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!

What Melts In The Sun? {Experiment!}

 

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

Do your kiddlets love science experiments as much as mine do? Because we focus so much on the “scientific process” in the beginning of the year, my kids know what whenever we start a new science unit, they are in for some FUN experiments! When I announced we were doing a science experiment Friday, the kids started saying, “We’re going to ask questions!”, “We’re going to do experiments!”, “We’re going to be scientists!”. It sounds like I’m making that up, but really- my kids LOVE science and all that comes along with it!

We’re right in the middle of our science unit about the Sun. Why are we doing a unit about the Sun? Because our NGSS {our national science standards} ask the kids to understand the patterns they see in the sky. This is why our last unit was on the seasons and why this one is about the Sun! For the kids to understand the pattern of the Sun, they first need to learn about the Sun!

Sun circle map

Sun circle map

My favorite way to start any unit is with a circle map. When I introduced this unit last week, I wrote the word “Sun” in the middle of the map and had the kids tell me things they knew…. or thought they knew…. about the Sun. This is all the writing you see in green. Some of it is right on- “hot”, “bigger than Earth”, “very far away”. Those are great! Some showed misconceptions- “flashing lines” {meaning it has wiggling lines coming off it like we draw in pictures}, “fire”, “tilts”. While I loved that the kids brought in their knowledge from the last unit {i.e. The Earth is titled}, this isn’t true for the Sun.

BUT –  WRITE IT ON THE MAP ANYWAY! It’s WAY more meaningful for the kids to discover this on their own, than for me to correct them in the moment.

Next, we spent that day exploring things about the Sun. We looked at a diagram of the solar system, we looked at photographs online, we watched a Brainpop video, and we read a short informational text. By the end of that day, we could go back to the Circle Map and add/change things we’d written {that’s the pink writing}. Now, the kids could tell me that the sun wasn’t just yellow, but a mix of yellow, red, and orange. They knew it wasn’t made of fire, but burning gases. They knew it didn’t tilt, but didn’t move in the middle {**** I realize the Sun rotates in a circle, and we did get to this at another day. For that day, we just discovered it stayed in the middle of our solar system. There’s only so much knowledge we can cover in a day} 🙂

Anyways, I wanted to share this method for introducing a topic. The kids love it, I can see misconceptions, and it’s so great for the kids to discover things on their own. The map is still up in our room and we add to it as we learn new things.

Experiment

Experiment

After a week of learning more about the Sun, we had a great experiment, with the driving question- “What melts in the Sun?”

I saw the idea from Pinterest {Here!} and copied the idea in my room. The gist is, you put objects in a muffin tray and have the kids predict what will melt and what won’t melt.

Objects

Objects

We used ice, butter, a wood block, a crayon, a lego, a bell, chocolate, and cheese. You can obviously mix up what you use, but these worked for me!

Predictions

Predictions

Because we are good little scientists, the first thing we did was write down our essential question and our hypothesis. What did we think would melt? We talked a lot about how we were pretending our light was the “Sun”.

{In the experiment link, they put their tray outside in the sunlight. But, it’s December here….gray….cloudy…..cold….. So being the wonderful wife that I am, had my husband go out into our frozen, snowy yard and bring in our outside flood light to use as the Sun substitute. And of course I remembered to ask him to do this well in advance and not five minutes before I had to leave the house Friday morning 🙂 }

The kids got to take an up-close look at all the items before they made their predictions and before anything started melting.

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What will melt?

What melts in the sun?

What melts in the sun?

At their seats, they drew what the experiment looked like.

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Experiments

Sooooo, we had to give our “Sun” some time to melt our objects. What did we do in the meantime? We enjoyed watching The Magic School Bus “Gets Lost in Space”, of course! Although, it did make me feel old when the video referenced 1998 as the next year coming up. Sigh.

Magic School Bus

Magic School Bus

The 20 minute video gave our experiment plenty of time to work! When the movie was over, we went back over to see what had happened!

