art · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Rainbows

When looking for rainbow stories to share I came across The World Made a Rainbow by Michelle Robinson. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of our world shutting down. On March 13, 2020 my world was shaken. That was the last day my sons went to school in the building, the last day my husband went into work, the last day I was teaching in person. It was the first day of major change. One year is a long time in everyone’s life but a really long time in the life of young children. But, we make the best of it. We learn. We grow. We have fun. We can hope that one day really soon life will begin to look a bit more like normal. We can search for the rainbow of hope and know that it is coming….

Let’s learn a bit about the science of rainbows. Listen to the story All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allen Fowler. Then watch SciShow Kids How to Make a Rainbow.

While in the science of rainbows we learn that the colors in light are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, there are so many other beautiful colors in our world. They are the colors of nature. The colors of our skin tones. The colors in my crayon box. Listen to the story Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy. This is a great conversation piece about the rainbows of our world. Color a rainbow with skin tone crayons. Color a rainbow with only your favorite colors, or least favorite colors. Color a rainbow based on yourself.

While we want children to learn about the science behind rainbows and understand that the light is broken down into the colors we can see, we also want them to understand that rainbows are a sight of beauty … and all colors are beautiful.

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art · family activity · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Today I want to share one of my favorite books to read in my classes Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. Grandpa tells the best stories… Travel to the Land of Chewandswallow where it rains food three times a day. (In my opinion this book is WAY better than the movie!). There are two more books in this series Pickles to Pittsburgh and Planet of the Pies.

Each of these fun books easily lends themselves to lots of fun and creative activities! Write a weather report for the Land of Chewandswallow to go with Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. What would you like to see it rain for breakfast, lunch and dinner? Have your child help you plan and cook a meal of their choosing and pretend the ingredients fell from the sky.

Design a machine that the Falling Food Company can use to help move and package the food for delivery, after reading Pickles to Pittsburgh. This machine can be drawn, built, or even just explained from your imagination.

After reading Planet of the Pies, design a box to deliver the Martian pies to Earth. Create a machine to safely catch the pies before the hit Mars. Bake a pie!

Using literature as a jumping off spot for lessons is a great way to expand upon the learning. When children begin to make connections between the story and real life they are more connected to the learning. It will also help with working on comprehension skills as you can ask them to share pieces of the story that connect to the activity you are choosing to do at home.

STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · topic

Meteorologist

Today we will continue to discuss the weather. Let’s read the story The Meteorologist in Me by Britteny Shipp. Summer Winter loves the weather. She loves to learn about the weather, watch the weather reports on the news and even dreams of becoming a meteorologist when she grows up. Others around her question her desire to become a meteorologist, but her mom always tells her “you can do anything you put your mind to, don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise”.

Let’s take a virtual field trip to learn about some of the tools that a meteorologist uses.

Now let’s watch SciShow Kids Be a Weather Watcher and learn about how you can be a meteorologist too!

Today, pull up your local weather report. I really like weather underground’s features, but there are lots and lots of weather sites and apps to choose from. Set up an opportunity for your child to be the meteorologist for your backyard. Using the information they learn from the weather site, using their powers of observation and whatever weather tools you have around, have your child predict the weather for today.

Today’s activity is full of learning! You obviously get science in the learning about weather. Math if you begin looking at the patterns of weather and the numbers associated with it. Social skills in speaking and from the story standing up for what you believe in, as well as in the dramatic play of pretending to be a meteorologist. Social studies in learning about a career and what is needed for that job. So much learning, while having so much fun!

STEAM · story · topic

Weather

March is a great month to learn about weather. It is one of those months that you see ALL kinds of weather: sunny, cloudy, snowy, rainy, windy… hot, warm, cold and really really cold!

Today let’s listen to a story about the different types of weather. National Geographic Kids Weather by Kristin Baird Rattini. Want to learn more? Watch What is Weather by AnuClub.

Today let’s make a drawing! I folded a paper into thirds and then folded that in half creating 6 columns on my page. I am going to draw one picture that shows 6 types of weather! You could always do that same concept with 3 or 4 types to make it simpler.

Learning about the weather and the effects of weather are learning standards in both kindergarten and preK. We learn about how to dress for weather, what patterns can we see in weather, how plants and animals are effected by weather and more. The biggest piece is talking about how it effects everyday life.

art · STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · writing

Let’s Build a Snowman!

Even before Frozen asked “Do you want to build a snowman?….”, building a snowman was a favorite snowy weather activity. (I found out that the first recording of building a snowman was in 1380.)

So, how do you build a snowman? Well… SciShow Kids will tell you in Do you want to build a snowman? So yes, the answer to how to build a snowman is SCIENCE! And I just have to share this favorite from my classes MooseTube’s Yes, I want to build a snowman.

