Friday, November 22, 2013

5 for Friday 11/22

T.G.I.F.  This week was a zany one.  Monday started with a half day followed by conferences.  Then, the rest of the week was stuffed full of learning.  Check out what my firsties were up to as I link up with Doodle Bugs.


States of Matter

Teaching about states of matter is one of the highlights of my year.  It's so fun to get the kids involved in variety experiments etc.  This year, I made use of Kim's "Ch- Ch- Changes" pack to organize the unit.

Ch-Ch-Changes: States of Matter Unit

After reading What is the World Made Of?, we defined "matter" and identified the three states: solids, liquids, and gases.  The students took notes about the properties of each state.  

Next, we sang, "What is Matter?" to the tune of "Three Blind Mice."  We also rapped out some rhymes about each state of matter.  You can find all the lyrics by clicking here.

Over the next few days the students visited different stations to explore the properties of solids, liquids, gases.

Then, we used the following sheet from Teacher's Calderon to make a model of the molecules inside matter.  The kids loved learning such a "high school" word and they seemed to really grasp the concept. 

Free Preview from Teacher's Calderon

 Unfortunately, the beads did not stay glued down very well.  Now, I know why most people use Cheerios.

To wrap up the week, we experimented with how to turn solids in to liquids and vice versa.  The kids brainstormed how to change solid ice cubes into liquid water.  Then, they tested their methods.

Wrapping the ice cube in a coat.  So cute.
 Today we put some juice in the freezer in ice cube trays, so we can see if a liquid can turn back into a solid.  The kiddos can't wait to discover what happens when they come in on Monday.

Next week or after Thanksgiving, my plan is to end the unit with an Ooobleck experiment day.  I know it's going to be messy, but awesome.  I picked up this cute and useful freebie from Molly at Lucky to Be in First.


During reading, we transitioned from focusing on decoding to retelling.  I used some of my brand new Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems to model retelling the problem and solution using the "Someone wanted to...but..." sentence structure.  I love how his simple books can be so engaging and useful.  Once students had practiced retelling the problem and solution, I broke out the adorable retelling poster I made using freebies from Jodi at Fun in First.  

My students also practiced filling out the matching graphic organizer and using it to help them retell to buddies.
Free from Fun in First

Writer's Basket

A while back, I posted about my new Writing Jobs system.   Click the picture to learn more and to grab a freebie. 

Tonight, I wanted to give you an update on how the Writer's Basket job is working.  Right now, I assign one table group per day to Writer's Basket.  That means that at the end of writing workshop, they turn in their stories for me to read overnight and then return to them with suggestions.  This gives me an extra opportunity in addition to conferring to review students' writing.  It also allows me to prepare for conferring and gives the students an idea of what it's like to hand work in to an editor.  After I read each student's story, I jot a few good things and a few suggestions on little sticky notes.  That way, when they get their writing back, they can read the comments and begin to make changes.  Right now, it's mostly my stronger writers that are able to really make the changes independently, but all of my students are getting used to reading the comments and reflecting on their writing.

Yum!  How did it taste?
What did you play?

ST Math

Computer Lab has become an even bigger highlight for the kids since we have started using the ST (Spatial-Temporal) Math program from MIND Research.  Our district is just introducing this program for use both in school and in place of traditional math homework.  Although I am new to using ST Math, I feel like it has great potential to help students practice a variety of math skills and more importantly to learn how to problem solve.  The program does not provide the students with any written or verbal directions.  Instead it requires them to analyze the situation presented, predict a solution, and then test it out.  The scenarios/problems all involve a penguin named JiJi, who the kids love, and they increased in difficulty with each new level.  Students work through the syllabus objectives and the problems at their own pace and teachers can monitor all the data online.  I am really looking forward to seeing how this program works throughout the rest of the year.  My students are chomping at the bit to play it every chance they get.

Verb Brain Break

Since this post is getting quite lengthy, I will keep this last one as short as possible.  This week for a Brain Break, I've been having the kids play "Verb Four Corners."  For those of you who aren't familiar with Four Corners, basically, students move throughout the room to the four different corners during a short period of time.  When time is up, one corner is called on to be out.  Then, the remaining students move around to different corners.  The game is designed to be an elimination game, but I let everyone stay in because they need the movement break.

For "Verb Four Corners," I called out different verbs for the students to do as they moved between corners.  For example, crab walk, bear crawl, hop etc.  During the break, things got a bit wild, but at the end, all my kiddos were tired out, yet happy, and ready to move on to the next learning activity.

Attempting to "float" around the room.
So, that's my Five for Friday.  Wishing everyone a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Verb Four Corners idea - I am going to try that with my kiddos this week :)
    Joy in the Journey