Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dot Day With the First Graders

The first graders and I have been having so much fun celebrating Dot Day that we spent 4 cycles on it!
Cycle One: We started talking about Peter Reynolds, learning about his life, discovering things about his books and talking about his love of writing and illustrating. While we watched a video of him illustrating from Kid Lit TV called Ready, Set, Draw-Ish. As we were watching him create, the kids started talking amongst themselves about his art and were blown away by what he was making after having only started with a single sharpie dot. I decided right then and there that we needed to try and create like Peter Reynolds!

Cycle Two: We got out our sharpies and all drew a dot. There were big dots, little dots, single dots, multiple dots, centered and off-centered dots. Then we got our watercolors and just saw where our dots would take us. It was amazing and so much fun! No two pictures were remotely alike which blew my mind. Here's just a small sample of what they made.
Cycle Three: We went on a Dot Hunt! We went all over the K-1 Neighborhood looking for dots. The kids searched high and low and found dots of all sizes and in places I would never have thought to look. Once we were done hunting, they had to narrow their pictures down to their two favorites.

Cycle Four: After talking about descriptive words, the students had to chose some that would describe their dots. Once chosen, the students went into Book Creator and began creating a page in our Dot Poem.
I'll post the finished books are soon as we are done, but here's a sneak peek.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Dot Day With The Kindergartners!

After reading The Dot the kindergarteners and I got right to painting, creating dots of all shapes and sizes.  We created 2 giant dot murals and some dot bookmarks.

Supplies Needed: Giant rolls of butcher paper, q-tips, corks, paint, paint brushes and cardstock paper

Day one of mural painting: the children were able to make dots of any size. After seeing how large some of them had made their dots, I began to worry that we wouldn't be able to fit 150 different children's dots on the 2 murals. I was also worried that they would cover over someone else's dot. What I also hadn't expected was how hard it was for some of them to paint or create a circle.
Day Two: Seeing how much space had been covered yesterday, I made a rule that the students could not create a dot bigger than their hand and that they couldn't make a dot on someone else's dot. At the end of that day I began to panic and saw there was no way all the students's dots would fit.

Day Three and Four: I decided to draw circles on all the parts of the mural that hadn't already been covered. I did so to make sure we'd have enough space for at least 50 more kids to create dots without them covering over someone else's. This worked beautifully and I wish I had done it from the start. Plus, this helped those who were having difficulty creating a circle. By the end, our butcher paper was covered in dots and was hung in the library.
 Day 5 and 6: With our mural completely out of room on the mural for anymore dots, I had to move onto Plan B. I decided to have the remaining 50 kids create dot bookmarks. They had just as much fun as the kids who had created the mural and even better, they got to take it home.
Even though we had some bumps in the road, we had a blast celebrating Dot Day!

Dot Day With The Fourth Graders!

Every year the kids and I grow more and more in love with Dot Day. This year I decided to super size it with the 4th graders and we spent 3 cycles celebrating this amazing book, creating art and riddles and connecting with new friends across the United States

Cycle One: Since the students are so familiar with the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds, we decided to take a more Ish route this year. After reading the book, we created our own Ish art. Our tool, paint and q-tips. Their pictures were amazing and are all hanging up in our very own Ish gallery.


Cycle Two: When we Skype with Janet Bass in Oklahoma each year for Dot Day she has her students share with us some Dot Day riddles. I decided this year that we would write our own to share with those we Skyped with. The students came up with some great dot shaped/rounded items they wanted to write poems about and off we went!
Here are some of what they came up with. Can you guess the answers?

You can cover me up in a blanket of cheese
You can smear me with sauce, as much as
     you please
Cover me in different toppings cuz you're the boss
Throw me in the air with a gigantic big toss
The red dots on my belly can be quite spicy
Some people prefer to eat me icy
What am I?

I'm tilted and spin around and around
I'm under your toes and life's all around
I'm mostly blue and green with some white and some brown
When you litter on me, I frown
What am I?

