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!



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