Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Color Themed STEM in the Classroom

Do you spend time with colors in your classroom?  Does your entire class dress in a certain color on a certain day?  Do you read color themed books?  Do you practice reading and spelling color words?  Do you sing songs about colors?  Do you make colorful artwork?  If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," then you may want to incorporate an exciting (according to my students) and easy color themed STEM activity into your color fun.

One of the most important parts (if not the most important part) of doing STEM activities in your classroom is gathering and organizing your materials.  For this color themed STEM activity you will need:  food coloring, various household liquids (I used water, vinegar, shaving cream, and oil), eye droppers, see through contains (I used Mason jars), and some small paper cups.
To go along with our activity we completed mini books to record our predictions, observations, and creations during the experiment.

Because of time restraints, we conducted part of the activity as a whole group, with yours truly doing the demonstrations.
To begin, students predicted what the water would look like after adding the colors and then I added them.  Next we did vinegar.  Nothing crazy happen with the water or the vinegar.

We added colors to the shaving cream.  It didn't mix.  The students really liked how it turned out.  It was pretty funny, a couple of my young learners thought the shaving cream would explode.  They were a little relieved.

The last observation was how color mixed with oil.  Oil really has the coolest reaction.  Because the food coloring is mixed with water, the colored water doesn't mix with the oil.  It created pretty little bubbles in the oil.

While I conducted the demonstration, the students asked lots of questions and we discussed why the colors looked the way they did after adding them to the liquid.  We also talked about mixing colors to create new colors, which was the segue to the final part of our color themed STEM project, creating your own color.

Each student got their own small cup and shared the eye droppers and colored water.  They mixed two or three colors until they reached their favorite new color.  After they created their color, they illustrated it and wrote about it in their mini books.

This activity worked out really well.  It was simple and engaging.  I will definitely use it again next year when we are focusing on color.  I'll probably make one change by adding some additional liquids into the mix.

As far as other activities during the week, we did quite a bit of work with color words during our literacy time.  Sorts, matches, writing, and centers...students need plenty of work reading and writing color words.
I'll leave you with a few of my favorite color themed read alouds.
(Bear Sees Colors by Karma Wilson, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, Dog's Colorful Day by Emma Dodd, A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni, White Rabbit's Color Book by Alan Baker, Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin, Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin, Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall, and Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds)
Wow! such variety about one topic.  That is why learning about colors can take your so many directions in your classroom.

What are some of your favorite color themed books and activities?  I'd love to know.
Have a great week.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Five for Friday (Including a Useful Assessment Freebie)

Happy Friday!
I cannot believe we just wrapped up our fifth week of the new school year.  It has been a total blur.  But, things are really starting to come together for my little class.  I can tell because I am not absolutely dead tired at the end of this week.
I actually have enough energy to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share 5 things from my classroom during this week's Five for Friday Linky.
Here goes...
Number 1
I brought in a couple of super exciting additions to our classroom.  Click and Clack are our new class pets.  They are adorable parakeets.  The kids are totally in love with them.  They come home with me on the weekends to visit with our kitty, bunnies, and dog.
Things are working out great with these colorful guys.

Number 2
Back to school means lots of assessing.  It's so important to have a strong understanding of where your young learners are.  Some assessments are informal, some are done whole group, some are formal, some are on the computer, and others are individual.
It can be a real challenge to fit in individual assessments with primary students, especially at the beginning of the year.  They are so not independent on most tasks.
A couple of assessments I like to use are running records (Reading A to Z) and my data binder basic skill assessments.  If you would like a free copy of my data binder assessments, click on the picture below.

Number 3
While doing my assessments I used a new little goody from etsy (The Preppy Ladybug), my monogramed clipboard.  I've had it on my wish list for a while.  I finally got around to picking out the details to order one of my own.  It is so cute, that I had to order a second one, this time in my school colors.

Number 4
In my free time (hehehe-really just staying up too late), I made a new set of pieces for our class agenda.  Students really like to know what we are doing each day.  Having an agenda helps them feel more at ease and they don't ask nearly as many "when are we going to..." questions.  It also helps me stay on track to better fit everything in.

Number 5
Each year my students' first homework assignment is to learn to tie their shoes.  During that week, they can tell me when they are ready to demonstrate their shoe tying ability.  At the end of the week students that can successful tie their shoes, join the Shoe Tying Club.  They are awarded a certificate and visit the principal's treasure box.  It's a pretty big deal to my firsties.
For a FREE copy of my shoe tying certificate, click on the picture.

I guess that's about it.  I hope the beginning of your school year is going smoothly.  Thanks to Doodle Bugs Teaching for hosting Five for Friday.

Enjoy your long weekend.