Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bubble Day!

Where does time go? I can't believe how busy I've been with end of the year assessing and projects. I swear, some days I don't know if I'm coming or going until I'm already gone. I'm sure most of us feel this way at the end of the year so I know I'm not alone.  I think though that I'm finally feeling like I'm on top of things with just a couple of assessements to finish up and my report cards are close to being done (seeing as they are due on Tuesday at 8am- I know there's a light at the end of the tunnel for that "to-do" item)

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are counting down to the end of the school year with the alphabet. A few weeks ago we celebrated B day which was bubble day. We read several fiction books about bubbles including: The Bubble Factory by Tomie dePaola and Bubble Bubble by Mercer Mayer. We also read a nonfiction big book  by Dwight Kuhn and Melvin Berger called Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere. We even went outside and blew bubbles.
The best part of the day though was writing time and the fantastic poems that my kiddos wrote. We discussed/reveiewed describing words, action words, and similes to complete the format for our poems. The similes on the fourth line are very clever and creative
Bubble Poems

The next day, we used the netbooks to publish our bubble poems in a different format. We started out the morning with a little mini lesson on the SMARTboard on how to maneuver around ABCya's Word Clouds site including how to change color, font and layout. Then we passed out the netbooks and learned how to log on (it's a different username and password than what we use in our computer lab, but the kids did fantastic!) I'll be glad next year when we all have our own usernames and passwords and it won't matter if we are in the lab or in our classroom on the netbooks!! We then used Google to search for the website, ABCya's Word Clouds rather than typing in the address.
We then typed our bubble poems into this site which gave our poems a whole new look and feel. Kiddos got to choose their own font, color scheme and layout for their poem. They all turned out absolutely wonderful and each and every one has its own unique look and feel. Check them out below!
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After we were all done, we displayed our original poems along with our colorful word cloud poems in the hallway for others to enjoy (see pic at top of post). The kids have really enjoyed seeing people stop by to read their pieces which has really given them a sense of pride and authorship (is that a word?... oh well...)

** We did run into one frustrating glitch that others have run into as well... when we printed our word clouds on the color printer the left and right margins of our images were cut off. The pdf's that I saved and put into the Smilebox below are fine but when even when printing from the pdf file the margins are cut off. I know this has happened to others as well... I plan to contact the webmaster to see if there are any suggestions as this is a fantastic and easy site for early primary kiddos to use.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Countdown to the end of the year

We are using the alphabet to countdown to the end of the year. Yesterday was A for Animal Day. Each of my students brought in a stuffed animal for the day. We read with our animals, measured our animals during math as a measurement review and wrote about our animals. The writing turned out awesome. I had the kids write a description of their animal. My mini lesson revolved around using size, color, texture, and similes to help make their descriptions more interesting. When we were done, we put all of  our critters in the middle of our circle and I read each of the kiddos descriptions. Using the clues, the class had to locate each animal. When we were all done students took a digital picture of their animal which we then printed off and put on our hall bulletin board along with our writing for others to try and guess. The kids had a blast, the writing was awesome, and we embedded a tad of technology usage as well.  Check out my classroom blog post for examples.