A rainy day bulletin board, African Jungle Animal habitat unit, Paper mache, and Tooth Fairies!

Hello Friends!

It is Saturday morning and I am LOVING the sun right now! What an awesome change from the horrible winter and the dreary rainy days we had this week. I am starting to feel that maybe Spring might get here after all!

So..... I thought I would share some of our week's project with you today......

First of all, here is picture of my door.... I smile every time I walk in the classroom - love this little guy!

 We do a HUGE kindergarten habitat unit which happens to be one of my favorites. We do a big Polar Animal habitat unit, too, but I LOVE to teach this one because it focuses on Africa.  I like to teach this unit in the Spring because so many of my students go to the zoo in the nice weather so it is nice for them to have a little background information about the animals when they visit. Plus Africa has so many cool habitats; we can learn a lot about them as we study this awesome continent. I also do a bit of mapping in this unit, too which covers another standard! As they do with all their science/social studies units, my students create a book with words that they can read and illustrations that they create. I love to do our units this way because my students can take something home that they can share with their families.

The first African habitat that we study is the rainforest. The African rainforest is not as large as the Amazon rainforest and it is fun to compare and contrast the two environments.

One big difference is that the African mountain rainforest supports the gorillas. Gorillas are only found in Africa.
This little guy came to kindergarten unable to use scissors or follow more than a one step direction. Look how far he has come! I am so proud of him!

Hippos are found in Africa, too, but we discuss the little known "pygmy" hippo because it lives in the African rainforest. It was only recently discovered (early 1900's, I think). In fact, the people who discovered it thought that it was a hippo with a genetic defect when actually it was its own species. We talk about this fact in our discussion because I think it is cool for kids to understand that humans may not know everything there is to know in our world.

Here is an example of a pygmy hippo - don't you just love the "knot" on the top of its head?

We just started learning about the African savannah. We discussed the differences between the two habitats with a BIG difference being water. In the rainforest, they have two seasons - rainy and more rain! On the savannah, they have a rainy season and dry season. We discuss the fires that occur when the rainy season comes bringing its lightening and storms. It is so hard for my kiddos to understand that these fires are healthy for the grasslands!

That is as far as we have gotten with our African animal unit. We will continue this for another week or two. We also are going to do a BIG project on Friday with our African animals. Each child chose an African animal that they wanted to learn more about and are doing a simple research report on it. Then they will be creating a paper mache 3D representation of their animal. I used to take class time to help each child make their own animal form from newspaper and tape. But this took SO MUCH time and they were missing a lot of language arts instruction because I did it during their literacy block. So, our kindergarten team started talking about how we could continue this project without losing literacy time. Here is what we came with and I KNOW a few teachers will not agree with our decision! :)

The purpose of our 3D animal project is for our students to learn how to do some simple research about an animal. We do not feel that this is an ART project; rather a science/social studies project. Therefore, rather than take away from their literacy time helping them to create the shape, we look at this project as a "Paint your own pottery" project. Just like we go to a pottery place, pick out a pre-made shape, and paint it, we do the same thing with our 3D animals. After the kids pick out their animals, the teachers create the shape from newspaper and tape. The students then apply the paste and color to their animal. I KNOW..... many teachers do not have the time to do this on their own time, but the 3 of us commit to this project once a year and it works for us!

Here are a few of the shapes that I have created for my students. This is only half of them. I finished the rest of them a few days ago, but did not take a picture of them. I will share the finished result next week!

If you are interested in my African Jungle Animal unit, click the image below to find it in my TPT store. :)



I know I am WAY behind most of you with my dental health unit... sigh....... with all the snow days we had this winter, I did not get to my health unit until March! Yikes! But I thought I would still share these cute tooth fairy writing projects. My students were totally on their own with this one..... I put it in a Word Work center and they had to create their fairy and do the writing independently. I actually was pretty happy with their results! You can find a free download for the tooth fairies HERE.

Okay, my Friends.... time for me to get to my Saturday morning errands and projects!

Until next time!