Oviparous Aminals


 First the egg.  Then the …. t-rex!



Then the worm!


first the

We used this book as the inspiration for our writing and artwork.

Click on the image to find it on Amazon.

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 11.10.25 AM

Click on this image to download this song.

I printed it for each child, so they could read and sing along!

They kept it in their science notebooks and loved to revisit it throughout the year.


I wonder… snails



First we observed a couple snails under the document camera.


The kids told me what they noticed as the snails moved around, “I see…”.


Then we brainstormed questions, “I wonder…”.


We used sharpies to outline our drawings, pastels to shade and water color to paint.


We had pages and pages of questions about snails.  It was amazing to get their minds wondering and working.

It’s been a long time…

We’ll, we made it to summer.  Got so busy teaching, with family, and everything else life has to offer… this little blog was terribly neglected.  Next year I promise to do better :)

I’m going to commit to doing a few posts each week this summer.  Something about our summer adventures as a family, some teaching stuff from the school year that never made it up, and also (hopefully) I’ll finish some of the teaching materials I’m working on, get those finished and posted in time for the new school year!

Hope all the teachers out there are having a fun and relaxing summer.  It is hot here in Arizona, but oh so wonderful!



Goldfish and Guppies

We have fish!

IMG_1273       IMG_1274

Fist we looked at a photograph of a goldfish up on the document camera.

I asked the class, “What do you see?  What do you wonder?”  I got this idea from a recent training from this really dynamic presenter from Discovery Education.

I love this so much more than a KWL because often the things the kids think they know are actually not scientifically correct, so I can quickly change statements like,

“I see snails in the tank” to “Oh, I wonder if there are snails in the tank?  That’s a good question.”

The kids are freed to really explore their logic and thinking.

Later, we drew and labeled diagrams with all of the fish parts we identified.

We talked about how sometimes scientists have to be artists.  IMG_1263

I’ll post more as we dig deeper into this exploration.  Topics to come are habitats, needs, movement, and more!

goldfish and guppies table of contentsgoldfish and guppies sample

Is it alive?

Hooray for spring!

The kids and I are loving the beautiful weather, feeling the warm arizona sun, seeing all kinds of clouds, and enjoying lots of cool breezes.

We are beginning a new science unit on living and n0n-living, animals, eggs, worms, and more.

The kids are so excited!

We started with what we wondered.  How do we know if something is alive or not alive?

We watched this video from PSB and the kids discussed which things they though were alive, which were not, and why.

The kids drew pictures in their science journal of things they thought were living or non-living as a pre-assessment.  Many of the kids put trees and jellyfish as non-living.

The kids were so excited to share their ideas and thinking.

This song helped us learn the characteristics of living things:

Is it alive?
(Sung to Londen Bridges)
Living things need food and water, food and water, food and water.
Living things need food and air, non-living things to do not.
Living things grow and change…
Living things need air to breathe…
Living things reproduce…
Living things move by themselves…


Then we completed this chart together.

The kids didn’t know that trees breathed or that the seeds were part of reproduction.   They also had to figure out how to distinguish between objects that move because of electricity, heat, or wind and objects that move on their own.  They also weren’t sure if gas could be considered a type of food for cars.

This is a really fun topic to explore with your students.  I highly recommend it.  Give them lots of time to express their ideas and the logic behind their thinking.

At one point I had a girl say to me, “but Ms. Holland, boys do not have babies.”  Only to have one of the boys in the classroom counter, “They help!  I know they do!”

Be ready for anything.

Is a potato alive?

On Friday, I brought in some potatoes that had started to sprout at home in the kitchen.

I asked the kids if they thought they were alive.  More than half thought that no, they were not alive.

So I had the kids share with a partner what they thought.  They had to support their thinking with a logical explanation.  Then we shared out with the class.

These were some of their explanations:
The potato is not alive because it cannot have babies.

Potatoes do not move on their own.  You have to carry them.

Potatoes don’t breathe.

The potato is not alive because it has been plucked from the garden.

A few gave arguments in favor of the idea that it was alive.

One student said that it will grow and change.

We decided to test our ideas to see if in fact a potato was alive.  I put one in a cup with some water.  The others we will plant outside in our garden on Monday.  I did this last year and they grew amazingly well.  The were lush and green!

We will also write down our thinking, “I think the potato is (not) alive because…”


I’ll post images of their scientific writing when we’re done!

Make 10 with Ten Frames {Free}

make 10 with ten frames

Just made this up for our math center next week.

Students will use math chips to find the different combinations of ten and record their answers.

During Daily math we’ll be using this package:
make 10 title

These pages include ways of making ten with ten frames, our fingers, chips, drawings, and more.  It will hopefully give my kids the extra  and repeated practice they need to master the concept!

We are all the Same and Different


We’ve begun our Children around the World unit.  This year we are incorporating gingerbread men, learning about traditions in different countries as they run around the world.  I’m working on the packet as we go.  Most of the around the world packets I see out there focus on Christmas traditions, which I’m trying to get away from.  Instead, I’m looking for kinder friendly folktales and children’s books, that teach a moral or lesson.

Here is a free report you can use with your students.

children around the world title

We enjoyed making our life-sized portraits.  It’s a lot of work for the teacher, but the kids love it and it is such a great learning experience for the kids.  We have great conversations as we try to match our hair and eye color, clothes, and skin.  There are many good books out there to support the theme of same and different.  My favorite by far is…

same and different

Thanksgiving Books




Our Thanksgiving books are ready! Parents and family members are coming to celebrate reading on Wednesday.  We’ll be ready to read our books to our families!  They turned out so cute!

Here a just a few sample pages…

I love my family from here to Canada.


I am thankful for breakfast.


I am thankful for animals.

My family is good at loving.


My family is good at sleeping.


front cover of book


My family likes to read.


I am thankful for sharing.


My family likes to snuggle.


I always love their artwork.  If you want to try this activity with your class or need other resources for the month of November, check out my thanksgiving pack for more…

thanksgiving title