The students’ Week 4 explorations of the tree branch blocks provided the perfect segue from our counting explorations in mathematics to applied counting skills in measurement. Kindergarten and first grade measurement starts with nonstandard units (using concrete objects rather than units of measurement) to measure and compare weight, length, height, and capacity. Students used the balance scale and counting cubes to weigh various classroom items. They used cubes, links, and hexagons to measure their own foot. They also looked for items shorter or longer than a row of ten unifix cubes.
The tree branch blocks and trees became a great way to consider the science concept of living and non-living. After some discussion, we came to agreement about what was and was not living. However, figuring out HOW we know what is living or not living was a little more challenging. In the end, we came up with a five part test: does it grow? does it move? does it “eat”? does it “drink”? does it breathe? We agreed that a tree does do those things, but we wanted to learn more about how exactly it does.
We started this deeper exploration with a field trip to teacher Lindsey’s house. There the students did a close observational drawing of a tree, applying the new art concept of lines. Teacher Lindsey led a study of parts of the tree. This week, we’ll look a bit closer at the different parts.
Our field trip also provided a great opportunity to use our measurement and reading skills as we baked banana bread. We also used the space away from school to paint our sharing chairs. Our writing workshop will begin to make use of these chairs as students share their own writing.
Our emerging readers worked on reading color words, a list of sight words, and the comprehension strategy of retelling a story. We used the book “We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt” to practice transition words: First, Next, Then, and Finally as they retold and acted out the story.