Melted!

Melted!

The ice cubes look gone- but the water is there! The butter and chocolate also melted!

Wow!

Wow!

It led to a fun conversation about objects having different melting points. For example, ALL these things would have melted if they were on the REAL sun. The cheese and crayon would have melted if our “Sun” was a little hotter. But none the less, it was so much fun and helped them further develop the idea that the Sun is very hot, affects us, and affects objects around us. 

My little scientists wrote down the results of the experiment.

Results!

Results!

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

 

 

 

iPads {Science Sink & Float}

We are in the swing of things around here, each and every day jam packed with learning, laughing, and lovin’ first grade! My last post was about getting our iPads, so I figured I’d post a follow up on how it’s going.

iPads

iPads

Teaching with 1:1 iPads is such an amazing privilege. I love it and honestly, I can’t imagine not having them at this point. I get asked a lot how we use the iPads throughout the day and in different subject areas. Here’s a quick look into how you can use iPads in a science lesson- in a very SIMPLE, EASY way!

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

In science we are learning about things that sink and things that float.

Well…. really we are learning about how to be scientists and the scientific process {asking questions, making a hypothesis, doing an experiment, looking at results, and sharing with others} But what a fun way to practice these steps/qualities than putting them into action with sink/float experiments!

So, before we tested the above fruits and veggies, we used our iPads to complete a quick worksheet on our questions and hypothesis about which fruits and veggies would sink or float. We used the Handouts app.

Handouts

Handouts

Its a super simple app that allows me to send the kids something, have them work on it on their iPads, send it back to me, and allow me to see there work. Think of it as a digital “worksheet”.

After our predictions, it was time to experiment!

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

 

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

Sink or Float

The kids loved this experiment! How fun!

After our experiment, we discussed the results together, relating them back to our predictions and initial questions. Then, my little scientists used their iPads to draw what happened in this experiment. Again, another quick and simple use of our iPads! Although simple, it’s also a great way for the kids to process what they just saw and what they just learned. It also allows me to see who understands what happened, who understand what sink means, and who understands what float means.

Drawings can show us so much as to what kids know, understand, and learned!

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

Drawings

This is just ONE way you can use iPads in science to check for understanding and make initial predictions.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to leave your comments, ideas, and questions below! We love to hear from you!

 

O-R-E-O…. Yummy Moon Phases

 

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Let’s set the scene.

It was a Friday afternoon.

We’re talking 3:00 on a FRIDAY afternoon.

3:00 on a Friday afternoon after a solid 2 weeks of indoor recess.

3:00 on a Friday afternoon after a solid 2 weeks of indoor recess and the day after the kids just had a sub.

One can imagine the squirminess of my little ones 😉

So how does one reel in a group of six and seven year olds, whose minds are on everything but the science we are suppose to be learning? Well, on this day…. it was with Oreos! Have you ever seen the focus on a group of kids when you mention this word? Try it anytime to see 100%, undivided attention 🙂

We were learning about the different phases of the moon. On the backside of the worksheet (I forgot to take a picture of it) we looked at all the phases of the moon. We talked about it’s pattern, how it appears to be “growing” and “shrinking”.

Then, we flipped it over and looked at four of these phases specifically. It started like this…

Me: “Do you know what these moon pictures look like to me?”

Students: “What?”

Me: “Oreo cookies”

Students: “Oooooh yeah!”

Me: “You know what? I wish I had some cookies here and could use them to make the moon phases”

Students: “OOOOOOOOOHHHHHH ME TOOOOOOOOO!”

Me: **Pulls out a bag with Oreo boxes*** “Well, it’s a good thing I have some right here”

Students: “AHSKHJDFLKSUHFLASKUHFLAKSDHFALSDKJH!” (This is first grade language which means, “We are so excited”, but it sounds much more like the letters above)

Basically, that’s how it went 🙂

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

The kids jobs were to take their Oreos and make them look like one of the four Moon phases we were looking at. They were extra careful!

