Mad scientists!

Last week we began our science unit and I got to put my new science journal to the test. I'm proud to say, it's kid and teacher (me!) approved.
(Side bar- I'm loving this class. I can't believe it's only October and we've already got a routine down, we're having fun, and we have our first field trip in 2 weeks. This time last year...well, let's just say it was different. Thank goodness for a brand NEW year. One of the best parts of this job is that there's always the chance for an amazing group of kids. I think I scored myself one this year. I'm not taking it for granted either. I'm going to love the heck out of them!)
Okay, back to SCIENCE!! A few weeks ago, as I was walking my line of busers out of the building, one of them said, "Are those snakes?" and pointed at a tree along our sidewalk that leads to the bus loop.  The tree had large seed pods hanging from it that were black and squiggly. I could see how they looked like snakes! I told him I wasn't sure and we'd have to do some research. I knew our science unit was starting the next week and I thought maybe this would be a neat introduction. To my surprise, the next day, as I walked my busers out again, 3 or 4 more kids stopped to look at the tree. Pretty soon the whole group had stopped and was pointing. Instead of being annoyed that we were going to be late to the bus, like I may have been in the past, I was THRILLED! Here was the perfect kick off to our science unit! Don't you love teachable moments?! I told the kids that afternoon- "Boys and girls, I don't know what those are! I think we're going to have to find some scientists to help us answer that question." They agreed and we got on our way to the buses. Little did they know, they were the scientists I had in mind!
The next week we began by checking our schema. (My district curriculum combines ELA with science and social studies.) We'd been talking about schema for a few weeks.
This page is from my Reader's Workshop Folder Pages Unit. I just projected it onto my Smartboard, as I do most things. Our new learning is in green. You can also see where we went back and changed some of our schema. Our misconceptions, if you will.
We read Deanna Jump's freebie, What Do Scientist Do?,  the book, What is a Scientist?, and I created this anchor chart. (From my Science Journal Unit)
Finally, I introduced our Science Journals. I copied all the pages and used the book binder to make them look "official".  We did the first few pages that are all geared towards introducing what a scientist is, does, and uses. 
Now we were ready to be scientists! My classroom volunteer took these amazing pictures of my kids in "lab coats" (old white cardigans and dress shirts!), goggles, and magnifying glasses. I soooo wish I could show you their faces! PRICELESS!
The next few days were spent studying our "snake tree". We had learned that scientists question. So we began by coming up with some questions about these, so called, snakes. Then we spent time observing the "snakes".
By the end of the week we had determined they were seed pods from a Black Locust Tree. We still, lovingly, refer to it as our "snake tree"!
(pardon my handwriting on this hallway display...yikes!)
Here is a quick snapshot of everything that is included in my Science Journal unit on TpT. If you click the picture it will take you to my store where you can download the preview and get a closer look! Thanks!


This week was all about the three states of matter. I found the most adorable poems on pinterest, of course. I always like to give credit where credit is due so here's the link: http://mrsterhune.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Matter
I took the poems and printed them out, smaller, so they could become a center. The pictures can be sorted and put on the correct poem with velcro. Click the picture to download this freebie!
 We ended this 2 week intro to science with our first experiment. I kept it simple and brought in my electric griddle. We watched an ice cube change from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas and wrote about it in our science journals. Next week begins a roation back into Social Studies but my kids had so much fun with science I wanted to give them a special reward. Again, pinterest is my friend! I found this adorable idea for a "mad scientist" snack. I knew I had to make them for my kids.
In other news, as much as I'm loving my group, organizing them has really been a challenge. I have 24 sweet babies, the most I've ever had in my teeny tiny room! Plus, I've got speech push-in and pull outs to arrange around. APPR is a constant concern on my radar, I committed to trying The Daily 5 this year (admittedly it's become the daily 2 in my room!), and although my loves are sweet and happy, they present some real academic challenges. Figuring my schedule out has been a nightmare!! I need 40 more minutes in my day, minimum! We are just go, go, go ALL day. It doesn't seem fair to these SIX year olds. It is what it is and I still make time every day for play time. I don't care what anyone says!! This is first grade, damn it. They need to play. Even if it's only for 15 minutes.  So, I leave you with my group charts. I need to do most of my core instruction in small groups. There's no way around that. I've got such varying levels and needs. Once I've nailed down what I'm doing, in stone, I'll post about it. Hopefully I'll have some freebies to share and some new items up on TpT by then as well.
^^^What a bear this was to organize! ^^^
Thank goodness for my Smartboard. More on my choice time and Reader's Workshop routines to come!


Math Workshop is also still coming together. This display didn't turn out nearly as cute as its inspiration! I'm working on it! I'll be posting more on this when it's done!

Lastly, I leave you with two anchor charts that combine all sorts of ideas I've found on pinterest and some of my own. We're doing personal narratives in writing and we're writing "ouch stories". Pardon my handwriting again! I don't know what is up with me lately, everything looks like a sloppy mess!
Really- this is it, I swear. If you haven't watched this video yet, DO IT! I cried. Such an important lesson! I was afraid it would be too deep for my kids but after I showed it too them today, they clapped. I hope it sticks with them. Unfortunately, I think there are some of my kids who can relate to being "the kind of kid who's never had a birthday".

As always, I welcome your comments and I hope you'll consider following me! :)

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