Birds of a Feather

Our bird unit, math goals, and the final push!

Bird Unit

We began our bird unit two weeks ago by "activating our schema". We brainstormed all the things we already know about birds and then added some of our "wonders". I am always fascinated by the prior knowledge and the questions that kiddos have. This is by far my favorite science unit and I think the students would agree!

Which came first the chicken or the egg? That was the question we grappled with before starting. Because most students thought the egg, that is where we began (that and we had our eggs in the incubator next door unbeknownst to the students). After observing the eggs both in the incubator and through the "candling process", we began by discussing the life cycle of a chicken. Through various non fiction read alouds and an awesome craftivity (thank you Mr. Napier for your help), we really uncovered quite a process for those little chicks.

From there we defined "oviparous" which means "animals that lay eggs". We read a book called Chickens Aren't The Only Ones which guided our thinking. The students then wrote their first definition page for their bird studies book. I was so impressed with their scientific thinking and quality work.

How excited we were when we came in on Tuesday and Wednesday and found the chicks had hatched!! We observed our chicks now and completed an observation page (to be done like real scientist -- drawing exactly what we see). Today the kiddos had an opportunity to hold the chicks!! They were so incredibly excited and careful.

Earlier today we began discussing the parts of a bird. During Daily Five students took to labeling their own bird to be added to their bird studies book. While we were holding the chicks we looked to see if we could identify all the parts of the bird we had just discussed. What an amazing experience.

Next week we will talk more about the specific parts of the bird and their jobs (feathers and beak in particular). We will also talk about adaptations and will be doing a very cool science experiment with beak types. We will then move into nests, birds can/have/are, and write a book about birds. We will also spend time discussing the job of an ornithologist. Exciting stuff on the way!

Writer's Workshop Celebration!

I can not believe the tremendous writing that has taken place over the last few weeks! Our little activists created well drafted letters to Mrs. Hasson, Mrs. Nickerson, Mr. Charltray, and Mr. Shields (to name a few) to discuss different problems they have seen and "fix it ideas" they had. We also created posters that we hung up around the school to remind other students to walk in the hall, don't liter, and put your bike on the bike rack.

As we move through our last couple weeks we will talk about cause and effect and some poetry. We will also be doing a lot of non-fiction writing with our bird unit. I would like to setup an Author's Tea in June, but I am working out details. My thoughts would be a Friday afternoon around 2:00. I will let you know the date as soon as possible.

Show me the Money!!

No, not just a line from Jerry Maguire, but our most recent math unit. After being super successful with 3D shapes, we unpacked our newest math standard: "I can identify coins." We defined identify as "name". As you may have noticed we have studied one coin at a time to really hit home some of the important features. We also created a grid (coming home today) to help us sort the coins and name them. Some important things to remember about each coin:
Penny - the only brown/copper one, Lincoln faces left, worth 1 cent.
Nickel - thick and fat, worth 5 cents, smooth around the edges.
Dime - little and thin, worth 10 cents, bumpy edges (118 ridges to be exact), oak and olive branches on the tail side.
Quarter - big and bold, worth 25 cents, the tail side may vary.

Next week we will continue working on sorting coins and identifying them by name, size, and value. Some friends will also begin counting coins and adding them to find value. All very fun!

The Final Countdown

Checking In: As we approach the end of the year, I will be doing a lot of checking in with students. I typically try to pull kiddos one at a time to check in with me. These check ins are designed to gather data on progress and is used for reporting out in June. Students are very aware of the check-ins as I do them fairly often to stay up to date.

FIELD DAY - More information will be coming soon, but I wanted to let you know that if you are interested in participating in field day on Tuesday, June 9th we welcome all volunteers and helpers! You will travel with our class and can join us on all of Mr. Shields' awesome adventures!
KETTLE COVE - We will be taking an end of the year field trip to Kettle Cove on Thursday, June 11th. I will need four volunteers to ride the bus with us and help with kiddos. If you choose to volunteer (please please) and ride the bus, you will be in charge of a group of kiddos and will need to help with scavenger hunt, bathroom, etc. If we have more than four awesome people want to join us, you can meet us at Kettle Cove in your own car. Please contact me with specific questions and/or to volunteer (preferably by June 1).

Days Out:
With the end of the year approaching, I will need to be a part of a lot of obligatory end of year things. I will be out a few days in the coming weeks and I will definitely let you know as they approach. I will be out Wednesday, May 27th in the afternoon for incoming kindergarten screening and on Friday, May 29th for a personal day. Thanks for helping keep our classroom running smoothly.

Please contact me with questions or concerns!

I know this is a very busy time of year, please let me know if you have questions or concerns as the year winds down.