Sunday, November 27, 2011

Science Experiment ~ Mayflower Freebie!

It's hard to believe it is already time to go back to school.  I've had a wonderful break and wanted to post about an experiment my class did before the break.  Since our school is a K-5 elementary, I was able to get together with one of our 5th grade teachers to plan an activity involving both her 5th grade class and my 1st grade class.  We began by learning a little bit about the Mayflower and toured the ship online, learning about various sections of the ship. 

The experiment we decided to try with our 5th grade buddies is by no means an original idea, but actually came from Deanna Jump and her Simple Science Volume 1 packet.  I purchased this packet and tweaked the activity a little to fit our needs.  This experiment originally was to be used with the book In 1492 by Jean Marzollo, but since we were approaching Thanksgiving we focused on the Mayflower. 

After discussing the huge ship, the passengers, the cargo and everything the large ship held, it made us wonder how does this boat stay afloat?  Students then went back to stations where they were given a ball of clay, a tub of water and a recording sheet.  The first thing students did was drop the ball of clay in the water and record what happened.

Students did predict that the clay would sink and many students had the same conclusion... the ball of clay sank!  Now it was time to think about how they could turn the clay into a sailing ship.  Could they make this ball of clay float?  Students thought of a design and began shaping the clay with the help of their 5th grade buddies.  It took several tries before finally we began to hear shouts of "Our ship is floating!"

Everyone was so excited to look around at their neighbor's ship to see what theirs looked like. 

The 5th graders were just "helpers" in this activity, but they were so encouraging to my first graders and allowed them to think about this experiment.  It was so great to look around and see the level of engagement of all students. 

The experiment had really just begun, because once students got their ship to sail, they must now see how many bear counters it can hold (and record their information).  Let's just say it became a little bit of a competition.

This ship only held about three bears.  But the next ship held much more.

And some learned just how many their ship could hold before it started to sink.

Once students had recorded all their information, they cleaned up their area and then went to buddy read around the room until all students were finished.  I think they enjoyed this as much as the experiment!

Once everything was cleaned up and put away, we came together again and each partner was able to share with our group just how many bears their ship held.  We had punched out some bear dicuts that we wrote the number of bears on for each partner and placed on a large bar graph based on the amount of bears.  I was so caught up in the lesson, I forgot to get a picture of this.  I can tell you though, that the largest number of bears a ship could hold was 23!  We were all amazed! 

I made a recording sheet to go with this activity to include more writing space for my first graders.  It is a freebie and click on the image to get your sailing ships experiment recording sheet.

Overall this was an excellent experience for all involved and we have decided to try and get our 5th grade buddies to visit again for another activity soon.  We hope to get together again before Christmas.  Do any of you have upper grade level "buddies"?  How often do you get together and what type of activities do you do?  Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I guess Christmas is just around the corner. (I'm not sure I'm ready!)  Have a great evening!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Colonial Houses Project Freebie

Happy Friday!  Today we read the book William's House by Ginger Howard.  The video of the book is also available on United Streaming (Discovery Education). 

This book is about a pilgrim from England who arrives in the new world to build a house.  It describes the building process and then the conflicts he faces as he realizes the new world is different than England. We talked about how difficult it must have been to make these homes and what they were made of and then made our own out of a few simple and cheap supplies.

Yesterday all of my kids saved their milk cartons from lunch.  We rinsed them out and allowed them to dry overnight.  This was the frame of their house.  I bought a LARGE jar of peanut butter, some stick pretzels (2 bags) and a box of shredded wheat. So today we worked hard, making our colonial homes.  Here are a few pictures of the process:

Students began by smearing the peanut butter all over the milk carton.  This is the daub (or mud) they used to hold the logs together.  Then they used the pretzel sticks to cover the base of the carton to represent the logs of the house.

The top of the carton of course was the roof and after smearing the peanut butter (daub) students crumbled shredded wheat on top for the thatch.  They were so proud of their houses.

Some students were very tedious about the placement of their logs.  And some students spaced them out a bit more.  They were all original and they all turned out awesome!

I took a picture of each child with their house.  I will then print them out and will use them for a writing project.  The students will describe how they built their house. 

I made a writing page for both girls and boys.  Since the book was called "William's House", they will write their name so that it is "Julie's House" or "Sam's House".  We will do the writing portion of this project on Monday, but thought I would share it with you in case you would like to make some colonial homes next week.  Here is the writing paper.

