Light {Shadow Puppet Theater}

 

It's spring!

It’s spring!

It’s been a LOOOOOONG time since I’ve last posted. This time of the school year just gets INSANE! With testing, breaks, report cards, etc- it’s just been busy! But we’ve also been doing a lot of exciting things. For starters, how fun is the above photo! We saw a similar picture on Pinterest and decided to tackle the project as a first grade team! Each of us picked a color and we did a handprint garden. It was pretty simple, actually! And how cool did they all turn out? We love them hanging in the hallway and how they all look a little different.

Speaking of our first grade team, today was pajama day…. and can you tell we’re on the same page?

Twins!

Twins!

Two of us were pajama twins today! Great minds think alike 🙂 (this also reflects our shared loved of Target!)

But back to the topic of this post- LIGHT!

I’ve already made lots of posts about the NGSS standard of light waves. It’s a topic we cover each year and the kids really love it. It can seem overwhelming at first (you teach about light waves to first graders!?) but honestly- it’s a fun, engaging unit!

Light Pack

Light Pack

If you click on the picture, it will take you to my Light unit on TpT. It’s filled with everything you need to teach light to first graders.

Reflecting

Reflecting

One of the best things is watching kids discover how they can change the direction of light waves. Because of course, the first aspect we learn about is that light moves in straight lines. By using a mirror, we start to discover the meaning of “reflect” and how we can change lights direction.

Reflecting

Reflecting

Reflecting

Reflecting

It’s a fun process. Kids love a challenge, so have them point their flashlights a certain way and then have them use the mirror to get the light on something else. For example, have them all point their lights up towards the ceiling. Then, using the mirror and NOT moving the flashlight, have them reflect the light on the board. It’s really fun and the kids love challenging themselves in this way! Plus, it’s showing them how light moves and what reflect means.

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

This year, we also did something new at the end of our light unit. Because we’d learned about shadows and transparent objects, we put together all our knowledge to make a shadow puppet theater. To make it even more fun, we combined this idea with our last literacy unit- fables.

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

This idea came straight from the fabulous first grade teacher on our team, Ms. Rios! 🙂

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

We combined our classes and had pairs of students write their very own fable. Once they had a story, they used black construction paper and sticks to make shadow puppet characters. Finally, we constructed a “theater” using a box and white paper. When we shined a light from behind the box, the students presented their shadow fables!

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

Shadow Fables

I can’t even describe how amazing this was! Some of the morals they created included:

-Don’t disturb princes and princesses

-You shouldn’t eat children

-Real friends can’t be unfriended

….. just to name a few 🙂

 

Their stories were amazing, the morals were just perfect, and the shadow puppets added an awesome science connection and element to the whole thing. It was such a fun idea and the kids had a blast doing it! It was a great way to combine our two units, and end our light unit.

Thanks for checking into our adventure!

QR Code to Differentiation

It’s been an embarrassing amount of time since I’ve posted last…. I don’t really have any excuses for this, except I’ve been busy with this….

Hello!

Hello!

and busy with this…

Monkeys!

Monkeys!

and busy with this….

Movie!

Movie!

and in general, busy with this….

Math

Math

Math

Math

Writing

Writing

SOOOOOOOOOOOOO…..

We are just going to jump back in and get into one of the special things we’ve been doing lately in first grade: QR Codes to differentiate.

QR Code Differentiation

QR Code Differentiation

Ok, we all know what QR codes are. If you still haven’t made a QR code or are nervous about making one, please take my advice and START! It couldn’t be easier and the possibilities are endless {Some of my favorite ways to use QR codes are Vocaroo, for kids to record their own voices and turn into QR codes. Also, I love making QR codes linking QRVoice for directions}

A few months ago, I attended the ICE conference, a technology conference in the Midwest for teachers. I learned a lot, but my favorite thing was using colored QR codes to help students differentiate their learning.

On some QR code making websites, you can easily change the color of the QR code. After you link the website, picture, or voice recording you want to make into the QR code, you have the option to change the color of the code itself.

Here’s how I used this technique in my room to differentiate. 

We were learning about light waves, the basic idea being that light moves in a straight line. This was the central idea that I wanted all the students to understand. We were also beginning to learn that light will only change directions if it’s reflected.

As it often is in a first grade room, there are ability levels across the board. And as it more often is, it can be very difficult to teach to all these different levels at the same time.

