Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Heal the world with a tiny bit of Little Learner Love

Happy Earth Day to all!

My Little Learners have been working hard to build their knowledge of plants, animals, and the world around them.  As a part of our unit, we discussed the effects that our everyday lives can have on our planet.  I found it interesting that many of my students already had a large amount of background knowledge about the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, and recycle).  Many of them shared stories about shopping trips with reusable bags.    We read many nonfiction texts about plants, our Earth, and ways to help.  However, my students favorite reading was a piece of fiction titled Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Zweibel.  (Of topic, a big thanks to the donor's who funded our science mentor text project on Donor's Choose!  This book was included in the bunch!)

Perhaps motherhood has softened me quite a bit, but I found myself quite choked up at the end of this story. It really is a beautiful story!  As the young characters grow through life's awkward stages, their tree "Steve" is  there for them.  Until the day that Steve is knocked down in a storm.  The children's parents reuse "Steve" and build a tree house.  This story prompted a discussion about the little things we could all do to help keep our world healthy and happy.  Here's a little of what they came up with...

The promises and commitments they made to our Earth turned into a fun arts integrated project!

As a continuation of our studies, we have begun to flutter into the world of caterpillars and butterflies!  When they first laid eyes on our caterpillars, the excitement on their faces was absolutely priceless!  They quickly broke into teams and chose names.  I was incredibly impressed with how easily the worked together to meet their goal.  Thus, we ended up with Taffy Boy, Sparkle, Raisin, Mrs.Howard, and Copy Cat.  Our caterpillar/butterfly study branched out into all areas of learning.  We read fiction and nonfiction texts, studied  the parts and life cycle, and observed closely through each change.

The Chrysalis



Finally, we had butterflies!


It just so happened that our butterflies emerged on April 22nd, Earth Day.  The children and I were having a detailed discussion about what we could do that day to make the world a little more beautiful.  Quickly, the children (independently) began to discuss setting our butterflies free.  As a group, they felt that they should be able to "drink nectar outside and be with their friends.  They might even find a mate and lay more eggs!"  
I was sure proud to their teacher. 

Peace, Love & Hug a Tree

Jessica Purtell

Saturday, January 26, 2013

And we meet again...

So, when the school year started this year, I promised myself that I would be committed to keeping up with this blog.  I have to admit, I have failed miserably!  Fret not, I have returned with a renewed commitment!  I was going through my new photos that I wanted to post, when I came across some that I simply couldn't get rid of!  A little while back, my students and I took a trip to our locate zoo.  Let the exploration and excitement commence!

Fueling up for our fun-filled afternoon!  Such little hams!

 The infamous Albino Alligator!  I have seen him many times, but have never actually seen him move.  I was starting to think they he was stuffed!  This time we got to see him move!  He's alive!

 Loving every minute of it!

The tiger was their favorite part!  He just walked back and forth, putting on a show!

Together we can move mountains.... or at least very big boulders! 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Apple Pie a la Whoa!

Boy, do my Little Learners love apples!  They enjoyed every moment of our apple unit.  As the culminating activity for our unit, we baked an Apple Crumb Pie.  My Little Learners were beyond excited about cooking their own treats!  Enjoy the peek at our hands-on fun!

My VERY happy helpers!!



A super easy recipe that is super yummy!

Just a little cinnamon, sugar, flour, spices and apples.  
Add a little mix of butter, sugar, and flour on the top!

Hooray for Apple Crumb Pie!

Peace, Love & Apple Crumb Pie!

Jessica Purtell

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples!

What a wonderful start to Fall!  My Little Learners and I have spent time investigating, graphing, tasting, writing, and learning all about different types of apples.  In our first week of our Apple unit, students participated in a Five Senses, Survey, Graphing, and writing activities.

Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, & Granny Smiths
Let the tasting begin!

Initially, we only tasted the Red Delicious apples.  We brainstormed apple descriptions using our Five Senses.  Students chose they favorite adjectives and created the below activity. 

Students crunched and munched on all three types of apples.  They then decided which apple was their personal favorite.  They received a colored apple to indicate their favorite and used them to create a large class graph.

Students used the information from our class graph to practice their Same, More, & Fewer math skills on the below graphic organizer.

Our apple discovery even branched out into the uses, parts, and life cycle of an apple!

Would the activity really be complete without a little arts integration?  Students were shown various artist renditions of apple orchards.  They then completed their own masterpieces using drawing chalk.  I'm so proud of my Little Learners' creativity!

Peace, Love & Apples!

Jessica Purtell

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's Jazz, Baby...

What an incredible week I had with my Little Learners!  I always enjoy getting them involved with the arts.  Their little faces light up when they dance, sing, paint, etc...  However, the very best part of arts integration is seeing their brains and hearts open up to completely new and exciting ideas.  My Little Learners and I jumped into the world of Jazz Baby this week.  This fun piece of fiction gets children moving and grooving while learning about various literary elements and instruments.

Throughout the week, we did a variety of activities with Jazz Baby.  These activities included retelling and webbing of key details and writing.  Students also experienced early and modern Jazz music throughout their literacy centers.  By the end of the week, I felt that students were able to tackle Jazz in a more critical way.  After listening and internalizing some early Jazz, we discussed the feelings that it emotes.

Some of my Little Learners "feeling it"!

Students assisted in creating a chart of our jazzy feelings.

After creating our chart, we began talking about what colors might express these particular feelings.   One of my students commented that Jazz made him feel smooth, and purple was a smooth, calm, and cool color.  Students viewed samples of various paintings depicting jazz music.  They were then asked to paint the emotional effect that the music had on them.  Their work was out of sight!

Some of the masterpieces!

I was so unbelievably proud of my Little Learners!  Their creativity knows no bounds!

Peace & Love
Jessica Purtell

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A Popping Good Time!

 After last week's Primary Color science experiment, my smarty-pants Little Learners are now completely fascinated with all things science!  We have been discussing Scientific Method and the use of various science tools.  Their eyes completely lit up after discovering that they could use there own five senses as science tools.  To reinforce their recently acquired knowledge of the five senses, I chose to incorporate their blossoming love for science with another one of their loves... snacks!  Students worked together to identify characteristics of popcorn by using their five senses.  We made a list for each one of the senses and each student chose which word they liked best.  Students then wrote the word next to the correct sense and drew a picture of the matching body part.  My Little Learners found it exciting, educational, and extremely yummy!

 Whole Group Five Senses Popcorn Anchor Chart

 My proud Little Scientists!

A happy face and a full belly!

There's nothing better than seeing my Little Learners get so excited about new challenges!

Peace & Love

Jessica Purtell
Kindergarten - English Language Arts, Math, Reading - TeachersPayTeachers.com; ?>