Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Plans

Holidays can be fun to celebrate, but also a headache in the class.  Add in a holiday where candy is a central focus and the words "Sugar", "Wild", " and "Constant talking" flash in your mind. In past years, I have just  setup a lovely buffet table of punch and cookies for my students, watched a movie, exchanged valentines and did minute to win it. This year I changed up the flow and am so glad I did.  The morning time from 9- 11:05 was spent doing rotating centers with my fellow teammates. Each room had a different activity that each class would rotate into for 25 minutes each cycle.  We have 5 classrooms total, with one in a completely different hallway. (Which was a concern with time of transition and monitoring students, but we planned out very distinct transitions). I will post the map that I made of our rotations and schedule when I take a picture of it.

Room 1: Science focus--- sweetheart experiment
Room 2: Just Dance room  and estimation activity
Room 3: Writing focus-- sweetheart writing
Room 4: Bingo
Room 5: (*my room)--  Lego Stem Heart challenge, and arts (heart animals and coloring)

I was so surprised how well all the students did within my room today. All students got involved in the lego heart project and were captivated. I first stumbled upon the Lego stem project via pinterest
See the link below to check it out.
Lego Stem Project

With 95 kids rotating through this station and with only 25 minutes, I revamped it a little. I had one half of my room working on the arts part and the other half the legos. After  a student would make a heart they would trade with a student over at the crafts section.  I made a heart last night and traced it on a piece of paper (just the outline). I then made copies of the outline and placed them on the student desks. I told them that the one hint I would give them to help them construct their heart was the outline. They had to problem solve how to make the the heart with the pieces they chose. I had separated out my brother's legos onto trays by color.  I would call a few students at a time up to grab a handful of any color, could mix colors as well and then once everyone had there pieces then they could come get more if they needed more.  This worked pretty well. I included doors and window legos and some odd shaped legos and the kids creativity really shined through. I told them that they couldn't use the lego people though. I loved it when I got to tie in metaphors into this experience when a student came up and said, "Look at the window to my heart." I asked her if she knew what type of figurative language she just used. The conversation went on from there and we came up with some  other metaphors. I had another wonderful discussion with some students when they noticed I had a lot of yellow legos. We started wondering if lego sets have a higher number of yellow legos than other colors and how we could design an experiment to test that and what we thought would be the results. Some really great things happened during those 25 minute cycles.
Once students created their heart they added it to the heart sculpture we made as a community.  It turned out really cool and the kids were so proud.  Some pictures of our final product are below.
Our sculpture made students think about balance, weight, support, and what would be pleasing to the eye  (engineering and architecture coming alive!).

During our time between lunch and specials (12:10-12:45) we had our valentine's exchange and packed out bags. We then moved our desks and chairs for our guests for our afternoon movie. After Specials we gathered all the kiddos into my room and watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory. Students weren't allowed to bring candy to the movie which helped keep trash down and student's attention on the movie (plus no wrappers rattling-- thank goodness!).
That took our full day. It was the cleanest--- and most calm valentine's day I have ever had with my class. These new plans are ones to keep!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sadako descriptive paragraph writing

At the end our reading of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes we worked our descriptive paragraph writing. Each student brainstormed how their kimono would look, feel, and sound. From there they colored their own kimono and started their drafts. We dissected the paragraph focusing on each piece. Topic sentence, detail sentences , and conclusion sentence were our focus. After peer editing we made our finals. To publish our work we placed them outside of our classroom and asked onlookers to try to match the kimono with its paragraph.