Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rainforest Project 2016

It's been way too long since I've updated my blog!  *I feel like this is something I've said numerous times in my blog.  I think I just felt so tired after working all day, that I didn't have the energy to blog.

Back in January, I begged for help to fund my Donors Choose project which was all about the rainforest project my students were going to work on.  That was fully funded, and now, our rainforest is complete!

As I mentioned in that post, I had huge expectations for how the rainforest was going to look this year. I think my students and my principal thought I was crazy when I told them what I wanted.  Even though I kept my parents updated via class dojo, I don't think they realized just what their kids were getting into!

My students busted their butts on this project.  Let me explain just what we did.

It all started with a flipchart and research packet.  I created a flipchart with 62 rainforest animals that my students were going to study.  I went through the flipchart with them several times.  I created a research packet with information on all of the animals and made copies of the packet for my kiddos.

We started doing research in small groups. We would read the information together and the students got to pick the information they thought we needed to highlight.  This was taking very long and we were starting to get short on time, so for about two-three weeks straight, we researched whole group.  No joke: we finished researching the last animal up until 2 minutes before dismissal time.  They were so excited when they finished, they started cheering!

After finishing our research, we started making animals, trees, flowers, etc...They had the option to use any and all of the materials I had in my room. 

The kids decided where they were going to put everything.  It turned out better than I ever could have imagined!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves!  (If you'd like a video your, click here.)

The students gave tours to over 20 classes in our school!  It was awesome!  They did an amazing job and I'm so proud of them!  Their parents were ecstatic too! 

Thanks for stopping by and again, I apologize for the delay in getting this up!


Start of the school year!


I apologize for not blogging in forever!
Back in June, I actually started drafting my post about our rainforest and I never finished it!  I'll try to recap it later, but for now, it's classroom reveal time!

Tomorrow is the first day of school for my students and I wanted to share my pictures with you!

Bulletin Board

Book corner

Book corner wall

To see the video tour, click here.

I am so pleased with how everything came together this year!  (Thanks to M & N for helping me!)

This is the first time I'm starting off the year without desks. (I didn't implement that until the end of September last year.)  I wanted my parents to be informed about what a deskless classroom is, alternative seating choices, how my room is run without desks, etc...  I created a letter for them.  To see that letter, click here.  To see my post about my deskless classroom from last year, click here.

I will have to update that letter as I just had a Donors Choose project funded for six hokki stools for my room! :-)

I hope you all have a wonderful school year!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Rainforest Project - I could use your help!

Image taken from here

My mind always has a bunch of tabs open!  It's a wonder that I actually get anything done.  You would never know it if you actually looked at my to do list though.  I feel like for every item I cross off my list, I add 3-5 more items.  Something that has been on my to do list for awhile now is updating my blog. I am horrible at updating my blog.  I really am.  I LOVE sharing things with you, but at least one of several things happen. 

1.  I forget to take pictures.  (I really need to hire someone to be in my classroom all day just to take pictures! )
2.  I have no energy to do anything.
3.  I get distracted by something else.
4.  I don't have the time to devote to make my entry what I want it to be.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't know what to write about.  I actually have a list of topics I've wanted to share with you!  They will be shared eventually, but I have something else on my mind this evening.

Image from here

I'm not going to lie - I love the topics we cover for the 3rd quarter!  There's a geography project on Brazil for social studies and taking care of the earth for science.  Two of the books we use are The Great Kapok Tree and Just a Dream.  These books draw my students in and really make them think.  Then the questions start flowing.

What is a rainforest?
What animals live in the rainforest?
Why are people cutting down the trees?
What happens when all of the trees are gone?
What can we do to save the animals?
What can we do to save the trees?

Those are just some of the amazing questions my first graders have asked me over the years.  They really enjoy learning about the rainforest.  One of the first years I taught this unit, my students created a rainforest mural which was proudly hung up in the hallway.  They did a great job with it and I was proud of them.  But I wanted more!

Our rainforest grew from there.  The next year my students created a rainforest that took up our entire side of the hallway.  (One of the other 1st grade classes participated in that as well.)  Here are a few pictures from that year.

The kids added a writing component to the rainforest that year.  If you look closely, the animals have facts on them.

Once again, the students did a great job, but still, I wanted more! 

The next year, this is what happened.  It was bigger and better than I could have ever dreamed it would be!  I loved it!  They learned so much!  They were excellent tour guides!  They jumped several levels in reading!  All of it was amazing!  I truly felt like my students and I had maxed out our rainforest potential.  My students loved this project so much!  The day we took everything down was a very sad day for all of us!  They didn't want to take down their rainforest.  "Mrs. Lynch, it's like we're cutting down our rainforest!  We can't destroy our rainforest!"  (I love the connections my students make!)

Last year's class chose not to go the rainforest route.  Instead they created a zoo.  While I was sad to not partake in the rainforest project, I still enjoyed what my students created and how much they learned.  It also gave me a bit of a *rainforest* break that I didn't realize I needed.

Enter the 2015-2016 school year.  The year that I went deskless.  The year my students want to create a rainforest again.  Hmmm......deskless classroom + rainforest = BIGGEST RAINFOREST YET!

This year it will not only be all along the walls, but all OVER my room. We're talking trees, plants, bushes, flowers, etc...coming up from my floor. Rainforest animals in the trees. A path for "tourists" to walk on. It will be easy to set up since I don't have to move desks out of the way! I can just see it in my brain!
In order to have all of the supplies we need, I put up a Donors Choose project. Donors Choose is a fantastic website where public school teachers can post projects for things they need / want in the classroom. I've had 5 projects funded on Donors Choose in less than 2 years.  It is a FANTASTIC resource and I highly encourage all teachers to use it!

If you, my fantastic and loyal readers, could please donate to my cause I would greatly appreciate it.
If you could also please share the link with your friends and family, I would appreciate that too.

I love the rainforest.
I love exposing my students to the rainforest. I love opening their eyes to this amazing wonder.  I love the questions they ask. 
I love how one student asked me with the most serious tone in her voice, "Mrs. Lynch, can we please take a trip to the rainforest?"  When I told her it was too expensive and too far away, she exclaimed, "Well I am going to go there one day!"  I told her I believed her!

Thank you all for your love and support and I will keep you posted on our rainforest journey!
Have a great evening!



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...