Saturday, September 29, 2012

Animals, Animals, Animals!!!

So Friday was the first day of our new OCR unit, "Animals". For unit openers, I like to do some exciting and fun stuff to get the kids excited about the unit (although which kid out there isn't interested in learning about animals??). Well, apparently I did save a copy of my unit opener lesson plan from last year so I started from scratch. I decided to spend the morning doing centers that all related to animals. Of course, I come up with this brilliant plan Thursday night at 10pm so I stayed up figuring out what my centers would be and what I needed to get prepared before school (lots of copies and paper cutting!). And here is what I came up with...

1. Bear Worksheets
I found a collection of bear-related worksheets from Had a small packet with the crossword, word search, anagram, and maze for the students to complete.
A student, hard at work!
2. Bee Bookmark
Found this bee bookmark template on the same website. My students had to color and do the maze, and then cut out the bookmark and glue it together. Once they were done, they got to choose an animal book displayed in front of the concept/question board to read.

3. Paper Chain Snake
My paper chain snake, currently pinned on our concept/question board.
Pretty self explanatory. Most of the kids made paper chains before so they were able to do this all on their own. They were told to pick only two colors for their snakes.

4. Penguins

Got this idea from Erica's Bohrer's First Grade (which I originally found on pinterest). We are currently talking about addition in Math so I thought it would work perfectly. Create our penguins now. Write the addition story and add the fishes later (probably this upcoming week). I manned this station since it needed some initial explaining, but I was still able to wander around and take pictures of the kids hard at work.

After lunch, I showed the kids a short video I found online of animals being created through sand art. They thought it was really cool, especially since America's Got Talent recently had a contestant who does exactly that, sand art. Then we listened to some animal-related classical music. One song was called "Aquarium", the other, "Quick Animals". They listened to each song and drew what they thought was going on in the song and included a sentence or two about their illustrations in their writing journals. Forgot to take pictures of that but some of them turned out really cute!

And here is what our concept/question board looks like so far..
I added a penguin on there. Some of my students wanted to put their snake on too but most took theirs home. Still need to put up the concept and question signs.
To make the day even more exhausting, we ended the day by making paper napkin parachutes for Science (we are currently studying air). The students had a ball with that. Too bad we ran out of time so we didn't get to see me release my parachute from our school balcony! I wish I could post some pictures of the students "experimenting" with their parachutes but I haven't figured out how to blur faces yet.

It was a great day. The class did a great job with centers without having done any in first grade yet. They cleaned up the best they could but I did have to spend some time after school scraping glue off desks. Also have some lost glue sticks waiting for their owners to claim them! 

As wonderful as it was, I was EXHAUSTED. Lesson learned, plan unit openers earlier, especially if they involve centers. xP


  1. Looks like a fun time for your kiddos!

    1. They LOVED it! Just way more exhausting for me. :)