May 9, 2012

Astronauts and Animals

  People, there are like 10 days of school left! Can you believe it? I can't.

In some ways, I feel like this year has flown by. But, when I look at my kiddos, I feel like I've been their teacher since the beginning of time... do you know what I mean? I'm sure gonna' miss them, I know that.

We've done two activities the last few weeks that I wanted to share.

We spent a whole week on outer space. The kids loved it! They were so interested in astronauts and the planets. We did a bunch of fun activities... but, I've been l-a-z-y about taking pictures lately. One thing we did do, though, was write about a trip to outer space. The kids used their writing flow maps to write paragraphs. Then, they made paper plate astronauts that I found on Pinterest.

 I kind of love them.

Here are some close-ups of their writing...

This next thing came from Pinterest, too. It's basically a way to start a new unit. I saw this way back in November and I tried it out with the third and fourth graders I tutor after school. They LOVED it and it was great way to start our unit on the arctic.

I've been dying to try it with my littles and this week seemed like just as good as any. And, since the news came in that I'm moving to third, I thought I better get my shot! But, honestly, I can't wait to do this with the third graders next year. My kids did a great job, but I think it's probably geared more for the upper grades.


I got five books from the library about animals and five big pieces of butcher paper. I put each book on a piece of paper and spread them throughout the room. I gave every kid a marker. I played some fun music and they basically walked around to each poster and wrote something they knew or a question about each animal. They all wamted to chat at first but then they got really into it!

This was suuuuch a fun way to build schema!

This is pretty much what they looked like when we were done.

After about 10-15 minutes, I had them stop at the poster they were at. Then, I had them open the books and read them as a team. I tried to choose easy books for them to read... but, some were a little long. They loved looking at the pictures, though, and all the teams had good enough readers that it all worked out fine. I told them they could add some interesting facts to their charts from the book.

To wrap up, I gave them all a circle map to complete about their animal. I didn't get any pictures of completed maps... but here are a few mid-way through.

Did my kiddos learn any ground-breaking information? No way.

Would I test them over something like this that they basically did themselves? Of course not.

But, I feel like this was a great way to introduce a new topic! I'm totally going to be doing this activity again and again. The kids were engaged, working together and they were searching all throughout those books to find new information! Imagine doing this before a unit on space or dinosaurs to build schema. I can't think of a better way to get the kids excited! To whoever came up with this, I salute you. Slow clap.


Mrs. Anderson said...

I really like this idea. It an engaging way to let the kids share what they know about each topic without having to say it in front of the class. Everyone gets to participate. I'm going to give this a try! Thanks for sharing.