Last modified: May 10, 2019
This is our first-grade long term planner, it is a guide to all of our integration units with our school specialists. A sketchbook and science journal are an integral part of each unit. Brain dance warm-ups occur each morning and often throughout the day.
Question and Answer Unit, including sketching basics leading to self-portraits, with student questions that tie into heredity. Last year we made time capsules from cereal boxes, related to the time capsule put in our new school built 2017, it included our interests, our measurements, and an artifact that represented us. This year we will make an identity box with a picture collage and objects that represent us.
Music integrated by learning call and response songs and then using those songs to help our students learn the difference between a question—an asking sentence, or a statement—a telling sentence, we taught them how to identify different sentence functions (i.e. questions, answers, and statements). Students created a musical phrase with a pattern of questions and answers. Then the children drew ideographs using the songs and sang their own version of the songs combined. This got students ready for using question and answers when it came time to learn the scientific process and the engineering design process.
Our school was given a hydroponic garden to investigate the life cycle of plants. We engineered a “beanstalk” that could hold weight, including using our science/engineering journals to draw, label, and plan, and record our experiences. This year we added the Reader’s Theater, Jack and the Beanstalk. We dance the life cycle of a plant and the elements a plant needs to survive. We draw still life pictures of apples in preparation for a still life Jack-O-Lantern.
Light and Sound Unit: During this unit we observe the movement of the sun through the day and note the moon in the night sky, sometimes in the early morning. We observe shadows and create our own images working as teams, investigating the shapes our bodies and other given objects make when the sun is behind us. We make shadow puppets from found objects, write a story as a team, and then perform the story with a shadow puppet play. Students explore sound using instruments and then using found objects. We use sound chambers, tuning forks, string phone telephones, and finally create their own found sound compositions to make a song. The majority of the investigations are used as a result of a grant from the STEM Action Center. We share aFOSS Kit on Sound and Light, and an EIE Kit on Designing and Building Walls. In October we make sugar skulls for El Dia de Los Muertos along with a brief study, in support of our unit on heredity and in honor of ancestors and grandparents. In November, we draw and use pastels to create turkey caricatures.
Weather Unit: We do a winter scene using watercolor and salt, that we use to stimulate descriptive writing about snow and what we do in the snow. We begin our study of weather. Then we learn songs to sing in the Christmas program.We learn about caricature as we draw the Grinch.
Force and Motion Unit: We continue our study of weather and begin our Starry Night using oil pastels as a continuation of the light unit. Our force and motion unit involves exploring push and pull, gravity, and friction. We explore through dance, objects, playground equipment, dramatic experiences being “human machines” in teams, and in music using instruments and voice (even tug of war while we sing with our new music teacher, Deanna Lee) all leading up to a culminating engineering design experience. We apply our knowledge of force and motion to creating a car track that uses magnetic cars (after we learn a little about magnets) to maneuver the cars around an obstacle course. The constraints are that the teams must do at least 3 moveswith the magnet controlling the car. Then the children watch old Hot Wheel Car commercials and write their own, trying to persuade people to buy them. They join their team in making a car commercial using their track after the engineering process is over. This year they made up a commercial jingle to go with their commercial. We filmed the commercials.
Living and Non Living: The children design and build a dixie cup robot using a battery pack. Then they’ll use it as an Art Bot to draw. We begin Reader’s Theater practice about The Three Little Pigs and will perform it for parents. It supports our new study/unit on rocks and soil. We will study rocks and uses of rocks, including rock walls, look at cave art and various art forms with rocks, and then produce our own “cave art” on crumpled paper bags. We team up to design our own walls using the engineering design process. Then we use a demolition ball to see how strong the walls are, and if we may improve them to withstand the pressure. Children use ipads to film each other as they try the wrecking ball. Specialists (a construction foreman, and a mason) came in last year to talk to the students about the process of building walls. The children asked many, many questions because of the background knowledge we had from our unit. In music, the children use large duplo blocks to “build” their own song using “ti ti ta” and counting music, while keeping to the constraints the music teacher gives them of keeping it to 4/4 time, or ¾ time. The blocks represent different note values depending on their size.
Life Cycles Unit: Fits well his time of year. We talk about plant and insect life cycles as we research, observe and record our observations and learning. We have a butterfly habitat and we record it visually and in writing in the science journal. We do a butterfly life cycle dance, as well as dance like bees pollinating flowers when we extend our study to their life cycle. We paint butterflies as we tie it in with symmetry. Our Art Specialist madebutterflies was by using toilet paper rolls, covered with tissue paper, as the chrysalis. Then we create clothespin butterflies of tissue paper, that next inside until it’s time to “emerge” and spread their wings to fly. Our district Insectt Specialist Jared Ferguson came and brought his huge insect collection for us to view. Last year we drew our own version of one of Van Gogh’s Sunflower pictures, using pastels again as we spiraled learning about plants and offspring of plants.
States of Matter Unit: We explore states of matter and the water cycle. We have a unit on sink or float in which we design a boat from objects that needs to stay a float. Returning to our learning on sound, we design and decorate our own drums, and have African drummers and dancers come to have a culminating experience with us on the drums. Last year we made maracas for Cinco De Mayo as well.