Friday, March 25, 2011

How are Pinwheels like windmills? (Wind and Weather)

This week we talked about Violent Weather. We looked at pictures of tornadoes and hurricanes and I read them the books Super Storms by Seymour Simon (really good author for fantastic photographs he takes) and Wicked Weather by Mark Shulman; a book from the Discovery Channel's Worlds of Weather. We talked about  Wind speeds, droughts, dust storms, sandstorms, hail, and violent storms like Hurricanes and Tornadoes and some of the damage in pictures that they have done.

I taught the kids that hurricanes are formed over the oceans and Tornadoes are formed over the flat lands.  But both can cause tons of damage. We talked about the Earthquake in Japan and some of the flooding damage caused by the Tsunami and how hurricanes can also cause this same kind of damage with winds causing high waves. We read the Weekly Reader on Tornadoes and Hurricanes.

We looked at lots of really amazing pictures of devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. I told the students how all Hurricanes are given a name. They thought that was funny. They talked about what they would name a hurricane. (LOL) Then we looked at tornado damages over farmhouses and cars that were picked up and moved to other places and lots of smashed in buildings.

Hurricanes are violent storms...

I told them about the tornado that came through Salt Lake City one afternoon while I was teaching and it caused a HUGE loud rumble on our roofs. We were all kind of shook up at the time, but it wasn't a bad one and not to worry because Utah hardly ever gets them. I think all those Rocky Mountains keep them from forming for the most part. I gave them all a puzzle to cut out and put together in the shapes of the 3 kinds of violent storms. Here's what they looked like all finished.....

Our Super Storms on the board outside....We added rain poetry on top later....
 A fun Fun Weather Game Interactive Link can be found HERE. The site is ETE's K4 Earth Science.

I love to do cinquain poems for one of the days of our weather unit. Some years I do it on weather words and kids have their choice of Tornado, Hurricane, Storm, Wind, Hail, Rain, or Snow. Then they follow this pattern; 1 word, 2 words, 3 words, (4 words  & 3 words optional) 2 words, 1 word. A link to the directions for a diamante poem is HERE from Teacher Guided Activities. Diamonte poems are longer than Cinquains but both have similar characteristics.

Cinquain Poetry...

Most of the kids end their poem with a synonym of the first word or else just "WEATHER". Then I type them tall up after school in a diamond shape and cut them out on the paper cutter.

For art the kids paste their finished poems on "kite" shaped butcher paper in pastel rainbow colors to go with Spring. Then we decorate the back with squares of tissue paper "glued" down with a solution of half water half white school glue using the same colors but more vibrant (instead of light purple, deep purple etc.). Then we add a "tail" with crepe paper and small crepe paper bows all down the "tail".

Here is what the Spring "weather kites" look like. It's always great to mix writing workshop with art. I'll put more pictures up as soon as we are all done with everything.
The tails and bows attached were done with rolled crepe paper

 SCIENCE - wind instruments
Then we made our own wind instruments to show the direction the wind is blowing.  We made pinwheels. A link for the black line is HERE. There is also a set of directions on how to make a pinwheel for first graders on the Jan Brett website. Her website link is HERE. I linked the wind power invention of windmills with this book by Gretchen Woelfle called Katje the Windmill Cat. I showed them some Internet pictures of windmills and how they can give us cheap power. Then we made our own mini windmills called pinwheels.

How to Make a Pinwheel...

Pinwheels on a Pencil! Super Easy!
You could also make windmills out of quart sized milk cartons and windmill brads. This pic is from Little Giraffes website

The kids used markers and made some designs like squiggles, dots, hearts and curly Qs like snails on their brightly colored paper squares.  Then they punched little holes in the corners with a hole puncher. Then they cut into each diagonal corner just about an inch from the middle down to the ends. Then they folded each corner over the middle and we used a pin to poke it into a pencil eraser that was old and flat on the top. Or you could use new pencils...but it's  a good way to use up your flattened eraser pencils....uh huh.....

Making a pinwheel from a square of paper, a pencil and a pin...

