Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Worms, Pond Water, and More!

So this morning we had a worm invasion at my school. I stepped out of the car, thinking that last night's rain had brought leaves or seed pods down from the trees. But no--they were worms!

Not only did we have great invertebrate observation opportunities outside, but we also had some pond water to look at inside. At this time of year, I also like to have some pond water in the classroom for students to observe. Students often bring in some tadpoles for us to see as well.

Setting up the observations is pretty easy. I use foil pie plates and clear plastic cups to make sure that everyone has a close-up view of something. Some plastic pipettes are also useful for catching tiny creatures like ostracods, copepods, and damselfly larva.

For initial observations, I encourage students to write and draw what they see. Many students will spontaneously turn to similes in their observations. (For more that you can do with creature observations, check out this blog post from three years ago. You can read about some of our poetry conferences after we wrote tadpole poems here.)

This year's pond water seems to have many ostracods, or seed shrimp. Here is a little video that shows you more about these creatures. They are so common and probably living in a pond near you right now!

How does all of this nature relate to reading? Noticing the small details of the natural world attunes children to the small differences and details that they will see in text. And also...these hands-on experiences really help students to feel more positive about our classroom. :)

Notes and Updates
-Parts of Speech Readers Theater is up and ready to go!
-I am working through some of the peregrine falcon texts from Text Structure Introduction in my reading class and the red-tailed hawk text from Intervention 1. Today I discovered that there is a red-tailed hawk cam! What an authentic way to quickly compare and contrast the nests and the looks of the birds.
-I'm starting text structure literature circles with one group...I'm sure that I'll have a lot to write about once we get going.

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