Saturday, March 7, 2015

Five for Friday- Symmetry, Puddle Jumping Art, and Classroom Timer

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching's Five For Friday linky party.  Here's a bit about my week in first grade! 
We are finishing up our shapes unit in math.  We worked on symmetry and the students LOVED it.  
This is a super simple partner activity.  All you need is a piece of blank paper and some pattern blocks (or shapes cut out of colored paper if you don't have pattern blocks).  Before starting, Partner A folds the shared piece of blank paper in half.  Then Partner B draws a line on top of the fold with pencil (just to make the line more obvious).  Next, the students collect even numbers of pattern blocks.  For example, 2 squares, 6 hexagons, 8 triangles, etc.  Then Partner A puts on object on their side of the paper (touching the line).  Partner B copies by placing their shape across from it.  This continues with Partner A continuing to place the shape and Partner B copy symmetrically.  When the design is finished, they switch, and Partner B gets to place the first shape with Partner A copying.  We followed up this lesson by creating symmetrical designs with folder and paper cutting (students were able to create whatever design/picture they wanted.  Butterflies were a common choice.  :)

Below is pictured another math activity we did this week.  Each student was given a paper square and they needed to follow directions to fold diagonally and cut in certain ways.  Then they needed to check for similar shapes and sizes among the triangles they had cut.  Then they needed to build it back into a square. (see the example below (not on the blue paper).  It was interesting to see how some students were able to do it very easily, and some students had a really difficult time knowing how to flip and rotate their triangles to put them all back together.  At the very end the students were able to create whatever design they wanted to make out of their triangles. 
One of my students plays the violin and I asked her if she would perform for our class.  She did, and she also brought along her father who happens to be a violin teacher.  Every kid in the class was given the opportunity to try the violin out.  It was a fun experience for me, because I remember a friend of mine in MY own first grade class playing the violin for our class.  After that, I went home and asked my parents if I could learn how to play the violin.  As a result, I was allowed to start violin lessons and I played for 20 years!  In a total amazing coincidence, the father of the student in my class-----was my first violin teacher!
We made these adorable puddle jumping pictures this week.  I found the idea here.  I changed the design a bit.  We cut out puddle shapes instead of raindrops and we used laminated construction paper for the boots as well as the rain jackets.  I loved the idea of laminating the paper to make it shiny.  It also added another element of intrigue for the students.  
I gave the students a rectangle of yellow paper and they drew the shape of the rain jacket.  I found that they had no difficulties drawing the shape because I made sure to tell them to include the shape of the hood, sleeves and body of the jacket. I had them put their name in the middle of the jacket so that I could laminate it afterward.  I could probably have laminated the paper beforehand, but I wanted to limit waste (in case students had a hard time drawing/cutting.)

The supplies are pretty basic.  Provide choices for skin color (I provided brown, beige, and a pinkish color).  Also provide choice for boot color, and the puddle blue and the yellow for the rain coat.  Laminated is of course optional. 

I pre-cut the boots and laminated them, simply due to time-restraints.  It would have been ideal for the students to draw them on their own, but I didn't have the time.  In the future I could have my students do that the day before.  
We did the writing part of the activity in the morning and the art part in the afternoon.  Students simply needed to write about puddle jumping. They did their writing in pencil and then went over it with rainbow colors afterward.  Most students wrote something like "I love jumping in the puddles.  It's fun to splash" or something similar.  As part of my morning message we graphed the question:
I like to splash in puddles (yes or no).  This was a good way to jump-start the thinking process about puddle jumping.  

We also watched a video called "Who Likes the Rain" via Tumblebooks.  It is a great non-fiction book of questions and answers about rain and how it affects living things in the world.  You can also read the book instead of watching it.  Another fun read-aloud for a rain/puddle theme is Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch.  
Here is one of the new play time centers I've purchased lately.  The kiddos are loving using these rubbing plates to create crayon rubbings of different princesses.  I was trying to find a vehicle set because I remember having one as a child and loving making sifferent vehicles with the different rubbing plates that you could put together to make your own, but all I could find was this one.  When I find another set I'll buy it.  As much as I've told the boys in my class that they are allowed to use this princess one, none of them have taken the bait yet. 
Do you use a smartboard/projector timer throughout your day?  I love using these.  I don't use them constantly, but on occasion it really works, especially as a countdown for the end of a free choice time.  I use the ones from Classroom Timers.  They are free. 
 There is nothing more beautiful to me (slight exaggeration, maybe) than my completed report cards in a folder, returned and signed and ready to go home.  Woohoo!!
It's FRIDAY!  My little kindergartener daughter and I are celebrating the weekend with a shadow picture.  :)

Have a wonderful weekend!

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