What's Going on Here...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lookie what I found...!

I love to find a great blog...one that truly makes me EXCITED about getting up at 5:30 a.m. to get to school early so I can try out an idea! Here is my latest find...

PLEASE go check out Kindergarten Crayons. Fran has taught for 30 years - from what I've seen on her blog she definitely has LOADS of wisdom to share. My hat is off to anyone who can teach for 30 years and STILL be excited enough to start a blog! 
Go Fran!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Energy, Force and Motion Part II WOOHOO

I wish you all could have been there, but since you were not I took LOTS and LOTS of pictures!!! There are even a few video clips to help show the mood of my kiddos this week! I hope you enjoy these activities as much as we did. 
Here we go...

This portion of the unit dealt with friction and how wheels help move objects.

He is trying to push her... no luck.
We put tubes under the plastic box and as you can see by the picture she was flying across the rug!
We were comparing this flat rectangle with the flat objects we had difficulty moving with wind (paper clips, popsicle sticks, and paper). We talked about an easier way to move the block....
This began our discussion on systems - parts that are ordered to accomplish a goal. In this case our goal was to make our block move so we had to come up with a way to keep the wheels on the block. The first suggestion was sticks - I had toothpicks waiting!

The wheels kept coming off!
This suggestion was to put two in each hole instead of one.
The wheels wouldn't turn...so someone suggested that we put something on the end of the stick. I had nails waiting!

She thought the nails were perfect!
We talked about how many and where to put them. In a system it's important not only to have the right parts, but that the parts go in the proper place.
The finished product!
Everyone liked that idea.
Next, we measured how far our cars went with each trial.
We used non-standard units of measure - blocks, bears, etc.
The kiddos recorded the results of each trial on the flags.
We created a page for our Fact Book. The children picked their favorite ball tested previously (see prior post) and measured with adding machine tape.
This was my example after we chose our fact together and worked to sound out each word. I wrote with the children to help with letter formation. They chose the fact - this was not a "copy the board" activity.
This portion of the unit dealt with sinkers and floaters.
He was testing to see if some of the floaters could be made into sinkers.
I found this chart on an AIMS lesson. The kiddos chose a shape for their sail based on which one they thought would be best.
Again, we talked about systems and what we need to make our boats move.  She is testing her choice to see if it floats....JOY!
Each child added their first initial to their sail, then drew a diagram of their boat for their journal.

Let the trials and races begin!

We tested each boat to determine how many seconds it took to reach the end of the lane. The children checked the timer, told me the number and I recorded the number on a certificate for each child to add to their journal. This prompted LOTS of spontaneous discussions on more/less, 1 more than/less than, I need 1 less to win, number order... can't beat math integrated with science!
Two kiddos with matching sail shapes raced each other.

We had SO much fun with this integrated unit! I have to say I missed my cohort in crime, Kristi - it's the first boat race I've done without her in many years - boo hoo! 
Thanks to my other cohort in crime - who is now one of my parents - Amber for helping. I miss you both!
Oh well, on to clean up the mess and drag out the next unit....FARM! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thanks to these three AMAZING teachers -  Julie, Marlana and Jan. You absolutely made my day!

You can find these inspiring ladies by clicking on their links. 

Julie  at
The Alphabet Garden

Marlana at Lil' Country Kindergarten

Here are the rules for receiving this award:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

Here are 7 things about me:

1. I was saved at the age of 9 while visiting at a friend's church. I am a new creature sealed unto the day of redemption! I'm not even close to perfect, but my Savior is. He's the one I'm depending on!

2.  I am a big nerd. I am fascinated with how children learn and read anything related to this topic. I've learned that because children are created by God (and God being so creative and an "outside the box" kind of thinker) there is no cookie-cutter answer to teaching. Just when you think YOU have it all figured out...in walks a new sweetie that keeps you learning and searching for new/better methods.

3. I am a HUGE Crimson Tide FAN!!!!! Roll Tide Roll!

4.  The Dollar Tree is my favorite hang out. The sales people know me by my first name - in both locations! My youngest son calls it "The Black Hole"...Mom goes in, but she doesn't come out!

5.  I am blessed to live with 4 of the most handsome, wonderful, funny, (MESSY) and amazingly talented men on the planet (my husband and 3 sons). I daily hope and pray for 3 equally wonderful, funny, (UNDERSTANDING) and amazingly talented wives for them....

6. I DESPISE "parent orientation"! After YEARS of doing this over and over you would think I would learn to at least tolerate it - but alas I still get nauseous and shake all the way through this yearly event!

7. I would love to illustrate children's books. If I had it all to do over, I would have majored in art, would be living on some wonderful, secluded farm...maybe in Maine, where I would paint in my lovely studio for some talented author.... 

7 WONDERFUL Bloggers who inspire me...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Energy Force and Motion

I love teaching the typical Transportation unit, but most K's can sort and classify vehicles according to water, air, and land with little trouble. Why waste one more second teaching something they already know, or can grasp in one lesson? If you know me you know that if it's not fun and interesting there's little chance for that lesson.... So, my Transportation unit now looks like this...
We begin by listening to Greg and Steve's "Listen and Move". Then we read the book, Silly Sally by Audrey Wood and list ways we move on a chart. Next, we play "Mrs. Estes Says" by choosing ways to move from the chart. It's great to hear the children applying their literacy skills to read the words within a science lesson!
After experimenting with how people move, we experimented with how objects move. We then sorted objects by push, pull or both. We created a Venn on the rug, but the hula hoops have been removed.

Objects can also move with "invisible forces". The object of this lesson was to move the ball to the end of the string - no further - without touching the ball....
When you allow children time to experiment it is amazing what THEY discover. These children reported that the "slippery" surface made the ball go faster. They commented on the slippery surface of the ramp as well - I had not thought of that! These guys flipped the ramp over to slow the speed of the ball, then decided to move to the rug. You can guess that a lesson on friction was next!
All good scientists report their findings. This is their Science Journal which was read at the group meeting. Again, using our literacy skills in a meaningful context!
On another day we used various weighted balls to move a toy truck. The children measured the distance traveled with yarn.
Two ways we integrated math - using non-standards units of measurement (yarn) and creating a graph to report our findings. 
On another day the children measured the distance with blocks and counted the number. You cannot beat that number sense!

Comparing lengths traveled. Notice how another group organized their experiment by placing the ball used in the pile of tiles. These "thinking" activities are so important to little minds. I did not tell them how to organize their findings, just that they needed to find a way to let us know which ball did what....
 I watched this group count the Unifix cubes twice to verify this number. Good ole number sense!

Check back - this unit is not over!