STEAM · story · writing

Dragonflies

Today we will learn about one type of insect, a dragonfly. Let’s listen to the story Are You a Dragonfly by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. Then head over to SciShow Kids (Super Strong Dragonfly) to learn some more dragonfly facts. Just for fun, listen to the song D-D-D-Dragonfly by Pinkfong.

Now… let’s draw a picture and write some facts!

Teaching your child to create a can, are, have chart will assist them in collecting facts. This also becomes the start of writing paragraphs about the topic. When learning to write, provide your child the sentence starter and have them complete the fact “Dragonflies are _____. Dragonflies can_____. Dragonflies have____.” As they get better at writing and understanding the format of writing, they will then begin to use this format in their own informative writing process.

math · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Ten Eggs

We will wrap up this week with one more egg story. Today’s story Ten Eggs in a Nest by Marilyn Sadler. Gwen the hen and Red the rooster are very excited for their eggs to hatch. Since it is “bad luck to count your eggs before they hatch”, Red doesn’t know how many eggs were laid. When the eggs begin to hatch, Red travels back and forth to the worm store to purchase worms for the new chicks.

This book would be a great opportunity to discuss the difference between fantasy and reality. We want children to enjoy the imaginative worlds that are created for them in their cartoons and storybooks, but at the same time we need them to begin to see that there is often a big difference between the fantasy of a fiction story and the reality of life (non-fiction or informational text).

Create a T chart to compare items in the story that are fantasy and those that are based in reality. Have your child explain why they believe each item belongs under fantasy or reality. If the item belongs under fantasy, challenge your child to explain what the reality would look like.

To extend the learning…

This book leads easily into math!

one to one correspondence (the ability to match items to other items or to a corresponding number. this helps solidify the concept of quantity)

provide your child with 10 eggs, have your child use items or illustrations to match one chick to each egg and then take it a step further and create one worm for each chick. If your child is struggling, remove eggs and start with a much smaller number.

Use the same eggs, chicks and worms to compare quantities. set out a number of eggs, chicks and worms (have them be all different quantities to begin). Then ask “What can you tell me about the amount of eggs, chicks and worms now?” Notice I didn’t point the children into using specific terms yet. You want to see what they observe on their own first. We hope they will say there are more/less _____ than _____, or _____ has the most/least. The ability to compare quantities is a key piece in number sense and will assist them moving into addition and subtraction as well as graphing and other math skills.

The other direction you could easily take with this story is ways to build a 10. In the story they mention that 1+2+3+4=10. This is another skill that is key for children to develop. We want them to understand that the concept of addition is to bring more into a group of items. Often times we focus on ___+____=____. This is important, but being able to decompose numbers into a variety of groupings will help with mental math later. Have your child use Lego or other colored items to group items into 10s. 2 red +3 yellow+2 green +1 white +2 black = 10 Lego bricks. This will help your child when they are approaching word problems later. You could easily state this in terms of a word problem and have your child illustrate it as well. I have a building that has 10 bricks. 5 are yellow, 1 is red and the rest are green. How many green blocks do I have? Then have your child build it to determine how many green they need.

math · STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic

Eggs

Today let’s look at some animals who are hatched from eggs. Can you list some? Did you think of any that are not birds? Let’s read the book Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller.

After listening to the story, make a circle map of all the animals that lay eggs that you remember. So many things come from eggs. How many did you remember?

How to extend the learning…

  • hide small animal toys or pictures in eggs and then sort them by animals that come from eggs and not from eggs. Create a simple T chart for use of sorting.
  • Go on a walk and keep a tally chart or write on a T chart all the animals you see and if they come from eggs or not.
  • cook eggs for breakfast, lunch or even dinner!
  • looking to challenge your kiddo? write the names of all the animals they listed on the circle map on small sheets of paper (or just cut them off the chart from earlier). Now have your child put them in alphabetical order. Or, sort the words by beginning sounds. Or by the number of letters in the word. Or by animal type. Or….

Ok… so what is my child learning??? Not only is your child learning about the animals that are hatched from eggs, which in an of itself is a big topic, but they are also: classifying, counting, sorting, observing, discussing, debating, exploring, and more!

By having your child record the observations made you are having your child recall information and then organize the thoughts onto the chart, this is not only a science skill, but also a pre-writing skill (as in before you write, not just before you are able to write). Both the circle map and the T chart are graphic organizers. Sorting, counting, tally counting are all math skills.

By going on a nature walk and observing you are connecting the learning to the real world around you and helping extend the learning. Did you come across any animals that your child did not know where they should be classified?

The use of the plastic eggs and toys brings in an additional element of fun.

teaching thoughts

Graphic Organizers

Why do teachers use graphic organizers with young children? Wait, first let’s talk about… what is a graphic organizer?

A graphic organizer is a tool used to collect information in an organized and visual fashion. This learning tool is great for visual learners. It helps children put their thoughts and learning down on paper in an organized visual manner.

