Day Two: Names Study & Science Tools - Down River Resources

Day Two: Names Study & Science Tools

Names Chart
Howdy, friends.

It is the second day of kindergarten in Room 109. The students are remembering to push in their chairs and use their walking feet. Hooray!

Today, we focused on our names as we continue some basic "Getting to Know You" activities. Our sweet librarian came in to save the day, since I still have a small voice, fighting a cold, and read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. The kids really enjoyed the story and the librarian does such a great job reading it with expression and gestures. During the story, they learned the word "dreadful!" I forget how almost everything we do is new and exciting to them!

We created a name chart and compared each others' names. They found this activity to be pretty interesting, it also helps me continue assessing them in their counting skills. The chart took awhile to make, but I did a few names at each sitting so by the end of the day we were finished. We made some basic generalizations about our names because everything is a learning experience even these fun activities!

Many procedural routines were reviewed and practiced today with specific feedback: lining up and exiting the building during a fire drill, pushing in chairs, and rules for playing a language building exercise I play with my kids. (I will have to feature that on the blog sometime. The students I have had in all grades love it!)

ENGAGE: BrainPop Jr.

In the afternoon, we reviewed what the study of science is and watched a BrainPop Jr. video, "Making Observations." It was great to engage the students more into the depth of what scientists do. The video used a lot of academic vocabulary and previewed the science tools that we would be talking about in the "explain" part of our lesson.

EXPLORE/EXPLAIN: Tool or Toy? Sort and Science Tools Tree Map

After the video, we explored the topic with toys and tools. We also played a game with our sorting cards. (These sorting cards come from the wonderful Kindergarten Kindergarten.)  Each student received a card. They had to come up to the front and tell their peers what was on their card, if they thought is was a tool or toy, and why it is a tool or toy. The students really took off during this activity! They were engaged and everyone was using the sentence stems. The words they expressed were pretty amazing. This is the first time they are speaking in an academic content area. Here are a few rationales that were memorable...goggles are for protection, a doll is something you play with, a stuffed animal is for cuddling, a balance is used to see if something is lighter, "the pinchers help you pick up things". The "pinchers" are tweezers! For the record, there was not one item that was mislabeled by these kindergarteners! Is that not amazing?!

Science Tool Charts

Then, we created a Tree Map to organize our tools into four categories. I had the science tool sorting cards printed (these came from our StemScopes subscription) but wasn't too sure how I wanted to use them in the classroom. I got to thinking, it would be cool to put them into a Thinking Map. I played around with the cutout pieces and after two rough drafts came up with the Tree Map featured in the photograph above. Fortunately, I have enough brain power fighting the common cold to think through this stuff!

My kindergarteners are amazing, did I mention that yet? They knew what the word "collect" meant. I am really going to have to challenge them with higher order thinking skills and academic vocabulary. This is something I naturally do, but the "big words" I am used to using with kindergarteners are not "big enough. For instance, I was going to use observe as a word to put into our Cognitive Content Dictionary, but that's out of the picture. I wish kindergartens could take a STAAR test?! Okay, be careful what you wish for! Right?!

The science tools chart was very easy for them. They actually helped me categorize the science tools using these four verbs: collect, observe, measure, record. I look at this chart and think to myself, "This would have been a cool chart in second grade and here my kindergarteners are doing this." This speaks volumes to the Pre-Kindergarten teachers and families! I am very impressed.

That's enough bragging on the new bunch of buckaroos. They are students with great potential and I am eager to continue creating a positive classroom culture that will allow them to grow in their intellect.

Thanks to my faithful readers. To any kindergarten teachers that haven't covered science tools yet, I would highly recommend these two charting activities. I did not do either of these last year, I took a different approach. I think these help them start thinking like scientists quicker and will allow me to use the process skills in a most efficient way.

Happy Observing!


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