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Then, we described each one of these phases below the cookie. We did this together- under the strict directions that no cookies were to be harmed (eaten) during this process 😉

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

We described each phase. We wrote things like “bright”, “full” and “round” for the first phase.

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

For other phases, we talked about what part of the Moon was lit and what part was dark. The kids were especially focused during this writing process. Hmmm, I wonder what was keeping their focus 😉

Ok, so after we finished these Tree Maps, the kids got to…. clean up. Just kidding! You know they got their little treat.

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

Oreo Moon Phases

While eating, we watched Sid the Science Kid and the episode about the moon. We got through about half of it before we had to pack up for the day. This was really a fun day for us! It’s not often we do things like this with food and the kids had a blast! Also, as much fun as it was, it also helped them see the different ways the Moon looks.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure! Be sure to check back soon!

Constellation Kids!

Remember this post from a few days ago…

iPads= iConstellations

If you don’t, check it out! We wrapped up learning about constellations last week and as a culminating project, the kids used all their knowledge about stars to make a constellation of… themselves! It started earlier in the week when I took pictures of all the kiddlets, posing as their constellation.

This was a lot of fun and caused lots of giggles. I told the kids to lay on the carpet and I stood on a chair above them to get the shot. I told them to pose like a constellation. Some students had a very clear idea of what they wanted to look like, while others chose to look like a constellation we’ve already learned about. All of them turned out awesome! (Side note- I loved the kid who told me they were posing like a move we do in yoga! Yes!)

So, afterwards at home I printed off the photos (much to my sweet husband’s dismay- “You’re going to print all of those off in color?” Yes sweetie, I am) 🙂

And the next day, the kids opened up their trusty iPads and used the Doceri app to draw the constellation. But this time, they were imagining how the constellation of themselves would look.

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

I can’t tell you how much fun this was or how much the kids loved it! It was also a great lesson in how to think abstractly. They knew they weren’t suppose to just draw a picture of themselves. We wanted these to be constellations, imaginary pictures in the stars. This is a pretty “outside the box” visualization, but the kids did so well!

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Notice the constellation has a mohawk. I love their imaginations!

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

After we got to practice drawing on the iPads, the kids used that to help them transfer the picture of a piece of black construction paper. I think that since they had the chance to practice drawing it many times on the iPad, this made the drawing process very simple and smooth.

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Constellation Kids

Agh, these really couldn’t be any cuter! I was really impressed with how well the students did at making these! We finished this off by students writing about their project. I put sentence starters on the board that said, “I made…” and “It looks like…”. The kids did really well at finishing these with great thoughts. A good one was, “I made myself look like a girl because I am a girl”. Nothing like a true statement from a six year old 🙂

Anyways, this was a wonderful end of our constellation unit. It combined everything they’ve learned and put it together in a fun, digital, and innovative way.

Thanks for checking in on our adventure. As always, check back in with us to see what new things we are doing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iPads = iConstellations

The Hunter

The Hunter

Constellations

Constellations

 

Right now, we’re smack dab in the middle of our constellation unit. It’s one of my favorites because it combines the science of learning about stars, but the fun of the stories of constellations. The kids love the idea that there are imaginary pictures in the sky and the creativity of trying to make up their own. It was a blast last year and I couldn’t wait to try some new things this year now that we each had our iPads.

It’s always fun to pass out constellation flashcards, pictures of both the stars of how they really look in the sky, and the matching “picture” of the constellation. The kids cut out the cards and match them together.

Last year at this point, I passed out white boards and markers. The kids drew the constellations on the white boards and it worked out great.

But this year…. iPads! We opened the Doceri app to draw these sky pictures.

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

 

You’ll notice all their background colors in Doceri are switched to black. Was this my idea? No, although I wish I thought of it because it’s so brilliantly perfect.

