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Insect Unit

Quit Buggin' Me!!!!  Ha-ha...just kidding!  :)  I've had a lot of emails and questions regarding my insect unit.  I am working on it and I hope to have it finished by late tomorrow evening.  :)  I will post a link as soon as it is finished.  Thank you guys so much for letting me know that you like my units.  I appreciate y'all so much!

UPDATE: Friday at 11:30 p.m.  I'm still working on it!  Sorry y'all these units take a long time and I want it to have lots of good ideas.  Tomorrow my son has an out of town basketball tournament but I PROMISE to have it finished by Sunday. 

Creating Mental Images

Creating Mental Images is one of my favorite units to teach. It gives readers a chance to interact with the text in a way that's personal to them. We begin our unit with very simple poems and stories and gradually add stories which require them to use their schema and background knowledge to conjure up an image.
My Neighbor's Dog is Purple is a great poem to use to begin this unit. Not only is it very simple and fun, but it also shows readers that Mental Images can change as you read.

I read the first two stanzas of the poem several times. As I read I have them close their eyes and create a Mental Image in their mind. Once I've read it several times I have them draw their image

Then, I read the last part of the poem and after they settle down (they love that it is a crocodile and go CRAZY) I have them draw their new Mental Image.

Close up of crocodiles. Since we just did our zoo unit last week and learned about alligators and crocodiles it was easy for them to draw the crocodile. It was so cute to hear them say things like, "I need to make sure he has his top and bottom teeth showing so he won't look like an alligator."

This poem is in one of his books, I think it's from A Pizza the Size of the Sun  but it is also free on the web so I'm going to post the poem here for you so that you don't have to search for it.

My Neighbor's Dog is Purple
My neighbor's dog is purple,
its eyes are large and green,
its tail is almost endless,
the longest I have seen.

My neighbor's dog is quiet,
it does not bark one bit,
but when my neighbor's dog is near,
I feel afraid of it.

My neighbor's dog looks nasty,
it has a wicked smile....
before my neighbor painted it,
it was a crocodile.

More zoo unit pictures

We made alligator pie and then used Interactive writing to create our How To chart.

Our fun poem.  This was written by a Canadian poet by the name of Dennis Lee.  I'm told there are a few more verses to the poem...but this was just enough for us.. we love it!

YUMMY!  Alligator pie

The kids wrote their own How To during Writer's Workshop

Our alligators and nonfiction alligator writing.

A close up of one the student's writing.  I just love how Kindergarten sweeties write.
Their phonetic spelling is just too cute!
                                                 Alligator chomps Syllable Sorting game

                                           Follow up book for the kiddos to complete at centers.

We read, Turnips For Dinner by Joy Cowley and wrote in our literacy journals.

Our monkeys and monkey writing.  I LOVE the monkeys.  I think they are my favorite.

I love how each monkey is different.  A few of the pieces are patterns but for the most part the monkeys are made by cutting rectangles and squares into circles and ovals and then creating the monkey.  Each one seems to have its own personality!

Our elephants and elephant writing.

We read a portion of  Let's Have a Swim! by Joy Cowley and then made a prediction about how we thought the story would end.

I was asked about some great books to use for this unit.  I love the nonfiction books by Pebble Books.  We also read a lot of fiction books.  I will bring the books home tomorrow and add the titles to the bottom of this post.  :)

The kids have learned so much about animals during this unit.  I'm sad to see it end!  We have a few more days this week and then next week is spring break.  WOO-HOO!  You can click on the alligator if you are interested in the unit. 


Also, my friend Kathleen has some GREAT math and literacy games to compliment this unit.  You can check them out by clicking here.    Up next.... insects

zoo unit has been posted

Sheesh, y'all!  This unit about made me want to S-C-R-E-A-M!  I had to keep reworking it because Teachers Pay Teachers has a limit on the size of the file and it was way too big!  So after some creative reworking and a few choice words (it's okay... I just whispered them) ;)   the unit is finally posted.  I will post some more pictures tomorrow... right now I need to go take my blood pressure medicine.  I'm sure it is through the roof!  :)  Click on the alligator to go to the unit on teachers pay teachers. 

Zoo Part 2

These giraffes and zebras turned out adorable... if I do say so myself!  :)

I've had a lot of questions about my Chit-Chat charts.  This is how I do my Morning Message.  The idea originated with the Buzz Book from the K-Crew.  I needed it to have a little bit more "meat" to it and I wanted it to be a way to not only cover the important skills such as phonics, sentence structure and grammar but also serve as a review for what we had learned the previous day. 
Another component of my Morning Message routine is Oral Language and manners.  My message always ends with a question.  So when we finish the written part I read them the question and the tell them to turn to their partner and "Chit-Chat". 
They learn how to take turns listening and speaking.  Once they've had a few minutes to chat about the question I ask them who wants to share.  They never know when I might say, "Who wants to share what their PARTNER said?"  This keeps them accountable for listening. 

Think Math is a GREAT math warm-up that I do before math time two or three times a week.  The kids LOVE it!  (I shared how to do this in my Spring Math Journal Resource).  Think Math always starts with: The answer is _______________________.  What is the question? 
The kids raise their hands and tell me their equation.  We always work it together to see if it equals the sum we are looking for before we write it on the chart.  One reason I love this activity so much is because ALL kids can participate.  Some of my kids give very basic answers like 8+1 and some can give 3 digit equations, and then a few of my sweeties who can't do it on their own know that they can say, "Give me a hint".  Because they need a little extra help I will give them the first number in an equation and they have to figure out what to add to it.  (I usually give them a number that is very close to the sum that we are working on so that they can be successful).    After we've come up with several equations we write a word problem to go with our answer. 
I was in Wal-Mart and I saw these Cheese Balls and I had to have them!  Not for the cheese balls (they taste awful BTW....but Kinder kids will eat anything LOL!)  I wanted the container!  It reminded me of the Barrel of Monkeys game I used to have.  So, I took this.....

and turned it into this......
This adorable Math game will be part of my Zoo unit resource.  The kids have to put the monkeys into their correct "troops" by matching the equations with their sum.  This is the recording sheet for round 1.  Next week they will have a different recording sheet that will require them to write the equations and their "turn around" facts.  I have a lot more ideas for literacy and math games that use the Barrel of Monkeys theme.  The monkeys took a little bit of time to cut out...but that's the beauty of having teenagers who want gas money!  :)

zoo unit

We are working on our zoo unit.  The kids are having fun learning about the special characteristics of zoo animals and where they are from.  I will post more pictures of the zoo unit during the week.  This unit will be available next weekend. 

Here are a few free downloads.  For the zoo animals reader the kids should write the word has in the blank. 

RAWR! Dinosaurs UPDATE- Unit has been posted to TPT

My Dinosaur unit has been posted to TPT...
Click on the T-Rex picture above to view my dino unit on Teachers pay teachers.  

We made Paleontologists using our pictures.  The book inside tells about what we did during our Dinosaur Dig. Sorry... It's hard to see how adorable these are since I had to blur out the faces. 

Our shirts that we made for our Dinosaur Dig

On our Dinosaur Dig day the kids got to see what it was like to be a real paleontologist.
They uncovered bones that had been fossilized and they had to chip away the rock (playdoh), clean the bones and then work in groups to put the dinosaur back together.

Part of our book that goes inside our Paleontologists that we made.

Our Triceratops art projects.  So stinkin' cute!!!

I forgot to take my camera to school so I brought a few home to snap a picture.  Excuse the glare from the floor.
Our triceratops writing.

Oh, my word! We had so much fun with this unit!!!  For more pictures from this unit see last week's post.  


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