Thursday, October 31, 2013

BAT Acrostics and Stellaluna and Scarcity Activities from Reading Streets

Our Reading Streets selection this week was Scarcity. It wasn't one of my favs. But I found a few reader's theaters to help explain scarcity A reader's theater for Old Mother Hubbard is fun and explains scarcity really well. It can be found HERE at Very Short Mother Goose Tales.
Stellaluna Bat Handprint Art and Bat Acrostic Poetry 
We decided to do some other fairy tales too since these kids read so well. We did Hallowiener in a reader's theater that I found by Dave Pilkey  (whose friends were scarce) and then I read them Stellaluna (whose mom was scarce). We had this in a reader's theater too. (I collect love them).
There is only a week till Halloween so these books were fun to add to our Scarcity line-up. And we read all as a reader's theater. Every day was a new one. Kids love and get into reading with expression and since I have one table of kids read a part they try to outdo each other's tables groups. It's funny.
Bat Acrostics and Handprint Bat Art. 
Here at Learning to Give has a good diagram to show what we have to do when things get scarce in anybody's life. We will discuss when kids can donate things they have outgrown to thrift stores so people in need can go buy them for not a lot of money. They can also give away if they have extra things or money.

Many of the kids told how they pass down clothes to friends or cousins. We talked about times we had to do without when mom or dad were out of money or times we had to choose when we only had a certain amount of money and wanted more than we could buy. Or times when we felt lonely when friends were scarce (like Stellaluna).
Stellaluna Activities with Bat Art and Bat Acrostics 

Bat Acrostic Poetry 
I decided to keep with our writing non-fiction reports and chose to do them on Bats as a springboard from Stellaluna (since Halloween is around the corner). We started with a FACTUAL ACROSTIC POEM ON BATS.  I made a list of facts on the board as we read 2 Scholastic News Magazines on Bats and 2 non-fiction books.

Halloween Bats bulletin board 

Then we brainstormed facts we heard and wrote them down on sloppy copy paper. Then we came up with beginning words for sentences starting with B, A, T, and S.  They were quicker than I thought! HERE at First Grade Parade are some really cute ABC Order bat activities as a free download. Thanks 

The next day we added reports on the back of our acrostic BATS paper after reading 2 more non-fiction books and Stellaluna. By this time the kids heard repeats of many of the facts so had internalized a lot of them. Did you know the smallest bat is the Bumblebee bat and it is smaller than your pinkie finger? So cute! (well, not if it landed in my hair!). EEK! 

Bat Acrostic Poems 
Handprint bats 

Cute little Black Bat made from handprints! 

Here  is a comprehension test that goes well with the Scarcity story describing what Scarcity means HERE at Social Studies for Kids.  A review of the Scarcity story that was great I found Here at Mrs. Volak's Class. HERE are more of her activities.
We wrote BAT REPORTS on the back of the poetry paper. 

Brown Bat Acrostic 
Here I am in my Halloween costume with the bat bulletin board behind me. One of my mom helpers was also Jessie for Halloween! It was fun to compare notes on how we made them. 
Bat Acrostics and Handprint Bats 
We finished our BAT acrostics and BAT reports. And lookie at our cute little hand tracing BATS we made during ART!  I guess these are vampire bats noting all the red blood the boys colored on these poor little bat teeth, lol.

Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Jack and the Beanstalk Terrariums and Plants and Seeds


We were busy this week making terrariums out of 2 liter clear bottles. We had a couple of mom helpers cut them in half. (Thanks to Kam's mom and Nayantara's mom). It was pretty treacherous with just some scissors!  I pulled some ivy and creeping charlie out of my garden and placed them in water for a week hoping they would grow roots. I should have left them longer according to Mr. Moss. (He's more of a gardener than I am). But I looked online and ivy will grow pretty much from a cutting. We will see. So far so good! And the bishop's weed I pulled out from the roots. Everybody chose 2. I had some succulents too. 
Plants and Seeds Unit Activity was Making Terrariums out of a clear, 2 Liter Soda Bottle! 

