Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Activities and a GIVEAWAY!!

Teaching the Easter story is such a humbling and exciting series of lessons while teaching at a Christian school. Every day, my class sits down eagerly to listen to our Bible story of the day and we have been getting closer and closer to the pinnacle of our faith for weeks now. 

As an aside, I love using the Jesus Storybook Bible in my classroom because every story whispers Jesus' name and my students just love it. It truly makes every story come to life for my students and I love that each story points to Christ. 
To help us celebrate Easter, we have completed a few crafts and activities that I know you and your children and students will love. 
First, have you heard of Resurrection Eggs? We are loving this! The way this works is that each day we open up an egg which reminds us of a part in Jesus' last week. Inside each egg there is a special item to help us remember the order of events.  We have a book that goes along with it called "Benjamin's Box" and it retells the Biblical story in such a great way. Each day we read a different page in the book and then my students have to guess what is inside the egg. After we have opened the egg of the day, we go through the rest of the eggs and retell the Easter story as a class.

For example, the donkey is inside the first Easter egg. 
When we open up this egg, we retell the story of how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and that the people welcomed Him in saying, "Hosanna!"

This is such an easy way to practice retelling the Easter story and my students LOVE it. The second graders at my school make their own Resurrection Eggs and take them home to tell their family the Easter story! 

Another activity that I LOVE is baking Resurrection Bread!

 For this you need:
Either Pillsbury Biscuits or Crescent Rolls (they both work!) 
Olive Oil
Large Marshmallows
First, you take a large marshmallow (which in this edible object lesson represents Jesus) and you roll it in oil. I explain that when Jesus was laid in the tomb, he was anointed with oil.
Next, you roll the marshmallow in cinnamon sugar.  I explain that when they prepared Jesus' body for burial, it was also wrapped in spices. 
Then, place the marshmallow on top of an unrolled, raw biscuit or roll and wrap it up. In this part of the object lesson we are placing Jesus in the tomb. Make sure that you wrap it well-- I show my kids how to pinch the bottom where all the pieces connect to make sure it is well sealed. 
 Last, place it on wax paper (adding non-stick spray is a great idea) and make sure it is the pinched side down. This is SUPER important!! Follow the baking instructions on the rolls.
When it comes out of the oven, miraculously, the tomb is EMPTY! In class we talk about how three days later,  Jesus was not in the tomb, that he had risen! 
 Another FUN Easter craft is making tie dyed Easter eggs. I warn you in advance, this one is a bit messy but so pretty and fun! 
To make these eggs you need:
*a baking pan
*food coloring
*shaving cream
*paper towels
*popsicle sticks
*an Easter egg template

I spray a BUNCH of shaving cream on my baking pan and let each student choose two colors of food coloring.
They add around 3 dots of each color to the shaving cream.
Then, using the popsicle stick, they swirl the colors and place their Easter egg on top of the swirl of color.
When you lift it up, it will look like this.
Wipe off the excess shaving cream using multiple paper towels and you will be amazed!
Each egg comes out so different and awesome! 

As a tip, try to encourage your students to use a light color and a dark color. (or colors that mix well!) When you mix the food coloring, if you have used two colors that do not mix well, it makes the egg look like mush... and we don't want that! 

Now for an amazing giveaway. One thing that we LOVE doing in my classroom is singing. We have fallen head-over-heels in love with a band called "Go Fish." Each morning, we start our day singing a few praise songs and this is currently our favorite song:
My students love the music so much, I bought a BUNCH of their CDs and we listen to them all the time. I am SO excited to tell you that they are allowing me to give away one of their CDs to one of YOU! I promise you, you will LOVE their music. For your chance to win the CD (of your choice), simply enter in this rafflecopter!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out GO FISH at their website to see which CD you like best! Our favorite is "Kids Music." You do not have to be a teacher to enter this giveaway-- I am sure that your kids would love listening to this music in the car while you are driving. {and YOU will love it, too!!}

I hope you can use some of these Easter ideas and that you are having a great week!!

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exploring Plants

Last week was our testing week and I am very glad to say that it is over! My students did fantastic but by Friday we were all ready for some normalcy. In the afternoons this past week we had been learning all about plants and we used Friday to explore all that we had learned. 

