Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Go Green!

Earth Day is just around the corner... but at our school Earth Day truly is EVERY DAY... because we are an ECO SCHOOL! Nevertheless, it is nice to have these special days to inspire extra awareness around the impact our decisions have on our planet!

Several weeks ago, our school celebrated Earth Hour by turning off all the lights for an hour and unplugging our electronics! Our window lets in a lot of light so we didn't have to work in complete darkness at all.  It was neat because it made us realize just how much energy we actually get from the sun. Maybe we will work with the lights off more often!

I introduced the class to my Go Green Spot It & Steal It game cards the week of Earth Hour and we've been using the pack for various activities ever since...not just for playing the game!

You can use all my games in the ways I'm about to describe...so if you have the Figurative Language set for instance, you can use the same strategies.

One example: Instead of creating my own anchor chart, I like having my students get involved in the process. We use the black and white versions of the game cards to do this!

Recently, I asked my students to brainstorm ways that we could be kind to the Earth. Each time a student mentioned an idea that I had a "picture card" for, I handed the black and white version of the card out to the student who shared the idea. For this game, I had enough cards to hand out to everyone. For the games where I don't have enough picture cards for the whole class, I just use the colored cards and have students put them up as key ideas/concepts are mentioned. {You can see an example of how I did this with my Graphing Spot It & Steal It cards HERE}

After our brainstorming session, students colored in their cards:
Then we pasted the cards onto chart paper! You could also use the cards to create a display or make a class book! For the book, you can have students write a blurb about how they conserve energy at home and place this with the picture.

I think there's real benefit in doing a collaborative anchor chart because students are more likely to refer to it if they played a role in creating it.

We are now working on creating Earth Day posters! Students used the anchor chart to come up with ideas for their posters! Since they had tons of ideas to refer to, they had no problem coming up with a plan!  Below, you can see students gathered around the chart!

Next week we will play the game!

So you see, my Spot It & Steal It games can act as a word wall (see that post HERE); you can create an anchor chart; have students write a class book; put the cards up on a bulletin board for a visual reminder; use it as a GAME to review concepts... and more. The options are endless!

Here are some more of my Spot It & Steal It games! Click on a box to learn more!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Art with Jenny K!

Can I just say thank goodness for Jenny K!! I just love the guided art lesson on "How to Draw a Bunny" that she has on her blog!

Students can add their own flair to the bunnies by deciding how to finish them off.   I had my students come up with a design for the center (using various types of lines and shapes - we reviewed these first).  They also picked a medium of their choice.

A couple of them chose to use pastels...

...but most chose paint (surprise, surprise!!).

Although I have paints for every color in the rainbow,  I decided to give my kiddos ONLY the primary colors so that they could create their own hues.

To my delight, there was some great vocabulary building going on...

"This looks MAROON"

...were just some of the descriptive color words (and phrases) I heard!

I'm sure if I had just given my kiddos all the paint colors to start with, these conversations would not have taken place! Instead, I might have heard "Can you pass me the purple please!".

We also added art terms to our vocabulary like: hue, shade, tint, primary colors, secondary colors, as well as words to describe various types of lines (horizontal, vertical, wavy etc.)!  See, art can turn into a mini language lesson too!

Back to the paints... when I bring out paints, I like to use q-tips!  For starters, they allow students to get into all those tiny details. But to be completely honest... it just makes clean up a BREEZE!! No paintbrushes to wash, no fuss, no muss!

We used small paper plates as pallets (another easy clean-up solution!).  Three plates were used for the primary colors and students were given a plate of their own to experiment and mix!

I'd love to hear your easy clean up solutions when it comes to painting! Comment below!

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