Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 26th-29th

This week we were scientists, documenting what we are seeing and learning through drawing and writing. We were so pleased with our Butterfly Life Cycle books that we decided to create Frog Life Cycle books. We wrote and illustrated the first two phases of a frog's life: egg and tadpole. Every student spends a little (or a lot) of time observing our classroom tadpoles. We are noticing many things about our tadpoles, such as how they eat, swim and grow. Through stories, observations, and discussions, we are becoming experts about our little creatures.

Classroom Centers is a time for students to choose from a variety of learning activities they would like to do. Students are able to work independently, with peers or with a teacher. The Writing Center is designed to encourage literacy development, in addition to the development of fine motor skills and creativity.

During our classroom meetings, we discuss what we would like to add to our classroom habitat mural. We also discuss what types of animals would actually live in the type of habitat. In the Atelier, we painted new things to go on our mural. This week the students decided we needed to add a sun and additional branches and leaves. They also began to paint the animals they want to have live in our habitat mural. The students requested that a picture of the mural be posted on the blog. They are proud of their work so far!

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 19th-23rd

Students were busy at work this week during Classroom Centers. Students worked together to create a Butterfly Life Cycle poster for our classroom. Other students enjoyed exploring the new sand and paint centers. Some students (10 of the M/W/F boys) decided to write Ms. Shelly letters asking for her to purchase Legos for the Dolphin Classroom. Everyone also "published" their Butterfly Life Cycle Books this week. We were so excited to be scientific authors that we decided we should make Frog Life Cycle books next!

On Wednesday we had some special guest visitors, two farmers and a chef, come to teach us about composting and their circular relationship. One farmer grows vegetables and sells them to the chef. The chef then cooks the vegetables at his restaurant and saves up all the scraps. The chef then gives all his scraps to the other farmer, who does composting on a large scale. This farmer then gives the rich soil to the first farmer who adds it to his soil to grow healthy fruits and vegetables.
On Thursday we celebrated Earth Day! We started by joining the Sharks and Whales outside to sing "The Earth is Our Mother," a song about taking care of the Earth, Trees, Sky and Rivers. We then went on a Nature Walk with our big buddies and stopped to draw things we love about the Earth with sidewalk chalk on Pacific University's campus sidewalks. When we got back, we planted sunflowers in our garden.

We have been learning about animal habitats. This week in the Atelier, we worked together to paint a habitat mural for our classroom. We will be able to add animals and animal homes to our habitat mural as we learn about them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

What a busy week!
We are currently studying life cycles, paying particular attention to animals that go through metamorphosis. We have been able to watch our Painted Lady Butterflies transform from larvae to butterflies. On Friday we were pleasantly surprised to find that our Polythemus Moths, who recently emerged from their cocoons have laid eggs! We are looking forward to seeing the whole life cycle of the moth, from egg to adult. This week we completed our Butterfly Life Cycle books, finishing with the book covers. We are now scientific authors and experts on the stages a butterfly goes through.

This week we started studying the life cycle of frogs. We were fortunate enough to get indigenous Pacific Tree Frog (aka Pacific Chorus Frog) eggs (thank you Justin's mom!) for our classroom. Over the past week, tiny tadpoles have hatched out of the eggs. Being scientists, we are writing and drawing our observations, which will help us keep track of the physical changes that will occur during the life cycle of the frogs.

We took advantage of the nice weather this week to begin our gardening unit, which will continue through the rest of the school year. To begin, we worked together to haul rich healthy soil to a new planter which will become our flower garden. We also planted two variety of peas and thinned the leaks that had wintered over. Our gardening unit will give us an opportunity to experience the life cycle of plants, in addition to many other interesting and enriching activities.

We helped Bethany celebrate her 5th Birthday!!! Happy Birthday Bethany!
If you visit the Children's Fair this Saturday, check out the beautiful butterflies the students made for the ELC banner!

One of our Polythemus Moths:

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 5th-9th

This week we continued to study insects, focusing on butterflies and moths. We completed the last two pages of our butterfly book: the butterfly emerging out of it's chrysalis and the butterfly after it had opened up it's wings. We sang a song about metamorphosis (aka that caterpillar song), which included acting out the song with our bodies. We learned that butterflies and moths are symmetrical and explored this concept by painting symmetrical butterflies. While talking about symmetry, we discovered that we are symmetrical too! On Thursday, we released our Painted Lady Butterflies and our Polythemus Moth outside. We were delighted to see they were still in our Piazza on Friday.

This week we started talking about our outdoor gardening space. We will use our gardening space to plant fruits, vegetables and flowers for everyone to enjoy. In preparation for our gardens, we learned about the benefits of earthworms. We learned they turn dead leaves and plants into rich soil for plants to grow. We examined some earthworms and then released them into our gardens. We have been stirring dead leaves into our gardens for the worms to eat.

Classroom Centers is always a busy place! This week's literacy activities included, using the felt board to act out The Hungry Caterpillar book and making book marks in the Writing Center. A game called Bugs and Boxes was enjoyed by many, which is a fun game that develops verbal and math skills. Students also enjoyed creating stories using the plastic insects, building structures and writing on the white boards.

It is always so wonderful when a student asks if they can help someone accomplish a task. Here, a student decided to assist his teacher clean up after painting. He was incredibly helpful and seemed to take pride in his work!