We are back and already almost to the end of the first quarter! Here are a few pumpkin life cycles my Kinders made recently after reading about pumpkins and going through the Super 3 process. We will also read some fiction pumpkin stories to compare fiction and non-fiction in our next class. I was trying to work on sequencing and also connecting back to our lesson the week before on apples and their life cycle.
Category Archives: K-2
I introduced the Super 3 to my Kinders recently and wanted to use a real life situation to help them understand the process. So, we talked about getting a new pet. We talked about the questions you would need to think about before you get a new pet, how you could learn about it, and then we voted using the SMARTboard to see what pet we would research that day to help us decide what to get. I think it is important for kids to see how the research process is not just for school but also for thinking through any real life decision or question. It was really interesting that different classes had different animals that won the vote, two classes were dogs, one was cats, and two were gerbils. Here are some photos of one of the classes voting. This also let us practice 1 to 1 counting and which is the biggest number when we counted up the votes.
I am finishing up a short unit on polar bears with second grade. We spent a couple of weeks on it and covered things like our Super 3 research process, sources of information, considering the actual source of information, and organizing our information. The second graders looked at a nonfiction polar bear e-book and how to log in to our e-books first. Then, we used some videos from Polar Bears International and talked about sources from people studying polar bears are going to be more trusted sources than random videos we could find on google. Finally, we looked at National Geographic’s webpage. We made these flip booklets as we went. Here are some shots of a few finished ones.
We are winding down with our NCCBA lessons (North Carolina Children’s Book Awards) and I wanted to try to get everyone close to the same place again after the snow days, work days, holidays, field trips, etc of January! So, some classes have voted and a couple still need to, but I had two second grade classes that voted last week and I wanted to wait till next week to start everyone on our next project the same week. Long story short (or shorter anyways…), I came up with a mini lesson for those classes this week.
I told the kids each table was now a team and that team would choose one of the nominee books, write a summary, and we would create a Chatterpix Kids with it. (If you are not familiar with Chatterpix Kids, you can take a photo and draw a line, have the kids narrate, and the photo talks. Similar to Blabberize, but infinitely easier as long as you have an iPad.) We have 2 iPads, thanks to a grant I got. I still need more and would like more so each table can have one and do the whole process on their own start to finish.
After they chose their book, I gave them the option of drawing a picture or choosing one from the book to “narrate”. (In the future, due to time, I think they will just choose a picture and eliminate some arguing and let them all focus on the summary more.) They also wrote a summary that left a cliffhanger of some sort to encourage others to read the book and practiced reading it aloud before we recorded it. Some of course worked in teams better than others, but practicing as a team will hopefully help over time.
Here are some of the final results. We had six of them, but one somehow didn’t safe to my camera roll. That made me sad. But, here are the other five of them. We did the whole thing start to finish in one class, but it was cutting it close and I had to really be going around to the tables helping them work through the summary. We also had already read all the books in previous classes.
…with KINDERGARTENERS! I know it is not the group most people would try something new with, but I had the perfect opportunity. We have 6 K classes and 5 days of specials, so one class sends 4-5 kids with each other class. Well, our main class one day last week was on a field trip, so I ONLY had the 5 kids. I didn’t want to move on with our regular lesson and have the rest of the class miss it, so we tried this out. It went GREAT!
We used the Stikbot app which is free. I also have a Stikbot kit that gives you posable people and a green/blue screen to use, but we didn’t use the green screen capability this time. You can see the blue screen in the background of the dinosaur video though. I brought in some of my son’s old toys to give them a choice between dinosaurs, zoo animals, and vehicles of community helpers (like fire trucks, police cars, garbage trucks, and mail trucks). The kids decided what to do (with a little guidance) and moved the pieces themselves while I took the pictures to keep the camera steady. I think older kids could do the picture taking themselves.
The kids were so into it and loved it! I had two groups, one decided to do dinosaurs and a volcano with dinosaurs hatching and running from the volcano. The other group made a zoo and had the zookeepers feeding the animals. (I am attempting to embed them below but the links should work too.) The hardest parts were 1) getting them to remember to move them just a little bit at a time, but the shadow feature on the Stikbot app we used helped a lot. It shows a ghost of where the pieces were so you can line things up or see how much you moved them. 2) The videos are short, even when we slowed them down. It takes about 10 pictures for 1 second of video, therefore, they only had about 2 seconds to say what they wanted to narrate. I had big ideas of researching animals and talking about facts and such with the narration, but time is a factor for planning and filming, plus the narration can only be as long as the video.
I have been working my way through the NCCBA books with my K-2 students, and always think of so many ways I can use them in later years for other lessons. This past week, we were reading Finding Winnie and it was one of those books. As I was reading it, there were so many tangents you could go on – how transportation and life has changed in the last 100 years, biographies, WWI, family trees, and so on – but my favorite idea that I think I can see myself using a lot is PRIMARY SOURCES. The book has a section at the back with photos of the actual people involved in the story along with photos of items like Harry’s diary where he wrote he bought a bear and the zoo card that showed Winnie coming to the zoo and some other information about her such as date acquired, where from, death date, etc. This could be an excellent introduction to primary sources in future years, and could even start with these BEFORE we read the story and have them make predictions about the story the evidence tells. Then, we could use other primary sources sets from the Library of Congress to do something similar and make predictions about what the sources or photos tell us.
I try to do something with a bit of the season without doing Halloween in my classes, so I often do owls and bats with my first graders. They do Stellaluna and a bat/bird comparison in class, so we do bats and owls and take it a little different direction with adding some type of technology. This year we started with a PowerPoint because the kids have not practiced with images and typing much yet and they loved it! We spend a week on owl research, a week on bats, and a week on dividing similarities and differences. We are finishing up typing the information and will add images this week. Here are a few “in progress” shots. (Sorry some are sideways! I upload them and rotate them, then it changes back!)
In starting off the year with 1st graders, I wanted to combine some fiction/nonfiction discussions with some research. Our school mascot is the crocodile, but I had more alligator fiction books that I wanted to use, so we did alligators because it was pretty close. (We did talk about how alligators and crocodiles are different animals though!)
The first week, we read Snip Snap What’s That and A Girl and Her Gator. After talking about the different points of view between the two books, the students chose if they would want an alligator or not and why. Then, they wrote why and drew a picture to support their answer.
The following week, we reviewed the Super 3 and read about real alligators. I modeled and then they wrote three things they learned about alligators with pictures to support their statements. We have been talking a lot about how the pictures need to show what the words say, so if you are talking about their teeth, your picture needs to show their teeth.
I wanted to go ahead and do a little bee research with my Kinders in preperation for pumpkin research in a few weeks so I can tie the two together. This year I decided to try something a little different with the “do” step of the Super 3, and had the students draw and label a bee after we read a nonfiction book about bees. We talked about how you can gather information from pictures as well as the text, then we drew and labeled the bee together as we talked about the different parts. As usual, here are some of their bees!
I read Not a Box and Not a Stick with my first graders, both books are by Antoinette Portis. Then, I had them use their imagination and they came up with some cute ideas! If you have not read the books, they are a bunny with a box or a pig with a stick using their imagination to make it into all kinds of different things. (This sheet is a free download from TpT if I remember correctly.)