Sunday, November 4, 2012

Witches, Cowboys and Vampires, Oh My!

Halloween started off with a parade. Our principal, assistant principal and counselor all dressed up as bees. The Three B' be exact...Bee respectful, Bee responsible and bee safe. Awesome. Wish I'd gotten a photo!

After the parade, we had a class party. Kids brought lots of yummy treats, but fortunately there weren't any tricks. :)

We played a game of Boo Bingo. Students made cute pumpkin books and wrote Halloween stories. It was a fun Halloween.

Best of all? No homework that night!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fascinating Fact Friday: Woodpeckers

Did you know that woodpeckers have incredibly long tongues? They stick their tongues into the holes they have pecked in trees in order to reach insects. Their tongue actually curves around their skull and is connected to the base of their beak! Wow!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fascinating Fact Friday: Pumpkins

Which of these pumpkins has the most seeds? Can you guess?

You might think the biggest pumpkin has the most seeds. Right? Well, maybe but maybe not. The pumpkin with the most lines on it will have the most seeds. Each line is a string of seeds inside the pumpkin, so the more lines, the more seeds. Sometimes smaller pumpkins have more seeds than big pumpkins. Just goes to can't judge people or pumpkins by their size!

If you want to read a great book about pumpkins, check out How Many Seeds in A Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Green Urban Lunchbox

Almost a month ago, we had the opportunity to have the Green Urban Lunchbox come to our school. Basically it is a former school bus that has been transformed into a greenhouse. They travel to schools teaching kids about plants and about where our food comes from. To read more about the Green Urban lunchbox and to see photos, check out this article. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera the day they were coming, so I don't have photos.

Before they came, we talked about where our food comes from...and that ultimately it all goes back to soil... either it is a plant that grows in the soil or it is an animal that eats plants grown in the soil or so on. Each child got a sticker to wear home that said, "I eat dirt." We also painted little plant pot with the parts of a plant and labeled the parts of a plant.

Then the bus came. They'd converted the hood of the bus into a chalkboard and they had the students draw and label the parts of a plant and what a plant needs to survive. Then we got to go into the bus and see the greenhouse and even sample edible leaves including mint, basil, lemon basil and a few others. Then we played a game that demonstrated how important roots are. First, they sprinkled colored chips on the grass around us and asked us to pick up a red. Then a blue. Then two whites. And so on. Each chip represented a nutrient the plant needs. We could not move our feet. Soon many plants couldn't reach the chips they needed and they died. Only a few plants were able to get what they needed. But then they explained that with roots, the roots spread out and reach into many directions so the plant can get nutrients that are farther away. So they repeated the activity but we were able to move and get nutrients. We, the plants, lived a much longer time.

Then each child got to plant swiss chard in their plant pot.

The next day, we did a follow up activity. First, we wrote thank you letters to the bus to tell them how much we learned. Then each child got a baggy of seeds. They were to try to match their seeds with some samples glued onto cards in the middle of their tables.

Then they sorted their seeds. Some kids sorted by size. Some by color. Some by shape. Some by type of seed, separating each kind. They examined the seeds using magnifying glasses. They shared how they had sorted their seeds with other students.

Then each child selected one type of seed, wrote down their name and the type of seed on an index card, and added a wet paper towel, the index card and the seed to a ziplock bag. We observed these over several days to see them begin to sprout.

They loved these activities and learned a lot about plants as well. It was a great series of lessons.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Symbols of the US

We are studying symbols of the US again. We've learned about the flag, the Liberty Bell, and the Statue of Liberty so far. We did a fun art project to go with the flag.

I designed these USA flags. It is the letters USA in block form with flags drawn in one corner and then stripes. Students then painted them to look like our American flag. I think they look great. I hope that my students gain a greater understanding of each of the patriotic symbols we study, and I hope they recognize how fortunate we are to live in this great land of freedom. I hope they will become respectful, responsible citizens of our country.

We read a lot of books about each patriotic symbol, and I create a web to record some of what we learn. Then each student writes one or two paragraphs about the symbol. These are all in a packet together, so at the end of the unit they will have a page about each symbol. I love studying about our nation!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good Citizens, Part 2

As I explained in this post, we have learned about being good citizens. We've been busily adding leaves to our tree as students show good citizenship. Here is how it is looking now:

Sunday, October 21, 2012


My students work together to earn a class prize. They earned the first prize of the year last Tuesday. This time the prize was to play games for 30 minutes. I opened up my cupboard of rainy day activities and showed them what they could play.

There are legos, puzzles, stencils and drawing books, Connect 4, concentration games, Tinkertoys and other activities. It is always fun to see what each child chooses. This year there were quite a few kids that chose to draw. The other two big hits were legos and Tinkertoys.

They had a great time!