Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Our week on the moon and Earth

We teach thematically in our K-2 bilingual classrooms at our school.  I used to think thematic units were for pre-kinder and kindergarten, but with the success of last year I am sold!  That being said we are smack dab in the middle of our solar system unit.  The week before spring break we studied the sun, stars, and constellations in Spanish (we are continuing our studies of those topics in English this week).  The following week in Spanish we studied the moon and Earth.

Last week we started off Monday with an anticipatory sort with las fases de la luna (the phases of the moon) to see where the students were at in their knowledge of the moon phases.
Listening to the students work with their learning buddies was quite interesting.  The students all had a reason behind what they thought the moon phases should look like (putting like shapes together; starting off with a full moon and then it 'melts' away to nothing...), but none of them quite got it.

The point of the days activity wasn't to actually teach the moon phases, but an introduction to the idea.  Also, I wanted them to problem solve and figure out the pattern.  We had a lot of good discussions and I think from that point forward, I had them hooked!

 We continued with many more activities throughout our different subjects. Our dictado for the week included a bunch of our vocabulary words (along with our phonics skill - suffixes).  In writing we watched a video on Brainpop Español about la luna and we started writing our textos informativos (informative texts) with the information they we learned.

We did our texto informativo about the moon whole group, but next week they will be writing about the Earth on their own. We started adding their background knowledge for the writing by reading this book from Reading A-Z during Reading Workshop:

 (if you have an account, you can download for free!)

It was a really good, "funny," factual book.  The kids were so amazed by what they had learned and were spouting off facts to me all day:  "Teacher did you know that..."  {Um, yes, I was there.  I read the book.} Haha, no...  I was very enthusiastic with every fact they brought me.  Their excitement was contagious!  

Like I mentioned before we have a set of vocabulary that we learn with each week.  My poster isn't pretty, but it gets the job done.  The kids have their own versions in their notebooks. Next week we will bridge the vocabulary into English on the same page (different color).

I really like seeing the kids use the new vocabulary in their writing, so I had them write about what they learned about the moon and the Earth at the end of the week.  I was so surprised at the writing I got!  I challenged them to use as many vocabulary words that they got.   Probably one of my best pieces of the day came from one of my struggling readers...  I was such a proud teacher mama!

I will be honest though, it wasn't all Pulitzer Prize writing -- I had a couple who showed me, La luna es un planeta (The moon is a planet).  And that is fine -- they were showing me what they 'knew.'  It was a great time to have some mini-discussions and redirect their thoughts.  I really like teaching moments like those!

So that was our week in a shell.  This week we are moving on to the planets and astronauts, but we had a field trip on Monday and a half day on Friday - so this is going to be a tight squeeze!

What are you learning about this week!?


  1. Those kids sure are learning fast and something great. Its good to see that you guys are making such efforts to improve the society. Keep it up.

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