Sunday, April 29, 2012

Georges Seurat

The main story in our reading book this week was about how crayons are made in a crayon factory.  So on Friday, I decided we should do some wax melting of our own.  We peeled the wrappers off of a bunch of crayons, and used a candle warmer as a way to melt the wax while drawing on the hot surface. 
The nice thing about a candle warmer is that it only heats to one relatively low temperature. Still, I gave the kids strict instructions not to touch the black part. 

It was so much fun! I got my candle warmer from a resale shop for $0.50, so this is definitely something you could try at home over the summer after scoping out some garage sales.

In art the past couple of weeks, we have been learning about Georges Seurat and his pointillism technique. 
You may recognize one of his most famous paintings, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte":
Here is an example of his dot technique. This is a close up on a man he painted in a different painting.
In order to ensure that the students used dots instead of brush strokes, we gave them pencils with brand new erasers.  They dipped the erasers in paint and dotted their way to a masterpiece.

We also started a KWL chart on weather. I'm excited for all the fun our weather unit will bring!
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Earth Day

Happy Earth Week! We've been talking about taking care of the earth for three days now, and we've really covered a lot. On Monday, we read this book on the Promethean board:

You can check it out on It is extremely informative in a developmentally appropriate way. Then we made these flip books that are great for practicing cause and effect.

 We also worked on these cute little Earth people that are now hanging in the hallway. 

 Here's what they look like with a closed shirt:
And here's an example of what we wrote on the inside.  Each student wrote a realistic, achievable promise to the earth. 
Today, we sorted a huge bag of recycling after reading this book:
(If your child came home announcing that you need to start putting your underwear in the freezer as a method of staying cool in the summer, it's because this book jokingly suggested it. Underwear freezing aside, it does have some great tips that kids can use to save Earth's resources.)

Then we sorted these cards according to whether they would make the earth happy or sad. 
Here's the huge bag of recycling we sorted:
On a rather comical note, this is a picture from our religion lesson on Monday. Our story this week is about Jesus visiting Mary and Martha.  Because I always like for the kids to have a visual while they are learning the story, I decided to have them help me draw Mary and Martha.  I drew stick figures with no faces, and each child got to come up and add something to the people as we were discussing the story's events. We talked about what their expressions might have been, what they might have been wearing, what they might have been holding, etc. This is what we got!
As you can see, Martha is clearly holding some food that she would have served to Jesus, but she is not very pleased that her sister is happily listening at Jesus' feet.  

The kids all took the story and its message very seriously, but I just think the picture we made is kind of funny! :) 


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Science and Poetry

We finished up our mixtures and solutions unit two weeks ago, so our culminating project was a mixture of a little science and a little fun.  We eventually managed to get shaving cream into little water bottles, and then let the cream dry out for most of the day.  
Then we added a few drops of food coloring.
 Next, we added water until the bottle was filled. 
 Then we shook the bottles until everything was mixed.   
This creates a swirly, pearly mixture that is fun to look at.  

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? We've been working on all different kinds of poems that will go into our poetry folders.  Well, most of them anyway.  Some of them are hanging from our ceiling!
We spent a couple days writing very descriptive acrostic poems.  We've been talking about adjectives for a long time, and we definitely got to use some on this project.  After writing the acrostic poems using the students' names, we made clouds and wrote one adjective on each slip of rainbow-colored paper. 
 Here we are cutting out the clouds. We stuffed them with crumpled pieces of scrap paper and glued the sides shut.  They are a beautiful spring display in our classroom!
Our next science topic was matter. We discussed the solids, liquids, and gases, and came up with tons of examples of each.  We also did an experiment with sinking and floating objects. Some of the results were quite surprising! 

Next, we moved on to the water cycle and weather.  

 My absolute favorite way to teach the water cycle is with this song:
(it goes to the tune of She'll be Coming Around the Mountain)
This Friday, we made water cycle bracelets to go along with the song.  
Yellow = Sun (evaporation)
Dark Blue = Clouds (condensation)
Light Blue = Rain/Snow/Sleet/Hail (precipitation)

I hope your child had the water cycle song stuck in his or her head all weekend!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter! We've been doing Easter work stations in our classroom.  This one involves rolling a number cube and doubling the number you get, then adding one.  Then you have to stamp that number on your large bunny to see who fills up their bunny first.  We call it "Doubles Plus One". 
This station's goal is to practice high frequency words. One person pulls a card out of the container and says the word.  Both players have to use fly swatters to find the bug that the word is written on and try to smack that bug first.  It's really fun!
Last week, we made Holy Week books.  I hope your child brought his or hers home and displayed it proudly! Each day of Holy Week, we discussed that day's events by reading from the Bible and reading picture books. Then we made a page in our book with a picture and a Bible verse. Here's a few pictures:

Here we are painting for the Easter Sunday page...

We also made these math butterflies on Thursday. Each student got to pick a little slip of paper out of a bucket. That slip contained an amount of money that they wrote in the center of their butterfly.  Then, each student came up with four ways to make that amount and wrote them on the four wings. 

We didn't have a spelling test last week, but we will have one this week.  We're focusing on the long i sound, spelled y, ie, and igh.