Monday, September 3, 2012

What did you do, Mrs. S.?

The first 8 days of school are done, 166 to go :)
In our district, we have a reading series that we have to follow (HM's Journeys), but we aren't starting that for another week. This time is to teach procedures, but I need some content to go with that. So I bought Deanna Jump's Ocean theme.
Ocean Animals Math and Literacy Fun

Ha, I don't think I've used any of it - but trust me, it is good (of course, it's Deanna!) - I've just been doing other things.

So what have I done?
During our first, short week, I read this: What's It Like to Be a Fish?
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It is quite interesting, really. It showed lots of different fish with labels and it talked about the different fins and what they do, what fish eat, how fish breath. When we got done, we did a chart about what fish Can, Have and Eat. I adapted this from Deanna's unit. It was surprising what the kids remembered - and Who Remembered.

On Monday, we read Surprising Sharks.
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Do I even need to tell you that it was good? And that the kids enjoyed it? And everyone had something to add? And one kiddo told me he knew "everything about sharks?" I found this very cool video of a whale shark (they are HUGE!) and showed it to the kids. It is great for showing how big the sharks really are, because there is a man swimming beside the shark and he looks SO small. (Shark video website
I also had a craft activity - crayon resist drawing/painting - but we just didn't get to that. I'm debating whether to go ahead and do it still. We did a Can, Have, and Eat for sharks, too.

I think the Sharks took more than one day - I can't remember for sure now. Next I read Gentle Giant Octopus.
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Another winner. These octopus lay an amazing amount of eggs - like in the 10,000s (can't remember the number for sure now) but only 2-3 of the eggs make it to adulthood. Yummy treats for other marine animals. I had another cool video I showed - it is on Discovery Education, if you have a subscription to that, under Biomes, Coastlines and Seas. The octopus 1) gets into a soda bottle and 2) gets a crab out of a screw top jar. Wow! We did a Can, Have and Eat here, too.

Next up were Whales:
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I have to admit, this book was a little so-so. It did have some corny jokes - which I preface before I read by saying, "This is a dorky joke." It did give information, but it wasn't the best read aloud. After we read it, we looked at some pictures from a Whale Watching blog I had found. I had a whale origami thing I was going to do with the kids, but you know the story - we ran out of time. I can't remember, but I meant to do a Can, Have and Eat on whales. I hope we did it :)

On Friday, just because the teacher needed it :)  we watched a Magic School Bus video - I think it was called Takes a Dive. It was about Mussels. Then I had them do a take-off on a Kagan strategy - we wander around the front of the room - then when I say "High Five" they give a light high five to a friend standing nearby and then they each told their buddy something from the video (they are NOT called movies in my class :)

I also read Sneakers, the Seaside Cat (I kept calling him Snickers, but whatever!)
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and Hello Ocean! The illustrations in this book are so good, at first I thought they were photographs.
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We read these during our Reading Block and did some comprehension activities with them.

When I made my plans, I didn't know when we would start our reading series. It's really a good thing that we aren't starting for another week, because I still have Jellyfish, Dolphins, and Shells to talk about during our 4 day week.

If anyone else has done an ocean unit and has any good ideas to add - please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from you.
Happy Labor Day,

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