Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Earth Day Activities

We are celebrating Earth Day this week and learning all about the three R's - reduce, reuse and recycle!

We started  with the story It's Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer.  

We learned about the 3 R's - reduce, reuse and recycle. 

We watched a video about how global warming is affecting wildlife, especially the polar bears.  We made this anchor chart with ideas of how to save the polar bears. 

We did an experiment that showed how the ice is melting in the arctic and soon the polar bears will have no where to live. I mixed some baking soda with water and spread it in a plastic container.  This looked a lot like ice and I could mold it to look like ice burgs.  I put a small polar bear on the ice to show where it lives.

I used a small squirt bottle for the liquid and added water to 2 T of citric acid.  I also added some blue food coloring to make it look like water.  When we squirted the solution on the "ice" it began to melt. This experiment showed the students how the ice is melting and the polar bears are losing their homes because of global warming.

We made a flip book about how we can help to save the Earth by reducing, reusing and recycling.

We learned about which items in our trash can be recycled, used as compost and what is simply garbage.  Each student had a picture to add to our large class anchor chart called "Where should it go?" They also made their own chart. 

The students were divided up into teams to play the game "Save The Earth".  Students moved around the game board and read cards with different clues to help save the Earth.  Students had to decide if this clue would help them reduce, reuse or recycle.  

Finally, we recycled old magazines by tearing out the pages with blue and green color. The students tore them up into small pieces and then glued them on a large picture of the Earth.

They finished off the week by writing how they could save the Earth!

We had a great time learning about Earth Day and how we can all work together to save our planet!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Japan Activites for Kids!

Are you looking for Japan activites for kids? We had the most fun learning all about the Japanese culture in our classroom.  We learned about Mount Fuji, the Japanese cherry blosom festival, sushi, origami and more! Come along as I tell you about our journey to Japan!

We follow the Journeys Reading Series and our story of the week was called "A New Friend" - a story about a little boy that moves from Japan to the United States.  I decided this would be a good opportunity to learn about the country of Japan!

We have a wonderful family, from Japan, that lives in our school district.  They were gracious enough to start off our week with a great presentation about the country of Japan.  They brought in props like books and a kimono to show my students, which gave them a really great background to begin our week.



Each day we learned something new about the country of Japan.  We completed a page each day in our Let's Learn About Japan mini book and did a special activity to go with it!

We used Epic books to read several stories about Japan and we focused on a different aspect of the country each day.  To begin, we talked about Japan being an island and it is famous for all of the volcanoes in the area....the most famous being Mount Fuji.  We created our own Mount Fuji with a directed draw, which we painted with watercolors.  

The next day we learned a little about the history of Japan and we made our own Japanese flag.

Next it was time to learn about the people of Japan. We learned about their special holidays called Boys Day and Girls Day.  We learned that sometimes girls wear an outfit called a Kimono for special holidays.  I found a cute FREEBIE on Crayola.com (you can pick it up here) of a doll dressed in a kimono.  I loved the idea, but didn't want the kids limited to the pattern on their freebie, so I created a simple square for the firsties to create their own design.  

We used our Smart board to visit a virtual Japanese house, where we could drag pictures to create a Japanese home. It was really fun and the kids LOVED it!  

Next we learned about Japanese food.  We watched a cool YouTube video that showed the kids in Japan helping to prepare, serve and enjoy their school lunch.  After this, we made our own Bento Boxes.  I made the actual paper box for the firsties ahead of time and then the kids filled them with sushi, rice, fish, and veggies - made of paper, cotton balls and fun foam!

Finally, it was time to try out our own Japanese cuisine....Kid Style! We made some kid friendly sushi - Banana Roll Up Sushi and Peanut Butter Sushi!  We also added some "fish" (Swedish fish candy) and some authentic Japanese cookies and crackers to our meal.  As an added treat, I purchased some real California roll sushi for the kids to try....not all were brave enough, but some did try it and they liked it!

Our Japanese meal:



We had a fantastic time learning all about Japan.  Do you want to learn about Japan with your students?  Grab your copy of the "All About Japan" mini book here. 

Want to try all the other activities?  I put them all together in a little freebie that you can grab here! Have fun!

Insect Activities in First Grade

Insects are always a fun theme in spring, so this week we learned all about insect life cycles and butterflies.

Day 1

We started out on the first day with general lesson on insects.  We learned the difference between a bug and an insect.  We watched a short video on YouTube to begin our lesson called All About Insects

Next, we talked about everything we learned about insects and worked together in interactive writing to create this chart. 

I passed out picture cards and we did an insect sorting activity in our pocket chart.  The students sorted pictures that were insects or not insects. 

After this the students went back to their seat to complete their own insect sorting sheet

Finally, the students worked in small groups to play a game called Bug Hunt.  They rolled the dice and moved around the board collecting insects for their bug net! They loved this!

Day 2

On our second day, we focused on butterflies.  We learned about the life cycle of the butterfly, what it eats, and where it lives.We began our lesson with a short video on YouTube that showed us how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly.  It was a great video that showed the entire process.  The kids were fascinated!

Afterwards, we worked together in interactive writing to complete this story map about butterflies. 

Next the children made their own butterfly life cycle with this lift the flap page.  Each wing lifts up to reveal the different parts of the life cycle. 

In the afternoon, we read Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar and watched a short video clip of the author telling about how he makes his illustrations for his book.  The students loved seeing the real author of one of our favorite books! 

Next, we decided to try to paint paper like Eric Carle.  I gave the students white paper and various textures to paint with like sponges, forks, sponge rollers, carpet squares, etc.  The students painted the paper and then we let it dry until the next day.

Day 3

On our third day, we learned about symmetry in butterflies.  We read the book Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy and then we made an anchor chart about symmetrical objects. I cut shapes from our Ellison machine and the students had to glue them to the correct side of the chart. 

Next the students did an Insect Symmetry Sort, which I used as an assessment. 

They also practiced drawing symmetrical insects using these worksheets.  The gridlines helped them recreate the shape on the other side of the midline. 

Finally, we used our paper that we had painted and created symmetrical butterflies.  Each one turned out special and unique.  

Day 4

On our last day of the unit, students were able to build their own bug.  We reviewed everything that we had learned about bug and insects and then the children set to work creating their own bug.  They were able to choose from different heads, body styles, legs, arms, etc.  They could create any kind of silly bug.  

When they were finished, it was time to write about their bug in this layered book.  They had to give it a name, tell what it eats and where it lives.  They also had to give it a predator and tell an interesting fact about their bug.  The kids had a blast coming up with silly bugs that lived on different planets, magical forests, all over the place!

We had a great week learning all about bugs and insects.  If you would like to do any of these activities in your room, they are all available on my TPT store.  It's time to get buggy!