September 29, 2012
September 28, 2012
My students have been studying ecosystems for about 4 weeks now. We have learned about the different types of ecosystems, predators/prey, consumer/producer, and non-living/living parts of it all. There is still more to learn with food webs, etc. - but it was time to put this part together.
3 weeks ago I sent home a note to the families asking/begging/pleading they send in a shoebox so we could create an ecosystem diorama.
They came in 2 weeks ago.
2 weeks of navigating around 32 shoeboxes...
Last week we took time and went outside to paint the inside of the boxes. Each student had to choose what type of ecosystem they wanted to create. I gave them basic choices and we brainstormed a list.
Land: Taiga, Chaparral, Forest, Rainforest, etc
Water: Ocean, Freshwater River, Lake, Stream
They had so much fun painting the inside of their boxes. We had every color of the rainbow out, and they were like little Picassos. There was much talk over the colors each type of environment would have in them. Many of them wanted to create either a forest or an ocean ecosystem. We went through a lot of paint.
This week they have been watching their boxes like sharks for the moment that I would say it was finally time to finish them up. Today was that day.
To create, I only really gave them the minimum amount of supplies. Construction paper and index cards to create parts of the ecosystem, and yarn to hang the parts they wanted to move (you can see below the kids just used tape and glue to assemble.) We had to talk about how index cards are thicker, so the animals and bushes could stand up and become 3D. I wanted them to showcase their own art work, rather than have them print off clipart to add.
As they created their environments, they had to focus on the 6 categories that we have learned, making sure they had specific things in their box that would count for each thing. I didn't grade their art work (as I never grade their art work), I only grade their participation and what they learned. This little 1/2 sheet of paper really showed me if they got it.
Living vs. Non-living
Predators vs. Prey
Producers vs. Consumers
The half sheets of paper are glued onto the back of their shoeboxes, and their shoeboxes are held up by only 1 pushpin on the wall. (Some students tried to turn it in before doing the paperwork aspect - they will have to finish first thing on Monday morning.) I'm only going to keep them up for about a week until the next project is ready. Enough time for them to see everyone else's art work, and to get some compliments on their own.
I did this same type of project last year. Last year it was basically the same set up, though I had them do the writing for the different categories on the outside sides of the box. With this group, it needed to be only one sheet of paper they were working with.
What a week!
September 27, 2012
September 26, 2012
September 25, 2012
September 24, 2012
Just a little reminder to believe in yourself when you are feel like you are sinking, when you just want to give up, or when you are so overwhelmed.
Today was a hard morning, so many "issues" that made me want to leave and not look back. It was bad and I had an admin in the classroom as a witness.
After school I was told that my lesson was great, so many positives. I was focusing so much on the negative (students being students with unpredictable behaviors) that I couldn't see that what I accomplished today was something to be proud if.
Every day we teachers do so much to bolster the children's self esteem. Remember to give yourself a pat on the back as well. You did a great job today.
You did a great job helping to mold a child into the person they will someday be.
You did a great job teaching someone the importance of believing in themselves.
You taught them something today they will remember in future years and finally get why it's important.
You shared what great character means.
You taught someone today that they are unique and special... That they are smart... That they matter.
You showed them that can believe in their dreams and someday they can accomplish them.
You did a great job today!
September 22, 2012
September 20, 2012
September 19, 2012
- Once again - YOU are so smart! Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me.I wanted to pass your ideas onto others as well in case they could add them into their lesson plans in the coming months.These wonderful comments were made on the giveaway post when I asked the question -"What is your favorite Autumn activity to do in the classroom?"Please check out the links for the blogs listed below.Thanks again everyone!
September 18, 2012
Don't you love good picture books?
Today I read this book to my class using the document camera. What a wonderful invention the document camera is... being able to stick anything under it and everyone can see the pictures - no whining, no complaining... It was a picture perfect moment in my class...
Anyhow, this week we are supposed to focus on using a Thesaurus. Last week was using a Dictionary (that was like pulling teeth), so I expected the same type of results. It went so much better than I could have ever dreamed.
I read the read aloud, and afterward we discussed that sometimes we get stuck using the same words over and over... BORING! We need to spice up our writing or else no one (mainly me) will want to read it. We brainstormed a list of boring (overused) words on the board, and then I modeled looking up one word from the list.
The word was "small".
There are a lot of synonyms for "small".
So I grabbed out index cards and on the top line I wrote "small".
Then underneath I wrote all the other words.
I don't have a class set of Thesaurus' in my classroom, and I didn't think to email the librarian until after I had already headed to 2 different dollar stores this past weekend to pick up 17 of the student kind. Partners shared (like they are supposed to), and they chose words that they thought were boring - some were off our list, others they were interested in. Each took turns reading the synonyms for their partner to write down. It was easier having them read it to their partners then trying to hold the book open and copy at the same time - though of course some needed to see the words themselves. Sight word building you know...
We now have a huge stack of synonyms that I get to take and create a game out of. It will be a synonym match up after I cut the boring word off the top. I love how the students can create their own games - and they didn't even know they were doing it to begin with.
Hope you had a great day!