I just told the kiddlets to open Doceri and use a black color to draw the constellations and stars. But one little friend raised his hand and asked if we could change the background color to black and then use a white marker to draw with. Um, YES! I love it when they have these great ideas- things I NEVER would think of that make the lesson so much better. I love my little kiddos 🙂

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

So, the kids had the pictures of the constellations in front of them, and they practiced drawing both the way they stars look, as well as the imaginary picture. It was a lot of fun and got them more familiar with the constellations in the sky. Plus, it’s a skill to be able to re-create something. It was a lot of focused fun as they had to count the amount of stars, try to draw them in the correct places, and talk about what they were drawing.

Constellations

Constellations

 

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Constellations

Thanks for checking in to our adventure. Be sure to check back soon!

 

 

Smule App (turning voices into raps)

Hello hello!

Thanks for checking back in to our class blog as the school year is winding down- and yet still just as busy as ever 🙂

I hope your kids have been telling you everything we’ve been observing in class, including plants and butterflies. The students rush into the classroom each morning, so excited to check on their seeds and the caterpillars (who are currently chrysalis’).

During science, we’re talking and learning all about life cycles, specifically about plant life cycles and butterfly life cycles. The kids work with sequence cards, have discussions, and write and draw all about the life cycles of each one mentioned.

Then last week, I presented at a professional development session on technology. Also there was an AMAZING teacher from Chicago Public Schools, named Kristen Ziemke. Not only does she use technology with her first graders, but she’s also the co-author of the book Connecting Comprehension and Technology, FOUND HERE!

Book

Book

Her presentation blew my mind and I went home thinking of all the ways I could begin to introduce some of the things she uses into my classroom.

One of the apps she talked about was Songify…. however, that’s not free, and also only an i-phone app, not for i-pads. So, after looking, I found Smule, which is essentially the same thing- ONLY FREE!

It’s very simple to use. First, the app records your voice. You just talk normally and record whatever it is that you want to say.

Then, the app turns your voice into a auto-tuned rap song. Yes, you heard me right. Your recording automatically becomes a song. It’s pretty amazing! I knew we could use this in our classroom and the kids would have fun, but also be engaged in their learning.

Since we are learning about the butterfly life cycle, the students wrote informative pieces about the stages in a butterfly life cycle. They wrote about each step in the process, including as many details as they could. After they’d written their pieces, they got together in a small group (I made six groups because we have 6 i-pads to work with).

The students took turns reading what they wrote and recording themselves using the Smule app.

Recording

Recording

Recording

Recording

The other students were listening when the one member of their group was recording.

After recording, one button push and it’s a song! The group’s job was to listen to each persons song and listen for all the facts they could hear about the process.

 

Listening

Listening

While listening to the songs, the classroom was both quiet and full of smiles/giggles. When the kids were listening, they were focused, but also full of smiles at this awesome app and the amazing songs!

When we all finished, we played a few as a whole class and recorded the facts we heard in the songs.

Here is a video example of one in progress…

Reading his informative piece

And here is a link to the reading turned into a rap song…

Smule app song

All in all, it’s a very very awesome app and lets kids turn their learning into something they never imagined! It’s a creative way to allow students to show their knowledge and could be used in a variety of different ways for different subjects.

Thanks for checking in with us!

 

Sound {Common Core Science}

Do you hear that?

That loud sound coming from the first grade classroom… what could it be? It must be coming from the instruments the first graders made during their sound unit! 🙂

To back things up a bit, we have spent the last few weeks on our science unit of sound! Sound waves are one of our new Common Core science standards for first grade!

