Thursday, November 26, 2015

I am Thankful for

What a great time we had creating turkey feathers full of things we are thankful for.  Kids wrote thoughtful, kind, caring, and sweet things they are all thankful for.  Our turkey creations were a bit freeform but based on my example.  I love seeing the variations the kids have and how each of them have their own personal touches.  We are keeping track of our writing projects in our writer’s notebooks and often start our writing as part of our morning message.  The morning message had us writing all of the things we were thankful for.  This is a list that is meant to be done quickly (we don’t worry about spelling or sentences) and the goal is to write the entire time!  This list was then used in the afternoon when we started to create our turkey.  I had the paper cut and showed them how to cut out a turkey body and feathers, but then set them loose.  They had a great time chatting with one another as they worked and the atmosphere was jolly and happy.  
So.  Much.  Fun.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Index Card Towers
 Teams working on their designs BEFORE they start building.

YahoooOOOoO!  We completed our second STEM activity on Friday.  The challenge:  Using 100 index cards, 24 inches of masking tape, scissors, and a ruler, create the tallest TOWER possible.  Each group had 10 minutes to plan with their group members and 25 minutes to build their tower. 
After building our towers, I measured each tower and recorded the heights.  As it turns out, we learned a lot more than how to build tall towers.  Our shortest tower was the STRONGEST tower and our tallest tower was built by an extremely cohesive group. 
What did we learn?
The shape of a building is important.  A strong and wide base helps the buildings structure and overall strength.
You don’t need tape!  The next day, I showed them how to cut slits in the index cards.  Not only can you build without tape, the index cards are really solid and strong when attached slit to slit. 
Working together is essential.  If one person tries to run the show, you miss out on everyone else’s great ideas.
These STEM activities are amazing.  They require very little in the way of supplies but allow kids to work with one anther, problem-solve, and build.  I love hearing their conversations as they work on their towers. 
We also learned that ENGINEERING is fun.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Ecology Center Visit

The amazing folks from the Ecology Center came to visit us today.  They taught us about recycling and composting!  Our landfills are getting too full and we need to try and figure out other ways to get rid of our waste.  Today we learned about the things that are currently going into landfills that don’t need to be there (What’s in the Trash poster). 
They also learned about composting and the critters that help composts break down faster. 
Vocabulary Words:  compost, decompose, decomposers, and nutrients

Objectives:  Identify how nature “recycles” resources and how decomposers do their job.