Monday, December 7, 2009

Solid Shapes

Today the kids had a real blast building cubes with toothpicks and mini-marshmallows. This hands on activity helped the students really understand the difference between a flat square and a solid cube. Total cost for the lesson:
$1.00 for the marshmallows
$1.30 for the toothpicks

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Service Project

The students and I will be making Christmas cards to give to the homeless folks that my home church has been housing on the very cold nights. The children are learning that sometimes just by sending warm thoughts to others can help brighten some one elses day. The children are also learning that serving others is something good to do. I am really impressed at the kind hearts that my students have.

Pulling It All Together

I really enjoy utlizing all of the 5 senses in all our curriculum and pulling together varied sources of literature to make a well rounded learning experience for the children.

We are currently working on the following skills and themes in our class:
Reading-Our theme is Food with our focus on sequencing of events
Math- 3D solid shapes
Social Studies-Holiday customes around the world and now/then
Science-Motion of objects and reviewing changes in matter
Writing-Writing steps and directions

That's a lot of stuff going on, so combining things a little and having some creativity, all subject areas can be taught.

For science and math this week the kids are going to taste the difference between jam and jelly. After the taste test the kids will vote for their favorite and create a chart of the results. We will also make butter the old fashioned way with cream and salt. This lesson teaches the kids that you can change cream (a liquid) and salt into butter (a solid) by shaking vigorously and refrigerating it. The butter activity is also a great way to teach the kids how people made butter long ago versus buying it at the store like we do now.

In math we are using solid shapes (cones, cubes, cylinders and spheres) to build something. The children will use flat graham crackers, sugar cones, and various candies to make their own "gingerbread villages." Each structure must have at least one cube, one cone, one cylinder, and one sphere. That should be no problem at all, because there are many varieties of candy or food that fall into each category. This lesson teaches the kids that you can find examples of solid shapes in everyday objects and you can use simple shapes to construct more complex structures.

In social studies, we have been reading various books about the different foods that people cook for the different holiday traditions from around the world. For example, today we watched Too Many Tomales and discussed the Mexican traditions during the holiday season.

In writing I am bringing in all kinds of literature about food as inspiration for the students at Writer's Workshop. Tonight I bought a Food Network Magazine to illustrate to the kids that another purpose for writing is to give information and one form is a magazine. There are many pictures and recipes for the children to look at. Some of the other literature pieces include: If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, Pizza Party, Hold the Anchovies, Eating the Alphabet, Bunny Cakes, and many more.

Our next writing project will be to write a simple recipe, such as how to make a peanut butter sandwich or pizza. The children will first write simple sentences using the words first, next, and last. Then they will illustrate and bind the pages to create a "step by step" book.