, utterly, and totally all in on non-fiction. Any non-fiction book they can get their hands on, they are begging me to borrow and read. Not only are they begging me to let them read any non-fiction book, they are using said non-fiction books to write their OWN non-fiction books! You might think that I put them up to this, but no... they came up with this all on their own. They. are. obsessed.

This, as you may imagine, makes my little kindergarten teacher heart SO HAPPY. And it pretty much sums up how amazing my class is this year. I'm not exactly sure how it began, but a couple of boys found some non-fiction books in the book center and started pointing out all the facts and pictures and asking loads of questions about everything. This evolved into requesting more books, which evolved into the creation of their own! They've been reading and writing about bats, plants, spiders, insects, planets, you name it! I took a few pictures of their sweet little books. They are so cute with the illustrations, too... they are leaving no detail unturned! The best part is they are being independent learners throughout the whole process and practicing their questioning strategies without even realizing it!

Here's a few pictures I snapped of their non-fiction books in process. I think I've gone through an entire ream of this writing paper in about a span of 8 days.




The best thing ever occurred when one of my little boys was creating his space fact book shown above. The "Planets" book he was reading was a brand-new version, one that did not include Pluto as a planet. He was asking me to read off the names of all the planets to him, and when he noticed that I didn't say Pluto, he pointed to a rather bright star on the page and says, "Is this one Pluto? You didn't say Pluto! Pluto is a planet too!" And I said, yes, yes, it is a planet (CAUSE IT TOTALLY IS AND ALWAYS WILL BE. ahem.) So he included it on his own in his version of the book. Ha!

Most of my class has decided that this is the thing they will work on when they finish their work early -- and are you kidding me, a self-made fast finisher activity that involves little to no effort on my part to prepare and keeps them engaged and learning? This is a dream come true! I hope they never get tired of it!

To add to their sudden passion about non-fiction, real live caterpillars have arrived in our classroom, and my kiddos could not be more excited. Because they had all the extra practice at using non-fiction, the questions and schema they were coming up with on the very first day I introduced caterpillars was at such a high level! I think a couple of tears came to my eye. This is one of the best things about teaching, when your students become passionate about their own learning! I just had to share! 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Currently April!

Hi, friends! I hope your Easter weekend was filled with fun, family, and lots of blessings! It's April 1st (what?) and time for Farley's "Currently"! As you read, I hope and pray for your students not to realize that it is April Fool's Day to save you all from, "Mrs/Mr ______, there's a bug on your shoulder... APRIL FOOL'S!" and other such statements. ;)

{Listening}: Switchfoot is my favorite band and has been for years! They are incredible.

{Loving}: Today is MLB Opening Day!! I'm going to the Arizona Diamondbacks game later tonight.. I love baseball and I'm so excited it's about to begin!

{Thinking}: I wanted to update my blog now because I won't have a chance later! It won't matter that I'm supposed to be at school in an hour, right?

{Wanting}: April Fool's... quite possibly a teacher's most annoying day at school? Haha. I'll let my kiddos get it all out at the beginning of the day so they can have their fun.. and then that will be the end of it!

{Needing}: I noticed that it is going to be in the 90s all week. Winter/Spring, we hardly knew ye.

{Advice}: I know sometimes it seems like teachers get more and more piled on with nothing taken away, and teachers have to deal with a lot while still putting their heart and soul into it! So when things get tough, as they always do at times, I like to remember why I started teaching in the first place, because I love learning and working with the kids and they matter so much! They make it all worth it!

Hope to see you all over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade! Have a great day!