Monday, February 17, 2014

The Water Cycle

This post goes along with my All About Cloud post.  It's sort of Part 2- I guess- The Water Cycle!

These are my favorite books to teach about the water cycle. 

I use a poster on the smart board to explain the parts of it, but the children really understand the sequence once we read these books. These books are great for retelling, sequencing, and even acting out. Once my kids realize it is a circle story, they  love it even more.  They just love circle stories!

Don't Be Afraid to Drop by Julia Cook

from Amazon:
This book is for anyone who is at a transitional point in their life. Boy Raindrop is afraid to let go of his cloud and drop to the ground. He doesn't want to take a risk, he doesn't like change, and he is happy with his comfortable life. His father encourages him to jump out of his comfort zone and see what he is missing. This book provides all who read it with a positive perspective on change, taking risks, and giving back.

The Drop Goes Plop by Sam Godwin

from Amazon:
Mama and baby seagull follow the journey of a drop of water. Learn about the water cycle by following the drop when it falls from a cloud as rain, lands in a river, and eventually returns to the clouds.

Small Cloud by Ariane
from Amazon:
As Small Cloud is born to Singing River and Big Sun, travels across the country, and evolves into rain, the hydrologic cycle is symbolized.


And my very favorite... 

The Falling Raindrop by Neil Johnson, illustrated by Joel Chin
from Amazon:
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.

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 also see that very few, well placed details in an illustration can make a huge difference in story telling.

When I teach the Water Cycle, I use my Earth Day Prezi videos and charts to explain the cycle.  You can get it FREE at my TPT store. Just click on the picture below.
We listen to the Water Cycle song (which is of course on my Prezi)  and sing along. There is another cute version -same song, different pictures- on Youtube, but it can't be embedded.  Here is the other version.

 I may have mentioned that I love that song- once or a hundred times.  Once the children know the song (because we play it so many times- snack time, clean up time...) we add 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.  All by themselves, the children just grabbed hands and started going around in a circle for "the water cycle goes round and round."  It was so sweet.  Those are the little things that you really don't "get" unless you work with children. 

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 like this poster because it is simple and easy for the children to understand. 

My children love to learn "grown up" things.  For our Interactive Writing lesson, 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!)  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! 

The children write these grown up words on their own Water Cycle paper to take home. We did this activity together as a listening activity,  so the children knew where to write each word, but they had to hear the sounds to write the words.  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.  You can also label it "accumulation."
I like this Water Cycle Chart from Aparna Varadharajan's TPT store.   This would be a good chart to print out for the children.
 Water cycle chart
Meaghan Kimbrell has a wonderful Water Cycle Chart freebie at her TPT store for the children to complete. (Much more "professional looking" than my paper!)
The Water Cycle Kindergarten Chart and Activity
Meaghan also shared a Water Cycle Bracelet Activity that helps students remember the parts of the water cycle with beads.
The Water Cycle Bracelet Project

Dr. Jean (I may have mentioned one or a hundred times that I love her, too) has a great Water Cycle Song .

Jenna Rupp has a cute Water Cycle Hoe-Down freebie at her TPT store!

Water Cycle Hoe-Down Water Cycle Hoe-Down
I like this Water Cycle Song from Jaya Maharajh's TPT store, too.
The Water Cycle Song Handout

Years ago I got this Water Cycle Book from
I must have paid to join. I don't even remember.  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 they last forever- so if you do join, get anything you think you may want!
Later, just to tie in the water theme, I do a quick whole group math assessment using raindrops for my word problems. 
It is great to use raindrops for word problems, because the children can draw them easily.  I try to always use something that can be quickly drawn as a circle, stick, or rectangle.  We do lots of problems about balls, cookies, pencils, crayons, presents, bricks...  If I use something like, "Two birds were on a branch. Three birds landed on the branch with them.  How many birds are there altogether?" I will have some children drawing one bird for five minutes no matter how many times I say, "Just draw quickly!" So I stick with basic shapes for my word problems. 
I have so many glass stones, that I can also let the children use them as counters for math problems, which is always fun.  They work great for ten frames.
By the way, I had to look up altogether vs. all together. That always gets me.  Here is what I found, just fyi for a bonus:
altogether = in total

all together = every one gathered in one place

You probably never have that problem. And I probably still will have that problem, even though I just looked it up.  Hmmm.   I hope you found some ideas you can use! 






  1. Perfect timing AGAIN! I teach weather in about two weeks so this couldn't be better timing! Thank you, Carolyn!

  2. That's so funny - I always wonder about "altogether" as well! Thank you!
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching

  3. I love all of your amazing ideas and your blog! This is why I just nominated you for the Liebster Award... If you choose to accept check out this link for more info!


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