Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Acrostic Poems and Snowflake Snowman Art

My favorite form of poetry is ACROSTIC POETRY. It is easy and a good critical thinking skill to get kids to brainstorm lists of W words having to do with winter.
  It is always funny when somebody says something off the wall, like Winnie the Pooh, for a W word on our Acrostic Poetry brainstorm. We all have a good laugh. 

 Then we move on to I words, then N words on the board as the kids help by brainstorming and I will help by calling out generic words like "In, Nobody, White" etc.

Word Bank of January Words - I put up a new one each month. It
really reduces the "Teacher how do you spell....?" questions a lot! 

It's fun to then choose a favorite word from the lists we have made and come up with a sentence telling about your own favorite parts of winter. 
 As you can see, they all write about what THEY love about winter....or DON'T love....as the case may be.
 After writing our Winter Acrostic Poems, we make snowmen out of cut snowflakes and white paint stamped snowflakes and colored paper hats and scarves, with colored dot stickers for buttons.
    Winter.Acrostics and Snowflake Snowmen.....
Snowman Art using snowflakes is really a pretty bulletin board outside our classroom for January. 
After everybody has the WIN of winter, we move to T words, then E words then R words. I write them as a LIST under each letter so it's easy for the kids to choose a word to start with. 

After writing our Winter Acrostic Poems, we make snowmen out of cut snowflakes and white paint stamped snowflakes and colored paper hats and scarves, with colored dot stickers for buttons. 

 Here are our finished Winter Acrostic Poems on our bulletin board. Super cute.

    Well, the snowmen are really cute too!

I have a huge collection of Winter Books and Stories; non fiction and fiction that fill my bookcase. Here
are just a few of my favorites. 
We sing Songs about Snowmen too. Here is one to the tun of Itsy Bitsy Spider.
 Last year we did Penguin Acrostic Poems with footprint Penguin Art....
Here is the Footprint and thumbprint penguins painted black on blue paper. I added glitter glue stars afterwards. They 
These stickers are really cute to add to the writing projects we do. I love them! 
And here are our PENGUIN ACROSTIC POEMS....They were really cute too. 
 Penguin Footprint Art with baby thumbprint penguins too. This one took a LONG TIME to finish because I had to paint with the kids practically 1 on 1. So this year we did tear art penguins with penguin stories. They are almost done.

I have literally dozens of penguin books in my  classroom library. I love all of the Tacky the Penguin ones especially. 

My favorite Penguin Children's Book of all Time. I try to do "Text Sets" of non-fiction books AND story books on the same topics or themes.

The they make their own sentences and we try to add an adjective to each of them. They always turn out beautiful and wintery sounding.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Martin Luther King Dreams

I have a black and white big book I read the kids every year near MLK's birthday. It depicts real time pictures of how things were in the 50s in kid language, with pictures of Rosa Parks, signs of segregated bathrooms, schools and lunch counters, actual photos, and I ask over and over, "do you think this seems fair?" and I am always amazed how adamant the kids are that it is not. And I always wonder, "Why weren't the leaders of the day not aware?"
After we read and discuss the pictures we try to come up with ideas of how we (the voice of 1) would also change the world for the better, like MLK did, without violence.
And once again I am always amazed how they come up with such wonderful ideas and thoughts. It is my favorite assignment of writing the entire year. It gives me hope for the future...sniff....sniff...
Being kind to animals was one theme that got repeated as well as keeping our world clean.....
Then we do a directed drawing creating a portrait of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Red White and Blue
with the American flag in the background and some fireworks too. It always turns out so darling. 

Here are some other books I have amassed through the years to share with the kids. We also save every Weekly Reader and Scholastic News on the subject I get, and we read those as a class for background knowledge.....
I never have to encourage more writing on this assignment. The kids just go at it. It is a very emotional topic even for little kids when they find out such a good, peaceful man was assassinated senselessly. Here is our hallway bulletin board. We add the blue poem at the top as a caption. 
  There is so much one voice can accomplish.....we learn this from Dr. King.  I LOVE this one....so articulate....many had thoughts about cleaning up the environment and about gangs
And this one....."I have something to say to the world!" It gives me hope for our leadership of tomorrow with little kids like this today.....

More books on Dr. King in Kid language. Click on any of them to order.....
Being treated fairly, not littering, being kind and helping the poor were common threads.....
No more violence or killing was another common thread. It almost breaks my heart that kids know so much about our world and some of the things we wish we could shelter them from.....
You will love reading these....I always do. I smile and I sniff through them all. What a great job I have. I honor MLK every year and thank him for making schools like mine better today. We all look around our multicultural classroom and we all know this is a great place to go to school. :D We are so lucky.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Salt Crystals Experiments

We did this fun experiment in our classroom last week and let the crystals grow for a week. It was fun and it goes along with our unit on Rocks and Minerals. Here are some samples of our cool Salt Crystals experiment.

I used a briquette and then we cut little evergreen tree shapes out of cardstock and glued them on bowls next to the briquettes. Then we added solution and food coloring to both. And let them sit for a few days. This is after about 2 days.
We sent home the directions for our experiments too. We also looked at salt crystals and sugar crystals under viewers on black paper and did some Water Jelly Crystal experiments too. Fun!

I have this book in my class. I tell the kids all about this old timer photographer who took old fashioned photos
of snowflakes and proved that no 2 were exactly alike when their crystals formed. I also have a copy of
his book, where he photographed hundreds of snowflakes. It was interesting to share. Our crystals kind of look like snow or snowflakes.
This one turned out the prettiest with all the colors of the rainbow and some pretty good growth. All the kids made one and took it home.  

I searched for lots of experiment ideas on the internet for this newly developed unit. I've not had to teach rocks before. But I think we learned a lot about them.  Check out my 3 Types of Rocks Flapbooks we made too. They are cool.
Here they are ready to take them home after a week. They looked pretty cool. We talked about gems 
and crystals and how they are found in metamorphic rocks which are under a lot of heat and pressure. That's how
diamonds and many expensive gem jewels are made. 
 This was right after we had mixed the solution and added food coloring to our salt crystals experiment. It is salt, ammonia and laundry bluing.
Here they are after about 24 hours....lots of stuff growing and a little liquid still left..... We just left them on the
counter and kids could view them several times a day. Everybody had their own. 
Here they are after a weekend....a few still had some sediments in the bottom.
 But most of them were purely crystals by then....really interesting to see all the different colors and formations.....

This salt crystal formation was really freaky looking. Lea ended up with a really pretty purple and blue one. I think they look a lot more interesting growing on the cardstock "tree" instead of on the charcoal briquette. Next year I think we will do trees in a clear cup. That would be maybe better for transporting home too. 
Check these flap books out HERE. There is also a cool video on The Rock Cycle check it out!  HERE.
It was a fun bunch of experiments. We still have to do the layers of the earth in clay. That will be our last bit of the ROCK UNIT. It's been such a cool earth science unit to study. The kids learned A LOT! 

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