Last Week we read the Jr. Great Book Jack and the Beanstalk.  And just for fun we read a different rendition of it in the form of a reader's theater, which is ALWAYS fun! Some retell picture cards to color I found are HERE at Sparklebox. Or you could make up your own titles (Jack and the potato plant,Jack and the Cornstalk, Jack and His Cow, etc.) That would be a hoot to write a creative story using Jack and the Beanstalk as a springboard!
I think they all are proud of their terrarium plantings. 
Some kids added shells to their soda bottle terrariums, to make them look even prettier! 
  Also At are some PUPPET FACES for acting out the parts in the reader's theater. HERE is a cute reader's theater of J and the B. And HERE is the one we used. This site has lots of reader's theaters. We will soon do The Little Red Hen in a few weeks  to go with The Bremen Town Musicians. It's coming up in a few weeks in our Reading Streets Anthology. 
I think the terrariums turned out pretty neat. It was easy thanks to my mom helpers! 
A couple of best friends and their terrariums from a 2 liter bottle. 
I think K loved doing this little science activity more than anybody else. She loved her terrarium! (notice the pride on her face). She would only put in one plant because she added some veggie seeds to hers and wasn't sure they would have enough room to grow. I hope she isn't expecting a bean stalk! :)

After reading the Jr. Great Book version of Jack and the Beanstalk, We each wrote out a question to ask the class.  We had a big discussion about how honest Jack was, and if the Giant's wife was nice or not, (lots of argument on that one!) or why nobody comes down the beanstalk? We are trying to write rich, thought provoking questions good for discussions. AND, We are learning to look in the story for "evidence".
These girls loved making terrariums too. 

I think they were excited to take their terrariums and plant journals home this week! 
We are also trying to learn to find the "main idea" in stories. At Brainpop I found a powerpoint on how to find the main idea. So we looked at that and practiced it on the Scholastic News on "Bats". They had some questions on Main Idea on the back. It was a pretty easy one and the students all got it. 
My class is so cute. We are all wearing red because it was red ribbon week! 
Alas, even though we had 102 red items we wore, we still didn't win for class with the most red!! 
Some fun color and sequence cards to go with the story are HERE at Sparklebox. These could also be made into a retelling book to add some sentences to. HERE at are some easy reader's theaters to try. 

There is also a crossword puzzle of Jack and the Beanstalk at this link from ABC teach.  It was a fun activity for my kids to do after reading the story and acting out the reader's theater. My students loved doing it. 

Clear 2 liter bottles make pretty good terrariums. I was thinking if I wanted to really seal them up I could have wrapped the seam in some 2 inch book tape, but all of the kids wanted to water their plants! Oh well. 
Close up of our terrariums 
 A good step by step how to is found at this link to Teaching Tiny Tots HERE. 
We added some rocks to the bottom, then about 3 inches of good potting soil, then the plants, and topped it with rocks again (and a few pellets of plant food). 
TERRARIUMS (using empty 2 liter bottles)

 A good book to read is  From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons to start the plant unit. She is a master of children's science books.

 2 Liter bottle terrarium instructions HERE

Another fun planting activity I've done in the past is doing "Sprout Houses" in a zip lock baggie. That's what we did last year. I pass out Lima bean seeds that have been soaking overnight. Then I pass out wet cotton balls. A link to a fun lesson plan using Lima beans is HERE at A to Z Teacher Stuff. 

We use the Lima beans as our seeds for our sprout houses which are another kind of terrarium. Tape them up against a window for light. Watch what happens in a week!  I really like the kids to plant radishes when we've done plantings in a clear plastic cup because they come up within about 2 to 3 weeks and you can see the roots growing.
Wet Lima Beans and cotton balls in a ziplock baggie make cute Sprout Houses. 
MUSIC  (use percussion instruments) 
A Seed Needs (To the tune of "Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay" )  
I see you are a seed,
Tell me what DO you need?
I need some soil to grow,
And then the sun to glow,
Water to make me wet,
Air for my leaves to get,
Space for my roots to spread,
I'll make your flower bed!

by: Iram Khan

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Sunflower House by Eve Bunting
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel
Jack in the Beanstalk by Stephen Kellogg
POEMS  I always look for a poem to put on the back of art to sing or read together for shared reading. This is a great one for the backs of our puffy pumpkins we made out of orange butcher paper. Thanks mom helpers for coming to help us cut out our orange pumpkins for stuffing. See them HERE.  .
We made the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin too. Check those out HERE.  The Halloween Jack-o-Lanters stuffed with newspaper. The lifecycles and seed songs were on the back.