Specifically:

-Sound can make matter vibrate, and vibrating matter can make sound. (1-PS4-1)

Science Journals

So we started the unit with the vocabulary words we needed to understand. Using our Science Journals, we began using different thinking maps to help us understand and explore the words pitch, volume, and vibrate (We spent about 2- 3 days on each of those words):

Journal

Journal

Circle Map

Circle Map

On a circle map, the students write the vocabulary word in the middle. Before you define the words, the kids write all of the things they THINK they know about the word around it. After we’ve learned the word, we go back and cross out any information that doesn’t fit and add anything else we need to that defines the word.

Bubble Map

Bubble Map

In a bubble map, the students write the word in the middle. Then, they use adjectives around the outside to define and tell more. Around the word pitch, you can see we wrote different types of pitches, as well as examples.

Pitch

Pitch

Pitch

Pitch

Pitch

Pitch

I also like to include writing pages. Here, the students can process and reflect the information they learned. On these writing pages, the students drew pictures of things that make different pitches. A lion makes a low pitch roar, a person screaming makes a high pitch sound, and a nice singing voice can be a medium pitch noise.

We spend a lot of time discussing these words, maps, and writing pages too! Not only does this reinforce the words and their meanings, but it is essential to develop language skills!

On this day, the students were sharing what they’d written about their favorite pitch.

 

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

A fun way to do this is the “1 minute share”. The kids spread out with their journal and quickly find a partner. They have 1 minute to share what they wrote with each other. After one minute, I yell “switch!” and the kids have to find a new partner to share with for one minute. This works out great because they are interacting with different people and it’s a quick reading, speaking, and listening practice!

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Instruments

After spending about two weeks on the vocabulary words and exploring sound through videos, examples, and different texts, we were ready to put all of our knowledge to use!

It was time for us to build a musical instrument!

{Side note: In prepping this unit, the first grade teachers wanted to have a culminating activity that was both hands-on and was a way for the kids to show their knowledge on sound waves. One of the teachers suggested having the kids build instruments out of recyclable materials. In the process, they would have to find ways to make sound (by striking, shaking, or strumming something) and how something was making sound (by vibrating the material and then the air waves around it). The students would also have to be able to describe the pitch of their instrument and the volume it made.} That was a long side note 🙂

 

Planning

Planning

First- the planning process. Students got to pick their own partners for this project and worked together to complete a planning page for this activity. They had to decide together what kind of instrument they would make (a drum instrument, a string instrument, or a shaker) and sketch what they’d like it to look like.

Planning

Planning

Planning

Planning

Planning page

Planning page

The next day began the building! The kiddos could select any objects they wanted from a selection of various recyclable materials (boxes, paper towel rolls, paper, tissue boxes, paper plates, etc). There were also other things, like rice, dried beans, rubber bands, and wooden sticks for them to incorporate. Using their planning page, they worked to make their instrument with their partner.

Building

Building

Building

Building

Building

Building

Building

Building

This was a two day process and each day, the partners added more details and worked on their instruments.

Building

Building

Building

Building

Building

Building

 

Diagram

After the building process, it was time to record many of the steps and things they’d done to build our instruments. First, the students drew a diagram of their instrument. We’ve been learning a lot about diagrams, so we tried to add as many details and labels as we would into ours!

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Diagram

Things Not Pictured

I tried really hard to get pictures of all of the steps of this project…. but some days I do better at that than others 🙂

So, things we did (but I forgot to picture) was a materials page, where we spent the day analyzing our instruments and writing down all of the materials we use AND a procedure page, where we wrote the steps of how we built our instruments- with words like first, next, then, and last.

Cover 

One of the last things we did was color in the cover of the project books. The kids had to draw a picture of what their instrument looked like.

Cover

Cover

Cover

Cover

Cover

Cover

Sharing

On the final day, we sat in a circle and presented our instruments to the class. Even though they’d all see each others throughout the process, now was the time for the students to share how they made their instrument, what pitch it made, and what volume it made. I also asked them how their instrument made sound. This culminating activity was also a formative assessment- could the students answer these sound questions using vocabulary words?

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

Sharing

They demonstrated how to play their instrument and explained the process to make it. They also used vocabulary words to talk about the sound it made, the pitch it made, and how their instrument made sound.

