Saturday, November 17, 2018

Weekly Wrap-Up -> Nov. 12-16

We celebrated Remembrance Day (Canadian holiday similar to Veteran's Day) at our school this past Monday.  Each class was required to create an offering.
We drew a dove in pencil (later to be erased) and had each student mix a colour and fingerprint the dove as well as their own picture down below. 
(Students are holding a white board where they wrote their name - we did this the first week of school and often use these pictures for many things throughout the year.)

 Fairy tales
We introduced our students to a variety of fairy tales this week, including The Ugly Duckling, Little Red Riding Hood, and Three Billy Goats Gruff.  As an extension, we set out this provocation inviting students to retell the fairy tale or even create their own!  They loved it!

Roll and stack math game
We have been working on subitizing (identifying the number instantaneously) using dot dice.  We had students set the timer (1 minute), roll the die and build a tower using that many Unifix cubes.  They kept on rolling and building until the time was up!
We also started our measurement unit this week (all about non-standard units) and had students compare towers - whose was taller, shorter, by how many, etc.

Pasta and Pipe Cleaners
Last weekend I dyed pasta - which is actually very easy!  I had a lot of messages asking me how.
You need:
- pasta
- food colouring
- rubbing alcohol
- small Ziploc bags (one for each colour)
- parchment paper and cookie sheet

Place the desired amount of pasta in a Ziploc bag.  Add food colouring and a splash of rubbing alcohol (I learned that trick years ago from a former colleague - it helps the colour stay vibrant).
Shake, shake, shake and lay on parchment paper to dry overnight.  

Here, students could string the pasta onto a pipe cleaner and make patterns (or just work on fine motor skills!).  They enjoyed this so much that many of them made a bracelet or necklace to take home to their families (and we still have SO much pasta left over for another time!)

Human Body - Light Table X-Rays
Our Human Body Inquiry has been taking over our classroom as students are really enjoying researching and learning.  We decided to set out x-rays on our light table, along with coloured jewels, for students to explore.  We made these x-rays by printing pictures online (free!), having students label the x-ray (i.e. hand), and then photocopying them onto transparencies.

Also part of our Human Body Inquiry, we discussed fingerprints with the class, learning that we all have unique fingerprints, then stamping and comparing them.

Playdough: Body Parts
Students were invited to use the coloured dough to add body parts to the mat.  We already learned a lot about the brain, heart, and lungs thanks to our research groups.

The Littlest Matryoshka - Russian nesting dolls
In math this week, we are focusing on measurement using non-standard units (i.e. Unifix cubes, links, etc.).  Students are learning to use the words short/shorter, long/longer, tall/taller, etc.  We also wanted to introduce them to sequencing - so we read the book The Littlest Matryoshka and used these Russian nesting dolls.

Measuring our hands
In our small groups, Mrs. Petrone worked with our students who are just starting to learn the concept of measuring - she helped them trace their hand, learn where to start and stop measuring, and how to use Unifix cubes to measure the length of our hand.

Frog Jumping
Mrs. Petrone found this fun activity on Pinterest and thought it would be a fun way to practice measuring using non-standard units (frogs).  We played this game a few times this week.  Students stood behind the edge of the carpet and jumped like a frog as far as they could.  We recorded their distance with a piece of tape and then we had them measure using frogs.  They were excited to compare who jumped the farthest!

You can download these frogs and try this activity in your class by clicking below.

I have had many requests to explain how our small groups run and I promise to write a blog post about that soon (there's so much to say so stay tuned!).

Last week I created these Alphabet Playdough and Sensory Mats for my students because I wanted to focus on properly printing the letters.  I also love it for fine motor skills practice!

You can click on the picture below if you are interested in seeing more:

You can download the Week-at-a-Glance PDF version{here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.  
You will need Power Point to edit.

I used the following fonts if you wish to keep it the same (free to download):

I can't wait to share our Human Body Inquiry with you soon!  There are still research groups working hard but with parent-teacher interviews next week we will definitely have our work up on display in the hallway!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Weekly Wrap-Up -> Nov. 5-9

Our students have been very interested in learning more about the human body.
We set out some books on our Science and Discovery Table and looked and listened for student responses.  
This week we read a couple of books about the human body and briefly discussed some major body parts.  We wanted to know what the children already knew and what they wanted to learn about.
We also formed our research groups by asking students what they wanted to research more about.

Here are a few of the things we set up and worked on in our classroom this week:

We are well into coding, as students are becoming more familiar with directionality (up, down, left, right).
We tried this activity together on the Bright Links board - students had to draw arrows to show the direction the dog should travel in order to get to the dog house without running into any obstacles.
We tried this again using different colours of markers to show other possible paths the dog could take.
In small groups this week, I worked on using various templates (the students could choose which one to use) and create their own path.  Some students even used stickers to create obstacles. 

You can download all of the coding worksheets for FREE by clicking the picture below.

