Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lincoln, Valentine's Day, & Chinese New Year

Image from here
I definitely agree with what is written on the image above. 

I want my students to know as much as possible! (History, math, science, social students, etc...)
I want my students to have power - the power to make good choices and  the power to inform people of what they know!
I want my students to respect everyone.  I want them to treat others the way they want to be treated!  I want them to understand and respect different cultures, religions, and holidays.
I want my students to be happy!

Well, I can certainly tell you my students have been happy the past week!  They have been learning a lot and they are having fun while doing it!

Let's start with Abraham Lincoln.

In guided reading groups, we read A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David Adler.  We also watched a video on Discovery Edu on Abe Lincoln.  My goal?  To recreate this cute writing craft I found on Pinterest!  I did it 2 years ago but unable to last year due to numerous snow days!

The students recalled facts which I wrote down on the Promethean board for them.  The end result?

This wasn't all we did!  I also found this ADORABLE idea!
I had some fun with this!

For my students, I put a patriotic hat on their head!  Here is one of my girls!

And one of my boys!
Follow up activity?  Write about if they are taller or shorter than Abraham Lincoln! Illustrate with a picture.  :-)

I'm hoping to get to George Washington tomorrow.  (Last week was NUTS: No school Monday, snow day Tuesday, Chinese New Year celebration Thursday, 2 hour delay on Friday!)

Valentine's Day:
I previously posted about our Love Lamps that we made.  That afternoon we had our Valentine party.  My students helped me make decorations earlier that week.  (And before you ask, yes, I found the idea on Pinterest!)  Check it out!
Classroom door

Classroom door from the other side

Closet door
Of course we talked about being kind to others as well! :-)

Chinese New Year
I LOVE Chinese New Year!  Last year, my students made a HUGE dragon!  Check out my post here!  This year, we did 2 simple (but fun activities!)

First off, we read several Chinese New Year books.  I apologize for not posting the books but the names escape me and I'm writing this from home.  We also watched 2 Chinese New Year videos.  We discussed how Chinese New Year follows the Lunar calendar.  This BAFFLED their brains!  Lots of really great questions were asked!  After answering them it was time for some fun art projects!

Project #1 - firecrackers!
Step 1: Painting 112 toilet paper rolls!

Step 2: Gluing on the yellow borders.  (They were given long strips of paper which they had to measure in order to fit around the tube!)

Step 3 - threading red ribbon through the holes and tying it.  My co-teacher and I helped with this.

Step 4 - Add gold ribbon.  (My co-teacher cut and curled the ribbon and then gave it to my students to put through the holes.)

Step 5 - hang up around my room!

Yes, I FINALLY took down their Christmas lights in order to put up the firecrackers!

One of my students asked me if these were real firecrackers!  I said, "No honey, we're not allowed to do that!"  By the way, each student had 7 toilet paper rolls.

Project #2 - cute dragons!
Step 1 - trace, cut, and glue colored hands together

Step 2 - color dragon head and tail
Step 3 - glue head and tail

Step 4 - add Popsicle sticks!

My sample!
We paraded up to the office with our dragons AND firecrackers!  They loved it!

Educate my students - CHECK
Make sure they have knowledge - CHECK
Students have power to inform others - CHECK
Respecting others - CHECK
Happiness - TRIPLE CHECK!!!!

Yes, we've had a successful week!
Until next time! :-)


Monday, February 16, 2015

Science + Valentine's Day = A whole lot of AWESOMENESS!!!!!!

I was one of those children.  I did not enjoy science when I was younger.  It wasn't fun for me. I hated science fairs and I hated being forced into participating in those science fairs.  In high school, I dreaded science classes.  They were very difficult for me.  To use that word from above, science was boring!

That is until I took my Oceanography and Astronomy class.  It was a fun and engaging class!  Woohoo for Science!

It didn't stop there!  In college, I took a Physical Science class and we did some awesome experiments!  Again, I LOVED it!

I certainly don't want Science to be boring for my firsties!

Enter Pinterest and my fantabulous co-teacher!

While on Pinterest a few weeks ago, I found the COOLEST science experiments related to Valentines Day.  One of them was a Love Lamp.  I emailed it to my co-teacher, Jonathan, asking him if he wanted to do this with my kiddos.