After a few days into the unit, I wanted to design an activity where some students were able to focus on the basic idea of the unit, where some students were able to move on to how light is reflected, and where some students were able to apply that knowledge to a new situation. In doing so, I would be able to  tackle the challenge of how to target specific ability levels by controlling the type of question and responses I wanted the students to have.

QR Codes

QR Codes

I grouped the kids into 3 different levels: beginning, middle, and accelerating. In this particular activity, we were differentiating based the content. The topic was all the same (light), but the specific ideas or content was altered to meet the kids levels. The kids names were under a specific colored QR code, with each group having a different worksheet.

QR Codes

QR Codes

The kids came up and scanned the specific QR code with their name on it. They sat with the other students who also had the same color as them.

The students who were at the basic level (and whose focus was on how light moves) saw this picture when they scanned their QR code, which helped enforce the idea that light moves in straight lines.

Level 1

Level 1

The students were were at a middle level and beginning to understand the idea that light can change direction by being reflected saw this when they scanned, which enforced the idea that light can change directions when it’s reflected.

Reflection

Reflection

And the accelerated group, who were posed the question “How can light help us solve problems?” were shown this, light being reflected multiple times to light a plant on the ground.

Reflection

Reflection

The students worksheets corresponded to their pictures. The kids worked with their color teams to answer the question they were asked, which related to their pictures.

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

Worksheets

In the same activity, there were three different things happening, but all the kids were still learning about light. Some students were re-learning, some students were practicing a new idea, and some students were being challenged to apply their knowledge and explain a new situation.

In all, it was a great activity! It was simple enough to plan and this concept can be applied to any subject. You just need to pick the idea and change it for the students who need to relearn it, the students who need to practice it, and the students who have mastered it and can move on.

What’s also great is that it allows each level of student to feel confident in their own learning. My students working on the basic level had pride in their work because they were able to share their own ideas to the class. Because they were working at their own levels, they were able to understand the material and had ownership of the information. The same goes for the other groups. The kids were able to share with kids from different color groups and learn from each other.

Having fun!

Having fun!

I love using QR codes (just search QR Codes on this blog and you’ll find TONS of other posts I’ve made about my obsession with them) and I hope you can try this idea in your class as well!

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to check back soon- and I’ll try to post again this week! 🙂

 

 

T, T, 0 (Can you tell what we’re learning about?)

Different types of objects of course!

But first… a sneak peak on my 100th day cape…

Zebra!

Zebra!

Can you tell what the theme is?

Light

Continuing with our unit on light, we’re learning all about how light passes through different types of objects- such as transparent objects, translucent objects, and opaque objects….. T, T, O!

The three types of objects were introduced with examples…

Sort

Sort

….that we sorted into the three categories (the lights are off in the picture because we held up a flashlight to each object!)

The examples of transparent objects (clear things that let ALL the light pass through) were plastic writing sleeves, plastic bins, and a baggie. The translucent things we sorted (things that let SOME light pass through) were a white plastic bag, a piece of paper, and a colored square. Finally, the opaque objects (things that don’t let ANY light pass through) were a book, a magazine, and a mouse pad.

The next day, we reviewed these types of objects…

Review

Review

…together as a class. Then- we discussed where we saw more of these examples in the room.

Once we really knew what these objects were…. it was time for a ROOM HUNT!

The kids objective was to go around the room with a recording worksheet to find examples of things that were transparent, translucent, and opaque! After a few quick reminders, they were off!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

I love the above picture- how inquisitive is that!? It brought up a great example and discussion about what type of object that chart was…. opaque or translucent!?

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

I’m loving the above picture as well…. I caught her in deep thought 🙂

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

Room hunt!

One of the main reasons I love doing things like this- besides the fact that it gets them engaged through moving- is that it really makes the kids apply what they know. They have to find real examples and analyze which category it should be put into. This means they really have to understand the meanings and apply that knowledge to the situation. (But to the kiddos- it’s just fun! One boy came up to me doing the hunt and said “I just LOVE this!)

Discussion

Discussion

Afterwards, we gathered in a circle and talked with each other and partners about what we found.

Discussion

Discussion

Sometimes partner discussions work better than whole class discussions, because everyone is so excited to share what they found! With partners, they all get a chance to share and lessens the shouting out of turn 🙂

Discussion

Discussion

If you want to check out some of the other worksheets we’ve used during this unit on light, look at my TpT store for the 37 page Light pack I’ve created!

Light!

Light!

Just click here: Light Pack!

 

100th Day Cape

Parents- did you start working on the 100th day cape?

