My little students have been showing some responsibility with using materials as well as taking care of them, so I thought I would try something that I know they would find super exciting. A book, a black light, a chameleon, and some fun glow in the dark/black light reactive activities for the win! We started out by reading the story Neon Leon by Jane Clarke. This is such a fun story about a chameleon trying to fit in despite being so bright. The students were fascinated by the black light ("but Mrs. Wood, why is the black light purple?") and how their clothes changed color when they were by the light.
After reading the story, the first thing we did was a little scavenger hunt. I gave each student a chameleon card and asked them to walk around the room holding their chameleon up to different things in the room. Our chameleons blended in to everything! To make the chameleon for students to explore their surroundings with, I found an image of a chameleon on The Noun Project (my go-to for simple images!). I then made a template using Cricut Design Space to cut out the rectangles and chameleons. With a quick lamination and cut, they were ready to go!
After our little scavenger hunt, student made a necklace that had neon beads as well as UV reactive beads. These beads were just like chameleons - they change based on the lighting around them! This was a great fine motor activity for the students and they had something to walk away with to share with their parents at home.
As I am still learning about this group of young students, I am trying to incorporate some free play time at the end of all of our activities. This allows them to use the materials we had as part of our lesson in a way that is meaningful and creative in their own way. This also gives them opportunities to communicate and collaborate together to build new things. For the free play time this week, I wanted to introduce some resources that interact with the black light. The kiddos had a blast!
These blocks are not the traditional wooden SumBlox. I have some and students really like them, but often are frustrated with the number 4 in particular. I looked on Thingiverse and actually found some Stacking Numbers, resized them so they are a bit larger (for the little hands and big thinkers!) and could work interchangeably (for the most part) with the wooden numbers. I love how these numbers help students make visual connections between numbers! These can be downloaded from Thingiverse if you would like to print your own!
Last week I used the Magnet Tiles with this group of students and to say they enjoyed them would be an understatement. I only have a small set of the glow in the dark Magnet Tiles, but know what a hit they are for students (especially under the lights) makes me want to get a few more sets so more students can experience them.
I have seen the amazing wooden Flockmen before and love the open-ended play that they provide. I do not have any of the wooden ones, but found the dimensions on their website, so I 3D printed some. I opted to print them in glow in the dark or neon filament so that they can be used in regular classroom lighting as well as Glow Days. Are they perfect? No. Did the students love them? Yes! These can be downloaded from Thingiverse if you would like to print your own!
It is week two of school and I feel like students are starting to settle in a bit. I have realized that with the Young 5s and Transitional 1st classes I am working with this year that I need to really focus on collaboration and communication. Developmentally these are difficult skills and even learning to share resources and then build with at least one other person will take some time and practice. Last week I tied the activity we did in with a book and it worked really well for introducing an activity, so I think that will mostly be my approach with these classes. Plus, who doesn't love a good book?!
This week I read the story "The Pigeon Has to Go to School" by Mo Willems. I LOVE Mo Willems and even before I could turn the book around to show the students the story for the day, they were already excited because they saw the pigeon. You can't go wrong with a Pigeon book I guess!
In the story, the pigeon ends up taking a bus to school. We talked about the different ways the students get to school (walking, bus, parent drop off in a car, bike) and then created a way for the pigeon to get to school. I had printed and laminated cut outs of the Pigeon and the students used Magnet Tiles to build some sort of mode of transportation for the pigeon to get to school. I told them they could be creative and come up with whatever they wanted, but the vehicle must have the pigeon inside as well as be able to move. Many groups wanted to build the tallest bus possible, but realized that when they went to move it, it often fell right apart due to all the weight. This lesson had a lot of reconstruction that took place! In the end, most groups were able to build some sort of vehicle even if they had to do a quick rebuild at the starting line to see if it would move. They worked hard through it though and did not give up despite the number of collapses that took place. I also learned that this was the first time for many students using Magnet Tiles and they were so intrigued with the different ways they could connect and stick to one another. I love it when I can share new resources with kiddos - their excitement is contagious!
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