Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Learning About Seeds

We are currently learning all about plants, and I wanted to help the children learn about seeds in a way that was fun and hands-on. This was definitely it.

I purchased some fruits and vegetables at the store: tomatoes, green beans, lemons, oranges, cucumbers, and grapes. After talking about how plants grow from seeds, I sat the children down at the table and told them that we would be looking inside all of the fruits and vegetables to see what kinds, and how many, seeds they had. One at a time, I showed them a fruit or vegetable and had them take turns guessing how many seeds were inside it. Then, I cut it open, and we counted the number of seeds to see who was the closest..... then we ate them.

The children had a ton of fun guessing the number of seeds and eating the yummy fruits and vegetables. Not only was it a fun way to learn about seeds, but we got to make predictions and practice counting as well. :)

***A great book that we read to go along with this activity was "A fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards."***

Living vs. Non-living Things

This is an activity we did to learn to distinguish between living and non-living things.
First, at circle time we talked about the traits of living things: They need air, water, food, and they grow (they also reproduce, but I wasn't sure I wanted to get into this discussion with the kids so I mainly stuck to the other 4. :) ) Next, I held up pre-cut images (with the pictures facing away from the children) and the children each took turns choosing an image, telling the class whether it was living or non-living and placing it on our board under the correct grouping.

The children did surprisingly well distinguishing between the two.

Next, we looked at 3 flowers that I planted, and three rocks I placed in small dishes. I told the children the one flower and rock would get plenty of sun and water, another rock and flower would get no water, and the last flower and rock would get no sunlight. Then, I asked the children to predict what would happen. Now this is where it gets interesting... Most of the children knew that with the proper light and water the flower would grow, and without it the flower would die. However, they thought the same thing would happen to the rocks. Even after I asked them if the rocks were living things and they said "no."
We have been watching these silly flowers and rocks for a week now, and I have to say that those are some pretty darn resilient flowers. They look way too good! I'm hoping they start to wilt a little soon or my lesson may be kaput. :P As soon as I see them start to noticeably wilt, we'll discuss our findings, and I'll have the children plant them outside.

Here is a picture of our science table with the flowers and rocks. The big red thing is the construction paper shielding the one flower from the sun. The other piece of paper is covering the rock.

This is such a cool activity, but I have 2 issues with it:
1. I tried to squeeze this all into one day and it really should have been two. It was a bit too much all at once.


2. I'm afraid that by the time these flowers actually start to wilt the children will have completely forgotten why we had them there in the first place. We'll see....

This is a neat activity we do pretty-much every day for circle. What makes it so great is that it accomplishes so much in such and easy, fun way.

Here is what you do:

  • Make some flash cards with simple action words written on them in bold print. (Large index cards should be fine). Some ideas for words are: jog, jump, hop, wave, twist, freeze, spin, kick, wiggle, tip-toe, crawl, and clap.
  • Have your students stand up during circle, making sure they have a bit of room so they aren't hitting each other.
  • You hold up the first word and say the word ( jump). Then, count together from 1-10 as you perform that action.
  • Next, you hold up another word and say the word (spin). Then, count together from 10-20 as you perform that action.
  • You continue holding up a new card and saying that word every tenth place until you count to 50. The goal is to eventually work your way up to 100, and be able to hold up the cards with out saying the words. Right now we're counting to 50, but I hope we will eventually work our way up to 100.

This activity is great for three reasons:
  1. It helps the children learn the sequence of numbers from 1-50 and eventually 1-100. Of course, this is rote knowledge, but it is a necessary step in learning how to count.
  2. In the morning some children are pumped and need to get their energy out, and others are still half asleep. This exercise wakes up the sleepy ones, and mellows the hyped up ones.
  3. By using the word cards you are helping the children connect the letters with the words, the words with actions, and eventually (hopefully) teaching them some sight words.

Circle Time Songs

It has been soooo long since I posted. I'm sorry. There have been so many things that I've wanted to share, but lack of time (and complete and utter exhaustion) has made it extremely difficult. I am pressing along though and hope that I can get my act together enough to keep up with this a little better from now on.... I hope :)

I have a new circle time song that I wanted to share. I totally stole it from another teacher (not really stole, she shared it with me, but it's more fun to say stole). It's super-cute and the kids have really responded well to it. I use it to lead into circle time. I start out slow so the children can join in with the movements. Here it is:

(Sung to "Do your ears hang low?")

Can you clap, clap, clap?
Can you snap, snap, snap?
Can you wiggle, wiggle, wiggle?
Can you slap, slap, slap? (hand on thighs)
Can you wrap your arms around yourself and give yourself a hug?
Can you sit down on a rug?

I also made up my own greeting song because I couldn't find one I liked. This one is sung to "Row, row, row your boat". The kids and I sway back and forth as we sing it.

Hello and good morning.
How are you today?
Come along and join with us.
It's time for fun and play.

(I say "Hello to" as I go around the circle signaling the children to say their name when it is their turn, then I come back to myself.)
Hello to Name,
Hello to Name,
Hello to Name,
Hello to Mrs. Courtney,
Hello to everyone!

How are you today?
Come along and join with us.
It's time for fun and play.