Friday, July 8, 2016

Visual Plans...Digging Deeper

It is still summer and I really should be sitting by the pool working on my tan, but instead I am preparing plans for next school year.  We recently went from GLE’s, to adapting Common Core, to now using the Missouri Learning Standards. The past couple years have been crazy with curriculum, but I am finally happy that there are standards in place and we actually know 100% what we are to be teaching.   
I started creating visual plans and units for the year based on our new standards and I thought I would share what our first unit looks like.  We chose to focus on character education since it’s the beginning of school and we chose responsibility, respect, honest, and friendship as our key themes.  All of these are used in out daily Plattin Pledge that we use.

Obviously is Google Docs you can pull this up and really look at the links/images needed for this five week period.  I plan to have all of the quarterly learning targets, PDF copies, links, and pacing guides done by August 15th.  Let’s hope that I can make that happen.  I only have 2 units left, American Contributors and Stars and Our Universe.  I am attaching a link to my first quarter folder where you will find the plans, PDF copies and a sample of our learning targets.  If you have more questions please feel free to email me.  Some of the items might be missing, as they were units I purchased from Teachers Pay Teachers and can’t share.


Friday, May 6, 2016

DINO-MITE Discovery

This week has been so much fun learning all about dinosaurs, but it has also been exhausting.  Is it me or do the last two weeks of school take everything out of you? I feel like I am going non-stop to get grades done, data sheets finished, and still try to keep the learning going in my classroom.  I have realized if you want sanity the last few weeks of school you have to stick with your ROUTINE as much as possible.  I have really tried to do this as much as possible this year and I have held their attention pretty well.  We will see how next week goes ; ) Only 4 ½ more days until summer.

I really made my focus all about dinosaurs this week because let’s face it, all kids are interested about dinosaurs (especially my boys).  I love this unit for so many reasons! The kids are engaged and it allows for science and creativity to take place. We started off the week with taking a few days to really grow our knowledge about dinosaurs, when they were in existence, and even some geography.  Here are some of the anchor charts we created the first few days along with some fun inferencing and creative projects as well.

I think you can tell the boys really got into this unit!

We took a day to really focus on the differences between herbivores and carnivores.  We read a few informational texts and created a Venn diagram to compare the two. 

We have an end of the year ABC countdown at our school and the letter T stood for teamwork, so I created a dinosaur puzzle that the kids had to put together with sight words.  I had to add the sight words to help add to the level of learning.  I am so happy to say I pulled the 2nd grade first quarter words because over 93% of my students mastered all of their first grade sight words, so I used second grade words as a challenge.  The kids loved these and it focused on working with a partner to complete a task=teamwork!

We were busy learning about our favorite dinosaur the tyrannosaurs rex.  He was a crowd favorite.  I created QR Codes to use as our research tool and the kids came up with facts to add to our anchor chart.  They used their facts they found to make an informative writing piece.  I even let them make a fun t-rex art piece to go with their writing, but I forgot to snap a picture.  I will have to add them to my post on Monday. 

We still made sure to enhance our vocabulary knowledge and this unit was perfect for it.  We added the words extinct, fossil, herbivore, carnivore, paleontologist, and Pangea to our vocabulary bank.  These handy dinosaur vocabulary booklets were perfect for recording our words.

I think one of their favorite activities of the week was getting to do their dinosaur dig.  They worked in teams to dig for bones (wooden 3-d puzzle pieces) and construct a dinosaur.  After they completed the dinosaur they had to open an envelope with facts about their dinosaur and complete a dinosaur stat sheet.  They presented their findings with the class and shared their creation.  I was so surprised with how well they could put together these puzzles. 

Every year that I do this unit I always seem to add to it or make tweaks.  The original unit can be purchased from Deanna Jump.  I added the dinosaur sight word puzzle, dinosaur dig stat page, and QR-code t-rex facts.  I can upload those additional items later this week. I hope you are getting through these last few weeks of school.  The struggle is real, but we can do it!