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Monday, May 2, 2016

Butterfly Math and Science Activities

Raising butterflies in our classroom is always one
of the highlights each year.  We wait with baited breath
for our caterpillars to arrive and then we get right to it
because they grow fast! This year I knew I wanted to
incorporate more math into our butterfly life cycle unit

Butterfly math activities~ Graphing the life cycle

and observing the life cycle lends itself so well to 
measurement, calendar skills, and especially data and graphing!

Butterfly math activities~ Graphing the life cycle

I created some butterfly graphing activities so we could
use the data we were collecting in our observation journals to
create different types of graphs.

When our caterpillars arrived, we began keeping 
observation journals, but first we learned how
to handle our caterpillars with care.

Butterfly observation journal


Butterfly observation journal

Students also kept an observation calendar to 
record changes on the dates they occurred so we could
see at a glance the data we were collecting and 
later on, graph.

Recording the changes and collecting data to graph the butterfly life cycle.

While raising our caterpillars, I've learned if I'm not careful
they can be an all-day distraction. To avoid this, I keep each table's
cups in a basket on top of the filing cabinet.  I label each
cup with the student's initials and their table number.

Butterfly life cycle activities


This way it only takes a few seconds to pass them out when
we're ready to observe them and student's know when their
butterfly has emerged by the empty chrysalis on their lid.

Butterfly math~Collecting data and graphing the life cycle


I prepped my charts ahead of time 

Butterfly math~Graphing the life cycle

and as the life cycle progressed, we tallied the data from
our calendars and used it to create these class graphs.

Butterfly math~Graphing the life cycle


Butterfly math~Graphing the life cycle


Butterfly math~Graphing the life cycle

Next, students drew our class charts and did some graph
chatting by answering questions about each chart.

Butterfly math~Graphing activities to do while raising caterpillars to butterflies


Butterfly math graphing activities to do while raising caterpillars to butterflies


Butterfly math activities~Graphing the life cycle

We displayed our graphs for our Spring open house and
my class loved walking their parents through our process
of collecting, organizing, transferring, and analyzing
our butterfly data!

Butterfly math activities~Graphing the life cycle



After our butterflies began to emerge,
I had small groups compare and discuss the data from their 
calendars and observation journals using data discussion cards.

Butterfly math~Discussing the data before graphing the life cycle.

We also incorporated some (teacher guided)
measurement into our science unit by measuring paths
and asking, "How far did the caterpillar crawl?"
This activity is part of my butterfly life cycle unit.

Butterfly math~ Measuring the paths a caterpillar crawled.




















Along the way, we read a lot of informational books. 
I somehow misplaced the snazzy, orange butterfly KWL
chart I made last year, but this quickie did the trick.

Butterfly life cycle KWL chart

We discovered a lot in our learning labs exploring 
pollination, compound eyes, and ways a caterpillar 
and butterfly protect themselves.

Butterfly science activities~Hands-on learning labs

We explored how butterflies help plants 
grow with a pollination simulation using juice boxes 
and macaroni and cheese powder.

Butterfly science activities~Exploring how butterflies help plants grow.

What to do with all that macaroni after we've used all
the cheese powder? Make commas, of course! (You can
download this free butterfly facts commas in a series page

Free printable butterfly facts commas in a series.

We used kaleidoscopes to imagine looking through an
insect's compound eye.

Butterfly science activity~ simulating a compound eye


Butterfly science activity~ simulating a compound eye

Butterfly science activity~ Simulating a compound eye

We learned that being a butterfly isn't all sunshine
and nectar either.  They have their problems too!

Butterfly life cycle problem/solution

To incorporate some reading skills we matched these
butterfly problems to their solutions.

Raising butterflies offered so  many opportunities for writing!

Butterfly life cycle mini-books

As we studied the life cycle we wrote about what we learned.
We made small booklets after each of our minilessons
and learning labs with vocabulary, diagrams, and
explanations of the different stages and aspects of
the life cycle. We put it all together
in these butterfly foldable booklets .

Butterfly life cycle foldable booklet~Part of a complete unit.

My class was so proud of our hallway display and really
loved giving their parents a tour of our classroom and our
life cycle themed hallway!!

End of year Life Cycle Garden open house display with plants and butterflies

Butterfly math activities~Graphing the life cycle




You can read all about last year's Life Cycle Garden  in this post.

Butterflies & Frogs Life Cycle Garden open house




I hope you've found some ideas and activities you can use
to incorporate math, reading, and writing into your own classroom
as you raise butterflies!

