Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Exploring Poetry and a Poetry Tea for the Parents

The kids have been exploring poetry in Writer's Workshop. We explored all kinds of poetry, but their favorite poems came from poetry treasuries written by my past Kindergarten classes! They wanted to create a treasury that the next kindergarten classes could enjoy!

Here are some poetry books the kids enjoyed listening too.

Here are some past Kindergarten Class Poetry Books
The first thing they learned was that you can write a poem about ANYTHING! Even a broken pencil!  We read a poem about the ceiling and a pencil sharpener to prove this point.  We practiced whole group by creating a list poem about the sun (which we were exploring at the time).  The kids used descriptive words and phrases that described the sun.  As they dictated, I thought out loud as I wrote about how I had noticed that poems looked different.  They had white space all around them and pointed out that I wanted this poem to LOOK like a poem. 

I placed random objects on their tables such as sticks, shells, rocks, glue, scissors, pencils, etc. and had them explore them, then write a poem about one of them.  They loved this! Many wrote 3 or 4 poems about the different objects on their tables.

We talked about list poems, similes, free verse, how to end a poem, and using their feelings in poems.  One of my students became very angry when some kids told her that dragons were not real.  In her anger, she decided to write a poem about it.  Here are a few examples of poems that the kids wrote

Dragon! No one believes me!  Dragons are real!  I am mad!  No one believes in me!
The sky is like the ocean...very big.
Mrs. Myers Coffee.  It is hot.  She doesn't like cold coffee.  It is smooth, black on the top.  Coffee brown.
The Tambourine.  It makes noise.  I am tired of shaking!
The kids took their poems and made a cover using scrapbook paper to create their own personal treasury of poems. Before we stapled them together, they all picked their favorite poem to give to me for our class treasury.  We also decided it would be fun to read these poems to their parents, so we started planning a Poetry Tea.  

They were very excited about a Poetry Tea and started planning right away!  We made a list.  They wanted to make both tea, and lemon cupcakes for their parents. We had been growing peppermint and lemon balm to use for making tea for ourselves.  Now they wanted to use it to make tea for their parents! 

They started by decorating invitations for thier parents inviting them to our Poetry Tea. Next, they painted paper for letters and created a beautiful sign.

The kids picked leaves from our lemon balm and peppermint plants and layed them out to dry.  They loved the smell of these herbs!

They all took turns with the mortar and pestle crushing and smelling the leaves.

We made a graph to find out which herb they liked the smell of.  They liked both, but since I forced them to choose, most said they liked the peppermint the best.

We then wrote directions on how to make sun tea.  As the kids took turns reading each step, we made our herbal teas!

One of my little explorers wanted to document what was happening to our sun tea.
Next they made the lemon cupcakes.

After we spent a couple days practicing reading our poems from the podium with a microphone, the day for our Poetry Tea arrived! After setting everything up for the parents and practicing some more, we were ready!

I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was thrilled by the amount of parents that came! We had 90% of the parents show up! I was choked up because I knew how hard the kids had worked to put this tea together, how proud they were of their poems, and how excited they were to share them! We started out by letting the kids read their poetry treasuries to their parents at their tables.

When they finished, the kids came up front and sat in our meeting area.  We projected each poem on the Promethium Board as each child came up and read their poem for the parents.  They all did it, even though a few told me when it was all over that they were nervous, but did it anyway! I was so proud of them!

After the readings, we all enjoyed the tea and treats.

It was a very successful Poetry Tea!  The kids were very proud of what they had accomplished.  What amazed me was that something I normally would have done all by myself, the kids were able to do.  This Poetry Tea ended up being an unexpected and very fun project!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Exploring Worms- The Investigation

A while back we started digging up our garden to get it ready for planting.  As the kids started pulling the weeds and turning the soil, they found tons of worms! They were fascinated with them! Every time we went outside, they asked if they could dig up more worms.  This fascination never waned so instead of planting flowers and veggies, we kept that area special for worm exploration.  


After our research, the kids knew what we needed to create a habitat.  They dug up soil from our garden area and added dead roots and leaves.  They learned that worms come to the surface at night and take pieces of dead leaves down into the soil so they made sure that some were sprinkled on top.

After creating the habitat, the kids dug up some worms from our garden.  Before adding them to the habitat, they studied them.  They noticed the parts such as the saddle and segments.  They also noticed that the pointy side was the head. They observed how they moved across the tray. 

Of coarse, they wanted to document what they noticed.  They are such little scientists! I love it!

Some decided to create some sculptures of worms showing the saddle and the segments. I love their different styles!

Here is our science table were the kids can observe and further investigate the worms.

Our next step was to organize the information we now had in our Schema to prepare for a project showing what they learned.  We made a tree map.

The kids have decided to create a mural in the hallway showing everything we have learned about worms! Stay tuned to see photos of the project when they finish it!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day

To celebrate all of their mothers, the kids dressed up extra fancy for a photo shoot, then created a picture frame using pasta to put their photo in.

We spray painted them shiny silver.  It is amazing how beautiful and glamorous pasta looks when it is painted shiny silver!!  They created gift bags, wrote poems about their moms, and took them home. I wish all of you could have heard their excitement as they posed and worked on this project. They truly wanted these to be extra special for mom! I hope you all enjoyed them!

Exploring the Weather- The Sun (part 2)

After we finished investigating and learning all that we can about the sun, the kids decided to make a sun to go with our storm cloud. They worked their fine motor skills by weaving a sun using sticks, ribbon and fabric.




They also decided to track how the sun moves across the sky by creating a Sun Dial.  Because of the lack of sun this week, it is still a work in progress!