This was AN AMAZING unit. I love every minute of it- and so did the kids! The instrument making activity was fun, engaging, and incorporated everything we’d learned.

Where do we go from here?

We are spending the next two weeks before spring break comparing and contrasting light waves and sound waves!

If you are an educator and interested in this unit, it’s for sale at my TpT store:

Sound

Sound

Or you can click this link: Sound Pack {Common Core Aligned}

If you’re interested in my Light and Sound bundle pack, you can click this link: Light and Sound Bundle Pack {Common Core Aligned}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stars of First Grade!

Twinkle twinkle little star, ask my first graders what stars are! (They’ll be able to tell you!) 🙂

We’ve been spending this science unit learning all about stars. Specifically, constellations. I posted earlier about a fun constellation game you can play to find them in the sky. The kids loved playing it in class!

We also made constellation flash cards. On one side were the stars and on the other side was the picture of the constellation (Or at least it should have been that way…. upon the kids cutting them out, I realized I’d copied them wrong and different pictures were with different constellations. Oops. Problem was quickly solved when the students had to “find” it’s match on a different card- always think on your toes!) 😉

After, I passed out white boards and the students practiced drawing the constellations from the cards.

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

I was seriously so impressed with how they did. The kids are SO INTO constellations, and it just goes to show- when kids are interested, they are engaged!

(P.S. They’ve been drawing constellations all the time now. Everywhere. All the time. Like on their math papers, in art class, on their desks, in their journals. It’s really cool to see them like something so much!)

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Constellation Drawing

Mostly I took the time to do this practice so the kids would be prepared for the next day’s activity.

So the next day, I told the students we would be using what we already knew about constellations and creating/drawing our very own! The kids were so excited!

I passed out blank drawing paper and told them they could only use 10 stars in their constellations. I did this for two reasons: 1. I didn’t want the kids to just “draw” and then put tons of dots all over it and say it was a constellation. and 2. I only had enough star stickers for each kids to use 10. 🙂

They got to work drawing, erasing, and re-drawing their very own, original constellations.

 

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

They also got to pick a name for their constellation. This was good practice to talk about how titles get capital letters- always sneaking in some extra learning 😉

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

This was such great practice on higher level thinking. The kids really had to understand what a constellation is and how it isn’t an exact picture. Then, they had to plan out a new shape/person/animal/object of their own using what they already knew about constellations. Applying their knowledge in new ways like this promotes creativity, originality, problem-solving skills, and is just plain fun!

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

Creating constellations

The following day, the kids got their sketches back (I’d helped some of them with their spelling in the titles), and I modeled how to use their drawing to draw it larger on a black sheet of paper.

Then, I showed the kids how to put a silver star sticker on each “point” they had drawn. Finally, I told them to connect the stars using a white crayon. As soon as I was done talking, they were off!

Adding stickers!

Adding stickers!

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

Adding stickers

The projects were almost complete! The last day of the project, the students had to write about what they created. This fits in with the Common Core writing standard 1.W.2 (I can write explanatory texts). Meaning, the students could write about what they had made, what it looked like, what shape it was, etc.

After stapling those to the bottoms, the projects were done! Here’s a look at them hanging up in the hall…

Our objectives

Our objectives

The Penguin

The Penguin

One student made a penguin. Take a look at her writing, cracks me up!

The penguin

The penguin

The Girl

The Girl

The writing with The Girl

The writing with The Girl

Other constellations included….

The Pretty Girl in the World

The Pretty Girl in the World

The Puppy

The Puppy

The Cat

The Cat

The Monster

The Monster

The Crayon

The Crayon

And all together…

Hanging up!

Hanging up!

I loved this unit and I know my kids did too! They are so into constellations and finding out more about them. There are some good videos on YouTube and BrainPop for teachers looking for more to show their students.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Been Going On….

