Monday, February 29, 2016

Our Desert Unit is finally ready!

Ready for some DESERT fun?
Our first graders are having a great time learning about the desert habitat! 
We began reading The Desert Habitat book from our unit 
and also shared some other wonderful books about the desert.  
Our kids really enjoyed the riddles in Guess Who's in the Desert!

We are truly excited about the learning we are seeing using Thinking Maps! 
After our introduction we used a modified Circle Map to help our two classes 
get ready to write a paragraph about the desert habitat.

Our Water Storage investigation was a home run! 
All the information you need is included in our Desert Habitat unit
We bought sponges at Trader Joe's and used clear cups left over from our Valentine's celebration. 
We used two Bubble Maps with this investigation to help students complete their observation sheets.

We read Cactus Hotel just before the investigation which was full of factual information. 
Our students loved drawing pictures of their own Saguaro Hotels with all kinds of guests!

Visit our TPT store to get our cross-curricular unit focusing on the Desert Habitat.
The 130+ page unit includes Language Arts, Math, Science, and Art activities!
It can be used as part of study of several habitats or as a thematic unit on the desert.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Polar Fun!

Happy 2016!
I made it back from Antarctica...we had the most amazing trip! 
We saw incredible animals and the scenery and tranquility in Antarctica was truly unforgettable!

New Year's Eve on ice!

We started our Habitats Unit as soon as I returned. No surprise, we chose the Polar Regions to kick off our cross curricular mega-unit! Our study of habitats includes: The Polar Regions, The Desert, The Ocean, The Grasslands, and The Rainforest. It sounds like a lot but our first graders LOVE it! And we all know when children buy into what they are learning, they soak it all in and excel!

We've added Thinking Maps to our Polar Habitat unit
Our first graders are able to really demonstrate their learning! 
We started out with a Brace Map to review the two polar regions. This is so important! 
I can't tell you how many adults asked me if I would be seeing polar bears in Antarctica!

After reading The Polar Habitats, a non-fiction reader included in our Polar Habitat unit, we completed a Tree Map. The kids used the Tree Map to write a paragraph about the polar regions.

After completing our polar crafts we used a Double Bubble Map to compare polar bears and walruses. Our kids came up with an amazing amount of information to include!

Here are some pictures of our adorable Polar Animal Crafts!

The kids are also working on our Polar Animal Count and Rhyme Book.
We added a Directed Drawing board on Pinterest.
I especially liked the Adelie Penguin directed draw because it really did look like the Adelies that I saw on my trip!  One of the kids in my class asked (in kind of a whiney voice) "Can't I just draw an yellow beak?" "No!" I said as I whipped out my photos to show him they actually have black beaks!!

I'm also driving my first grade teaching partner (and TPT/Blog-mate) crazy! I insisted that since our recycled water bottle penguins have feathers on their heads, they had to be realistic.
Again I shared my Rockhopper and Macaroni penguin pictures - they needed black and yellow feathers and pinkish feet!
I must say after my Antarctica trip, I am quite the penguin species expert!

Today we squeezed in some Chinese New Year fun!
I found this cute directed draw of a monkey for the front of a card to send home.
 Inside the kids practiced writing Happy New Year in Chinese characters.
One of our kids attends Chinese class on Saturdays and he taught us how to say Happy New Year correctly! We all chanted Happy New Year in Chinese as our school's Kindergarteners came through our classroom during their annual parade! So cute!
Click here to go to our Pinterest Boards for links - check out our February or Directed Drawing boards.

Thanks for checking in with us! 
We are just putting the finishing touches on our Desert Habitat unit for our TPT store.  
Please follow us for updates and ideas to go with all of our Habitat units!