Saturday, January 12, 2013

Transportation Take One: Lovin' the Land Theme {and some Friday Freebies!}

Happy Friday Saturday!  Knew it was going to be hard impossible to get this post done by Friday, and surely enough, I couldn't!  That's because we had SO much fun and did so many awesome things this week. my brain was like a wrung out sponge that couldn't possibly do anything more until the weekend started.  :)

We started our three week journey into transportation this week and it was a success!  I discovered that I actually love teaching about transportation.  I love it so much I made a unit for it on Teachers Pay Teachers, and I tested it out on my kiddos, who were great guinea pigs (among their many other talents)!

Read on to see pictures and hear more about the fun stuff we did this week!

Art:

Travel Suitcases

These were so much fun to make (and it was so interesting to discover what my kiddos thought was necessary to bring on vacation!)  They were really easy to assemble, too.  I owe lots of thanks to my coworker next door who showed me how to make them!  All you do is take one of those long pieces of construction paper and fold it into fourths.  Cut out a rectangle from the outside going into the fold, stopping to leave enough space for a handle.  Cut out an oval to complete the handle and you're good to go!  Easy cheesy.


Shape Cars

We assembled these car cuties early in the week as a middle of the year fine motor portfolio piece.  The kids cut out shapes I had traced onto paper and assembled their cars.


Traffic Light Tear Art

More fine motor practice and art all rolled into one!  The kiddos ripped strips of red, yellow and green paper to make traffic lights.

Truck Tracks

This was probably the favorite art activity this week!  Who wouldn't love putting dump trucks in paint and making neat tracks?

Name Trains

These turned out so cute!  It was a great blend of learning about the parts of a train, fine motor practice, and using our imaginations to draw what the freight name trains should carry.  I also took pictures of the kiddos in the conductor hats, re-sized them, printed them and put them in the engine window!  This name train was my favorite.  It carries such an interesting array of things: coal, Christmas trees, a giraffe, and boxes.  :) 

Literacy:

Land Transportation Shared Writing

We started off Monday with a shared writing of all the land transportation we could think of as a class!  First, we discussed what is travel (going somewhere) and what is transportation (how you get there).  Then we had to restrict the ideas to just land transportation.  (And I'm sorry, but I just couldn't figure out how to draw a motorcycle!)

Letter C Handwriting Racers

This handwriting letter racer activity is included in my On the Go Transportation unit!  They just never get tired of these.  (STILL waiting for my foam blocks to get here in the mail!)  And if you look closely in the corner, you will see... THE DATE!  Yay!  I just started introducing the kiddos to the concept of the Month/Day/Year format for dating papers and I'm so glad I did!  Beyond it being a useful skill, it's also great number writing practice.

Letter T Alphabet Recognition Maze

Another activity from my transportation unit!  This activity is new to my students but they really liked it.  It was great for upper and lowercase letter identification practice.  It was just so cute when one of my girls that night  said, "Look daddy, I helped the truck find the road all by myself!"

P.S. You may notice two out of place T's- my kiddos surely did!  I fixed that in the unit right away!  :)

Land Transportation Class Book

I love when our class makes class book and we really try hard to make one new one each week (a habit we fell out of during the holidays), but hopefully now we are back on track!  I love this new addition to our library about our favorite methods of land transportation.  It was an instant best seller!  :)



Math:

Patterns Introduction

We started our patterns unit by reading Dobbee Doubler from the curriculum, this unit's pattern book (which I don't understand at all, because I think doubling has more to do with addition, but whatever).  After that confusing beginning we quickly switched to learning about AB and ABC patterns with colors!  They really caught on to the concept well.  I think the most confusing part was learning the pattern names (so an AB pattern is just called AB, not ABABAB).  We practiced them in small group with the white board, and then they were able to create their own using cubes.


Train Patterns

Another activity from my unit!  These were great review and really helped me see who needed more help with which pattern type.

Truck Load Math Mats

This is another activity included in my On the Go Transportation unit!  They were great for independent practice while I was introducing the new concept of patterns in small group.

Color By # Train

Aaaaaand here's my Friday Freebie!  You can grab your copy of these color by number trains from my Teachers Pay Teachers Store by clicking the picture below.


Science/Sensory:

Dump Truck Sensory Bin

This was a Pinterest inspired idea!  The idea comes from Pink and Green Mama's blog post about her Under Construction Sensory Box.  I adapted this idea a bit to fit with our transportation theme (hence the dump trucks rather than bulldozers).  The kiddos LOVED this table!  Next year I want to add letters to incorporate some literacy into the sensory table.  :)

Inclined Plane Experiment

This was pretty interesting!  First, my kiddos made a prediction as to how fast the car would go if we held the tray up like a hill.  Then we tested it and recorded the results.  I also let the kids test with a variety of other vehicles, including match box cars and the dump trucks in the sensory table.


I just LOVE the motion lines in the science journal entry above!  I can tell she picked up on those after we read aloud Freight Train by Donald Carews.  :)

Okay, here's my confession:  if there is one thing that I really want to figure out for next year, it's how to get more science in.  As I have mentioned before, our curriculum is written assuming there are two teachers in the room.  But since there's only me, science oftentimes get sidelined in favor of math.  I really do my best to have an independent skill-reinforcing activity for math once a week so I can do a cool science lesson/experiment with my kiddos, but still.  I definitely need to get more ideas for independent science center activities!

Manipulatives:

Alphabet Train Puzzle

I'm not sure which company made this puzzle (the box was long since missing when I took over the room), but Lakeshore also sells a great alphabet train floor puzzle AND a number train floor puzzle I want to invest in!  The kiddos also played with cars on the car carpet and with a train track set we have at school, which was great for reinforcing their understanding of how trains don't have steering wheels.

Dramatic Play:

Cardboard Box Panel Car

Nowhere could I find four big boxes for our upcoming themes (Land, Water and Air Transportation and Space) so I improvised!  I cut a big box into four panels and painted side views of different methods of transportation.  This is the cardboard box panel car, complete with a paper plate steering wheel and one of the kiddos' suitcases.  They loved pretending to drive to different places and go on vacation!

Cardboard Box Panel Train

The train version!  :)  Complete with conductor hats but NO steering wheel, because as my kiddos learned, trains don't have steering wheels, they follow the track!  These conductor/train engineer hats are great and were only $6 each at Party City, by the way.

Here's a look at some of the many amazing books we had available at Listening Center or that we read aloud this week!  I had to divide them into even more categories than usual because there are just an abundance of great books about land transportation out there.



And I don't have room for these in the carousels above, so here's some more!  We started off the week by reading Alphabeep: A Zipping, Zooming ABC by Debora Pearson to introduce the topic of land transportation, which was a great book that inspired a wonderful book during writer's workshop (more on that later)... we also read Duck on a Bike by David Shannon, who is one of our class's favorite authors.

I'll be back soon with a post about writer's workshop this week (I've got to wrap my head around it first), and with the link to my Transportation unit (just putting on some finishing touches).  I just had to roll this blog post out first though because I was so excited about everything we did this week!  :)

Don't forget to grab my recent Valentine's Day Glitter Backgrounds Freebie while you're here, and check out everyone else's great work at Teaching Blog Addict!

Freebie Fridays

Have a good weekend everyone!

P.S. Isn't my new avatar AMAZING?  Kirsten from KPM Doodles is a fantastic artist!  I just love how she captured me in my favorite hat!  :)  And I am super excited that Megan from I Teach, What's Your Superpower is going to be making coordinating digital papers for her clip art!  Check that awesome piece of news out here!

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