This project was a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon.  Monday we will write about our homes and share those with you when they are finished.  We have two days of school next week and then a FIVE day break!  I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Break and time to spend with family.  I would love to know what you think about our colonial homes.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Line Up Chant

Have you ever heard the expression when it rains, it pours?  Well, I think I just went through a hurricane!  Let's just say, I am still here and so very much want to share what we've been doing but just haven't managed to upload photos and documents and everything else.  I have been sick and my voice has improved from a squeaky whisper to a cracking hum. In the midst of it all I have had sick kids, master's class homework and a list a mile long that I'm sure you don't want to hear about.  I was so excited to post about a project we are doing tomorrow... along with some freebies but I left my jump drive at school (Ugh!)  I plan on taking lots of pictures tomorrow and share them with you this weekend.  In the meantime, I wanted you to know that I'm still here and am looking forward to catching up.  I literally could not muster up the energy to sit at my computer.  I'm feeling better, sounding better and hope I am on my way to a full recovery!  I wrote this little line up chant for my first graders as they are so into Turkey Books, Turkey Stories, Turkey Facts.... so my little turkeys line up singing this:

I can't wait to do some of the activities I've already found online tonight! You guys rock and I'm so excited to be cruisin' in blogland again!  My printer is working overtime.  Until tomorrow... have a wonderful evening!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Festival - a.k.a. Halloween Party!

So this year instead of the classic Halloween Party in our classrooms, our Kindergarten and First Grade Teachers got together (along with a lot of awesome parents) and planned our Fall Festival as a carnival type event with games and prizes and even a Haunted House!  It was originally thought up by Ms. Randee Schatz of How About Them Apples?  Let's just say, the event was a huge hit!  We started by dressing up of course, so here is a class picture before we begin the Costume Parade.

All classes (Kindergarten through 5th Grade) lined up and walked the hallways so that everyone could check out all of the cool costumes.  I was able to get a few pictures of our parade.  Here we are lined up and ready to go.  Watch out for that Hockey Stick!

On our way we came across Mario and Luigi and some very scary costumes as well.

We saw a clown -

And the cutest pirate I ever did see - (my daughter).  I couldn't help but share.

And what do you know... there's the Gingerbread Man!

After the parade, all the kids went to the gym to begin playing games, eating their snacks, and having a great time!  All the kids had a ticket necklace that listed all the events available.  After they played the game and received their prize, their ticket was punched and they moved on to the next game.  I forgot to take a close up of our ticket, but you can see these boys wearing them in this picture.

Some of the events were BATsketball. 
Students had to make three baskets standing on the B, the A, and the T. 

Another game was fishing for prizes.  The kids love putting their pole behind the mat to see what prize they were going to get.

How did the prize get on the clip?  Well the kids didn't know what was behind the mat but here's a peek.

A parent sat behind the mat and clipped on a prize as the kids "fished" for prizes.  The kids loved it but the job was not an easy one!

Another kid favorite was our GROSS GRAB.  Kids were able to feel different items labeled with spooky names such as zombie brains, slimy eyeballs and monster fingers.

My favorite game HAD to be Bobbing for Donuts.  I laughed so hard as my students tried to eat a donut off a string.  They had a time limit but each kid was given their donut after the time was up.

They all looked so cute walking around with powder donut on their faces!

We had a Tattoo station where kids could get a [fake] tattoo - of course! 

There was also Boo Bowling which was a big hit.  The kids rolled a gourd at the bottles to knock them down.

There was also a bean bag toss game and pin the nose on the pumpkin or pin the wart on the witch.

Another kid (and adult) favorite was our Spooky Walk (or cake walk).  Students loved getting a snack cake as a prize.  For some reason my photo wouldn't load so I don't have a picture of that game. 
The Haunted House was our Gymnasium Stage with the curtains closed and the lights off except for a black light.  Glowing feet lined the floor that took the students across the balance beam and to a large box they had to crawl through to get out.  Needless to say everyone LOVED the Haunted House.  This picture was taken in the dark, but my flash made it look as if the lights were on. 

There was also a scooter game right in the middle of the gym that the kids had to sit and roll down and around cones. However, I didn't seem to get a picture of it.  We also had a designated snack area where the kids came to get a drink and a snack.  This worked out perfect!

And last, but not least, here is a picture of our Kindergarten and First Grade Teachers. 
We all dressed up as Pirates! 

I have to say the Fall Festival (a.k.a. Halloween Party) was truly a success!  Our school has such awesome parents that donated items, helped supervise the games, set up and cleaned up the activities!  It was amazing!  I hope you had just as much fun celebrating Halloween.  I would also love to find out if any other schools out there allow kids to wear costumes or partake of the infamous costume parade.  I came from another district that didn't allow any type of celebration for Halloween so I am thrilled to be working at a school that allows kids to dress up and celebrate.  Have a wonderful week!

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