Typically in the primary grades you will see teachers use circle maps, bubble maps, double bubble maps, venn diagrams, KWL (know, want to learn, learn) and other organizers on a regular basis. We also use Can, Are, Have/Need charts; beginning, middle, end; main idea, supporting details; and tree charts.

Teachers uses these maps whole group in the primary grades to introduce the concept of collecting information and then using that collected information to write about a given topic. These are also great tools going forward for visual learners to help them study and master new topics.

It is a very visual tool that helps children learn to collect important information, compare and contrast topics, and move between known information and new information.

STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Penguin Flying?

Today, let’s read a fantasy story about a penguin who wanted to fly. The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly by Catherine Vase. Flip-Flop wants to fly like, but he can’t fly. So, he decide to get creative and try to find other ways to fly.

Create a paper version of Flip-Flop and then problem solve ways that you can help Flip-Flop fly! This is a great challenge project for your child. You can either provide materials such as paper, string, a small paper cup, tape. Challenge your child to find ways to help Flip-Flop fly. They could make a paper airplane, a zip-line, a “hot air balloon”. Maybe they want to put him into a toy plane, build something out of Lego or even make him a parachute. The point is to let your child’s creativity drive the result on how (s)he can help Flip-Flop fly. Also remember that failure is part of the process. In the story, Flip-Flop did not give up when his ideas were a flop, he just came up with another thought and then another. We need encourage children to try again. Look at things a different way, and not give up.

While searching for the story above, I found a different version of this idea. The Penguin Who Wanted to Fly by Rob Spicier This one is made of photographs put together to match the text written by the narrator. Umiak is a penguin who wants to fly like the puffins. He talks to other animals who live near him to find the answer to why he can’t fly. His mother helps him see that penguins do fly, just differently than other birds.

Why did both stories say that penguins can fly in the water? Is this really flying? Why do you think they compared the way that penguins move in the water to flying?

Another activity that these two stories work well with is comparisons. Create a Venn Diagram or Double Bubble Map to compare and contrast the two stories. How are they the same? How are they different?

Venn Diagram Maker | Lucidchart
Science- Double Bubble Map Instructions by Grant Ed | TpT

STEAM · story · topic

Penguins

This week we are going to learn about an Antarctic bird… penguins! Penguins live near the south pole, or in the Antarctic circle. While many penguins live on Antarctica, not all penguins live there, certain types of penguins live in New Zealand, Australia, South America and Africa. They are also found on the islands near Antarctica.

Let’s learn some more about penguins. Here are two stories for you Penguins by Gail Gibbons and Penguins by Jill Esbaum (A National Geographic Kids book). While you listen to these stories, think about the facts the authors share. What can you learn about penguins?

Create your own Can, Are, Have chart and write or draw facts about penguins to remember. Then uses these statements to write sentences, you already have the foundation: Penguins can waddles. Penguins are flightless birds. Penguins have pouches to keep their eggs warm. Look… you already wrote three informational facts about penguins! Now draw a picture to show what you wrote.

story · topic

Light the Lights

Many winter holidays have a light component. Christmas lights and candles, Hanukkah’s Menorah, Kwanzaa’s Kinara, Winter Solstice’s yule log, Diwali’s lanterns, St Lucia’s candle headdress, Chinese/Lunar New Year’s lanterns, and more! (Lights of Winter by Heather Conrad)

While many families only celebrate one winter holiday, others celebrate multiple. Let’s read a few books about families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

Light the Lights by Margaret Moorman and Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Momma by Selina Alko.

This is a great opportunity to complete a venn diagram, or double bubble web to compare and contrast the holidays. What makes them the same? What makes them different?

story · topic

Humans get ready for winter too

While some people might migrate to warmer climates, and others wish they could hibernate all winter… humans have to adapt. For us this means wearing winter clothes, turning the heat on in the house and eating warm foods.

Let’s listen to the story Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle and learn about how a family prepares their farm for the long winter months.

Make a chart of the things you need/have/can to do to get ready for winter.

story · topic

Winter Adaptation

Over the last two weeks, we have discussed how animals get ready for winter. We learned about migration and hibernation. Now lets talk about adaptation. Adaptation is when animals change or adapt to the cold of winter. This change my be a physical change such as the color of their coat or the thickness of their fur.

Let’s listen to the story: Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. In this story we learn about how animals continue to move and live during the snows of winter. You hear about both animals that are hibernating and those that have adapted to the winter environment.

Today let’s create a chart about animals that migrate, hibernate and adapt to winter. You can either focus on a specific ecosystem of animals (a pond, the forest, your backyard etc…) or just list animals in general. I will list pond animals.

teachers pay teacher

Migrating Animals

Today we finished up migrating animals. I hope you enjoyed this and choose to delve deeper into the topic! If you do, here is a kit I made to help with organizing thoughts and writing about the topic.

Migrating Animals Kit

You will also find a mini book, picture cards, read the room activity and labels.

The writing pages are also provided in just writing lines and just handwriting pages so your child can use it for other writing beyond the can, are, need piece.

Next week we will be working on hibernation and I will make a similar kit for those animals as well!