Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Conference Treat

I decided to take in the last fleeting moments of warmth and sunshine yesterday afternoon by sitting out on our front porch and putting together this little delight in preparation for our upcoming fall conferences that begin tomorrow afternoon. Hard to believe it is that time of year already - as I feel (like I do every year) like the year just started!

I put together each fall themed treat bag using the following supplies:

You can grab a copy of the "treat so sweet" tag as well by clicking here.
Fonts and Graphics: Kevin & Amanda, Krista Wallden

I've got all my treats packed up and ready to deliver to all of my lovely families beginning tomorrow afternoon!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Introducing the Scientific Method

For the past week we have been working hard to develop our understanding of the process scientists use to conduct investigations. 

We started by watching a short video on Brainpop EspaƱol to introduce the Scientific Method.
(Note: It is actually a free video right now (for those who do not have a Brainpop subscription), so get it while it's hot!)

After developing some background knowledge, I highlighted each of the steps of the Scientific Method with the students by creating a flow chart with these adorable little freebie posters from 

The students copied down each of the steps as well on this printable I created for them to store in their science folders and utilize throughout the school year.

After the initial lessons with this process, I wanted to gather a bit of information about my students' understanding thus far. So I asked each student to share something that he/she had learned on a Post-It in regards to the steps we will be carrying out as scientists this year in the classroom. We then did an inner/outer circle share activity so that each student had the chance to share/hear the ideas of others. After sharing, the students added their post-its to a class circle map shown below.

Here are a few of their ideas:

Next, it was time to put these steps into action. 
With Halloween just a few short weeks away and chocolatey goodness everywhere you turn, I figured why not embrace it in our hands-on effort to understand the process a little better.

I am sure that the whole "sink vs. float" experiment is not a new concept for any of you - it is however, a truly simple one to not only set up, but also introduce students to the steps of the scientific method because it doesn't overwhelm them with new/difficult content at the same time. 

Yes, my former science lab of a classroom is quite handy for investigation set up!

Below is the printable that my student's utilized as we walked through each step of the method together in determining which of our favorite Halloween treats sink or float. We completed the investigation in 2 days. 

Day 1: Observations, Question, and Hypothesis
Day 2: Experiment, Data Collection/Analysis and Drawing Conclusions

Here are some of their conclusions based on the results:

I absolutely loved hearing/reading their thinking as to why they believed the items either floated or sank. They truly used their schema and observations to draw their conclusions!

At the close of our investigation, we had a quick think-pair-share about what we now understand better about the Scientific Method post-investigation. It was clear my students had further developed their learning,  and I look forward to seeing how it continues to grow as we grow as scientists this school year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Character Day

Happy Book Character Day!

Can you guess who I am?

I love Robert Muncsh, the story "The Paper Bag Princess", and cheap costumes! 
Thus, this costume was a done deal the minute I ran across the idea.

A leaf bag, a few holes for my head and arms and a quick paper crown, and I was all ready for the day!

When the kids arrived this morning, they were beyond excited to see all of the costumes they had worked so hard to put together. I must admit the variety and creativity was quite impressive.

During our morning meeting we greeted one another using our character names and for our class activity we utilized our "Just Like Me" activity to think like our characters and reflect on how they are all alike or different. If you haven't played "Just Like Me" with your class, it is a great way for them to get to know one another. You simply read different phrases that reflect the kids interests, backgrounds, hobbies, etc. and if the phrase you reads pertains to them they stand and in unison with others that share the same quality they say "Just Like Me". Simple community builder, and it worked perfect to get into the minds of our characters today!

After our morning meeting, we worked to analyze our characters and put ourselves in their shoes a bit more by thinking through their thoughts, actions, feelings, etc. I ran across this great little organizer and activity idea from Laura Candler and tweaked it a bit by having my kiddos freehand their characters instead of utilizing the actual printable. They had the brilliant plan of using their iPads to looks up images of all of their characters - and I was not only on board, but amazed by the quality of work they produced!

Each of their pieces was organized utilize the following key phrases:
Head: The character thinks...
Mouth: The character says...

Heart: The character feels...
Hands: The character likes to do...
Feet: The character goes...

Yes, my friend who drew Marty from Madagascar even wore a brightly colored rainbow afro to school.

So proud of this creative bunch.

Does your school celebrate Book Character Day? What are some of your favorite activities to do?