Saturday, January 13, 2018

Our Force and Motion Unit

This week, we kicked off our Force and Motion unit. We are learning about push and pull forces. I love this unit because we get to do a lot of awesome hands-on activity to explore these different forces. This week, we learned that the heavier and object is, the more force it takes to move it. We also learned that objects cannot move on their own unless there is a push or pull force acting on them. We read a great book, "Move It" that helped explain different examples that we then got to act out in the classroom.

One of activities we did was a marble race. The kids had a relay race where they had to push a marble down a track using nothing but a straw and the air they PUSHED through it. Here is a video:

We also learned about the PULL force of gravity and the PUSH force of friction. To explore these concepts, we built ramps to try and move certain objects down: a rubber eraser, a toy car, a smooth rock, and a cube block. We discovered that the rubber eraser needed a higher incline which meant there was a greater force of friction acting upon it. Meanwhile, the car needed less of an incline to move because there was less friction acting upon the wheels. We also learned that gravity is the force that pulls these objects down the ramp and it's the same force keeping us on the ground.

Another video:

To understand gravity a little better, Ms. King found a great video of an astronaut in space. The kids were amazed at her floating because of zero gravity.

Ask your kids about what they've been learning about in science.

Standards this unit is addressing:

K-PS2-1.Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.  [Clarification Statement: Examples of pushes or pulls could include a string attached to an object being pulled, a person pushing an object, a person stopping a rolling ball, and two objects colliding and pushing on each other.]
K-PS2-2.Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.* [Clarification Statement: Examples of problems requiring a solution could include having a marble or other object move a certain distance, follow a particular path, and knock down other objects. Examples of solutions could include tools such as a ramp to increase the speed of the object and a structure that would cause an object such as a marble or ball to turn.]

January Self Portraits

The first week back to school, the students drew updated self portraits, using mirrors. They did a great job! We will do one more self-portrait in June and all three will go home with students at the end of the year to show how they have grown in their drawing abilities throughout their kindergarten year. Here are some pictures. If you would like your child's picture, let me know via email and I can send it along.

Gingerbread Fun

Before Winter Break, we did a little Gingerbread unit. We read a lot of different versions of the Gingerbread Man story:

It was a great unit to practice retelling and we got to compare and contrast the books. With this unit, also came some fun crafts and activities. After reading "Gingerbread Baby," by Jan Brett, we built our own little graham cracker gingerbread houses.

We also made some awesome Gingerbread ornaments

We wrote our opinions about which book was our favorite. We are learning that when we give our opinion, we need to give a reason why. The students are practicing using the word "because" in their writing. Overall, "Ninjabread Man" was the most popular.

And, of course, we got to make some gingerbread (really just sugar cookie + cocoa powder recipe) cookies!

It was super fun.

Standards this unit addressed:
With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.
With prompting and support, identify characters, settings, and major events in a story.
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.
With prompting and support, compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in familiar stories.
Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.
Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose opinion pieces in which they tell a reader the topic or the name of the book they are writing about and state an opinion or preference about the topic or book (e.g., My favorite book is...).
With guidance and support from adults, respond to questions and suggestions from peers and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Snowmen Fun

Back in the beginning of December, we started doing a lot of activities and read alouds revolving around snowmen. One of the books we read was "Snowmen at Night." This book talks about all the crazy fun that snowmen have while we are sound asleep at night. 

The children did chalk drawings of their own snowmen and what they thought they might be doing once the sun goes down. Then we wrote about them. Here is one child's drawing and writing piece:

"I'm doing awesome." -DP

I would ride my skateboard at the skate park. -DP

We also made "Melted Snowmen," using a variety of shapes in math. We read, "The Snowy Day," which tells the story of a boy playing in the snow. He tries to bring a snowball with him inside, but discovers later on, that it has disappeared and left a wet mark in its place. 

We had a little discussion about what happens to snow in warm places. After the students made their own melted snowman, they counted up the shapes they used.

EN added a sun!

It was great seeing how unique they each were! It was also great shape practice.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Opinion Writing

We kicked off our opinion writing unit today with a fun prompt. We started out the day at Morning Meeting answering the question, "Would you rather be a gnome or a reindeer? Why?" We had a class discussion about what the word opinion means and how each person has their own opinions. Not everyone will have the same opinions or thoughts as you have. We also talked about how important it is to give a reason for your opinions. The kids then went around in a circle and shared their preference and gave a reason why. Later in the day, this activity transferred into their Writer's Workshop. Here is some of their amazing writing. We are currently working on stretching out words and putting down the sounds we hear, using spaces, and writing sight words using our "Word Wall."

"I would rather be a gnome [because] I like when they are tricky so I can be tricky too." -JulP

"I would rather be a reindeer because I want to be a reindeer to drop presents" -RL

"I would rather be a reindeer because then I can be nice." -DP

"I would rather be a gnome because I want to hide under mom's bed" -PM

"I want to be a reindeer because I want to fly!" -EN

"I would rather be a gnome [because I] like to hide." -WM

"I would rather be a gnome because I like the red hats." -LV

"I would rather be a reindeer because I want to be a reindeer so I can learn how to fly." -BL

"I would rather be a gnome because I like to hide." -MW

"I would rather be a gnome because they stay still." -RM