Monday, November 24, 2014

The First Thanksgiving Interactive Story-Telling and a TON of FALL FUN!

Autumn is in full swing and I couldn't wait to share some fun Fall things we are doing in the month of November.
We started the month with a short 3-day week (due to conferences) but we managed to squeeze in some fun reading!  
 Close Reading for the Fall (14 Nonfiction Passages)
We found a great article to "read closely" and discovered some new, interesting words to add to our expanding vocabularies!


Here we are answering text-dependent questions together as a class.
I love how this little one is going back and forth between pages to "confirm" her answer is correct.

We have been dabbling in opinion writing and and the kids love writing to "show what they know" on a subject!

We were sharing our Directions on How To Jump in Leaves and this beginning writer used her "leaf blower" to get the pile started! 
Speaking of words, 
we also are learning how to "sort" our words into word categories.  We began with Nouns, Proper Nouns, Adjectives, and Verbs.

Art in November:

We call this AUTUMN TWILIGHT-









Then last week, we dug into the past and got busy learning about how much things have changed since 1620.
We watched some videos, and read some great articles on many things that have changed over the years.  We decided that for the most part, we like the changes that have happened. 
My sweet, sweet friends, Chrissy & Tammy from over at Fluttering Through First Grade were SO GRACIOUS to share their new unit with me!
Oh.My.Word.
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
I can't tell you how excited I was to find something "meaningful" and "engaging" to keep the kids focused being so close to the holiday. 
I prepped the day before with 6 piles of copies.
I  had a parent helper fold and staple the book cover pages together ahead of time.
My 4th grade helpers did the coloring for my sample pages!
I made a student booklet of the reading passages along with a vocabulary graphic organizer and treated this like a normal Close Reading Exercise.  We had 6 important topics to cover so that became 6 days of new learning!  Each topic was celebrated individually on a new day.
Our routine was fabulous!  We would annotate the text and talk about what was most interesting about the topic.  
Then students broke into partnerships and practiced reading that passage several times for fluency.
Then we reviewed our Key Vocabulary one last time before putting it away until next time!
Then, after our reading, we got busy with constructing a story page to outline our learning from that day's topic.
Here is page one on the Pilgrims.
Day 2: The Native Americans
We followed the same steps and routine as in Day 1.
Here is the PAGE 2 addition.
We added our new learning passages to our Focus Wall too!
After 6 days of great learning, the kids were ready to share these awesome books with family & friends!
Here's a peek at a completed
"My Story of the First Thanksgiving"!
And after much practice, we are taking these home today with a special assignment!
So then, when we weren't busy with History lessons about the First Thanksgiving, we were doing some awesome science learning on the topic of PUMPKINS!  I couldn't imagine teaching this unit without the help of two AWESOME friends!
The incredibly talented Lisa Richling shared this with me and the kids just can't get enough of the science experiments!!

Pumpkin Circuit: Pumpkin Exploration Stations 
 The great visuals on our focus wall and the followup writing activities are all from All Students Can Shine.

Pumpkins Unit - Literacy & Science!

Would you look at all this information!

We planned ahead and had parents send in pumpkins of various sizes to help with these experiments.
We had a taste-testing that included some delicious pumpkin treats!

Pumpkin Bread was a huge favorite!
Followed in second place by these yummy Pumpkin Cookies!


Then, we celebrated Pumpkin Parts
and read this fabulous story called 
"How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?"
We scooped out and gutted the inside of a pumpkin.
Then our Celebrity of the Week got the privilege of sorting and drying out the pumpkin seeds.
While the seeds were drying, we made predictions about exactly HOW MANY SEEDS came out of our pumpkin...

Then, we decided to follow the book character's choice and count the seeds by 10's.

Final tally:
330 seeds!
Now that we had a pumpkin carved out and all empty, we decided to see if a pumpkin would explode and erupt just like our Apples did back in September.
We prepped our pumpkin-
And prepared our special ingredients!
The kids insisted we make a video of the explosion so take a peek 
at our results.
 
Today, we focused on the Life Cycle of a Pumpkin-


Before writing, we took time to share our Pumpkin Cycles with a partner using Procedural words so we could "hear" what our writing was going to sound like.

We wrote about Pumpkins and boy was this fun!
This afternoon, we are working on this Pumpkin Play and doing some Reader's Theater with it for tomorrow.


Oh, and one more thing....
Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice;
 I have been receiving some very LOVELY cards, notes, and presents lately!  (#oneluckyandthankfulteacher!)
I would be lost without my Teacher Love Notes Binder!
I keep notes like these inside-
And if notes straight from the heart wasn't enough,
would you look at what this sweetie pie gave her teacher for Thanksgiving!
This gift was AMAZING!  Tons of stickers,
and Sharpies, and post-it's to last me all year!
I am such a lucky teacher to have a class that is so giving and sweet.  I adore each and every one of these guys!

CHEESE!!!!
Happy Thanksigiving, for our classroom to yours!
xoxoxo,
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