And since we are sharing favorites from my classes. Here are two favorite snowman building stories: Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan and All You Need for a Snowman by Alice Schertle.

Ok… now that we have heard and seen how to build a snowman… let’s write about it.

This is the beginning steps of informative writing… how do you build a snowman? first, then, next, finally for the steps. I chose to fold the paper into four columns this time, but you could do the same thing by folding the paper into four quadrants. The goal is to break it down into simple steps. If you do not have your child doing the writing, make sure to have them articulate the steps.

This is a narrative writing based on Sadie and the Snowman. Sadie used different snack items to make her snowman’s face each time. Have your child draw a picture of a snowman and decide what (s)he would use for the eyes, nose and mouth.

STEAM · story

And Snow!

While it is still technically the season of fall, it looks like winter here today. We woke up to snow and I decided it was a good day to share a snow story. But first… a bit of science. Watch this Sci Show Kids video Where do snowflakes come from?

Then we will watch the story of Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. Snowflake Bentley was a real person who studied snowflakes! Wilson A. Bentley (aka Snowflake Bentley) was the first person to photograph a snowflake. Want to learn more about Snowflake Bentley? Watch this new clip from CBS News.

Snowflake Bentley spent his life trying to capture snowflakes. Today let’s make some! You can either draw a snowflake or cut them out of paper (cutting them out of coffee filters works too).

If it is snowing where you live today, try to go outside and catch a few snowflakes. Can you describe your snowflake? Do you see known shapes? What size it is?

topic · word work · writing

Word Work Wednesday- aluminium foil

The key idea behind word work is to get children writing. The more they are exposed to words and how words work, the easier it is for them to understand the phonics that goes behind spelling. These activities are not meant to be a spelling skill, although you can use the same activities to practice spelling words. You can use it as a combination of penmanship, vocabulary and understanding words.

The activities I share on Wednesdays can be used with the words I share or any words that interest your child. If your child is really into a tv show have him/her write things from the show (I’d stay away from names as they often do not follow typical phonics, a random fact that is usually hard to explain to kiddos). If your child loves dinosaurs, cars, clothes, whatever… the more interested your child is in in the topic, the more they will want to do the activity.

Today’s activity is another fun way to practice writing…. writing on aluminum foil. In class we do this with dry erase markers, but it will also work with permanent markers. Provide your child with a set of words with pictures that match. You could create the list with pictures from the internet or have your child draw pictures and you write the words to match the illustrations.

weather words
weather and season words

pick your own topic… mine modes of entertainment
STEAM · topic

Topic Tuesday- Weather

The weather is such a fascinating learning experience for children. They know what weather is, but the how and why are fascinating to learn about.

Today we will do a few STEAM activities on rain, or more specifically the water cycle. We discuss the fact that the Earth has a limited amount of water, and that the water is continually moving in a cycle. The water on the Earth (oceans, lakes, streams, puddles and even pools) evaporate in the sun. This water then rises into atmosphere. The water molecules cool and condense into clouds. As the clouds fill up with water the begin to get heavy, and the water falls to the earth’s surface in a form of precipitation (rain or snow).

Here are two fun experiments to see water evaporate, condense and eventually “rain” back down.

Rain in a bag

zip lock bag prep
add colored water and hang in a window

On a zip lock bag, draw the sun, a cloud and some form of water. Draw up arrows coming from the water and down from the cloud.

Put water into the bag, I added blue water.

Then hang in the window, south facing work best.

As the sun warms the water in the bag, it will begin to evaporate, but since it is sealed into the zip lock bag, it will not go into the atmosphere. Instead it will begin to condense and “rain” back down to the bottom of the bag.

Fog glass

fill glass with hot water and let sit for about a minute
leave ice on top of glass and water the hot water condense into “fog”

Fill a jar or glass with HOT water for about a minute.

Dump out most of the water, leave some in the bottom.

Place a bag full of ice cubes on the top of the glass

Observe! The water from the bottom of the glass will begin to condense forming a “fog” on the side of the glass.

story · topic

Sunday Topic- Weather

This week my kiddos are technically on spring break until Wednesday, but since everyone is stuck learning at home for the rest of the school year (at least where we live), I decided to do a full week of learning on my blog anyway.

The topic this week will be the weather. I should have done this last week as we had everything from sunny and in the 70s to thunder storms with tornado warning to snow… yep it’s April and we still get snow. I called it the week of all four seasons.

As I mentioned before, learning the four seasons is a typical preK skill. Spring is a great time to discuss weather as it is all over the place.

Keeping track of the daily weather is a great way to practice graphing, compare weather types and even look at weather around the world.

  • Math Monday- roll and color
  • Topic Tuesday- STEAM rain experiment
  • Word Word Wednesday- writing on aluminum foil weather words
  • Phonemic Awareness Thursday- compound words