Saturday, March 29, 2014

April Reading!

I'm joining Jen from Teacher by the Beach for her Spring Themed Books Linky: April Books.

In our classroom, we love books. When I say love, I mean LOVE - in all caps, bold, italicized, and underlined. 

We have hundreds upon hundreds of books in our classroom library. My kiddos know that I will buy a book like I'm buying my weekly (okay, who's kidding who here… my DAILY) Starbucks coffee! I just can't risk passing up something that interests my students.

We're currently working on a poetry unit in our classroom during our ITBS (Iowa) Testing this week and next week. It's actually going to continue for another extra week because my kiddos are truly enjoying it. On top of that, April is National Poetry Month. Therefore, I HAD to get some poetry books for our classroom. So, I just ordered poetry books to add to our classroom library collection!

Then, in Science class, we're talking about resources (renewable, nonrenewable, and reusable) along with the different types of soil, pollution, and ways to help our environment. It's all about resources, my friends! Therefore, I had to buy a few books for the classroom to get these topic ideas across!

Our two favorites out of all the books are, "Dirt: The Scoop on Soil" and "Where Does the Garbage Go?" The dirt book got the idea that there are several different types of dirt in our environment that make up the ground we walk on. The different layers represent different things.

But, the garbage book made a LARGE impact on them. Inside the story, it talks about recycling for a majority of the book. This opened my students minds on how to help the environment in more than one way using reduce, reuse, and recycle. It lead to a GREAT conversation so I highly recommend it!

Our next topic we'll be starting in Science class that they ALL are so excited about is Space. This covers the planets, the facts about the planets, our moon and it's facts, along with constellations. They will be doing quite a few projects during this topic in Science class, so any kind of book that I can use to help out, believe me, I bought it!

Finally, I have to share one of my favorite springtime books to read - I bought it while I was doing my 2nd grade internship about 2 1/2 years ago and I still love it.

It's called "Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms." If you're from the North, like me, and have moved to the South, like me, this book brings back all those snowy memories. While I am glad I didn't have the Winter that the North had this year, it still makes me miss the snow flurries… but, this is a different kind of snow in the book :) You'll have to read it to find out!

I love books and my kiddos do, too. They read ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes, it's me making them read. Other times, they ASK to read.

I'll tell ya… I rearranged our room yesterday to where all desks are on the outside of the room and there's a LARGE space in the middle now. At the end of our crazy day yesterday, I had the students read after they were done.

I walked over to help a student that was still working on the assigned classwork before they could read and I looked in front of me. EVERY. SINGLE. CHILD. had a book in their hands and were actually reading it. They were all so intrigued and involved in their books that they looked up for nothing. Until, of course, I told them it was my favorite sight to see in the whole wide world and one asked, "Oh, so you don't like to see our faces?" :) My witty children… but boy, do I love them!

So, have you bought or borrowed any books lately?? Sound off in the comments below about some of YOUR favorite April reads! I'd love to hear them :) Then, go link up with Miss Jen for her linky, Spring Themed Books Linky: April Reads!

Have a good day, y'all!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Hands-On Science Project

Hey there!
Welcome to the 2nd installment of the Bright Ideas Blog Hop! There are roughly 185 bloggers participating this round and I KNOW for a fact that there are some more fantastic ideas. That's what's great about teachers… we're full of ideas!

So, you saw my title says hands-on science project.

Well, in our 3rd grade classroom, we're learning all about landforms and the water cycle. To make the landform concept more concrete for my own students, I had them complete a landform Play-Doh project.
This activities allowed for the abstract concept of a variety of landforms to become hands-on and more visually THERE… especially for those students that haven't seen an archipelago or a volcano besides in a picture. It's almost as though the landforms were in their own backyards!
The only materials needed for this project were some sort of cardboard box for the base (I used post office boxes I had in my spare room from another project) and some Play-Doh. I'll be honest - I spent quite a bit of time trying to find the perfect colors for the project but then found a box of colors that had anything from pink to black to orange to green.
As you can see in some of the pictures, there are pink islands, red and yellow mountains, and a variety of other mismatched landforms to what they are typically colored. My students understood that there really aren't pink islands, orange mountains (well… if you count Arizona soil/dirt, then it would be red/orange!), and so forth.
Regardless, my students had a blast and wanted to do another topic in Play-Doh. I'm constantly trying to find ways to keep my students engaged and involved in their education, and this project… well, it was a home run!
Excuse the glue bottle and the Zoobreak book… the were gluing their labels on to their landforms so that I could tell which landform was what. They loved it!

What kinds of hands-on activities do you do in your classrooms? Even if it's not in Science, I'd love to hear about the projects!

But, now - what about storage?? What teacher doesn't need EXTRA storage for all their junk… er, I mean learning tools… in their classroom? Lydia from Owl Be in Kindergarten has a FANTASTIC post on finding that space in the tiniest of ways (and one of the cutest and easiest DIY ways). Head on over to her blog post by clicking her button below.
Owl Be In Kindergarten
And if you'd prefer to just hop from one topic to another instead of from blog to blog, feel free to check out the linky below! There are two separate linkies - one for "K through 2nd" and one for "3rd and up". Each person that has linked up has linked up by their BLOG POST title - not their specific blog! So, it's much easier to find JUST what you need. But, I suggest going from blog to blog because you'll find FANTASTIC ideas! :)

Happy Hopping!

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