It has been awhile – teaching third grade is pretty time-consuming, but fun! This is the end of my second year, and it has been a blast. I was able to make changes with things that didn’t work quite as well last year, and tried a few new things this year.
One of the best projects we did was our Greek God and Goddess reports. The last unit in our reading curriculum focuses on plays and we did them as a reader’s theater. Then came the questions – many students had only vaguely heard of Zeus, or Athena, so I found a really great research project on TpT from KornOnTheCobb . I assigned students their ‘person’, printed out some kid-friendly information, pulled the few books from our library and set students to work. They enjoyed finding information online (the project gives student appropriate websites) and in the books and information I gave them. I loved that the project had a rubric and I added our success criteria to the information. That really helped insure that students had the information needed to complete their project successfully. We’d been having trouble taking information from texts and then putting it into their own words, and this assignment really helped!
The final step was to have students report out on their person to the rest of the class. I always forget to take pictures without faces so that I can post them, but I did snap a picture of the last two reports to go.
Starting in August, I will be teaching third grade! Quite a jump from preschool, but I am so excited. There’s more opportunity to work with reading and writing! I’ve been scouring Teachers Pay Teachers, and my local teacher supply store for ideas. I also LOVE Blair Turner. She has such great posts and ideas, and her TpT store is amazing. Her interactive math journals look like so much fun. I may have to invest in these!
As the end of the year came so quickly, I didn’t take many pictures from the end of our insects and plants unit. The kids really enjoyed using vocabulary words like thorax and chrysalis! I was so amazed at how quickly they caught on and used the words in our day-to-day learning and playing.
We made some super cute bees and really worked on our fine motor skills:
The kiddos gave me ‘bee facts’ to hang outside our door. (Please pardon some of the poor quality phone pictures!) Their cutting skills were amazing at the end of the year- I was really impressed and told them they are certainly ready to cut in kindergarten!
We also had a chance to make Eric Carle inspired caterpillars after reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar:
To make the paper, the kids painted on brown paper bags. They used sporks, pencil erasers and sponges to make patterns on the paper. When it was all dry, they cut out circles and made their caterpillars! This group LOVED wiggly eyes, and they especially liked these with the eye lids and lashes. We did discover that Eric Carle’s book has an error. Butterflies emerge from a chrysalis, not a cocoon!
Our plants and insects unit ended up stretching from two weeks to four! We did a lot of sorting, classifying, rhyming and practiced our writing during this unit. I just wish I’d taken more pictures. But, we were so busy and having fun, I guess it’s okay to forget pictures. 🙂
Partner measuring activity
Rachelle Rosenblit has an adorable measurement activity.
We have started our unit on plants this week. We started out labeling the parts of a plant, and looking at various seeds. We read “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle, and listed all the things a plant needs to grow. This week we will also be making our own parts of a plant foldable complete with real seeds! Our SLO (Student Learning Object) this cycle is measurement, and I think this is a super cute idea. Now, preschoolers aren’t reading yet, but we have a group of Fourth graders who come and read with us once a month. Fingers crossed they will be done with their own testing and can come help us with this activity, otherwise I’ll tweak this to work for them. They are so good with the little kiddos! They came on Read Across America Day in March and now when I see them in the hallway, they ask when they can come back! One of my kiddos will wave to them and say “look, there’s our big kid friends!”
It makes me smile!
Miss Graffe’s Class: Teaching Arrays
I found a few really great blogs about teaching arrays. Now, we don’t really do this in preschool, but it’s a great idea for the future. As for preschoolers, I love the idea of using qtips to fill in 10 frames, which is something I’ll be introducing soon. They will see a lot of 10 frames in kindergarten, so I’ll be adding them to my circle time counting and in the math center. I love that there are so many ways to use them – cubes, pom poms, paint, Lego…and everyone’s favorite – food! (Both websites have TpT stores…I’ve marked quite a few things for my wish list!)
From Primarypunch! Great ideas here as well. Love this anchor chart!
The last two weeks we have talked about art – Famous artists and their work, as well as what tools they use and lots of vocabulary. This Matisse project had students using their fine motor skills to cut out shapes. I had a few patterns cut out for them to use if they wanted to, but they were also able to do their own free form shapes.
Our finishing project will be a self portrait. The kiddos have been looking at self portraits by van Gogh, Rembrandt, Durer, da Vinci and Michelangelo (and can I tell you how excited they were to make a connection to those four turtles that live in the sewers?!). They will be drawing self portraits and decorating frames that will then go up in the hallway for everyone! So excited about it…the kids are really into this unit. They are also insisting on “artist’s hats”, which I think they mean a beret, so I’m going to see if I can find a pattern to make one.
This week we learned all about snowmen! The kiddo’s liked making the melted snowmen, thought a few were concerned that they didn’t look like the other snowmen we made! For the other ones, I had snowmen cut outs, brown stick arms and scarf pieces and the kiddos chose their hats then put the snowman together. This guy is actually a ‘vampire googly eye’ snowman. The eyes made me laugh.
This is one of my new favorite blogs! Tons of great ideas, and her items on TpT are beautiful!
Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten!
Ever the planner, I’ve found some adorable spring themed activities! Trillium Montessori had some great literacy activities on their page. They are so cute and hands on. I know my preschoolers will love them come spring!
Great activities from Trillium Montessori!