Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Octopus

The octopus is definitely a favorite animal in the eyes of a 5-year-old. Or in the eyes of a 31-year-old. (Yes, that's me.) I love the octopus because many students know what it is, but don't know much about it. I love teaching them the amazing facts of the octopus.
Amazing Octopus Facts!
1. They have suckers on their arms that can actually sense taste.
2. They have no bones.
3. They have a sharp beak to break shells.
4. Some octopus have poisons.
5. They can change color and texture to camouflage themselves.
6. They have a purplish-black ink they can squirt out so they can get away from enemies.
7. A female octopus lays eggs.
8. Octopus can squeeze into small holes.

Like I said, many kids know what an octopus is so I begin my lesson with the book:
They love this book! Every year they love it. This year my class actually clapped when I finished reading it. It's a super silly book about an octopus making friends....even with a shark.
Then we get into the science of the octopus:

And we see some amazing pictures of a real octopus.

Going onto YouTube and searching some videos to show how an octopus swims is also a great idea. They don't swim how the kids expect them to, so they are always very fascinated to see a "REAL OCTOPUS!" swim.
After our discussion we do our octopus page in
We talk a lot about the arms or legs. There has been some research that is showing an octopus has two legs (used in "walking") and six arms. I shared this information with my class and you can see that one of my little girls colored her octopus to show that. Haha! I didn't even ask them to do that! It goes to show you that they love learning about ocean animals and remember so much! We also talked about the octopus having their mouth between their arms, but since our picture is a cartoon we can see his mouth.
Our craft for the octopus is the
This is a free printable from Scholastic. Run two octopus onto cardstock. Have the kids cut them out. You staple the heads together and they can curl the arms with their pencil or finger. When they are done, the octopus stands up!
Scholastic has a lot of free ocean printables. Check them out here.
Octopus day was a hit! I hope it is for you too!

The Fish

The fish! What better way to start talking about animals that live in the water! I have a fish tank in my classroom that my students have loved since the first day of school. They are fascinated by the little fish and the giant (and blue!) water snail that hangs out in there. Looking at a fish tank has always been fascinating for kids, so I like to begin my talk about fish by reading
Memoirs of a Goldfish.
This funny little books lets students relate to fish in a setting they are already familiar with. We read several other books about fish, including these three:

One of my favorites is The Pout-Pout Fish. And kids love it when he gets a big KISS at the end of story.
Rainbow Fish is a classic story about being nice to each other and sharing.

What's It Like to Be a Fish? is our science fish book.
And after we read What's It Like to Be a Fish? we begin talking about the parts of the fish. We talk about what the fins do, what the tail does, how a fish can breathe underwater, and what they eat. After this discussion we do our fish page in My Science Journal: Ocean
My students have learned more than they realize about how a fish lives!
Next we do our fish craft. I like to tie in art whenever I can. For this craft we are making the
Take any size coffee filter and have kids dot them with Bingo dotters, or use washable markers and spray with a water bottle, or simply watercolor! Let the filter dry and then glue it to the back of the fish template.

I like to copy onto cardstock, but it would look jut as great if the kids color the fish themselves. I had my students cut the outside of the fish, but I cut the inside circle.

Glue the fish onto the coffee filter (or vice versa) and let dry. Once it is dry trim the filter so your fish looks AMAZING! Hang your fish in the window for some beautiful color!
That's the fish!

My Science Journal: Ocean

Every year the Kindergarten does a very fun and exciting ocean thematic unit. This unit takes us about a month and half because there are so many amazing things about the ocean to study. We strive to learn about one animal each day, learning as much as we can. Then, at the end of the unit, we go on a field trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

We create an ongoing project during this unit called:
My Science Journal: Ocean

It is kind of like a learning portfolio to have at the end of the theme. This is a journal that allows students to write about the animal we are learning about each day. Students can color, label the body parts, and then write one or two facts about the ocean animal they are studying. The journal can be bound into a book or done one page at a time. Check it out at TeachersPayTeachers!
Over the next week or so I will be posting all of the different activities we are doing in our ocean classroom. Each day we begin with a story about the animal of the day, followed by our Ocean Journal and then we do a fun craft or activity. Keep checking my blog to see all of the ocean fun!

Here are a few sample pages from My Science Journal: Ocean
As you can see there is the wonderful opportunity to delve into each ocean animal, practice writing nonfiction and writing conventions.
 There are also some extra bonus activities!

I hope you get a chance to check this out. My students have never done better writing in all of my years teaching Kindergarten (8 in all!!). I do believe that if you get kids writing about what excited them, they will want to write and succeed at it. Make it fun!
“I know what I liked as a child, and I don’t do any book that I, as a child, wouldn’t have liked.”
- H.A. Rey (author of Curious George)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lucky Charms Graphing

Yes, I know I am very late in the game. Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and you are probably all prepared. But, I have not been able to find the graph I want for my Lucky Charms, so I had to make one instead! And I thought I would share it with you guys! Here it is: Lucky Charms Graphing!!!!
Go grab some Lucky Charms and have a 

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