This game is inspired by Deanna McLennon - I hid a sticker under one of the Post-It Notes.  Students had to guess where it was....but by coding!
I had one student come up and guess by placing their sticker on the Post-It Note. 
Another student had to code the path by placing arrows on the pocket chart (wish I took a pic!). 
I always leave these activities out for students to try on their own afterwards while I work with my small group for math.

Peace - Remembrance Day
Since it is the week before Remembrance Day here in Canada I wanted to prepare the students by discussing what peace means to them.
We read the book, The Peace Book, by Todd Parr.
It's one of my favourites because it's simple enough for even the youngest learners to follow and understand.
Then we brainstormed what peace meant to them.

We set out the provocation asking "Can you make a poppy?" using loose parts.

In our small group (fine motor), we had students roll pieces of tissue paper into small balls and glue them onto the large poppy.  What a great way to practice fine motor skills!

Our students are still so excited that there are leaves falling from the trees that they continue to bring them to school!  We decided to collect them all in our sensory bin that way we can closely see what happens to leaves over time.

I really like the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert.  I thought it would be perfect to invite the students to create their own leaf person/animal using loose parts.
I like to laminate some of the real leaves also so that we can closely look at them (draw and paint what we see) without them getting too destroyed.

Letter Formation
It doesn't matter what time of year it is, I find students can always practice proper letter formation.
We invited students to use their finger to trace a letter in the sand tray.

The letter formation cards are found in my pack on TpT:

Math Numeral Cards - Pocket Chart
I want the students to begin to recognize numbers in various ways (dice, fingers, numeral, etc.) so we set out these cards at our pocket chart.

Alphabet Stamping
Our students are getting great at letter recognition/sound identification so this was a fun provocation to set out.
I made these letter stamping sheets in both upper and lower case as I have the letter stampers for both.
I also like to store the stampers in ice cube trays.  I write the letter above so students know where to put them (it actually made the activity much easier too!)

You can download these letter stamping worksheets for FREE by clicking the picture below:

Human Body Inquiry
This is the beginning of our Human Body Inquiry.  We just started working with research groups this week so there's lots more to come!

Here are my downloadable, editable plans for the week.
You might notice that on my week-at-a-glance I have a lot of centres that say "open-ended free play". 
I knew that we were starting a fairly large inquiry so I didn't over plan the week.
 I believe in allowing the students to also take ownership of centres and see what they would like to create and explore there.  You don't always have to plan for everything!

You can download the Week-at-a-Glance PDF version{here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.  
You will need Power Point to edit.

I used the following fonts if you wish to keep it the same (free to download):

Friday, November 02, 2018

Weekly Wrap-Up -> Oct. 29 - Nov. 2

Happy Halloween!
I hope everyone had a great week celebrating Halloween - we sure did!
Here's a look at what we were up to!

Can you make a web for the spider?
My teaching partners next door, Mrs. DeLuca and Mrs. Lamacchia, thought of this fun provocation last week and I knew I had to try it this week!
Students used string to wrap around pins on the cork board to create a web for the spider.  This was great to practice fine motor skills (especially when they had to take it apart!)

Felt Board - Go Away, Big Green Monster!
I made this felt board set years back (the ears are inside the pocket!).  Students really loved this book and I wanted them to retell it as it's easy enough to sequence for even my non-readers!

Sight Word Cauldrons
Sight word cards are hidden in the cauldrons filled with rice and students had to find them and write them on the mat.

Can you make a broom stick for the witch?
After reading this story last week (it's one of my favourites!) I searched for ideas on what we could do.  I came across this fun STEAM activity from Deanna Pecaski McLennon on Instagram.
Students had to use the materials (along with tape and glue) to create a broom stick for the witch to fly on.
Mrs. Petrone also made these story retelling spoons for students to use to tell each other the story. 

Light Table - Halloween Story Stones
My RECE, Mrs. Petrone, drew Halloween symbols and characters on these clear jewels and we left them on the light table for students to tell a Halloween story.

Halloween Monster Directed Drawing
Last week we had students do a directed drawing of a monster.  I got this idea a few years back from Deanna Jump.  After we drew the monsters, I set them up at a table for students to use watercolour paints.
 Didn't they come out adorable?

Helper of the Day - Coding!
We started learning about coding this week (more pics and info to come soon!).  Most of the Year 2 students remember a lot of this from last year and they absolutely love it!  So when I introduced the new way of figuring out the Helper of the Day the students were excited to decode!
See if you can do it too!

Our Classroom Door
I wanted to post this for the past couple of weeks but I keep forgetting!
This was a provocation we set out a few weeks ago - students collected so many leaves, sticks, pebbles, etc. from our nature walks that we decided to use them to create our own fall tree.
 We turned that tree into our door decoration and added owls that were just perfect to get into the Halloween spirit!

Here are my week-at-a-glance plans - everything you see listed above (and lots more!) is included.

You can download the Week-at-a-Glance PDF version{here}.  
If you would like the editable version to modify this for your own class click {here}.  
You will need Power Point to edit.

I used the following fonts if you wish to keep it the same (free to download):

What's to come?  We are moving into lots of coding activities - I'll show you how to make your own board and start simple in your class!