Friday, May 28, 2010

This week we continued to learn about plants by focusing on the different parts of the plant. We learned that the roots are the part of the plant that holds the plant into the soil and takes in water and nutrients. The leaves take in sunlight to make food and helps the plant take air in and out. The stem is the part of the plant that supports the plant and carries water and nutrients to the rest of the plant. The flowers are the part of the plant that makes seeds and turns into fruit.
We examined the different parts of the plant up close using a digital microscope.We continue to observe and care for our vegetable garden. This week we noticed that the radishes and carrots have sprouted! We also noticed that slugs were eating our cabbage leaves. The students did not want the slugs to eat our vegetables but also did not want the slugs to die, so they decided to search for the slugs and throw them over the fence! This week we also planted pumpkin seeds so we will have our own pumpkin patch! The students have become expert gardeners.
This week our African Clawed Frog tadpoles surprised us. African Clawed Frogs are aquatic frogs and remain in the water even after they have gone through their metamorphosis into frogs. This week, they all completed their metamorphosis and turned into frogs. Instead of staying in the water and being aquatic frogs like we thought, they climbed out of the water and sat on the rock! Since they were able to do this, we decided they were not the type of frog we thought they were after all. We set up a new habitat for them that was better suited for a land frog, which is what they appear to be. The students have enjoyed watching the tiny frogs hop around their new habitat and eat the insects we have been catching for them outside. Here is a picture of one of the frogs. It is sitting on top of the cream colored rock in the center of the picture. We plan to get a frog identifying book to try to figure out what type of frog it is.

We were excited to see that our Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars were already making their chrysalises! First the caterpillars hang upside down in a "J" shape and then create their chrysalis.

During Classroom Centers this week, students were busy at work! We played a "John the Rabbit" counting game. In the writing center, we wrote about fruits and vegetables we would plant if we had our very own garden. We observed our tadpoles and frogs. We also used our developing fine motor skills and spacial abilities to design Lego creations.

On Monday, our Big Buddies came to read us books. It is amazing to see the progress the Big Buddies have made in their reading skills, much of which their teacher attributes to reading to our students this year. Reading to our younger students has given the older students an authentic purpose for reading out loud. Listening to stories read by the older students gives the younger students additional exposure to books, which is an important activity for literacy development.
On Thursday, our Big Buddies came to visit. Instead of reading with our buddies, we invented our own bubble wands! It was interesting to see what designs worked well for making bubbles. If a design didn't work well, the students went back to the supplies to re-design their bubble wands.

The next time we see our Big Buddies, it will be the last visit for this school year. Because our Big Buddies primarily come to read us books, we decided to make them special book marks as a thank-you present. We started making the book marks by "bubble painting" them. To make bubble paint, you add water and liquid soap to the paint. You then insert a straw and blow! After making the colorful bubbles, we dipped the paper bookmarks into the bubbles to make fun circular designs.

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 17th-21st

We were so excited to find that our biggest Pacific Tree Frog tadpole had grown his back legs! As we observe our frogs go through their changes, we are making new pages for our Frog Life Cycle book. This week we created our third page, which is a tadpole with it's back legs. During Centers, we invited the Sharks to come and look at our tadpoles' most recent development. We reminded them of the types of tadpoles we have in our classroom and helped them find the treefrog tadpoles that had grown their back legs. We also helped them find the African Clawed Frog tadpoles and froglets in the other tank.

Our outdoor classroom continues to be a focus of our studies, since we are learning about plants and the plant life cycle. There was an empty planter in the outdoor classroom that was designated to be an annual flower garden. When trying to decide what colors to plant, the students decided we should plant all the colors of the rainbow, so everyone's favorite color would be planted. After making this decision, we painted pictures of a rainbow garden and later planted our rainbow garden. It is beautiful!

Last week we planned and planted our vegetable garden. This week we decided that we better make signs to put near our seedlings and plants so people will know what is growing.

To end the week, we had a fun Eating the Alphabet party! Fruits and Vegetables, starting with different letters were brought in to share. We were able to taste a fruit or vegetable starting with A through Z (minus a few hard to find letters)! Many of us were brave and tasted fruits and vegetables we had never eaten before.

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 10th-14th

This week we began learning about plants. We will continue to study plants for the rest of the school year. We started by learning about the plant life cycle, which starts as a seed and continues to an adult plant that is able to make it's own seeds. The students are experts at the life cycle of frogs and butterflies and were excited to hear that plants also go through a life cycle. We decided that the seeds of plants are like the eggs of a frog.

To begin our own observations of how plants grow, we planted lima beans in clear containers so we can observe what happens "underground" when a seed is planted. We also dissected (pre-soaked) lima beans and discovered there is a small root and two tiny leaves inside of the seed, which would become the sprout when planted. The rest of the lima bean is the food for the sprout as it establishes it's root system.

The weather was perfect for planting our vegetable garden! During our classroom meeting, we discussed the types of vegetables we would like to plant in our garden. We used our amazing artistic skills to paint the types of vegetables we would like to plant. We then became gardeners and carefully planted seedlings and seeds into the Dolphin vegetable garden. Everyone is excited to watch our plants grow into adult plants that we can eat.

Our outdoor classroom really comes alive in the Spring! Everyday we need to use our energy and large muscles to run, jump, swing, and climb. This week's sunshine allowed us to spend enough extra time outside to be able to appreciate other activities in our outdoor classroom. We enjoyed watching the birds and squirrels eat from our feeders. We also spent time sitting in quiet places with friends, blowing bubbles and watering our plants.