Saturday, April 26, 2014

Caterpillars, Worms, Poetry and Space: So Much To Explore!

We have set up a few new provocations and experiences for the kids to explore, inquire, investigate and think at this week!  

Our caterpillars have arrived so we created an area for them to see, think, and wonder!

They have been creating a lot of observational drawings in this area to document what they notice!

Another teacher in our school, the fabulous Mrs. Kohlberg, was finished exploring worms in her room and let us borrow them to explore, investigate and see what we notice.

We are doing a mini study about the earth, moon, sun, and stars so we have a few areas dedicated to this study. Our library is now a research area where they document what they see, think, and wonder after looking through our books about space and nocturnal animals. 

They are also researching at our writing station and doing some informative writing about the earth, sun, moon, and stars.

They are creating a giant collaborative art piece by creating their own constalations and naming them. 

They are working fine motor skills by creating these sight word constalations. 

They are creating constalations using K'nex and documenting what they created. 

We are creating a planetarium for them to do some star gazing in our room!

These kids are watching a short video about the sun and documenting one new thing they learned. 

At the painting and clay they are exploring how the moon changes throughout the month. 

They are exploring the sun, moon, earth and stars at the eisals also with paint, pastels and Q-tips!

Here are a few of the things that they have been noticing and learning about the earth sun, moon, and stars through their explorations and guidance from our lovely student teacher, Miss Lam. 
He sun is bigger than the earth. 
The sun is a star. 
The sun gives us energy. 
The earth moves around the sun. 
The moon orbits around the earth. 
The moon changes. 
The moon is made of rock, not cheese. 
Stars look small because they are so far away. They are really very big. 
Stars can be red, blue or yellow. Blue is the hottest, red is the coolest. 

We are also in the process of planning and preparing for our poetry tea next Friday! I will blog about that next week!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Inquiring About Music: The Investigation Part 2

We finished up our investigation about different ways to make sound. Below shows how they had organized their information. 

The experts finished their instruments. 

Below shows the sandpaper blocks that create sound by rubbing.

Each expert group practiced speaking and listening skills by presenting how their instruments create sound. Each group created a rythym to share. 

The experts below showed how the different lengths of straws on their pan flutes created different pitches when blown into. 

The strummers also showed us different pitches they could produce on their guitars. 

Now that we are finished investigating, it is time to dive into our project!

Inquiring About Music: The Project (Part 1)

Now that the investigation is over, we needed to come up with the answer to our driving question: How can we create an area for students at our school to explore sound?  

First we had to figure out where a good place would be for this type of exploration area.  They decided the playground was a good spot because all the students go there. They went out and studied the playground then sat down on the grass with clipboards and created maps showing the different areas. Back in the classroom we brought up Google Earth on the Promethium Board to see our playground from that perspective. They worked on this map below using Google Earth as a model. 

They then used the map to figure out the best place to put it! There was much discussion on where it should go and why. Below they are each putting a marker to show where they felt the best place would be for exploring sound. Most picked the area the furthest point away from any classroom windows so that classes would not be disturbed by the sounds.

Now that we knew where it would go, we discussed what we wanted in an area to explore sound. Drums came up the most along with wind chimes. Some wanted electric guitars, violins, and pianos. This brought up a discussion about the need for things that could withstand the weather.  I also mentioned that I didn't have a ton of money for this project so we would have to create it using things that could be reused or bought cheaply.   They came up with a list of what they felt were attainable materials.

One friend dragged me to the home living area to show me these pots and pans. She felt these would be great for exploring sound!

The next step was to create plans showing what the area should look like. They put their engineering design/architectual skills to use by coming up with some fabulous designs to give me a visual of what they wanted in a sound exploration area.

The next step is for me to create a design based on the ideas they gave me. I will do this and present it to them for approval.  