Be sure to find me and follow on FacebookPinterest, Instagram, or
TeacherspayTeachers for more ideas, free printables, and
classroom resources!


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Cause and Effect With Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Cause and effect anchor chart for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

In order to turn our readers into comprehenders we need 
to go deep when working with a book.  One of my very favorite 
books that makes reading for meaning so much fun is
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
Perfect for teaching students about cause and effect, it is also
rich with comprehension building opportunities for students to
make inferences, explore text structure, decode longer words,
as well as build social skills. It also lends itself perfectly
to all types of writing. We did so much with this book that
I'll be sharing it all in a 4-part series, so stay tuned for the
additional posts!

Take a peek inside my classroom and see all of the ways we used
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
to dive in deep!

Identifying Cause & Effect
Teaching cause and effect with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander's day, while terrible and horrible (Poor little guy),
is rich with opportunities for identifying cause and effect relationships.

Teaching cause and effect with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I have several copies of the book purchased with Scholastic points
so I had groups of students work together to identify events with
causes and effects then write them on sticky notes.

Teaching cause and effect with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Partners also worked with sentence cards from the story to match
the cause to the effect.

Teaching cause and effect with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day










After collecting causes and effects in their groups, students 
wrote them in this multi flow map that folds into a 
cause and effect trifold.

Foldable lapbook for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

During our literacy centers students made flapbooks and
later added them to a culminating Alexander booklet.


Working with Vocabulary
As all teachers are, I am strategic when pulling vocabulary from
a book we are working with. I like to have students work with
words that not only increase their vocabulary but also give
opportunities to work with grammar and spelling patterns.

Working with vocabulary and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day



Students matched words to definitions then used the
vocabulary in open ended, written responses.

Working with vocabulary and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Everybody wants to go to the vocabulary center first
so they can use the table top pocket charts!

Working with vocabulary and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
While at the vocabulary center students made mini books
to add to their Alexander booklets.

Foldable lapbook for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Decoding Longer Words
Like all teachers, I have a wide range of reading abilities in
my classroom.  This book is a treasure trove of multisyllable
words to work with and I pulled words from the book to make
this flapbook activity. With two versions it serves double duty
as a small group work mat that is easily differentiated.

Turn flapbooks into sorting mats for small groups

I copied the book cover and word cards on bright card stock
then pulled the mats I needed for my different groups.

Decoding longer words with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day



Making Grammar Connections
We worked with story statements to identify base words  
and endings in this roam the room activity.

Base words and endings with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
My kids love to use clipboards and moving around the room
keeps them engaged while getting some of their wiggles out.

Base words and endings with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Persuasive Letter Writing From 
A Character's Point of View
At the end of each week my class writes Friday letters to
their parents telling what they've learned and the highlights
of their week.  I always have students end their letters with
a question their parents can answer when they write back.
We save these each week and I bind them into a book at the
end of the year.  This week we did something a little different.

Persuasive letters with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

We wrote persuasive letters from Alexander's point of view 
asking "Can we move to Australia?". Students tried to convince
their parents that moving to Australia is a good idea!

Writing persuasive letters with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

While we'll be binding our letters into our Friday Letters books,
another option is to use the Alexander craft to display them.

This book holds so many possibilities for different types of writing.
I took advantage of that fact and we did several types of writing
while working with this book.  I'll share those in an upcoming
post in this series.

Creating a Timeline
As an extension activity, a group of my students created this
flow map type timeline of Alexander's day.

A timeline of Alexander's day for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
















They first made a list of all the key events then wrote
and illustrated each event on an index card.  After sequencing
the cards in story order, students glued them onto a large piece
of butcher paper.  I love how this cooperative effort turned out!

Alexander Foldable Lapbooks
As a culminating project we put together all of our minibooks
and writing into these Alexander foldable booklets.

Fun foldable lapbook for  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Students included summaries of the story and  
wrote about some solutions to Alexander's problems.

Foldable lapbook for  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


Foldable lapbook for  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Book Study with culminating foldable lapbook project

We did so much more with this book that I'll be sharing it all
in a 4-part series. I hope you'll stay tuned for:

Opinion Writing: Will Moving to Australia Solve Alexander's Problems?
Invisible Pictures: What Would Alexander's Teacher Say?
Building Social Skills with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day

Thanks for reading along!
Click to find more book studies and related resources.
For more literacy ideas and inspiration be sure to follow my
All Things Reading Board on Pinterest!