Then we wrote the stages of the pumpkin life cycle out as a sequencing writing. 
CELERY SCIENCE EXPERIMENT - We did THIS experiment at teaching tiny tots too. Here are some pictures after the weekend. We added red and blue food coloring (thanks to Brooke's mom for the food coloring) to 2 stalks of celery in 2 jars and watched to see what would happen. 
Celery and food coloring experiment - you can see the celery turned red (left) and blue (right) at the tips of the leaves! 
We talked about what would happen to plants if people put pollution items in lakes and streams like oil, paint and car fluids and it went downstream and plants used that water to survive.  We decided the plants might get sick. We wrote about it in our plant journals. I also had shrunk down some 8 1/2 x 11 worksheets on all kinds of plant topics and made the kids Plants and Seed Journals. 

Our Plant and Seed Journals had lots of interesting activities in them like labeling plants, writing out what part of the plant we eat, crosswords, fill in the blanks, and this celery experiment.


A fun MATH ACTIVITY designing a garden for Frog and Toad for their 24 plants can be found HERE at birdville.k12. It is a math exemplar which are great math problems to solve that are challenging and fun. I will give the kids a page of clip art plants to color with 6 of each plant and they will choose the number of plants  and their own totals to map out a garden "array".  The book is called Frog and Toad Together  by Arnold Lobel. The chapter is called The GardenHERE at Virtual Vine  are some other Frog and Toad activities like compound words which are great to print. 

Here are some pictures of multiplication arrays we've done after reading Jack and the Beanstalk. 
Making Multiplication Arrays with vegetables in rows and columns. 
 I turned it into a lesson on "arrays" and multiplication. They lined their garden veggies up and multiplied the "rows" times the "columns" of veggies. Here are a few finished ones.  Some did larger arrays and some just did 2 x 4. So it is a great lesson for differentiation with that open ended aspect to it. I also modeled one on the board and wrote in "column 1, column 2 and Row 1, Row 2 etc. So they labeled their columns and rows. Everybody did their totals a little differently.

Parts of the Plant Magnet Center Idea....

This idea was taken from a Red Butte Garden docent that came into my 2nd grade classroom and did this magnetic parts of a plant one year. I loved it so much I made one that very day!  I  have the parts of a yellow sunflower plant I made up and laminated and put magnets on the backs of all the pieces, along with the labels that I place out at the magnet center. Kids love to put the flowers together and label them. The other magnet center (on filing cabinet sides) has pictures of parts of plants we eat and what type it is (root, leaf, flower/fruit, stem etc.)

  I hope you enjoyed my plant and seed unit! It's been a very popular one with the kiddos! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Life Cycles

No nose is good nose. 

Life Cycle Youtube.  
Our district just adopted the Reading Streets Language Arts program last year. So last year was the first time reading all the literature stories. We didn't realize in October that this book LIFE CYCLE OF A PUMPKIN would end up in order being read in February. Too bad, because it would go better in the fall when pumpkins are everywhere. So this year I switched it up.

Puffy 3D Pumpkin Jack o Lanterns we made along with reading the story Life Cycle of a Pumpkin. 
Then we wrote a sequencing retell of the Pumpkin Life Cycle. 
HERE are slides  to show to start the unit too. Since my art project will have 6 PICTURES for the stages, I like these slides because they go along well for sequencing the stages of a pumpkin life cycle. Also HERE are Life Cycle Picture Cards from I will put magnets on the back and the pumpkin life cycle at the magnet center for the week. Along with that I have jack o lantern addition magnetic pumpkins I made up last year.        