[Jonathan LOVES science!  He is so enthusiastic about it that once a week, he does a Science lesson whole group.  The kids eat it up and are retaining so much!]

Jonathan's response?

"I'm about to make that love lamp RIGHT NOW IT'S SO COOL!"  [Note:  I took a word out between right and now as it's not appropriate for my blog but it definitely made me laugh in the original email!]

So guess what we did the day before Valentine's Day?  That's right! Love Lamp day!

As Jonathan was introducing the lesson, I was prepping one of the items the students would need.  As I turned around, I see this....

Yes, I lost it.  Laughed so hard!

Jonathan somehow, magically, tied in this lesson with our rock unit.  (Magma, Lava, Volcanoes, etc...)

Jonathan got 5 cylinders from the Dollar Store.  He made the initial marking on 1 cylinder and I marked up the other 4 cylinders.

Jonathan put club soda in plastic cups to give to each of the five groups.  Yes, he measured it out and talked about the importance of measuring things!  Yes, we're working on measurement in math!

I gave each group a cup with some red glitter and purple, silver, and white sequins!

Each group followed the same procedure.
1.  Pour in the oil up to the first line.  (2 groups had vegetable oil, 2 groups had baby oil, and 1 group had corn oil.)
2.  Pour in the club soda up to the second line.
3.  Pour in the glitter / sequins.
4.  I put in 10 drops of red food coloring!

Jonathan then came around and put in the secret ingredient.  (We didn't tell them what it was but it was an alka seltzer tablet!)  First he put in half a tablet for each one.  Then he put in a full tablet.

Here's the break down by groups.

Group 1 - Vegetable Oil

Before the secret ingredient!

With the secret ingredient!

Group 2: Also vegetable oil

Group 3: Corn oil

I was trying not to get food coloring on me OR on the floor!

I know, he's crazy!  (But he LOVES Science!)

Crazy Jonathan again!

Group 4: Baby oil

Jonathan put an LED light behind the cylinder!  It was so cool!

Group 5: Also baby oil!

The girl in this picture, I am so proud of her!  She made a serious connection when she brought up force (How the liquid, glitter, and sequins were being forced up,) and gravity (gravity was bringing everything back down.)  Yes, Jonathan and I were BEAMING!!!!

I can't even begin to tell you how much fun we ALL had!

After everything was cleaned up and put away, the students completed a writing assignment where they wrote down what they did and what they observed.  I'll have to post some of those later as they are still at school!

Here are some reflections from Jonathan:

"I love the look a child gets when they discover something for the first time. At this age they still hunger for knowledge. They all do, some just don't know it. Once they start making those connections it sets off a knowledge chain reaction! This lesson started off as a fun activity for the kids to do for Valentines day. Once I started thinking about format of the lesson I started making some connections myself, and I saw how I could tie the lava lamps into the rock/sand/soil lessons we had been going over this week (lava is melted rock!).
         I also saw an opportunity for the kids to collaborate in teams to actually conduct the experiment themselves. I had each student add an ingredient to the glass beaker, with Mr. Rivera adding in the final (Superscientific/Magical/Secret) ingredient (the Alka-Seltzer). As I gave each of the students their job and title ie. Scientist-1 and Scientist-2, I measured out portion sizes for each of the ingredients to be added. I made markings on each of the cylinders and explained that they were for measurement purposes; I only provided reference lines they still had to measure out the liquids into the container. My scientists were so careful in their measurements! They took pride in their lava-lamp experiment, asking many poignant questions. 
        I didn't start to dig geology (HA!) until I went to college. There I had a professor who helped me develop a sense of awe of the epic nature of geological process. My favorite part of science is that the more you learn about it, the more of your child-like sense of wonder comes back to you. My hope is to get my students interested in science as early as possible, so that eventually their sense of wonder never really goes away, it just turns into a sense of awe."
The experiences that Jonathan and I have had, challenged us to help students develop their love of science early on. 

I'm pretty sure that was accomplished on Friday.

I'm also pretty sure that none of the students in my class will think that science is boring. :-)


Center Rotations

Hello everyone! My name is Stacey Lynch and I’ve been teaching for thirteen years now.   For several years I was good about meeting wi...