Friday, April 10, 2015

Five for Friday April 10

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Thank you for hosting, Kacey! It was our first week back after Spring Break.  This was me Monday morning...

Anyway... Here we go with my favorites of the week!

One of my favorite things to do to get ready for Earth Day is to read Miss Rumphius. 

This is such a thoughtfully written book that lets children begin thinking of different ways they can make the world more beautiful. After we read the story, I have the children retell it. We talk about the three things Alice wanted to do in her life : 1)  travel to far away places, 2) live by the sea, and 3) make the world more beautiful. We discuss why it is so important for each of us to do something to make the world more beautiful.  I found some good discussion questions here for the story.  (The questions are written for 8-11 year olds, but some are perfect for 'turn and talks' and class discussions. 

The story does get a little wordy for some of the little guys, so I make it work.  The idea of the book is so wonderful for the children to think about- What can I do to make the world more beautiful?  That's a good one for all of us.  Here are some of my favorites from this year's class book.  

 I am going to make cookies so everybody can smell them! 
(How PRECIOUS is that?!)

 I will plant flowers in all countries.  
( I LOVE his world with flowers sticking out of all of it!)

I sort of wanted to frame this one.  
Another fun outside activity for Earth Day is studying trees.

I love studying trees with my class.  I have a special place in my heart for trees, because growing up, my dad owned a sawmill.  He knew everything about every tree, and we loved playing in the sawdust pile and visiting the mill.  When my children were small, one of my favorite memories is hiking in the woods with my parents, while my dad taught my kids all about different trees.

These are some of my favorite books to read for our tree unit:

Here is a great freebie from Teach With Laughter to go with A Tree is Nice .
Earth Day - A Tree is Nice in All Seasons {Freebie}
It is a mini book  where students will print the name of one of the four seasons on each page, write about what they like about a tree during the season and illustrate the pages. 

After we read The Giving Tree and talk about it, the children finish this picture and design a tree house in the tree. 


Here are some copies of the papers that I used for our writing.  They're very simple, but if you would like  copy, just click on the picture below.
My FAVORITE tree book  is:

In case you aren't familiar with the book, it is a wonderful story about an oak tree that falls in the woods and becomes a log. Animals and plants move in until the log decays and a new tree starts to grow.  It is another one of our FAVORITE circle stories!  

Right after we read and discuss this book, we go outside and look for our own log hotels.  We find lots of them! It is amazing once you start looking for something, how many you find.  We find the insect, holes, fungi, - so many of the things the book talks about.  (Minus the snake- thank goodness.) These pictures are from last year. We haven't had a chance to get outside yet because it's been too cold and wet.  We will soon, hopefully! 

We also collect some interesting things to take inside to our investigation trays to study with our magnifying glasses.  Last year, we were lucky to find a slice of a small tree trunk so we could really study the lines and even try to count them.
Another similar book that has beautiful illustrations is A Log's Life by Wendy Pfeffer. This is a fun follow-up book to read to review those log hotels. 

I have always loved the saying, "The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now. "  We talk about what this saying means.   I try to explain to the children that they  can't go back and plant a tree twenty year ago, so it is a good size today, but if they plant a tree this year, when they grow up, the tree will be grown up, too. (This is another paper in the little packet that I remade.) Here are some illustrations of this saying.

I like the tiny little sprout she drew in the lower left corner to show it starting to grow. 

I like how he drew the water cycle in this one.   Look at that evaporation going up! 

I love the simplicity of this one where she is just dropping her tree seed, but yet she added so much detail in her hat. This one just made me smile. 
This week we read Too Many Toys by David Shannon.  

It's a great book for introducing voice to students, because you can talk about how the different characters in the book felt about the toys.

We also talked about setting for the book.  The children are good about noticing the characters in books, but don't think so much about where stories take place.   

During free choice, I put up this mural for the children to label.  They had to include things they would find at this setting.  I painted the background.  I'll leave it up all week and let the kids keep adding to it and labeling.  Then, each child will write a story about living on the farm, or one of the animals who lives on the farm.

Rosie's Walk is always a fun book to read- and also good for setting. 

 After we read the book, I called up a student to label the different places Rosie walked.  Next, I called up students to glue on the descriptive words that told where she walked.  It is a fun interactive writing activity, because there's enough for everyone to have a chance to come up to the board.  You can always add more things to label ( the sun, sky, clouds...)

I also printed Rosie and a fox on cardstock (taped on here near the top).  I left these beside the poster so the children could retell the story to each other for an independent center. 

We planted our gladiola bulbs for our Mother's Day gifts this week. 
 I posted about our gift HERE .

ALSO- I posted at Pre-K and K Sharing this week with LOTS of frog ideas and LOTS of TPT frog freebies!  So... hop on over...   :)

Have a happy, healthy weekend. Thank you for stopping by! 


  1. Carolyn, I just love your kids' writing samples. They are the next best thing to funny kid stories– giving us such great perspective. And thanks for reminding me about Rosie's walk. I have to hit those concepts... again... in math, and I forgot this book does that so well. I always find good stuff on your posts! Now today I have to gear up for going back next week... sigh. See you later, Kathleen
    Kidpeople Classroom

  2. Hi Carolyn! I'm glad you made it through your first week back =) The video you posted was both sad and hilarious--that poor sleepy baby! Haha! Your blog has SO many great ideas! We are going to be talking about trees this week, so I'm super excited about all of your tree ideas. I hadn't heard of most of the books you mentioned. We are going to use the nonfiction book "Be a Friend to Trees" which has a lot of good kinder-friendly info in it. How cool that your dad is a tree expert! Next week I'm totally stealing your Mrs. Rumphius ideas to do on Earth Day. Love!

    Kindergarten Teacher at the Wheel

  3. I ♥ Miss Rumphius!! And your students' responses :)
    Have a wonderful weekend! Jen

  4. WOW! You have been BUSY! I, too, LOVE Miss Rumphius (I remember reading it in second grade and LOVING it then, too)!! These are all GREAT ways to incorporate science across subjects, and I am going to go look up some of these great titles on Amazon!!


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