I'm round and I'm brown
I don't grow on the ground
My inside is sweet
I'm used to make a tasty treat
My inside has meat and water
I am heavy yet I float on the water
My water tastes different than what you’d
So give me some respect
You can use me in many different ways
For food, drink or fire every day
What am I?

Cycle Three: We began to connect with new friends across the United States.

The Shooting Stars kicked the week off by meeting with Denise Shekleton's students is Iowa. We shared our riddles, as well as the book Dot by Patricia Intriago. We brainstormed our own dot opposites but looked at it as Hawaii vs. Iowa. We are working on the illustrations to go with this, which we will turn into our own book. I'll share it here as soon as we are done.
Here's a small sampling of the students made our own end.

The Traveler's had a chance to meet with Ms. Etheridge's class in Texas. They shared a "Top Ten Things You Should Know About Texas" list after we had a mystery Skype. We learned so much about Texas and shared with them a top ten list about Hawaii in return. 
Ms. A's class shared some of our Dot Day riddles with their new friends and they showed us some of the dots they had created. After the Skype we created bookmarks for them and are looking forward to receiving the ones they made for us.
The Fantastic Foxes met with Ms. Bery's class in Massachusetts. We had so much fun with our mystery Skype and sharing our riddles.
The Reid Runners met with Ms. Bass' Pre-K students in Oklahoma. They shared some dot riddles with us that were all based on fun and games. Some of them were so hard! We then shared our riddles with them and were thrilled that they were able to guess some.
The students in Mr. H's class read Sky Color to one of Ms. Rosenbaum's art classes to help them figure out why they had painted a sky earlier without being able to use any blue. Mr. M's class did a mystery Skype with Ms. Zimmerman's class in Denver.
Thank you to everyone who we Skype with during our Dot Day celebrations! We sure had fun meeting you and learning from you.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Water Themed Literature Circles With the Explorers

I am super excited because this year I am able to spend more time in the kindergarten and first grade classrooms! One of the things we have started to do is  literature circles which is a great way for us to not only discuss amazing books but to also have those books lead us to wonderings and further discovery.

My dear friend and kindergarten teacher R.D. asked if we could start doing literature circles with her students around the theme of water. We divided the class into 3 groups and each teacher shared a different book with their small group.  R.D. shared The Ocean Story by John Seven with her group and M.W. shared Follow the Water From Brook to Ocean by Arthur Dorros. I was super excited to share Ice Boy by David Ezra Stein. If you aren't familiar with this book it is a great way to introduce the water cycle with your students in a humorous way.

As we were reading the book the students began to make connections with the story. They also began to wonder . 
At the end the students each chose the thing that they were most curious about. It was those wonderings that led us to what we would do the next time we met.
We also brainstormed how we would find the answers to those wonderings.
When we met the following week we focused on 4 of their wonderings. 
1. How do we make salt water?
2. How does the ocean get salty?
3. Does salt water freeze?
4. Can ice be flavored?
We started off by making salt water because we needed to get it into the freezer to see if it would freeze. Taste testing along the way was very important as they kids didn't think we could make it as salty as the ocean. 
After we popped the salt water in the freezer, we had to figure out how salt really gets into the ocean because we knew realized it wasn't likely it was made how we made it. After discovering how it gets salty, some the kids really wanted to go outside and collect rocks, pour water over them and try to make saltwater that way, others thought that sounded gross. We moved onto taste testing ice since the kids were split on whether or not ice could be flavored. I had 4 different ices prepared: blue food colored water, apple juice, watermelon juice and lemon juice.

 The kids were able to guess all the different flavors and had so much fun tasting them, some  flavors were more popular than others. They couldn't believe ice could be made out of anything liquid.
A few hours later the kids and I went back to the freezer to check on out ice. They couldn't believe their eyes, the saltwater wasn't frozen! We then talked about why it hadn't, which led to further wonderings.
The kids and I are super excited for our next meeting to see where our wonderings take us.