Then the real fun began. We all went outside right before school let out and ran around facing the wind with them and watching them twirl. It sure was fun!  I actually forgot to tell them to look for the wind's direction, but maybe they did it anyway? Probably not. But the other students who came out when the bell rang thought it was a cool experiment in weather. We did too! Now maybe next time I'll remember the camera. :O

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What are the 4 Kinds of Clouds

To start our weather unit we always start with Clouds. They are the place where it all seems to start! So I teach the kids some of the facts about the types of clouds and what they each look like. My favorite 2 books I used to start this weather unit are;

The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola
Little Cloud by Eric Carle
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

They made a movie out of the last one, I haven't seen it yet
but many of the students had and said they loved it! Now this book is a superb book to springboard lots of brainstorming on a fantastic creative writing story with similar happenings. Since food rains down on the town of Chew-and-Swallow all day every day, who is to say it can't rain down on our town in some creative way?
So we make a cloud flap book using 1 whole piece of construction paper cut in half the long way and then folded over each other so that 4 flaps are overlapping about 3 inches each. Just try it and it is pretty easy.
Then we found some clip art for each of the 4 types of clouds and glued them on the flap with the cloud name. A link for some clip art for cloud types is HERE at Super Teacher Worksheets, or just type up your own and do a simple drawing.

Glue each drawing and typed cloud type onto each of the 4 flaps of your flap book. Then kids take rulers and draw lines under each flap. Write a few sentences describing each cloud type. Then glue a piece of cotton ball in the right stretched out shape for each type.  Here are our flap books.

Then we read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. We talk about what vocabulary is in the story. Then we brainstorm on the board all kinds of stuff that could fall from the sky in a "made up" city of our choosing. Then we all do a funny creative writing about a place where "stuff" falls like rain and what could happen to a first grader in that city. They all have the problem, but they have to come up with a solution, a character, and a setting.  We write stories and I edit them, then students rewrite on some cute paper with kids in the rain holding umbrellas.  I'll post the finished crazy stories when we are all done.

Some of the kids really wanted to do goofy, silly poems. So we had a fast finisher idea. We brainstormed all kinds of words that rhyme with cloud and rain and made 2 lists. Kids wrote 4 line poetry using rhyming words.  Another option is to do a Cinquain poem describing clouds.

MUSIC - .What's The Weather?  Sing this song to percussion instruments sung to the tune of "Clementine"
What's the weather? What's the weather? What's the weather like today? Tell us(child's name), What's the weather? What's the weather like today? Is it sunny? (hold arms above head in a circle] Is it cloudy? [cover eyes with hands] Is it rainy out today?[flutter fingers downward] Is it snowy?[wrap arms around body and shiver] Is it windy? ["blow children over" with a swoop of your arms]What's the weather like today?

Next we are doing hurricanes and tornadoes. That sure goes along with what is happening outside today! Lots of wet and crazy weather! Button up your overcoat!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day!

Leprechauns and Pots of Gold 


Hello, First Graders I'm Lucky I am

I was here and gone as fast as you can

I'm little and tough and so hard to find

so don't try to catch me just never mind!

I left you some treats In your classroom Sooooooo,

Get busy looking for them, Ready, set, GO!

While my students were at lunch recess, naughty little leprechauns came in and turned over some chairs and made a trail of glitter to my desk. We even saw some green glitter footprints! Did YOU get a visit from a leprechaun today? 

Our WEEKLY GRAPH this week was on.....something Irish.....guess what? Of course we graphed our favorite kinds of POTATOES!!. What are yours? We chose from:
  1. French Fries
  2. Mashed Potatoes
  3. Baked Potatoes with butter
  4. Hash Brown Potatoes 
  5. Potato Chips

Guess Which one was the Winner? 

Writing:  Journals- 1. How would you catch a leprechaun? We shared with the class our great ideas. Then we shared our homework....

Leprechaun Traps!  We were very inventive!

Mrs. Moss came up with the pots of gold to
"trap" a leprechaun. We only had to design the various "traps".  Then we shared them with the whole school in our school library.....but we took home our pots of gold! 
Here was Peter's trap...very creative "sticky path"

 Leprechaun Traps Letter that went home...

Addie's trap....leprechaun falls through the hole in the "grass" oops!

Emma's trap....leprechaun climbs up the ladder, slides down the tube! Trapped! 

Trace's trap....climb up the lego ladder, Uh Oh...look out!

Allie entices her leprechaun in with a FREE all you can eat buffet! Too cute!

Then when he gets inside she's gonna konk him on the head with the cloud covered box! Zowie!

