Monday, January 23, 2012

The Dinosaur Song

Whew...welcome back everyone. I hope you are all rested from our snow-days. And two of them in a row - that is a rarity in our district.

We picked up right where we left of in our science study of dinosaurs. Here is a great video that has some facts about dinosaurs. It's a catchy little tune. 

You'll also find the same video and additional dino facts on Wonderopolis Wonder of the Day # 275 - How do dinosaurs get their names? 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Everybody Do the Dinosaur

It's January in Dragon-land and were learning about...dinosaurs.  Dinosaurs are fascinating, and the topic never fails to hook the kids. Last week we started reading dinosaur books to introduce and, for some, revisit some popular dinosaur vocabulary like fossils, bones, carnivore, herbivore, triceratops, stegosaurus, and of course...T-REX. Oh, an even better hook is that the first T-Rex skull was found in Montana in 1902, and the Maiasaura roamed Montana as well. 

This week we've been getting hands on with some fossils. The kids know that fossils are dinosaur bones that over millions of years have turned in to stone.  We discussed the process in class so I'll spare you the details.  We also discussed that fossils don't always have to be from dinosaurs. We looked at, and held, fossilized shells, wood, fish, eggs, and droppings - but the proper term is coprolite.  We've seen replicas of a Baronyx claw, a Troodon egg, and a T-Rex tooth. Next week we'll extend our learning into some writing and math.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Wonderopolis Literacy Center

In October we were one of the proud recipients of the Wonderopolis mini-grants. We used our grant funds to purchase an iPad to use at our iWonderopolis literacy center  that I created for the classroom.  I introduced our new tablet to the class last week and spent some time discussing some basic rules for the center. When the kids arrived today, I had the center ready to go. We are super excited! We'll be sharing all the fun things we're learning and wondering!

It's a work in progress - we'll continue to add new and "wonderful" things that engage and spark curiosity. Our first task this week was to get a feel of what we'll be doing.  The dragons are assigned by pairs at the center. They visit Wonderopolis on the iPad and watch the "Wonder of the Day", or assigned wonder if a topic seems to be out of their reach.  After they watch the video, they write in the Wonderopolis Topic Journals. Here, they have a choice to write an "I wonder..." question (who, what, why, where, if, how, when), or an "I know that...:" statement.  They can write a question that they may continue to wonder about, or a fact-statement about something they learned. When they complete the task  I let them explore some of the educational apps that I have on the home-screen. (Hint - they can only use an app that isn't in a folder) I leave a few out that are germane to the topic, or skill, they are learning. There are many things in store in the coming months.

Thanks Wonderopolis & Better World Books!

Wonderopolis Literacy Center.

Laying down the ground rules!
"Stop talking Mr. Fines...and let us go to the center." Lol!
Checking out the "Wonder of the Day"
Wonderopolis Topic Journal

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

And We're Back!

It's our second day back from winter break and its looks like we're good to go.  You never know what will happen with the kids after a nice long break.  While it's only a week-and-a-half, it's enough time away from the daily routines of reading, writing, and working with words and numbers for the kids to need a little "refresher" when they return. I'll spend most of the morning asking about things we learned before the break to see if they still have some of that knowledge floating around in their heads. It's usually never a problem, but it's something you certainly don't want to underestimate. I like to see if the kids still have their "stamina" for learning. I teach the kids about stamina  and they know that, in kindergarten, it means being able to control their bodies during a particular activity for a certain amount of time - anywhere from 10-15 minutes.  This stamina is important for writing time, and read-to-self time.  I asked them if they could still do 12 minutes of quiet reading and writing. It was a breeze for them - and a sigh of relief for me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A New Year

Welcome back everyone ~ and Happy New Year!

Time certainly flies when you're having fun. I suppose that we having our fair share of it, considering our last post was nearly a month ago. I resolve to getting back to more consistent posts. I got a new digital camera/ video recorder that should streamline the process

We return this week and continue on our journey. There are some fun things in store for the dragons. I/we can't wait to share our learning with you in 2012.