We've Gone Bat Crazy!

Our first order of business during our bat study was to figure out what we already knew about bats.  I loved the way Amy Lemons made her schema chart so I gave it a whirl too.   You can see my version on the left in the photo below.
Next, we generated a ton of questions we had about bats.  When I say a ton I mean a ton.  Their brains were working overtime.  So exciting!  We could officially jump into some very serious research now that we knew what we wanted to learn.  To start, each of my researchers were given a sentence about bats.  They needed to decide if their sentence was a fact or an opinion.  We sorted these sentences into the fact and opinion pocket charts.  You can see this in the photo above.  
Next, I gave each kiddo a short paragraph about bats.  The passage I used was from Amy Lemons (again). We went through the paragraph together highlighting the facts one color and opinions another color.  The kids made the bat craftivity to record one fact about bats and one opinion about bats.  I had them write their facts and opinions on stickies from the Dollar Tree and put them on their bat.  I think they turned out adorable.  
You can see these in the photo above.  You can see all these ideas on Amy's blog {here}. 

The Bat Cave

Oh My Word! My kiddos absolutely LOVED our Bat Research Week.   I knew they would love learning about bats, but I still wanted to take the opportunity to set the stage to engage these little learners and boy did they love learning in the Bat Cave last week.   I covered every possible square inch of table space in my classroom with black tablecloths.  I hung the purple lights around my Smartboard.  I hung bats from the ceiling (thank you Target $ spot).  I bought each student a glow bracelet to use on our first day of learning.  I turned off most of the lights when the students entered so that the glow bracelets would really pop.  I played bat sounds over the speaker system.  The kiddos were absolutely over the moon excited!!!

Making Matter Pop!

The kids had a blast making Matter Pop today. I was impressed with how much knowledge they brought to the table.  My little scientists made me proud. I started by putting the sodas, pop rocks and balloons on the table. I asked the students what we could do with these items.  They immediately said to put the balloon over the soda and shake it up to blow up the ballooon. Pretty smart.  Let's be honest, they were dying to shake the soda.  We recorded our question and hypothesis on our lab reports and set to work.  We used a funnel to fill each balloon with 1 packet of pop rocks.  I attached the balloon to each soda.  My volunteers were tasked with holding up each balloon so the pop rocks could go slide into the soda.  Once the balloons started filling with air the kids were actually screaming (I love that!). We had a wonderful discussion about how the soda and pop rocks are producing the gas to blow up the balloon.  Of course they wanted me to shake the sodas to see what would happen.  Nobody volunteered for that job.  I had to do it in the name of science! Once the balloons started to blow up even more the crowd went wild.  I must say this lesson really provided the kiddos the opportunity to see gas in action and have meaningful discussions about solids, liquids and gas.

Solids, Liquids and Gas!

It's finally here!  It's finally here.  We started our unit on Matter.  I LOVE this unit.  I mean I seriously LOVE this unit. We use Foss science kits in our district, but I supplement the kit with Hope King's Matter unit and I can't say enough about this fun unit.   I began the lesson by having the kiddos watch, Bill Nye the Science Guy's episode on solids, liquids and gas.  After the video I had the kids go back to their seat and find the Matter picture I had left under their name tag.  I used the pictures from Hope's unit.  As a class we discussed and sorted the pictures onto Solids, Liquids and Gas posters.  After we sorted the pictures together I gave each student a set of their own pictures and a flap book to sort their pictures into.  I hung the posters up so the students could reference them if needed.  They really enjoyed demonstrating their knowledge on the flap books.   

Desert Research Writing

Last week our story was the riveting selection, "A Walk in the Desert."  It is not the most exciting thing to read, but the desert is a topic of interest to seven year olds and I wanted to capitalize on that.  I decided to use this selection as a tool for "researching" the desert.  The first read of the selection story I always have the kiddos listen to the audio version.  The next day I buddied up the kiddos and had them read the selection and fill out this graphic organizer together.  They did a great job.

The categories of the graphic organizer correspond to the Desert Book the kids made the next day.  I hung up posters of each part of the graphic organizer (which I did not get a picture of!!) and collected the student responses onto the poster pages so the kids could see what their classmates had come up with too.
The next couple of days the kiddos worked at writing their research book about the desert.  They really got into it.  I let them work around the room (flexible seating anyone?) and use the class posters, their graphic organizer and the reading book for reference.   I think they turned out GREAT!

Henry and Mudge Camp In

We just finished reading, "Henry and Mudge and the Starry Night."  Who doesn't love Henry and Mudge?  The kids were really into it so my teaching partner and I decided to have a "camp in" complete with s'mores!!!  I know, what were we thinking???   I'm blogging about it DAYS later because it has taken me that long to recover. But, it was well worth it. 
The kids brought in sleeping bags, flashlights, lanterns, snacks and books.   We had a lot of  opportunities to read throughout the day and the campers completed an instruction book on how to make s'mores.  Fun, exhausting day.  Whew!
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