Monday, April 30, 2012

Our first visit to the State Museum

We had an exciting Monday with a short trip to the State Museum! Thanks to our school's partnership with the museum, we are allowed to visit whenever we wish! It's almost right around the block! Ms. Ingleston was telling me on the walk that the Eco-kids, a club she advises after school is planning on and thinking of ways to make the walk from our school to the museum safer. It was actually my first time visiting the museum so it was super exciting for me! As we were getting closer to the museum, many students recalled visiting with their families! It's no surprise because the museum runs lots of children and family friendly programs-check them out here.

We went with Ms. Ingleston and Ms. Rudnick's class to the museum. The walk was wonderful as well thanks to the beautiful weather!
Our class right outside the museum
Once we got there, we took turns working with Ms. Ingleston for the shape hunt and taking a brief tour of the museum. We were first to take the tour so we walked around the Adirondack Hall and the Native Peoples exhibit. We also passed by the Cohoes Mastodon exhibit. We did see a lot of things that connected with our learning about the natural world.
G.P and K.M views this exhibit with beavers
The kids view the mammoth
Inside the long house
Viewing the bones of a mastodon
Many students said it looked like an elephant

 When we returned to Ms. Ingleston, we went on a shape hunt!
The PreK kids with Ms. Ingleston
Ms. Ingleston talking with our class
T.W found a square shape in the rocks
D.K found a triangle in the rocks
O.B found a triangular rock
T.D found a rectangle in the body of the elk
We had to cut our trip a bit short because the alarms rang and we had to exit immediately. It was close to lunch time anyway so we left the museum following the alarm. We hope to return the museum at least one more time before the end of the year! We hope to bring chaperones for the next one so we can split up in small groups to explore the museum.

Outside today, both D.K and O.B wanted to snap some photos with the camera. The following are photos taken by D.K--

The following photos were taken by O.B--
Tomorrow, we will begin learning about recycling. The class will find out how recycling work and the recycling logo! :) 

Some of our morning meeting shares--- (we used the microphone recorder again!)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Worm Menu & Using our new recorder!

For our morning meeting, I introduced the Easi-speak recorder microphone that I won on a blog giveaway! Thank you Learning Resources for providing the recorder and to Chalk Talk for having the giveaway! The class absolutely loved the microphone! The recorder is clear and the sound quality is amazing! Everyone wanted to get a turn to talk into and hear themselves. I introduced the microphone's simple buttons and we passed it around for everyone to get a turn to talk into it and record their voices. We also used it to record our shares!
K.W shares with the microphone
G.A shares about what she did this morning to get ready
The sound recording from the microphone!
D.K talks into the microphone
The sound recording from the microphone
A.R talks into the microphone
The microphone also has a usb plug that allows me to transfer the voice recordings onto a computer. I can't wait to see this recorder for our storytelling unit. The kids love using it and at the science center, they passed it around to record their noticings of the compost bin and worms. (See below for the recordings).

I introduced a new activity for our writing center-creating worm menus! We passed around some menus to look at what goes on a menu. This gave the students a better understanding of the purpose of menus and what we can do to create one for the worms! We also got to look into our bucket of compostable materials to see what could go on the menu!
T.S looking over a menu
T.W looks at a menu
J.A looks over a sushi menu
While looking over the bucket for the food we compared a tomato that was in the compost bin with the worms and a tomato that is in a bucket with the worms.
The tomato from the compost bin
The two tomatoes side by side
Looking at what the red wigglers were doing to the tomato
T.W observes the tomato
At the writing center, a couple of students worked on creating the worm menu. J.A and K.W took turns taking photos of the various foods from the bucket so we can print them up and place them on a large menu for the worms. The following photos are all taken by J.A and K.W---
Coffee grinds
Carrot shred
Banana peel
Egg shell
A rotten clementine
I wish we had a class set of digital cameras, the students in our class love photography and many love taking the camera and snapping photos!
Here is a clip of K.W sharing his worm menu--
And J.A sharing his--

At the science center, the kids explored the compost bin freely.
T.D, D.K and T.S exploring the compost bin
Where are the worms?
The following are the recordings taken from the easi-speak recorder.  I started by asking the kids what they noticed in the bin and after that, they used it independently to record their thoughts about the bin. It looked like T.S was a reporter asking T.D about the worms. You may want to lower your volume to watch the following (the volume was loud for me!).

Hope everyone has an enjoyable weekend! Last night, CJ and I took Brian to the official grand opening of the indoor dog park in Ballston Spa. Brian had such a fun time!
Brian playing with some dogs
He was pooped out playing!
Next week, we'll be making worms! I ordered an insta-worm kit for the kids to create worms with! We will also be learning all about recycling, how recycling works and its importance for our environment! If you can, have your child bring in one recyclable item (that you no longer need)-we'll be sorting recyclable goods together! On Monday, Ms. Ingleston will be taking our class over to the State Museum to do a shape hunt for our museum class! (Reminder, all children already filled out a permission slip at the beginning of the year for the State museum since our school has a partnership with them). May is just around the corner! I have updated upcoming important dates for May and June.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Exploring the compost bin

We had a worm ball with the compost bin today! The kids were excited to hear that our worms finally arrived and our compost bin all set up and ready to help the earth with composting! We passed around some of the worms for close inspections! Many of the kids were fascinated with the worms and how they moved. Some of the kids giggled because the movement tickled them! A few students were initially nervous/scared of the worms, but everyone tried it out in the end. I let them know that worms have no teeth and don't hurt at all. The class got to dig around the compost bin as well to become familiar with what's inside. Questions came up during our exploration.
A.K observes the movement of the red wigglers
K.W examines the red wigglers
D.K holds one of the worms
G.S holds a worm
O.S jumped a bit because the worms tickled
J.C, D.K and A.R look into the compost bin
A.R and G.S try to find some red wigglers
T.W and X.I explore the compost bin
The worms like to stay at the bottom of the compost bin
J.A, T.S and A.R look through the newspaper shreds for some red wigglers
O.B, G.P and T.D look for worms
T.D holds a worm
O.B asked, "What do the worms drink?" I told the class how the worms "drink" water through their skin. It's also why they're always wet. Knowing this, we know not to pour any other kinds of liquids into the compost bin (unless its juice that comes naturally from a fruit/veggie scrap or from coffee grinds).  Many asked about which side the head was and we found out together that if you watch the worm move and wiggle, you can figure out which side is the head because its the side that moves forward before the other end. O.S asked, "How do worms hear?" and through our read alouds about worms, we found out that worms "hear" through vibrations they feel on their body! 

We added the word "worm" to our word wall! Many kids gravitated towards it today!

We'll be conducting some experiments next week with the compost bin-we will put varying fruits and veggies in the four corners of the compost bin and see which corner/fruit/veggie attracts the most red wigglers! A lot of the students also noticed that there were baby worms in the compost bin (these worms were noticeably smaller) so we will also be measuring the worms (we'll have to think of what nonstandard unit we would like to measure them with because they are so small). Tomorrow we will be creating a worm menu to keep track of things we can put into the compost bin for the worms to eat!

I also took some video clips of some writing conferences with students during writing. Sorry I haven't had the time to blog in-depth this week! Please bear with me as I try to catch up on blogging! :)
T.S shares his writing---
J.A shares his writing---
Also, tomorrow is Friday-please bring back any books so students can bring home new books to read! :)