The idea is this: we want a fun way to celebrate the 100th day of school! One of the first grade teachers saw the idea of the kids creating a cape at home with 100 objects on it. On Friday, the kids will bring their capes to school and we’ll use them throughout the day for lots of fun activities!

I made mine this weekend. It started with this…

Supplies

Supplies

….and turned into this…

Cape!

Cape!

I found everything I needed at Wal-mart for only a couple of dollars. I thought the kids would love all of the animals and that the cheetah print in the middle fit the theme!

I hope your capes are starting to get made at your homes! Remember, you can attach 100 of anything- things you find around the home, things you make, things you buy- onto the cape. ALSO- if you don’t want to use the plastic tablecloth we sent home, feel free to use cloth or other types of fabric (I got the pink fabric at Wal-mart for about $3)

Bring the capes to school Friday for a fun, fabulous, and SUPER 100th day!

I can’t wait to see them!!!! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning About Light

Do you know what a bright group of first graders I teach?

 

Shining!

Shining!

I mean look- they are shining! 🙂

We are learning all about LIGHT! Specifically, we started off by learning how light moves.

How does light move?

How does light move?

This was the question we explored on the first day. (Don’t mind my drawings, I’m no artist) 😉

To start this experiment, I brought in a flashlight and pointed it (without turning it on) towards the calendar we have on the wall. I asked the students where the light would go when I did turn the flashlight on.

They responded “On the calendar” (with looks like “duh”) 🙂

When I turned it on, the light (as they predicted) went on the calendar.

We did this several times, each time pointing to different objects. We even used students as objects, as seen above, and here:

Shining!

Shining!

So why were we doing this so many times? To really learn the point that light…. wait for it….. TRAVELS IN A STRAIGHT LINE! This was particularly great because we have had the vocabulary word of “wavy” before, so the students kept pointing out that the line was NOT wavy at all- just straight. Ah, the connections make me happy!

After, we answered the question on the board and draw how the light would move when coming off of the objects I’d drawn.

It moves in a straight line!

It moves in a straight line!

From here, students had their own worksheets where they drawn how the light moved in straight lines off of objects.

I love the pink hair!

I love the pink hair!

It moves in straight lines

It moves in straight lines

Straight lines

Straight lines

The next day, we reviewed how light moves…. HOWEVER- we then learned how to make light change direction. (Note: this experiment would be great to do in small groups, however… I only had one flashlight and one mirror, so we did it whole group. But in the future, I want to get these supplies to let the kids explore more on their own!)

Again, I pointed the flashlight towards the calendar on the wall.

“Where will the light go when I turn the flashlight on?” I asked.

“On the calendar!” shouted answered my first graders.

“How will the light move to the calendar?” I asked.

“In a straight line!” said my students who were all on their knees to get a better view sitting perfectly on the carpet 🙂

I turned the flashlight on and (as my smarties said) the light was on the calendar. The kids smiled and thought it was over. But no!

“How can I get the light to shine on the ceiling?” I questioned.

A hand went up. “Point the flashlight on the ceiling”. Very smart and correct, however, this lesson would be a bit more challenging.

“You’re right. But how can I get the light on the ceiling without moving the flashlight at all?”

Blank stares. 

After much prompting, the students couldn’t think of any way to get the light on the ceiling. So, I held up a small hand mirror and told them that we would be using this mirror to reflect the light, causing it to change direction. I had a student come up and hold the mirror as I turned the flashlight on. Instantly, the light bounced off of the mirror and (with some adjusting) we got the light to go on the ceiling.

The kids LOVED THIS! I can’t even describe how amazing they found this to be and we had fun exploring the different ways we could tilt the mirror to shine the light on various objects (and people) in the room. Each student got a chance to come up and reflect the light.

As much fun as this was, we still learned a lesson- light travels in a straight line and can be reflected using objects like a mirror. When it is reflected, IT STILL MOVES IN A STRAIGHT LINE! We drew several diagrams of this together on the board. The line moved from the flashlight to the mirror in  a straight line, and then from the mirror to another object in a straight line.

This unit is just starting and I can’t wait to post more about all the fun experiments we will do with light. Stay tuned!

P.S. I had a great weekend away with my family! We headed up to Wisconsin and had so much fun spending time together. It’s always great to have time away with just us, especially with this little man…

Head of the table!

Head of the table!

Such a cutie patootie!

Thanks for dropping by to see our adventures in first grade!