February 28, 2016

Thematically Planning---Objects in the Sky

Week 2 of thematic learning is in the books!
Want to know what motivated me to change how/why I'm teaching this way...find it here.

This week's focus was all about things in the sky: Sun/Moon/Clouds.
Below are the books that formed my instruction this week.

I like to kick off the week reading non-fiction. It never fails to draw them in and get them excited!
We read Gail Gibbons book, The Moon Book.

We reviewed what it meant to be curious and how good readers ask questions before/during/after reading. I showed them the cover and gave them a few minutes to write down a question before we started reading. They took their papers to the floor with them and also wrote down a question while I read. After I finished, their response was to write down a question they had after hearing the book.
Then I showed them our moon chart and they got to choose 1 question to record.

Throughout the week, we took a few questions each day and tried to find the answers.

We moved onto reading fiction. Another reason I read non-fiction first is because many of the fiction books will mention facts we read about and their faces light up and you can tell they feel smart!

When they heard the title of this one, they were super excited to listen.

This book is GREAT for reviewing or even teaching problem and solution.
Here are some reader's responses they turned in after reading.

 {This paper can be found here}

We also read Owl Moon which is a fabulous book for having students record their visualizations.
The author describes the setting in great detail.

 {This paper can be found here}

We changed gears and focused on the sun next.
This book below introduces the sun and relates it to a child's life perfectly!

After reading, we wrote down questions it left us wondering or some we already had on this chart.

Then we read this book in search of answers for our questions.

I had students who heard the answer to their question write it on a "ray of sun".
If they did not hear their answer, they simply wrote down a fact that "wowed" them.
I put the two together, and made a ray of sunshine with our questions/answers/facts!

This week there haven't been much clouds to observe in our clear blue skies, but  we did stop for a day to read this cute little story and discuss some cloud types.
I didn't snag a picture but this book pairs great with a lesson on characters and their feelings.

The very last thing we did was put together a model of how the sun, moon and earth work together.

I found a freebie here at More Time 2 Teach's blog.
Kids LOVED this. I even challenged them to go home and explain it to a family member!

Hope you found some neat ideas to implement! It was a fun filled week!

February 26, 2016

Five for Friday

Hey Y'all!
It's been awhile since I shared what a peek into our week looks like.
So here's what we were up to all-week-long.

We are on week 2 of integration and thematic learning. 
This week was all about the moon and sun.
I love incorporating fiction books that match our theme into our week to review comprehension skills. This week, we started off jotting down questions of what we had about the moon.

Speaking of thematic units, last week we learned all about presidents.
I made this freebie for when we held our class election on Friday.
You can grab it by clicking on the picture below.
Or you can read about it here.

We also started our unit on telling time this week.
We made a life sized clock and labeled all the parts!

Some of my lovlies have been needing a gentle reminder on what it looks like when we do 'read to self' during our rotation time of guided reading. 
I sat down with each group and re-visited rules/procedures/and went to book shop with them.
I'm hopeful to see some improvement next week!

Living in Texas, our winter is like spring which doesn't help when the AC has been out all week.
So we took our writing time out into the halls to refresh and cool down.

It's going to be a fabulous Friday now that we have AIR!!!!!

February 20, 2016

Thematically Planning--President's Week

You know those quotes that stick with you...the really important ones? 
The ones we find most meaningful?
At the I Teach 1st conference Cara referenced a quote in one of her sessions that blew my mind.
"97% of students will retain information if it is taught thematically."
Then what on earth have I been doing the last four years!

Operation: change how I teach

So of course, I came back from the conference and have been planning out our weeks thematically ever since. It makes the weeks more fun and more engaging for the kids.
I do believe their brains pick up on more as they are hearing it all throughout our day!

This last week we learned about the President, well because we were off for President's Day. 

Hello! I'm sure they had absolutely NO idea WHY there was no school Monday. 
So I read a short little mini book on President's Day.

Intrigued they were, so I went on to introduce our poem for the week. 

During whole group reading time, we read a book called If I Were The President.
My kiddos LOVE telling me their schema so that's what we recorded first.
I  gave them 3 minutes to record 3 things in their schema about the president. 
We came together to share then we read the book. 
This is a great book because it has kid-friendly facts and terms. 
{book pictured below}

We recorded our new learning together and then on their paper. 

Throughout the week, we read several other fiction books.
We made connections to Arthur Meets the President.

We made our campaign posters after reading Grace for President.

We held our election after Reading Duck for President.

Once students were well aware of the many jobs of the president, we held a class election.
They were pumped!!!

Step 1: hang campaign posters around the room

Step 2: make voter registration cards

Step 3: vote!

Step 4: count votes and make pictograph

Step 5: declare a winner, graph results and tabulate data

We also incorporated writing into this day of fun.
After I was declared the official winner {what can I say--they LOVE me}, we pretended they were chosen as the president!

"I would play with my dog. Sign bills. I would make laws and rules to help people." 

Let me just say that I packed a lot into their little brains and LOTS of it stuck!
If you stayed tuned in this long, I've managed to throw in a FREEBIE for you loyal thing you!

Snag this with most of the templates (that I created) seen on this post in my TpT store!

As I began to think about our theme for next week, I based it off of our science unit: Objects in the Sky. I found several fiction and non-fiction books, scoured Pinterest for relate-able craft ideas, and pulled in as many other things I could--like our poem and math unit on time.

Check back at the end of next week for more on how week 2 of thematic planning went!

February 18, 2016

A Month of Love, Activities and Freebies!

Love, kindness and all those warm fuzzy things.
That's what this post is made of...oh and freebies too!

Who doesn't love hugs and kisses? Yes, the candy!
I was just so curious, so we held a class taste test during math one day.

Students got one of each type of Hershey candy and decided which they liked best.
We graphed our results and made a class pictograph.

Hugs won by a landslide!
We turned our pictograph into a bar graph and analyzed the data.

After our taste testing we put our writing and crafting to work.
We thought about what it feels like when we get real hugs and kisses from our family.
Do you like {people} hugs or {people} kisses better?

"I like getting kisses because I like to give them right back."

All of this is a freebie from Cara!

This time of year, I find that we get to get a little "too comfortable" with our friends. 
We've become sort of like a family.
So we discussed what it looks like/sounds like/feels like to be kind.

My goal is to display kindness (and patience, Lord give me patience) as well.
Each time I notice kindness being spread in our room, I plan to acknowledge it by writing the students name and their kindness trait on a sticky note and display the note around our chart!

My goal is for every student to have one by the end of the month!

Not only are we expressing kindness for our friends and school family, but for our family at home as well. An expression of love is always cherished!

We made these simple little books of reasons why we love our family and delivered them in hopes of getting a smile in return. Smiles=happiness : )

{Clicking on the picture above will lead you to my TpT store where you can download for FREE}

We decided that we also like to feel loved.
So we discussed what things make us feel loved.

Then we read about one of our favorite characters, Splat the Cat, and realized he felt loved too!
So we put two and two together!

And after all this, don't forget the REAL reason we are able to love one another...