Even though it said Do Not Enter, guess who entered?

Then guess who cut a hole and escaped? Prison Break! Those tricky leprechauns!

Rainbow  IDEAS               

Mosaic rainbow- Children glue paper squares and cotton ball clouds on to rainbow pattern. Or have kids paint hand prints in all of the colors and in a shape of the rainbow.We also made pots of gold with rainbows attached.  Or just cut out white clouds or use a white paper plate folded and add streamers in the 6 colors of the rainbow. Go out and check the wind direction by how your streamers blow.

A fun "Lucky" Bingo game I found was at the dltk WEBSITE HERE!   I also found some cute art ideas on another Teachers First website. The link is HERE.  I made up a bunch of these on light green card stock. If we played the math side of the game I would always say, 6 tens and 3 ones for them to figure out the number. Sometimes I would say it backwards 3 ones and 6 tens. Or I would add ten to a number or subtract 10 from  a number and they had to figure it out mentally. The opposite side I did Irish "word bingo". The kids can do this one  again at a center, they will just choose a caller. It's super fun. They all got into it!

Another individual and fun math activity is graphing the marshmallow shapes that come in the Lucky Charms cereal. I give each student a little cup of cereal and they graph their shapes on the worksheet. A link to make a copy is HERE. It is from Tooter4kids.  I added some math to the page such as add up the horseshoe and heart shapes. Or subtract the least number of shapes you have from the greatest number of shapes. The kids learn the math vocabulary better the more we use it. Are any of your shapes equal in number?

Graphing with Lucky Charms Marshmallow shapes.

Lucky Charms Math ......always fun!

We also made leprechaun wheels with math facts each child wrote down individually. Some students did multiplication facts they want to memorize, others did addition or subtraction facts. My challenge to them was to write down ones they did not already know by heart.

Math facts wheels, some of the kids did Multiplications! Woo Hoo!
I love to have the kids learn about Roy G. Biv (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) and the order of the rainbow colors. We look at some glass  prisms on the overhead that show rainbows in a cool way. Then we make a rainbow using 1 inch by 10 inch strips of colored construction paper glued together and then glued onto the back of a black pot. We color a tiny leprechaun and I give them some shamrocks. This year I found some cute green blingy/shiny ones from Hobby Lobby, and they glued those down. Then I top the pot with some fake gold coins. Here's our finished "Pots of Gold" at the ends of the rainbows.

Make some 3D "Rainbow" glasses.  Use cardboard shapes of glasses.  I had some I just copied onto card stock. Then give kids some red and blue permanent markers and have them color an "eye" shape that will fit over the glasses out of overhead clear acetate, 1 in blue and 1 in red. Then cut them out and tape them inside the glasses. If you need a tutorial I found one HERE. I've bought many 3D books over the years so it's fun to make these glasses on St. Patrick's Day. We ran out of time so we'll have to do them next week.

Another fun science I do is use my beakers and do some "color change" science. A fun experiment is using a bowl of milk and dropping 2 blobs of food coloring into the bowl in 4 different colors.  Then take a tiny speck of Dawn dish washing liquid on the end of a toothpick and stick it on the edge of the milk. It should show a fizzy chemical change. Then dot another far corner of the milk. Don't dot right into the food coloring.
Do it a few more times. You should have about 5 minutes of fizz in the experiment. It's really cool, easy, and cheap.

This is after about about 5 minutes and a few kids had bumped the bowl...

 It will start a chemical reaction that will "fizz" the milk. It's really a cool rainbow affect. The kids want to go nuts with the toothpick but don't let them or it ruins the effect. A tiny bit goes a long way and will make the reaction last longer if you stick it in one area of the bowl each minute and then watch and wait.

St. Patrick's Day Activities

 Another art I do some years is a cute leprechaun face. For beards and the hair I have the kids curl the strips of 1/2 inch construction paper around a marker so it will curl up like a Santa beard. The hat is green, then we add a 1 inch strip of black around for the ribbon and a yellow square for a buckle, and add glitter to it after school. Here is our finished bulletin boards.

We curl orange strips for beard and use orange crimped packaging for hair...

Lucky Leprechaun art....dots are stickers...
March  bulletin board.... Type up some poems or songs to go on the back...

Gotta love a leprechaun with a rainbow pot of gold.....the more glitter the better!