We were wondering how to raise money to create this area and came up with a fabulous idea!  They are creating poetry in Writer's Workshop. We decided to take one poem from each student and create a Class Treasury of Poems. The kids will bind the books and sell them for $2.00 at the Poetry Tea we will be having for our parents. We will be creating order forms so that we will know how many to make. This way, the kids are really invested in the process of raising money for this Sound Exploration Area. It will also motivate them to work hard on creating a beautiful Poetry Tea for our parents. Our Poetry Tea will be on May 2nd at 2:30. After that, we will get the materials and start the construction of our Sound Exploration Area. 

On another note, during our exploration time, some friends were really getting into Bayblades!  They created designs for their Bayblades, then worked together to create a battlefield for the Bayblade Battles. 

Our wonderful student teacher has been working on an inquiry about the sun, moon and stars that she will be starting next week! I'm excited to see what happens with it! It will be a busy time with a lot going on! They will be busy, busy, busy exploring, inquiring, and working on our Poetry Tea all in the next couple weeks!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Inquiring About Music: The Investigation

After a nice Spring Break, we gathered to continue our Music Inquiry. The kids continued to explore creating sounds in different ways. We loved how they would bring us random objects from both inside and outside to show us how hey could create sounds, such as rubbing a stick through a handful of grass or striking a stick against a log and other surfaces, noticing that different surfaces created different sounds. Some also used their artistic talents to create instruments using paper!

They loved how they could feel the vibrations when striking the chimes, reinforcing the fact that sound is caused by vibrations. 

The children choose a way to make sound to become an expert in. Each group organized information by creating a circle chart to show different instruments that create sound in the way they were exploring. I forgot to take photos of the finished charts. I will try to add them to this post on Monday. 

Each expert group chose what instrument their group would make. The shaking experts decided to create rain sticks to show that you can create sounds by shaking.

The striking experts wanted to create cymbals to show that you can make sound by striking. 

The blowing experts created harmonicas to show that you can make sounds by blowing.  They had to measure he straws to create different lengths to show different pitches. 

The strumming/plucking experts are still working on creating guitars to show that you can strum and pluck to create sounds. They used different sized rubber bands to show the different pitches. We are in need of paper towel tubes for them to finish! If any of you parents have any, please send them in.

The rubbing experts will be creating their instruments on Monday.  They will glue sandpaper to blocks (and of coarse paint them so they are beautiful) to show that you can make sound by rubbing. They will have different grades of sandpaper to show different pitches. 

As a whole class, we created kazoos! They loved how they could feel the vibrations when when they used them!  We practiced creating different pitches with them. It took some strong finger muscles to work the rubber bands and thread ribbon through them to decorate them. 

We also created maracas by taping 2 spoons around a plastic egg filled with rice, beans, or sand. Each created a different pitch. We had kids model a rythym with them and we all echoed their rhythms. 

Now that they have investigated, the next steps are for each group to present to the rest of the class about their way of creating sound. We then need to take the information they have learned through exploring and investigating and work on answering our driving question: How can we create an area for kids at our school to explore sound? That journey will be shown in next weeks post. 

Meanwhile, here are a couple other things going on in our class!

In Writer's Workshop, we are discovering that we are all amazing poets! They are being exposed to all kinds of poetry and working on their own poetry treasuries. When we are done, you parents will be invited to a poetry tea so we can share our amazing poems with you!

I found these beautiful flowers and couldn't resist sharing their beauty with the class. They are displayed for them to take a closer look and paint. 

One of our friends brought in a nest with egg shells in it! We set it out for the kids to explore and built this provacation around it to invite further exploration for those who are interested.

Mrs. Garrabrant brought us grocery bags to decorate for Kroger for earth day.  They will use these bags for their customers groceries!

I found some girls trying to plant some dead trimmings from our butterfly bush in our garden plot.  

I then knew it was time to dig out our gardening tools!  The kids were very excited! They weeded, took out the sticks and turned the soil for us. 

I noticed that we need more soil so I will be looking for resources that could help us get some!  They are very interested in planting something, but we haven't decided what yet.  Stay tuned to see what will happen next!