Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Water Cycle: Getting Ready for Earth Day!

We have been learning a lot about the water cycle this week.  I have some new favorite things that we have had so much fun with this week.  First, is a new book I got called The Falling Raindrop, written by Neil Johnson and illustrated by Joel Chin.

It isn't much to look at from the cover, and that is the beauty of it.  Here is a little synopsis from Random House:

As a storm rumbles and flashes, something wonderful happens up in the clouds: a raindrop begins his journey to earth, thrilled and delighted to be flying. But when flying begins to feel like falling, the raindrop can’t enjoy himself for fear that a big change is coming.

After hitting a campfire on the ground, the raindrop begins his journey back to the clouds as a wisp of steam. Readers will cheer for the little raindrop, experiencing his joys as well as his worries. This simple story uses spare text and art to explain the science of the water cycle, while happily showing that good things can result from change.

The illustrations are my favorite part. They are so simple, and really highlight the expression of the raindrop.  Chin uses motion lines (like on the cover).  I think my class thinks motion lines are my favorite things in the whole world because I must comment every time I see them in books! Now when we see them in a book, the kids say, "OH- Mrs. Kisloski will LOVE this book!"  The children see that very few, well placed details in an illustration can make a huge difference in story telling.

This story  describes the water cycle.  After we read it, we retell the story as an interactive writing activity to draw and label the water cycle.    The children love "circle stories" are quick to point out that this is indeed a circle story!

I demonstrate the water cycle with a tissue and a spray bottle.  I just gather the sides of the tissue to make a cloud. 

I spray the tissue to show that when more and more water evaporates and then condenses into the cloud, the cloud gets heavier and heavier (more and more sprays with the bottle!) until finally,  the cloud is SO full, that precipitation occurs! (Once the tissue is saturated, I walk around and it rains all over  the children sitting on the rug. :)  You can't see it here, but it is "raining!" :)

Another fun activity that an adult could demonstrate at home, is to hold a cotton ball over boiling water (using tongs because it gets hot), and let the steam saturate the cotton ball.  When it is saturated, it will "rain" from the cotton ball.

I have the Earth Day Prezi that I made up on the Smartboard, and I use this chart and the following song for the lesson.  The Prezi is free at my TpT store! You can use it on any computer, not just a Smartboard.

I like this poster because it is simple and easy for the kids to see the parts of the water cycle.

Next... we listen to the Water Cycle Song and sing along!  If Ryan Seacrest did a Kindergarten Top 40, this would definitely be in the top ten!  (I almost said Casey Kasem... oops! I am old!)


We LOVE this song. Warning- It will go through your head all day!  We sit and listen, clap, and sing the words once through. I have them do hand motions- hands going up for "evaporation,"  making a cloud shape in the air for "condensation," and fingers raining down for "precipitation." Arms go "round and round" for the water cycle part. You can have fun with arm movements.  The second time through we dance and sing.

Years ago I ordered the Water Cycle Book from (I got the top book on the page.) I must have paid to join. I have had it for years. It is a great book the children can read themselves, so that is what I use.  I am not sure how much I used edhelper. I did get some good activities there, and the last forever- so if you do join, get anything you think you may want!

Here is a fun water cycle freebie on TPT from Mrs. Kimbrell's Kindergarten for labeling the parts of the water cycle.
The Water Cycle Kindergarten Chart and Activity

I actually use the Water Cycle book for our reading group lesson that day. 

The next morning, we review the water cycle chart.  My children love to learn "grown up" things.  I tell them they are going to be able to spell some huge words that they would never think they could spell!  We bring our friend Chunky Monkey out to help us. First, I tell them we will write:  "evaporation", "condensation", and "precipitation." 

We start with "evaporation."  We clap and count the syllables.  We say it very s l o w l y.   I prepared the chart with the lines for each syllable. I tell them about the crazy "tion" syllable in each word- (because that just isn't fair at all!)  So I write that in the blank.  

One little boy actually remembered that chunk in writer's workshop when he wrote "action"- except I think it was "aktion"  - but I was still  impressed with the ending!  :)
 I want them to realize they can chunk words and tackle words one syllable at a time for writing. Here is our completed chart.  (I wrote the words without spaces after the child wrote the syllables.)
Everyone was so proud!  We celebrated by dancing and singing  to ... you guessed it! 

Our writing activity was for the children  to complete their own Water Cycle to take home and write these "grown up" words by themselves!  We did this activity together as a listening activity, so the children knew where to write each word.  I had the children write the words first , then illustrate each section after all the writing was done.  Last, they drew the arrows to show the cycle.  Here are some examples:

As you can see, it is a very simple paper labeled "The Water Cycle" with lines for the children to write.  The bottom corner is labeled "collection" for the water source (pond, puddle, lake...). We wrote that word together. 

Later, just to tie in the water theme, I did a quick whole group math assessment using raindrops for my word problems.  When I do a quick assessment, whole group or small group, it is really easy to have the children prepare their papers themselves.  I have them fold a "hotdog" fold ( the long way):

Then a "hamburger" fold (the short way):

Then, they each have a sheet ready with 4 sections on front and back so that we can do 8 quick questions.

We do the first addition and subtraction problem together as I model it.  I want them to get very used to showing their work and then writing the number sentence.

My question was, "Two raindrops fell on my umbrella.  Then, three more fell on it.  How many raindrops fell all together? "  We review how hearing "more" and "all together" tell us we will be adding.

"Four raindrops were playing in a cloud. One raindrop fell out of the cloud.  How many were left in the cloud?"  We talk about how when one goes away and we have how many left, we will subtract.

I usually ask the children two more questions like that to complete without my help.  On the back I may have them practice writing their numbers to 20, draw shapes I tell them to draw, write what number comes before or after a number I say...or maybe I will have one side be math questions and the other be writing sight words or answering a question in a complete sentence. It is a great way to do a quick assessment for the day. 

Dr. Jean and I made a wonderful STREAM (That's STEAM with Reading included!) packet about Water, The Water Cycle, and Clouds with LOTS of great lesson plans and activities, a new Prezi, QR Codes, and Dr. Jean's The Water Cycle song! I love it because everything we need is all in one place.

Thanks for visiting!  Happy Teaching!


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