Handprint painting for the Leprechaun parent cards...
Look Mom! Here's our hands! (prints that is...)
A fun song  we sing  is L U C K Y and it is sung just like the B I N G O Song and tune.  I know a chap with a fuzzy beard and LUCKY is his name-O. (spell) Lucky, Lucky, Lucky and Lucky is his name-O. He hides his gold at the rainbow's end and Lucky is his name-O. Lucky Lucky, Lucky and Lucky is his name-O.
This would go great typed up on the back of our giant art leprechauns. I like to do art with poetry and sing or read it for shared reading time.  Happy St. Patties Day to you from me!  


My grand daughters in their "Lucky" shirts

Leprechaun Music and P.E. Games

We did St. Patrick's Day for 2 days this year. We spent the first day doing language arts and math activities. the 2nd day we did Science, P.E. and a fun Word Bingo game.  Here are the P.E. games we've done this whole week and some silly songs. This would go great typed up on the back of our math facts wheels we did for math. Too bad I didn't think of it till now. :D

A fun song  we sing  is L U C K Y and it is sung just like the B I N G O Song and tune.  I know a chap with a fuzzy beard and LUCKY is his name-O. (spell) Lucky, Lucky, Lucky and Lucky is his name-O. He hides his gold at the rainbow's end and Lucky is his name-O. Lucky Lucky, Lucky and Lucky is his name-O.

I found a cute teacher blog idea with a baggie of colored licorice and some gold coins for a cute leprechaun treat and the label toppers can be found in this LINK here and HERE at the It is what it is blog. I loved cute!

Leprechaun poems on our calendar wall...

Emma's workin on her math facts wheel...

P.E. Games
I'm in charge of P.E. for this month in the first grade so we will do a few fun games in the gym. One is called Hide the Shamrock. Cut out one shamrock shape. Hide it in the room. Have a chair in the center of the room. The children should look for the shamrock, then the first child to find the shamrock sits in the chair. The child in the chair then goes to get the shamrock, the other children hide their eyes and the child hides the shamrock, and the process is restarted.

More St. Patrick's Day Games

Another fun game is called Lucky Charms. It is played like "Fruit Basket". Have each student sit in a chair in a circle. Give each child a name 1. Horseshoes, Clovers, Hearts, Diamonds, Moons. Then have 1 child in the center call out one of the 5 shapes. All those kids that are that 1 shape have to switch places. The student in the middle goes to find one of the chairs. So there is 1 less chair and one will be the odd man out. They do the 2nd round by standing in the middle and calling out a new shape. If you call out Lucky Charms, all the kids change places. That's super fun. Only rule is you MUST move to a new chair you can't stay put.

Matt's writing his Happy St. Patrick's Day letter....

Song is sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot"

 A third game is 4 Corners. Get 2 of the Tropicana 1/2 gallons of orange juice and use them up and rinse them out.  Cut each of them off to look like the bottom is a square. Then slit the sides a little and push both bottoms together to make a cool looking cube. It will make a very sturdy DICE.

Fun St. Patrick's Day Games...

 Cover each of the 6 sides with green construction paper. Or use the colors of the rainbow; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.  Then I find a clip art of the Lucky Charms symbols;purple horseshoe, pink heart, orange star, yellow moons, green clovers, red hearts. Then tape them up to the sides real good with book tape. It will look kind of laminated.

Leprechaun game is laminated with lots of book tape....

The game is played just like 4 corners only I have the middle of the room be the 5th corner and the stage at school is the 6th corner (since the dice have 6 sides). I call out "Choose your corner!" and they go to one of the places and each is marked with a paper having corresponding picture to the dice side. One corner is purple diamond, one corner is pink heart, yellow moon, green horseshoe, etc. Then I roll the big dice. It is fun to watch it roll around before it stops. The picture showing on top is the group that is OUT! They take their places on the circle in the middle of the room and watch the action. It's a really fun game.

My daughter made this wonderful rainbow cake for her daughter's birthday.

Isn't it an amazing Rainbow cake? I had to include it...She is so amazing!

Here's my little Granddaughter Megan with her Birthday cake! So cute!

I hope you enjoyed our St. Patrick's Day activities!  Happy St. Patrick's Day! I hope you all find the pot of gold at the end of your rainbows.  Or just get a cool rainbow birthday cake this year.  : ()  

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