Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Like a lamb or a lion?

February is almost over, and we've been focusing on the not-so-scientific art of weather prediction: will March come in like a lamb or a lion? Take a look at what we've been doing in my kindergarten classroom this week!

To develop the concept of lamb and lion weather, we completed this simple sorting activity on the interactive whiteboard.
 Smart Notebook 11 is a teacher's best friend to make lessons truly interactive while encouraging higher level thinking skills. I absolutely love that students and teachers can record their own voice and attach sound to objects in Notebook files.

We used this feature to take our lion/lamb prediction graph activity to a new level! I made a notebook file using the large grid background. I created a tile for each student, all in different colours with their names attached. Students moved their tiles to answer the question, "Will March come in like a lamb or a lion?" Then, we clicked on their tile and selected sound. Each student stepped up to the microphone (I absolutely love the Blue Snowball microphone for activities like this one) and recorded why they had chosen lamb or lion. It was amazing to hear the variety of reasons behind each student's choice. Rather than just ask each student to predict, they had the opportunity to share the thinking behind their choice. Students loved recording their voices and playing back the sound later. Here's our graph (sounds cannot be played as this is a JPEG file).
 We plan to track the weather in March in a Smart Notebook file using a March calendar, and placing a lamb or a lion on each calendar day. At the end of the month, we'll count the number of lamb and lion days and decide whose predictions were correct. I've included this calendar in the Notebook file that is available to download.

Lamb and lion crafts are also part of the fun! Yesterday we created lions with patterned manes. A quick patterning lesson was the beginning of the activity, A Brain Pop Junior video on patterns was a good resource to activate students' prior knowledge. I demonstrated cutting out the lion using my document camera projected on the Smartboard. Building fine motor skills in our junior/senior kindergarten program is a priority, and we use the terms "cutting hand with the thumb on top" and "helper hand" as verbal cues. My educational assistant had prepared 6 different colours of construction paper strips, and using the document camera, we created a variety of patterned manes on the lions to practice. The lions turned out beautifully, and some students even made increasing patterns and four element patterns!
Thank you to Mailbox magazine's Education Center for this cute craft idea! I would strongly recommend that early years teachers register for My Mailbox. Every week a variety of crafts, classroom management suggestions, and subject-specific activities are emailed to you! Here is the blackline master for the lion craft that I received this week.

Tomorrow's activities include creating lambs out of black construction paper, google eyes, and cotton balls, sorting "L" words, and reading books about lambs and lions. Let's hope spring is on its way!

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