First Day of Summer

Finally, the day that teachers and students alike look forward to… SUMMER! Summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and the earth’s position is “most inclined” towards the sun.

Take time to poll the family and see what activities each member thinks would should be on the summer bucket list. New movies will be out, relatives will be visiting, and there are many inexpensive and sometimes even free things to experience in those long summer days.

What ever your plans, be sure to remember to use safety measures around water, boats, pools and campfires. Sun screen should be applied at least 30 minutes before going outside. Drink plenty of water before, during and after spending time in the sun and/or the heat.


Sticky Fish

A popular English nursery rhyme helps me create a Sticky Board activity.  I make Sticky Boards by taping contact paper, sticky side out, to an old message board (I try to recycle everything).  The fish, bubbles, waves and seaweed are made from stiffened felt.  This felt doesn’t loose its shape and leaves less fuzz on the contact paper. I will add numbers 1 through 10 next week to make the activity a little more interesting.

Fishy Story

One, two, three, four, five,
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on my right.

– Original Author Unknown

Shell Seriation

A tray activity for this month is arranging seashells according to size.

shell seriation

This allows the students to handle and look at the shells.  This hands-on activity also helps them develop the important math skill of putting objects or sets into a sequence.  I have several sets of shells on hand to switch in and out to keep the activity interesting.

I Spy in a Bottle

Spending time on the beach and collecting shells gives me the materals I need for my next set of Discovery Bottles. I fill the bottles half full of shells and then add playsand to cover all but about an inch of shells. Seal the lids with tape and shake. Each time different shells will come to the top.

Discovery Bottles

Add books about shells to the library and compare pictures with the shells in the bottle.  This can lead to dictation, artwork, and charts related to the children’s findings.

Theme for June: Ocean and Beach Life

My first theme for the summer is Ocean and Beach Life. I live very close to the beach and know my students visit there regularly. The beach is different each day and there always seems to be something new to learn. The classroom library has books about the ocean and beach with a box full of sealife puppets and stuffed animals nearby.

Computers have uploaded all the Freddi the Fish series that I have onhand. There is an old program called O’Dell Down Under for the older students who are ready for a challenge.

I have been busy updating my Discovery Bottles. The one below one has water, a little blue water coloring, Make It Shimmer (from Discount School Supply), shells, and sand. I taped the lid on the bottle to keep it from accidently coming off. The students can cause a storm by shaking the bottle and then watch it calm to see the shells.

Ocean Discovery Bottle

I find that mouthwash bottles make excellent Discovery Bottles. They have a better viewing surface and the lid already locks.

The classroom is ready for it’s adventure at the beach! Stay tuned, there is more to come. *hums the Under the Sea theme song*

Tell Them a Story… Make it a Real One!

Children love real life stories about adults when they were children. Their questions and discussion are very honest and open. It helps a teacher connect and bond with the students. Do it as often as you can!

I have a simple piece of shale. This rock is a type of mudstone. It breaks into thin parallel pieces and forms in places like lakes and deep marine areas. My rock is very dear to me because IT HAS A STORY!

shale fossil

I was about 10 years old when my aunt asked me to go with her for a ride. She didn’t really tell me where we were going. I cannot remember many of the details, but it was a hot day and we pulled into a dusty place where they were digging out shale from the hillside. When the men and the machines left, we dug out slabs of rock and picked through them. Why my aunt wanted fossils, I don’t know. I chose the one you see in the picture to keep. It left me with questions about how fossils form and how seashells got in the hillside in the first place.

After I talk for awhile, the children are all eager to hold the rock and look at the fossils. They are gentle and quiet until one little girls says, “So, this is a very old rock, right? I know because you were a kid a long time ago.”

I just smile. I know it is better to be a live fossil than a dead one!

Critical Thinking Creates New Ideas

The last week of the dinosaur theme has passed and I am busy collecting stuff for our next theme. Before we go there, I want to share an idea. I traced a dinosaur mold set onto poster paper and set it out for the kids to explore.

This is how the set went together on the package, but I didn’t show this to the students.
Dino Puzzle

Our classroom’s “paleontologists” took a different view of how the bones fit together.
Dino Discovery

I really like their discovery! I am thinking of adding more pieces for next year. If I could find something to create permanent castings of the molds, that would be even better. For now, onto new challenges…