Video segment about me, by the school district

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Science Sunday: Aquarium and Zoo

"My Visit to the Aquarium" by Aliki
For my Science Sunday post today, I'm going to be talking about trips to the zoo and the aquarium.  First of all, I found this totally awesome book about a family going to the aquarium called My Visit To The Aquarium by Aliki.  I never even knew this book existed - what a find!  I knew Aliki had written a terrific book about the five senses, but you really have to check out this book.  It's so super-cool because it's realistic and filled with facts and detailed pictures.  I think the narration style of the book also allows children to feel like they're really going along with the characters on the field trip.

I wanted to provide a link for you to take a virtual trip to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, in case you don't have an aquarium near you.  The main page displays colorful photo samples of many varieties of animals at the aquarium, which you can click on for more pictures, information, and videos.  From the main page you can also narrow it down to only show you animals that meet certain requirements such as features (beak, fur, scales, etc.), colors, or where in the world they live.

I just made a brand new product on TPT for $2.00 that includes aquarium, zoo, pet, and farm writing folders.  It's a great way to integrate science with reading and writing, which I'm especially fond of.  I don't want to forget about science, but I also want to give my students unique opportunities to write about things connected to the real world.  I don't know about your kiddos, but mine love ANYTHING to do with animals!

"My Visit to the Zoo" by Aliki
A second book that Aliki has written is My Visit To The Zoo.  I like it for the same reasons I liked the aquarium book, but I wanted to mention that the people in this zoo book are very multicultural.  I think it's very good for our children to see themselves represented in books.

Here is a link to a virtual tour of the National Zoo.  The web site offers really interesting facts about animals, shows you maps of the trails and exhibits at the zoo, and even has live webcams so you can see the animals moving around in real time!

I'd love to hear about other virtual tours that you do with your kids.  Please leave a comment below.  :)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Science Sunday: Four Seasons

"Very Hairy Bear" by Alice Schertle

Hello, bloggy friends!  I have this new idea to start doing science posts every Sunday.  I feel guilty sometimes about concentrating so hard on reading and math that science gets left behind.

A few years ago, when I was teaching pre-k, a really fabulous teacher retold the story of Very Hairy Bear by Alice Schertle.  It was awesome!  She dressed like the bear in the story and had props for each season, including berries, a fish, and some honey.  I think it really helped the children to understand that seasons are different from weather.  I've noticed that my kindergarten students now struggle with that concept.  The more natural things I bring into my lessons, the better my students understand that seasons are specific times during the year and weather is what happens during each season.

I brought these Barbies in to concretely show my kiddos what people might wear during each season:

Barbie dolls for all four seasons

The great thing about this is when I held up the first Barbie, the kids were really motivated and eager to tell me everything about the season.  They also explained to me why you wear boots and a long coat during the winter season.  To be honest with you all, I sort of borrowed these Barbies from my daughter.  Ok, she's 23 now, so I don't think she'll miss them.  :)

Another really great center activity that I found is from Lakeshore:

Seasons game from Lakeshore
I like this game so much because it has four mats and lots of realistic props that the children can touch and feel before placing on each season mat.  Using games like this really helps my ESOL children to gain new vocabulary and get a more solid sense of what kind of objects we use in each season.

When I was searching for season graphic organizers with pictures on TPT, I didn't find much.  So I decided to make my own Season and Weather Unit this year.  I recently bought a really sweet clip art package and it makes it very fun to make colorful graphic organizers, guided reading books, and writing prompts.    So, if you need some kid-friendly resources please check out this product!

I would love to hear what season or weather activities you're doing.  I can't wait to hear from you!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bear Addition

Happy New Year, everyone!  I am so sorry that I've been slacking on my blog.  I went to visit relatives in New York over the holidays and read lots of books.  Is anyone else experiencing really cold temperatures?  It's going to be in the teens tomorrow.  I can't believe that Maryland is having these temperatures!

Over the long break, I tried to think of really cool products I could make to match manipulatives that I already have in my classroom.  So I thought, why not do addition cards that would match the little plastic bears that we all have in our classrooms?  Here is a freebie, if you'd like to test it with your kids, to see how it works:

On TPT I'm selling all the different combinations up to 10, including missing addends and sums.  The reason I made this is so that the children could use them with me in small group or in math center independently.  The bears are to scale so that the children can place the bears right on top of the cards.

Some really cool songs for addition are "Addition Pokey" by Dr. Jean, "Doubles" by Mr. Al, and "Butterfly Addition" by Miss Jenny.

Also here are some addition videos put together by Harry Kindergarten:

Add 'em Up

A really great book to integrate reading and math is Monster Math: Picnic.  The thing I like about this book is that it shows different combinations to 10 in descending order: 10+0, 9+1, 8+2, etc.  The pictures in the story have a lot of kid appeal.  I've noticed lately that my kids are a lot more into monsters than they've ever been in the past.  Maybe that's because their parents are watching a lot of vampire and zombie shows.  I don't really know!  Why do you think the kids like monsters so much?