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Baby, it’s COLD outside!
8 Dec, 2013. 7 Comments. A Day In First Grade, December, First Grade, First Grade Holidays, First Grade Language, First Grade Science, Holidays, Kindergarten Holidays, Kindergarten Science, Preschool Holidays, Preschool Science, Science. Posted By: Kristen Smith
Being from New England, a few 20 degree days should totally not throw me for a loop but MAN! I’m freezing!! I have been drinking hot chocolate like I will never see it again and have been hibernating in my house all weekend. I have read countless stories of car wrecks and spin outs because Texas drivers (no offense!) don’t know how to drive in icy conditions. So…. this New England transplant, has been staying warm inside. {while putting the finishing touches on my science winter pack!! — it should be out soon!!!}
My students are LOVING the cold weather and learning about all things Christmas. They LOVE opening up a new Christmas present book every day and are just beyond themselves excited about all of our centers, activities, and crafts.
In word work, my students are busily making mini books of their Christmas words and writing really fabulous sentences using them.
 I busted out one of my favorite word work activities called “the cup challenge.” For this I wrote sight words on the bottoms of all of the cups and my students have to first read the words to be able to stack them. If any cup falls while they are building, they must write down the word on a dry erase board. {This discourages them from knocking them down!} I make this a one person only activity and my kids know that if they can not read the word, they can not stack the word. This is really helping them learn those tricky sight words because they want to make intricate towers.
 This week over the course of 3 days, we completed my favorite winter craft. On day one we water painted the background.
We started with the ground line and then painted above it. I only let my students use blue and purple. (Can you tell how desperately we need to new water colors?!)
 On day two, I cut up tissue paper into squares and my students used “glue paint {Elmer’s glue with a little bit of water}” to glue the squares all over their half sheet of white paper.
 Covering the half sheet of white paper took about 20 minutes. (not including the 5 minutes of clean up time!) I have my students also paint over the tissue paper to give it a “shine.”
The next day, after the glue paint had dried, I cut the paper into triangular Christmas trees. 
My students then glued them to their paper and added a few white snowflakes using white paint.
They came out awesome!
Our theme for the last week was reindeer and my students have been having a blast using all of our reindeer center activities. One of their favorites has definitely been the scrambled sentences. They love that the sentences teach them facts about reindeer and are really enjoying looking at the pictures!
 This week we also started our unit on Physical Science. The first lesson was all about matter. (Which is such an abstract concept for students to grasp!) To help my students, I made them a few anchor charts and began the mini lesson using an empty box. I taught them that matter is anything that takes up space. (We chanted this whole brain style. I would say the definition and then they would echo the definition.)
“Matter is anything that takes up space.”
 I then had a few students, one at a time, find an object from our classroom to put inside the box. After each item went in the box I asked them, “did it take up space?”
“YES!” Then its MATTER! “Matter is anything that takes up space!”
After a few students gathered items, I asked my class if they would sing ‘jingle bells’ to me. (They did with GUSTO) I asked them if I could put that song, or music, into my box.
“No, ma’am!” They answered.
We talked about other things that could NOT be put in the box and used the second anchor chart I made to aid us in our discussion. We talked about whether or not the things that I drew and wrote were examples of matter.
 Then they went to specials, and I set up our Science investigation for the day.
 When my students got back from specials, they saw that on their desks were Santa cups, a recording sheet, mini marshmallows, large marshmallows and Hershey kisses. I explained to them again that matter is anything that takes up space and that they were going to investigate how MUCH of a type of matter could fit in their Santa cups.
 At each station my students filled their cups with the items and then recorded how much of each item fit.
What happened next was beyond my wildest expectations for this lesson. Completely unprompted, my students filled their cups and then when counting the objects, they grouped them in groups of 5s, 10s, and 2s. It was a teacher’s dream come true!
This investigation really helped them understand WHAT matter was.
After they had counted all of the matter, they recorded it on their observation sheet.
This lesson ended up being a great math lesson as well because my students had to count above 130 to figure out how many mini marshmallows fit into their Santa cups. {score!!}
They LOVED it! {and it didn’t hurt that I let them eat one item (from a group of UNTOUCHED marshmallows and kisses) after they finished their work at each rotation.
To culminate our week of reindeers, I used an idea that I saw on Reagan’s blog {Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits} last year. At the end of the day on Friday, we had a special bag waiting for us.
In the bag were directions on how to make “magic reindeer food.”
{My students were SO excited!!!!}
Inside the bag we found all of the ingredients to make it:
Oats
Magic
Love
In fact, the special delivery had them all sorted out and ready for us to make our reindeer food.
 {I used mini cups that I found at Target and added red and green sprinkles to each cup and then labeled them “love” and “magic.”}
 Each student got one dash of love and one dash of magic.
They then added one cup of oats, and their love and magic to their baggies.
 They are VERY excited to sprinkle this mixture (using our science words) on their lawn on Christmas Eve!!
After we made the mixture, we wrote about how we made it! If you would like a free recording sheet, here is one that I made! Just click on the link to get it for free!!
If you click HERE you can go read Reagan’s post on how she used this activity in her classroom and get even more freebies to go along with it!!
{All of the matter investigation will be in my Physical Science pack and Winter Science pack that should be out sometime next week! Check my Facebook page to see when it will be posted to my store. It will be on sale for the first two days. If you don’t follow me on facebook, it’s super easy, just click on the “fb” on the banner near my blog title “A Day In First Grade.” I will give away a few of these Science packs throughout the next few weeks so make sure you “like me” for your chance to win!}

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7 Comments
  1. You continue to amaze me!!! Love those Wintery trees!!

  2. Adorable as always! Love everything of yours!!!

  3. LOVE THIS, Kristen!! I bet is was so hard for them to NOT eat the marshmallows and chocolate…at least it would be for me!

  4. you make every day a gift for your kids!

  5. You are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing and enriching so many others and so many children. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to you! Thank you for your time and care and for sharing!!

  6. Oh my goodness, those winter art projects are SIMPLY STUNNING! Thank you for the inspiration!

  7. This can be a ideal time for all of us to generate several extra money. People exactly like you are using freelance work opportunities to help rake inside funds on the net, from an incredible rate. These work opportunities cover a lot of terrain and can include many kinds associated with writing and several different levels of encounter. A lot of the accessible writing work opportunities require not any encounter in any way.creative writing techniques

7 Comments

  • You continue to amaze me!!! Love those Wintery trees!!

  • Adorable as always! Love everything of yours!!!

  • LOVE THIS, Kristen!! I bet is was so hard for them to NOT eat the marshmallows and chocolate…at least it would be for me!

  • you make every day a gift for your kids!

  • You are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing and enriching so many others and so many children. I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am to you! Thank you for your time and care and for sharing!!

  • Oh my goodness, those winter art projects are SIMPLY STUNNING! Thank you for the inspiration!

  • This can be a ideal time for all of us to generate several extra money. People exactly like you are using freelance work opportunities to help rake inside funds on the net, from an incredible rate. These work opportunities cover a lot of terrain and can include many kinds associated with writing and several different levels of encounter. A lot of the accessible writing work opportunities require not any encounter in any way.creative writing techniques

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