This post is really going to be a hodge – podge of what we’ve been doing lately in first grade. I swear, each week and each day just keep getting more and more busy! I haven’t been taking as many pictures of things we’ve been doing, but here are some quick recaps of what has been happening with us…

 

Science

We are still in our “space” unit, which the kids are loving by the way! Check out this awesome YouTube clip about the sun we watched: I’m Hot

The kids were lovin’ it 🙂

One day we also made a foldable to record some facts we’d learned about the sun.

The front...

The front…

Here in one student’s on the inside…

Flaps open!

Flaps open!

We brainstormed the facts together, so all the kids wrote down the same things. Then, they got to illustrate them on their own. I love seeing how each student’s pictures are similar, but also unique.

It's a star

It’s a star

it is bright

it is bright

It's made of hot gas

It’s made of hot gas

So far away!

So far away!

Now we’re focusing on stars. It’s a good transition, because since the sun is a star, the kids already know so much!

Figures of Speech

It was raining cats and dogs today! Really, it was! I’m not pulling your leg! (Like my use of those figures of speech there? Tricky huh?) 😉

Well, I’ve noticed that many of my students really have not heard or don’t understand  figures of speech. These are things we might not say all the time, but something I definitely noticed on my kids last MAP test. So, as a way to introduce them to these funny sayings, I’m trying something new…

Figure of speech

Figure of speech

I’m going to be posting a new figure of speech each Monday. We’ll quickly talk about what it means and then try to use it all week. I can tell it’s already working because today, as many students were trying to talk to me at once, a little boy said from his desk, “Hey, you guys all need to hold your horses!” How perfect is that!? I’m hoping this will help me introduce some and make my kids more aware of them in life.

Reading Strategy of the Month

We’ve finished our questioning strategy –I feel like we’ve been asking questions forever!– and now we’ve moved on to summarizing! We’re starting with fiction summarizing first, so I decided to start with introducing beginning, middle, and end.

Summarizing

Summarizing

Today we read a story we’ve read a few times before, Caps for Sale, and the kids really listened for what happened first, in the middle, and the last part of the story. The kids did great! We’re going to be practicing this for a few weeks, so at home, ask your child to retell a story by stating the beginning, middle, and end!

Reading Posters

I’ve put up a few new things I wanted to share. Starting with, some fiction and non-fiction reading posters!

Fiction

Fiction

I like having an anchor for when we talk about fiction stories and the parts of a fiction story. The illustrations help the kids see the different parts and give a visual cue on their meaning.

And the non-fiction posters…

Non-fiction

Non-fiction

I love having the text features posted! Not only does it help the kids, but it reminds me to spend more time on them. For example, I never remember to talk about the “heading”, but the posters will help cue me too!

Goals

For the grad class I’m in, I’ve had to do some observations in other people’s classrooms lately. While it’s been hard giving up my planning time, it’s really been great spending time with other amazing teachers. In one room, I loved how the teacher had all of their goals posted. In our class, we do talk about our goals, but I never had them posted in the room before. Now, that’s all changed…

Goals!

Goals!

I picked the 5 most important goals for us and posted them in the room, starting with the biggest- our reading goal! We want the first graders to leave us reading 60+ words per minute. I’m so glad I posted it, because it’s reminding me to talk about it every day now! The kids know that when we are doing DAILY 5 Read to Self, we are helping to reach our goal.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look into our room!

PARENTS: Don’t forget to look at your conference time! See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sink or Float: A unit of fun!

While we are spending lots of time practicing and working on our Daily 5 skills, reading, and writing, we’re also spending lots of time observing and experimenting!

Science is quickly becoming the kids favorite time of the day (I heard a kid say to his neighbor today, “Man, I LOVE science!”) 🙂

(Speaking of cute things my kids say, I got perhaps the best compliment from one of my first graders the other day. She came up to me, looked right into my eyes, and sincerely said, “Ms. Tasch, you look prettier than my dog when she is wearing a t-shirt.” Oh my goodness! I laughed and hugged her and said, “Wow! That is quite a compliment!”)