We are so lucky that on our campus we have a fantastic gardener and our flowers are all in bloom. On Friday, we went on a nature walk and put to use all of the things that we had learned about plants. I took my students to one of my favorite places on our campus equipped with their "Spring Walk" mini books, magnifying glasses, and our marker buckets.  
We spent about 35 minutes exploring the garden and taking notes on what we observed. 
We used our five senses and filled out each page in our book based on what we saw, heard, smelled, felt, and noticed. 
My students recorded some fantastic observations in their books and applied so much of what they learned to what they were seeing in the garden.
Many of my students were captivated at looking at the stamens, pistils, and pollen in the plants. One student even saw a bee crawl into a flower and leave with pollen all over its legs. He was beyond excited.
 We also started growing some wheat grass in our classroom. I purchased these clay pots at for my students. 

We painted them with two coats of acrylic paint before we added our soil and seeds.  {I had them apply a white base coat and then the color of their choice on top of it.}
 Then, once they had dried, {it did not take long} we went outside to add our soil, seeds, and the first few squirts of water.
 I use a squirt bottle to water our plants so that we do not drown the seeds. 
I'm hoping that when we come back to school Monday that the wheat grass will have started to grow! 
Next week is a short week for us so we will be focusing on Easter and then we are getting ready to study insects. If you need resources to compliment your plant and insect units, I have these available in my TpT store (just click on the cover to get taken to them). The insect unit is on sale for the next two days! (4/13-4/15)

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Volcanoes! {best day ever!!!}

Today was "volcano day" in my classroom. It was SUCH a great way to end our study of landforms!  Oh my goodness, I heard "this is the best day ever" multiple times today and my students were in all their glory all day long. We started the day reviewing what we knew about landforms and really dug deep into learning more about volcanoes. 

We read a few picture books, wrote about them, and did three SUPER fun activities. We reviewed our "words to know" using this anchor chart. 
As a craft extension, we made these volcanoes. 
To make them, I had my students watercolor an entire sheet of white construction paper. 
Then I passed out brown construction paper and taught my students how to draw a volcano. They each drew and cut out their own and glued it to their painting once it had dried.
Next, I had filled two spray bottles with paint. I added about 3/4 paint and 1/4 water to each bottle. We then went outside and sprayed the paint onto our volcanoes to emulate an eruption.
I let my students use 4-5 sprays of paint on their volcanoes. 
 After my students had sprayed them, I hung them on our fence to dry since we still had time to play out at recess.
I love how different each one came out!
After recess, it was time for our science experiments. My students were SO excited that we were doing two today. We did one outside and one inside. 

Outside, we brought out Diet Coke, Diet Wild Red, and Mentos. 
{I wasn't sure if the Diet Wild Red would work and was SO happy that it did!!}

We sat down and quickly reviewed what we knew about volcanoes and what we thought was going to happen when we dropped a Mentos into the bottle. 
Then, a few brave volunteers (they were all HAPPY to oblige!) came up to drop a few Mentos into the bottles of soda.

We erupted multiple soda bottles and my brave volunteers quickly scurried out of the way of the erupting bottles.
The audience was captivated with the explosions!! 
Funny story, this sweetheart was trying so hard to drop THREE Mentos into her bottle that she didn't realize how quickly the soda was erupting and ended up getting SHOWERED with Diet Coke. She laughed SO hard and we all got a good laugh. It was very humorous. When we went back inside, she told everyone in the office that it was the "BEST DAY EVER." 
Inside, we created our own volcanoes. Each group was given:
a baking pan
an empty gatorade bottle that had 1/2 cup of Hydrogen Peroxide and red food coloring
1 mini container with one squirt of liquid dish soap
and 1 mini container that had 1 teaspoon of yeast and 2 tablespoons of warm water

First we added the liquid soap to our bottles.
Then they added in their yeast mixture.
After the mixture was added, they watched in AWE of the reaction.
My students LOVED watching the explosion get bigger, and bigger, and bigger. 
 Their smiles filled the room... 
...and my little scientists explored their bottles. 
 It truly was a fabulous day filled with learning, exploring and hands-on fun. 
 After my students went home, I hung up their volcano art projects and just LOVE the way they turned out!! 
 I hope that y'all have a great weekend and can use some of these ideas in your classroom! 

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