Our Pumpkin seed Life Cycles
On the back is the stages of a pumpkin life cycle. 
 HERE at  Printables A to Z is the cute pumpkin project and printable that I'm using in my classroom so kids can do a pumpkin life cycle in a different, artistic way. Instead of the flat pumpkin I'll do a 3D "puffy" pumpkins from orange butcher paper folded, stapled and stuffed with newspapers.

With white string attaching these little circular life cycle pictures to trail behind the pumpkin, it will be a cute project. Then kids put "Jack-o-lantern" faces on them for a Halloween Bulletin Board for October. I copied these songs off on paper put 2 on a page and gave each student one to glue on the back of their pumpkins. We sang the songs when everyone was done with their art. HERE is the link to the 2 songs sung to Wheels on the Bus.
Some of the 3D puffy pumpkins had eyelashes, and some had mustaches. 
Pumpkin life cycle retell.- the stationery is from Oceans of First Grade Fun.  
I started with about 4 feet of orange butcher paper and folded it in half. Then I cut out 1 foot pumpkins freehand in different shapes with the paper doubled. Then I stapled it all around with about 8 staples in each one just on the edges, but left about 5 inches unstapled at the top for kids to stuff their own with newspapers. Then mom helpers came and did the rest since I have 30 students. We each did about 7 or 8 and it took about 20 minutes. A card game that looked fun I found at TPT HERE and a minibook HERE,

Halloween Jack o Lanterns and Life Cycles of a Pumpkin. I loved the ninja in the middle done by Ivan. Very creative. 
I showed the kids these faces up on the document camera and left them up as we did our art. Then I gave them each a 1/4 sheet of black construction paper. They  did their own thing for the faces. They turned out pretty cute and unique. 
All but 2 of the kids had the whole sequence down perfectly. I liked that they understood the flower dies and what is left is a little green pumpkin bud. 
 Then the kids came up and "chose" their pumpkin from the "pumpkin patch" which was really my countertop...haha. We had tall skinny ones, short fat ones, wide ones, tiny ones, you name it.
3D Pumpkin Art projects....on the back we glued the songs we sang.  
We stuffed them with newpaper balls and stapled around them. Then we put a green "vine" on the top and curled it around our pencils and stapled the "vines" inside the stuffing hole at the top.

Then I gave each child a 1/4 piece of black construction paper (6 inches x 8 inches about). They used this for eyes, nose, mouth, eyebrows, mustaches, whatever they wanted. We even had a "NINJA" faced pumpkin!!
Life Cycle of a Pumpkin art project and sequencing retell. It made a cute Halloween bulletin board. 

Life Cycle of a pumpkin - string with the life cycle attached....we taped these to the backs of our pumpkin art. 
Hey Jack! Have you seen my nose? I can't smell anything! 
 Lastly we colored the life cycle circles and attached them folded over onto to a 2 foot piece of string and then taped this string to the back of the pumpkins. We put the seeds on the outermost edge of the string and the small orange pumpkins next to the artsy, big, orange, stuffed pumpkins. . Last thing we did was glue on a real pumpkin seed on top of the paper "seed" circular picture.
This is the other side of our Life Cycle of a pumpkin....the orange pumpkin end is taped to the large 3D orange, puffy pumpkin.
MUSIC we sang these and then glued them on the back of our pumpkins. 

Oh, A Plant Needs Lots of Things, (sung to the tune of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain”) 
                                    Oh, a plant needs lots of things so it can grow.
                                    Oh, a plant needs lots of things so it can grow.
                                    It needs water, seeds, and light,
                                    And some soil that is just right,
                                    Oh, a plant needs lots of things so it can grow.
                                    Oh, a plant needs sunlight and a lot of rain.
                                    Oh, a plant needs sunlight and a lot of rain.
                                    It needs warmth and soil and air,
                                    And it needs gentle care,
                                    Oh, a plant needs sunlight and a lot of rain.

