My fourth grade students do a huge Westward Expansion and Lewis and Clark unit with their general studies teacher. In an effort to support what is happening in the classroom, I created this bulletin board:
Do you remember studying the layers of the earth when you were in elementary school? Yep, me neither. If I had made a clay model of the earth that was later cut open to expose the layers, that might be a different story…
This project came about after talking to the third grade classroom teacher and the art teacher, we all worked together to incorporate our areas of expertise into one cool experience for our kiddos. The students have been learning about the earth for a few weeks now so the kids have a great deal of background knowledge.
Before this project even began, I bought (lots) of Crayola Model Magic, this stuff is great to work with, dries over time and comes in lots of fun colors. I bought six colors, one for each of the layers of the earth the students were asked to represent:
I then divided the clay into individual bags, one for each student. I also included handouts for all of the tables and made my sample earth model:
I am a huge fan of cross-curricular collaborations to make learning more meaningful. My second graders are reading The One and Only Ivan in class so I recently constructed a bulletin board to feature the book and share with the community what is happening in one of the classrooms. Check out the bulletin board post here. Needless to say, the bulletin board worked. Everyone loved it, faculty, students and visitors asked second graders about the book and were encouraged to read it themselves.
When I found out the second grade kiddos were studying character and setting, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for another collaborative project. I contacted our amazing art teacher and she showed me a 3-D diorama that her daughter created for a book and we knew it was perfect for this project. I created my example using a different book so the students could be free to create without a per-conceived piece of art in their mind:
I wish I could figure out the official name of this process, I know there are other educators out there doing this and I would love to give them credit. If you have seen this process done before, or if you’re doing it yourself, please contact me in the comments section.
The students received three pieces of thick card stock, each piece is slightly smaller than the one behind it. For example, the back piece of paper is 8.5″ x 11″, the middle sheet is 8.5″ x 10″ and the front sheet is 8.5″ x 9.” This makes it so the final product curves inward and makes the diorama stand up on its own.
- The back page (the largest piece) is to show the setting. Where did Ivan live? What did his cage look like? What was on the walls?
- The middle page (the medium-sized piece) is to show the character(s). What did Ivan look like? How large was Ivan compared to his cage? Were there other important characters in the story?
- The front page (the smallest piece, already cut into a frame) is to tell others what book you’re sharing. What is the title of the book? Who is the author? Who created this diorama?
That’s right, I’m doing a little happy dance. Well, it’s a rather big happy dance, actually. I’ve been featured! You might have noticed that I recently added to my blog, my Digital Age Teaching badge through Tamritz and was then featured in their newsletter! How exciting!
Tamritz is a digital badge learning network designed by Sarah Blattner, specifically geared towards Jewish day schools. I earned my Digital Age Teaching badge from Tamritz, which included the following badge courses: Learner 2.0, PLNs (Professional & Personal Learning Networks), Digital Citizenship, Create 2.0 and Learning Design. Course participants explore a variety of topics from social bookmarking to netiquette to copyright to game-based learning and beyond (way, way beyond).
Perpetual student, that’s me. Thank goodness there are always ample opportunities to learn cool stuff from cool people.
I am absolutely loving library centers in kindergarten and first grade, the kids are so engaged! I have been scouring Pinterest for new center ideas and I recently came across MaryLea’s Rainbow Rice Eye Spy Bottles on Pink and Green Mama. Not only are they so much fun, they’re also crazy easy to make. I’ve been meaning to make colored rice for a long time, but I have always put it off because I thought it was super labor-intensive… Not with MaryLea’s recipe! It was so easy that I almost couldn’t believe it!
I was so inspired by the rockstars of The Centered School Library (Cari at Library Learners, Caroline at Risking Failure and Jessica at Mrs. Lodge’s Library) that I have been working hard to put a library center program into place with my first graders. My hope is to expand the program to multiple grades, but for now, this is a good starting point.
Tonight I used my new laminating machine (which I’m in love with!!) to make rotation charts. I am obsessed with Velcro and this was just another excuse to pull out my endless roll (if you’re like me, check out iTapeStore for your Velcro needs. They sell it for a reasonable price and you can buy the hook and loop sides separately, good for all those felt board projects).
I think it’s a great practice for teachers to experience how it feels not to know how to do something. To remember how it feels to be unsure and vulnerable. For me, it helps to remind me what my students are feeling and experiencing on a daily basis. Today, I stepped into the role of student… And it was wonderful. It was, as I expected, difficult and frustrating, but the pride that came with the challenge was worth the work. I (drumroll, please…) wrote in Hebrew for the very first time!
I am astonished by my students, they’re so good at it and I’m so… well, not. My first graders are practicing Hebrew names for clothing and I wanted to provide them reinforcement during library centers (yes, I finally started doing centers. I love them! But, more on that in a later post). I created some felt “paper” dolls (again, check back for another post on my felt fashion creations), and the Hebrew clothing labels, the center gives them time to match the two together. Instead of asking a Hebrew teacher to create the labels for me, I did it myself! One of the Hebrew teachers quickly jotted the correct letters down on a scrap of paper and then I did the rest. Check it out, I’m pretty proud of myself!