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.

Friday, September 15, 2017

August/September Bulletin Boards

YIKES! We are 5 weeks into the school year and I haven't shared the beginning of the year bulletin boards.
"This year will be T-rrific" features back to school books as well as school and class shirts.
"You'll shine this year" was made to celebrate the new school year and the solar eclipse.
 Greg is ready to rock out this school year!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I've Been Walking and Listening, But Not Sharing. Oops!

I've gotten lazy. Not lazy in my walking, that still happens 6 days a week, but I gotten lazy about sharing what I am listening to.

Here's a quick recap of what I've been walking to.

Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Harper Island

This is one of those books that just stays with you. It left me with a bazillion unanswered questions, ones that I ask every child who has read it what they think the answers are. While I desperately want answers, I really hope there isn't a sequel because what if the answers aren't what I think they are or want them to be.
Listen to this one!

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Listening Library

There have been years where I scratch my head and wonder why on earth a particular book won the Newbery Award. This book is NOT one of those. I get it, I loved it, it's perfect. Well, there was one description that made me want to throw-up, but it was worth it as I had built up such extreme hatred for this character I was thrilled that they finally got their due.

The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis

Warning: Walking while listening to this book is quite dangerous. All I wanted to do while walking was eat chocolate due to the most delicious chocolate descriptions. I am having a hard time keeping this book on the shelf as kids are fascinated with the idea of a dragon being turned into a girl all because of a food mage and a cup of hot chocolate.

Restart by Gordon Korman
Recorded Books

Imagine falling out of a window, surviving, yet having no idea who  your family and friends are and no recollection of how you used to treat others. Would your personality stay how it was pre-accident or would it completely change? Chase is experiencing just that and people are having a hard time figuring out if how he treats others now is genuine or if it is all just an act.
I loved the idea behind this and can't wait to start talking about kids about it (our copy just came in on Friday)

Upside Down Magic by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle and Emily Jenkins
Scholastic Audio

Kids are constantly asking me when the next book in this series is coming out, but I hadn't had a chance to listen to it. So when it was finally available via OverDrive I had to get it.
It's fun. It's light. It's entertaining.

Here are the pictures that I took while walking and listening to these books.

Kayaks on the wall while listening to Orphan Island
Plumerias just opening while listening to Wolf Hollow
Early morning walking and listening to The Dragon With A Chocolate Heart
Shadows while listening to Restart
Cool clouds while listening to Upside Down Magic