Back to science, we kicked off the year with a unit of sinking and floating. I thought this would be the perfect way to start because it’s hands-on (so the kids will be engaged), it’s fun (they love seeing the objects being put into the water), and it introduces many science words we will use all year (like observation, prediction, experiment, and results).

Sinking and Floating Experiments

The unit started last week when we started to talk about things we’ve seen that float and things we’ve seen that have sunk.

Then, we looked at some objects and talked about if we thought they would sink or float when we put them in water.

Objects

Objects

We learned the word prediction and made predictions as a class on if these would sink or float.

The next part was their favorite part- experiment! In order to see the results- we needed to test! So out came a big plastic bin and it was filled with water. Some lucky students got to come up and put the object in the water.

Testing

Testing

Putting it in the water

Putting it in the water

It floats!

It floats!

As the students put the objects in the water, we recorded the results together on our information sheet.

The results

The results

 

After, we made some observations on all of the objects.

All of them!

All of them!

The class worked in groups to talk about what they saw, what floated, what sank, and why they think all of this happened.

Over the next few days, we continued to do this experiment with different objects. Because of the students observations, they began to make connections between objects. For example, because we knew a pencil floated, that helped us when we tested other objects made of wood. Their observations and experiments helped them make their predictions on new objects!

Making objects sink and float

Then, we started to do some different experiments. Like, can we make an object float and sink?

Floating

Floating

When we put this clear jar (with a lid) in the water, it floated! I asked the students to think of a way to make the jar sink. One student said, put water in the jar and put the lid back on. So, we tried that!

Halfway

Halfway

We discovered that when we did that, the jar half floated/half sunk.

Another student suggested taking the lid off and pushing it under the water. So, we tried that too!

Sunk!

Sunk!

And look at that! Sunk! We compared our observations, and through discussions, realized that the air inside the jar was helping it float. Even when we put water in the jar with the lid, there was still a tiny bit of air at the top. That was helping it float! With no lid, water could completely fill the jar and that made it sink!

Building something that floats

Finally, we ended our unit this week by creating our own inventions! The kids were given a challenge: use the given objects and work in groups to create something that will float when put in water. As a further bonus, they were told their object would be timed to see how long it floats and the team with the longest time wins!

For two days, the kids worked in small teams of their choosing. They used these materials….

materials

materials

(and also wooden Popsicle sticks and straws) to build something that floats.

They got RIGHT to work!

Planning

Planning

Working

Working

Gluing

Folding

Assembling

Assembling

I love watching the kids work like this. They are so focused and are learning by “doing”. I didn’t give them any hints or directions- just told them to build something that floats.

As I walked around the groups, I could see lots of great ideas! Most of the objects started to look like boats, which is a great connection and starting point.

Working like a team

Working like a team

I spent some of my time walking around the groups and observing their work. But mostly, I positioned myself at the materials tables and stayed out of their way. When kids would come up and say, “Can you do this for me?”, I’d help them solve the problem they were having without actually doing any work. Sometimes when kids get stuck, they automatically want someone to do it for them. But by saying to them, “Let’s think of a way to solve that problem”, they are almost always capable of doing it themselves.

Working

Working

Does that mess frighten you? Same here. It is hard as a very organized person and teacher to see the tears of paper, rips of tin foil, and plastic bags all around the room. But, they were all so focused and so on task- you just gotta breathe and let them do what they do 😉

They are learning and that’s what matters!

This is such a great way to end the unit because they are applying everything they’ve learned to a new situation. They know the things that sink and the things that float. They are using that to build something new. This involves teamwork and problem-solving skills.

CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR AN UPDATE ON OUR EXPERIMENT! Tomorrow is the day we’re finally going to test our “boats” and see which ones float!