Friday, January 25, 2013

Compound Words, Descriptive Writing, and Symmetry!

Hi, everyone! Sorry I missed my post last week, but I have a good excuse; As all my teacher-y friends are sadly's report card writing time! It's a time when you suddenly find a thousand things to clean around the house, in places you have never even touched, and when doing laundry and dishes is surprisingly life-threateningly important. 

But anyways, this is a HAPPY post because the fact that I'm writing it means my report cards are DONE!!! So let's begin with our literacy focus for the week: compound words!
We read that big book of poems all week and, each time we read a poem, we hunted for compound words. By the end of the week, we had learned lots about compound words and felt confident to share our own ideas on sticky notes:
(please excuse my sad drawings!)

I turned Word Work and the Investigation Station (oral language centre) into compound word practice centres. 
At the Word Work centre, we added words together:
We are beginning addition and subtraction next week so I love this simple literacy connection to introduce our upcoming math concept; two smaller, independent words combining to build a greater sum.
At the Investigation Station, students worked together to first solve the compound word puzzles, then record the words they made on a worksheet:
(click HERE or the pics above to download your FREE copy of the compound addition worksheet, compound word puzzles, and two different versions of the compound word puzzles worksheet)

We are beginning to wrap up our focus on descriptive writing. First, we read Tomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munsch.
We described Thomas' snowsuit, then we hauled our own snowsuits into the classroom and did our very best to turn this template:
into this:
(UPDATE 15/03/2016: This activity has been updated and can be found in my Writing Focus #3: Descriptive Writing pack)
Holy Bologna, they were ALL ABOUT having their snowsuits INSIDE the classroom. You'd think I was telling them to break a school rule! The kiddies did a fantastic job describing their very own snowsuits. They were quite proud that their snowsuit wasn't as "ugly" as poor Thomas'!

Now for some symmetry!
When introducing symmetry, we helped Mr. Snowman (whom this kiddies decided to rename "Mr. Halfman" because there was only half of him at the beginning!) find symmetry in his other half:
Boy did they LOVE this activity. Thank you, Ms. Carroll, for the brilliant inspiration, as always!!!

And, finally, as I had promised two weeks ago, here are my kiddies' 5 senses Mr. (and Miss in some cases!) Potato Heads:
(I apologize for the horrible quality...I really need to stop using my phone to take pictures!)
These two are just meant to be together...but it exposes the tragic truth of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head that the public rarely sees: Mrs. Potato Head must sell her fine jewelry in order to make bail for her jail-sentenced husband. hahaha I kid.

Stay warm and have a great weekend!!! :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mmmm...Hot Chocolate!

 and welcome back to the crazy!! Boy, was it hard getting back into the swing of things after a much-needed holiday, but this week's theme made it just a little easier; Oh, the power of hot chocolate! I figured this week would be a little chaotic for me AND the kids so I chose a laid back theme that could ease us into regular routine...

We started off our literacy block each day by reading this "Snowman Soup" poem I partly stole/partly made up. We read it a couple times first and then sang it to the tune of "Let it Snow."
This poem was also incorporated into my Investigation Station where the kids could put hot chocolaty words in ABC order on the pocket chart and/or they could feel baggies of marshmallows and hot chocolate mix while writing step-by-step instructions of how to make hot chocolate.

My Word Work centre for the week featured two hands-on activities. 
1) putting hot chocolaty word cards in ABC order then recording the words on a worksheet/matching them with a picture 
2) arranging and rearranging the letter in "hot chocolate" to make and record as many words as they could:
(The above activity is from my mini Hot Chocolate Literacy & Math pack)
*2016: THIS PACK HAS BEEN UPDATED!* (the images on this page do not reflect the updates)

Although not hot chocolate-themed, I will throw in the worksheet I made for my writing centre. Rather than spending a lot of class time having students verbally share all of their holiday stories with me, I gave them the opportunity to write about everything in this centre. In the spirit of New Years, I called it My Christmas Break Countdown...3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!!!
(Click either pic above to download your FREE copy!)

Our focus in writing is still descriptive writing so this week I introduced "5 Senses Frankie" (who was inspired by Cara over at The First Grade Parade) to my kiddies:
We talked all about how our 5 senses help to add details and interest to our writing. With my kiddies help, this is what Frankie now looks like all labelled-up and hanging in our room for reference:

Later in the week we also completed a fun little Mr. Potato Head creativity to reinforce the concept of 5 senses and, more importantly, using those 5 senses in our writing:
(I had to take a picture of my example because most of my kiddies still haven't completed poor Mr. Potato Head. I promise to take a picture to share when they are up on the wall next week!)

TIP OF THE DAY! For just about every craftivity I do with my kiddies, I make myself a template out of thin cardboard (from cereal boxes, etc.) and label them. I keep all of my cardboard templates in various labelled folders in a banker's box so I never have to reinvent a template/go on a wild goose chase to find them. Here's what my Mr. Potato Head templates looked like (I hadn't finished cutting out the smaller pieces yet):

Anyways! To continue our hot chocolate theme into math (last week of our graphing unit!), we got to survey the class and graph the results on the SMARTboard. 
"Do you like marshmallows in your hot chocolate?"
(Click the pic or HERE to download my FREE SMARTboard graphing file. The file contains a total of 6 graphing activities to use throughout a graphing unit)

Then the kiddies transferred the data to their own worksheet for extra practice and answered questions about the graph...all while drinking delicious hot chocolate! Mmmm!
We did a couple other hot chocolate-themed activities throughout the week, all of which can be found in my Hot Chocolate Package on TpT!

In Science, we are learning about Energy. We now know all about Living Things so we began an experiment to see how plants would react if they did not get any sun, since the sun is the most important source of energy. We put one plant in a closet and one by the window. Both will be watered and we will monitor each plant's progress over three weeks in our Plant Books. But first we had to brainstorm what plants need in order to grow and stay healthy...
("Frlizer" = fertilizer! ...I have such smartypants in my class!)

We also did an experiment to figure out how we could made a ball move using just a paper fan. We followed the energy chain and, surprise surprise, as always the energy chain always comes back to our most important source of energy: the sun!
(Energy Chain: ball-->wind-->fan-->muscle-->person-->animals-->plants-->sun)

Well that's it for now! I'm off to stare out the window at the crazy weather we're having/sulk at the thought of having to shovel several feet of blowing snow banks...
Happy Weekend, everyone!!! :)
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