Another song is HERE at dtlk. Sing to the tune of Jimmy Crack Corn.

 Another song I found HERE at loving2learn you can sing to Row, Row, Row Your Boat. 

For a writing assignment I had them retell the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin with this stationery from Oceans of First Grade Fun. She had a few other cute worksheets too. I . All but 2 kids out of 30 rewrote the stages perfectly so I think making a lifecycle AND reading about a pumpkin life cycle helped in the background knowledge for writing a sequenced retell. A cute cut and paste you could add too for fast finishers is HERE. A cute one for younger kids I found HERE at TPT  HERE are activities and writing papers for life cycles of all sorts. All these are free downloads!! Thanks guys!

Another idea I liked but decided not to use was HERE  at First Pallette. It is a cute pumpkin craft that the kids could glue their stages of a pumpkin life cycle to. It makes a cute 3D pumpkin to set on desks.

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons
Pumpkin, Pumpkin by Jeane Titherington
From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons
Jack in the Beanstalk by Stephen Kellogg

One of my favorite books that my own children loved was The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. It goes through the plant cycle in a really fun way that kids will enjoy.

READING other literature on Pumpkins...    From Seed to Pumpkin Pfeffer, Wendy/ Hale, James Graham (ILT) 1 of 1
A printable HERE at Preschool Alphabet I used for a minibook I blew up bigger on art paper and the kids colored and cut out the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin. I liked the "vine" vocabulary on it and that it grows a "green" pumpkin  after the flower dies off.  So I chose this one to use. We also read a few science books on how Pumpkins Grow.
Pumpkin Pumpkin
HERE at Scholastic are lists of fun Pumpkin activities for math, science and social studies. It also had a cute poem about 5 little pumpkins sitting on a gate. 

This is a radish time elapsed video that goes for 2 minutes with some very entertaining music behind it. The roots can be seen through the clear glass container and some aphids show up at the end with a pulled radish root vegetable at the end. I like that I can teach the kids that some are root veggies, some are tree and vine fruits, and some are stem/stalk and leaf veggies. We could make a large anchor chart or poster about which kinds of fruits and veggies fall under each type.

ROOTS WE EAT- potatoes, radishes, carrots, turnips, rutabaga
STEMS WE EAT - rhubarb, celery, asparagus
FLOWERS WE EAT - broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes
LEAVES WE EAT - lettuce, spinach, cabbage,collard greens, mustard greens, chives
SEEDS WE EAT - corn, peas, rice, wheat

A great set of printable worksheets for a lesson on the parts of the plants we eat can be found HERE at Oklahoma 4H. The kids loved the matching activity and there are always some surprised kids when they learn what part the the plant corn and carrots are!

We saved 2 liter bottles and brought them into class. It took us a month to get 31 (enough for everybody!) 
Making a Terrarium from a 2 Liter Soda Bottle (clear)
I've never done this before this year but I've always wanted to. So I asked for parents to collect soda bottles the first day of school in my welcome letter. It took a month to get all 30 of them.
Then mom helpers and I cut them all in half. We filled them with a little gravel in the bottom of each 2 liter bottle and then 3 inches of potting soil.

 Lastly we will plant a few seeds  and a tiny piece of ivy from my side yard. (Thanks to the hubs for this service project!!) The kids will put them together and put the lids on after we add some foliage and maybe little plastic frogs.  HERE is a link to a tutorial on terrariums. We should be done with them in a few days.
Plant terrariums from 2 liter bottles...they turned out great! 

Each child added 2 seeds to their terrariums along with some ivy and succulents and some other clippings from my garden. 

We topped them with a little gravel. These terrariums were great to go with the Plant Unit. 


Moffatt Girls at Teacher's Notebook designed 20 fun math games packet that is free and downloadable for FALL! It has scarecrow math games to fall leaf themed dice and domino games, number handwriting and other fun stuff.  There is a ROLL A PUMPKIN dice game I added larger numbers to and on the directions I added roll 3 dice and ADD. What a fun mini-unit this turned out to be! Happy Fall ya'll! 

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