Last week, I really started focusing on scientific inquiring and investigations. This is something that is a newer nugget of knowledge for me to initiate in my classroom. I have always had my kids speak and draw pictures, but writing can be a daunting task, especially for someone who has never had a class on "How to Teach a Kid to Write!" Needless to say, my students are always excellent authors because I model writing so often and we practice daily. In kindergarten, the student expectation in our district is two sentences! That's not so bad!
|Field Investigation: Bumpy Seat|
We focused on the five senses and how we use them to conduct investigations. We did an investigation each day to explore our five senses. We went on a listening walk and heard our assistant principal's high heels clicking on the tile floor. We also heard boxes dropping on the floor as new textbooks were being delivered. The scientists thought this was pretty neat. Then, we traveled to the playground where we heard the coach's whistle, basketballs bouncing, and children screaming while playing a game.
The following day, we explored my favorite sense, touch (texture- the way an object feels). I read a small children's book, I Touch, about a small child touching soft, hard, and gooey things. This text introduced the scientists to the describing words we used and activated prior knowledge as they related to the small child touching a teddy bear, blanket, cereal, etc. We discussed that we use our hands as a tool to identify texture and I wrote the investigative question on our chart paper (see photograph of chart paper on easel below): How can we describe objects on the playground?
|Field Investigation: Smooth Bridge|
I did a lesson last year with objects in the classroom (blocks, Legos, books, etc.). It surely did not have the same results. THIS LESSON WAS A BIG IMPROVEMENT. Plus, these field investigations helped me continue teaching safety rules so when we go outside later in the year to observe the patterns of movement, weather, and organisms, there are no problems as the expectations have been taught and practiced.
We came back into the classroom and washed our hands (continuing to practice science safety.) Scientists gathered back on the rug to debrief after our investigation. We repeated the question together, "How can we describe objects on the playground?" I posted a sentence stem. *This is the first time my students have seen a written sentence stem (they have used oral sentence stems so they have a little experience with how they work. I highlight the words they will need to copy as a scaffold for my students.
Together, we decide that we will write about the slide. I model how I would use the posted sentence stem to write my own sentence. I copy the word "The," emphasizing that the sentence begins with a capital letter. I place a finger space and write the playground object that I would like to describe, "slide". I copy the word "is" after placing a finger space. Finally, I select a texture word from the word bank at the bottom of the chart, "hard." I show the students how I use my finger to create another space and write my final word and add a period which signifies the end of the sentence.
Normally, I would take down our shared conclusion so the students do not copy it, but I left it up for additional support for my struggling students... plus this is the first time doing something like this for them. I handed each of them a strip of paper to write their conclusion and turned them loose!
|Independent Conclusion: The ____ (object) is ____ (texture describing word).|
The first student wrote, "The hard is" (That student read it, "The slide is really hard.") The second student copied my conclusion. (This is why it should be removed. Only a sentence stem should be left up.) The third student wrote, "CTYD s in in." (That student read it, "The wall is hard." CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE SCIENTISTS READING THEIR CONCLUSIONS!
I look forward to seeing what these scientists come up with next investigation!