Sunday, October 14, 2012

Letter of the Week: Uu

Howdy everyone! I was so excited to come back to school and see my students again! I couldn't believe how much they had grown in just two weeks. It was funny how well behaved my students were for the first 20 minutes of class on Tuesday, but once they established themselves as being back in the classroom, they went right back to being the rowdy group of kinders I was used to :). We received our final student this last week and after nearly 2 months of school, I finally have my class roster. Last week we focused on the letter Uu. I plan on hitting the remaining vowels here in the next couple weeks so students can do some word building and cvc work.

All week long we read pumpkin books for read alouds. Here are some of the books we read and that the kids really enjoyed:

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

The Biggest Pumpkin Ever by Steve Kroll

The Littlest Pumpkin by R.A. Herman

 Last week our Make-a-Book was The Orange Pumpkin.

Here are some student samples of the various pages:

Here is the Letter U Art from last week. I like to focus on the short sound when I teach vowels however, I do tell students that vowels also have a long sound and that it is so easy because the long sound is the same as the letter's name.

U is for Umbrella/underground.
Here is their Uu Book. Students go on their Uu hunt and color.

Here is the Letter Uu Cut and Paste. It was a little tricky to find lots of picture cards for the short u sound so there are not as many here as usual. The words were: under, us, up, ugly, unlock, umbrella, and umpire.

Those were the routine literacy centers, but now on to the fun part! During our pumpkin unit students made paper plate jack-o-lanterns and cut out the life cycle of a pumpkin to use as a tool for retelling the story Pumpkin Pumpkin. The life cycle sequencing cut outs can be found here. After coloring and cutting them out, students ordered them, folded them over, and glued them to a piece of green yarn for the pumpkin vine.

My students also got to paint their own pumpkins which we put up above our sink area for our very own pumpkin patch! I cracked up when one of my girls said, "Ms. Lee that pumpkin looks like a jalepeno!". Hahaha. Can you guess which pumpkin she is referring to?

For science, we did a simple but neat experiment where I asked students whether they thought pumpkins would sink or float. I have to find a way to start weaving in more science because the kids were incredibly engaged throughout the entire lesson! I launched the lesson by tapping prior knowledge and seeing what students already knew about pumpkins. Have you seen pumpkins before? Where? What do you do with pumpkins? Then I taught them what 'prediction' meant. Students were asked to make a prediction, what they thought would happen. Do pumpkins sink or float? After some think time students got to come up and we created a class graph. Many students predicted that the pumpkins would float. (Not going to lie, it was my first instinct to think that pumpkins would sink...). I had two small pumpkins which we placed in a tub of water first and and both floated. Then I revealed a much bigger pumpkin and students immediately started to change their initial predictions and said that it would sink. To everyone's surprise, the big pumpkin floated in the tub and I opened up a discussion as to why students thought that was. I heard some excellent answers such as, "there are seeds and air inside" and "the pumpkin is empty". We talked about how hollow things float even though they might look or be heavy, like a boat.

Lastly, we finished off the activity with some interactive writing using some recently covered math vocabulary. It was a nice way to integrate the concept of more and fewer by analyzing our pumpkin graph. Our final story was: We learned that pumpkins float. We had 4 more think that they would float. We had 4 fewer think that they would sink.

And voilĂ ! Room 13's completed Pumpkin Patch!

This week our LOTW is the letter Ii. I hope everyone has a stellar week and as always, happy teaching!

P.S. I went to the first of a series of five meetings for some professional development presented by Quantum Learning and I thought it was one of the best PDs I have attended as of late. I gleaned a lot not only from the presentation but from all of the teachers that participated as well. It is definitely worth checking out! You can find more info about it here.

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