Friday, 29 June 2012

Popcorn Explosion

We had a great time this week looking at what happens when you heat popcorn kernels. 

They explode everywhere!

Here are some of our stories about our popcorn explosion experience:
I made popcorn. It was crunchy and yummy. Pop, pop, pop. It exploded like fireworks on to the carpet.

I sat back because it exploded everywhere. And it tasted not very buttery. I saw it explode into popcorn.

The popcorn popped onto the table mat. I stood up because there was lots of popcorn on the blue carpet too.

I ate fake popcorn, because it didn’t taste like anything. When I ate the fake popcorn it was cold.

I made popcorn with my class. It popped on the mat. We all thought it wouldn’t go on the mat.

  We have been reading this Popcorn poem and we also enjoyed finger-painting (some children preferred to use a paint brush) with yellow and white paint to make giant popcorn to display with our stories.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Mad Scientists
 Clipart from

For Discovery today our Mountaineers turned into mad scientists and spent the session experimenting.

Floating and sinking oranges, We discovered that unpeeled oranges float better than peeled ones.

Heat reactions with popcorn, we discovered that heat makes the popcorn kernels explode into popcorn. One boy said "It's like a popcorn volcano". (We used polystyrene cups decorated with crayons to hold our popcorn.)

Musical jars, we discovered that different levels of water in the jar made different musical sounds.

Oil and water mixing, We discovered that the oil always floated to the top even after lots of shaking.

Fizzy lemonade, we discovered that when you added a little baking soda to the lemonade it fizzed. Just like lemonade you buy in the shop.

We have talked a lot about acting with integrity. I have been encouraging my class to think for themselves and do the right thing even if it is hard. So it was great to see children taking responsibility for their own learning during our Discovery session. They were making sure they went to each experiment to discover something special about it, just like a real scientist. I really enjoyed talking with children about what they had found out and hopefully they can go home and talk about their discoveries with Mum and Dad too. 

Monday, 25 June 2012


We were busy skipping our hearts out today to support the Heart Foundation. The whole school was out with their ropes for the afternoon. It was great to see older children skipping with, and helping my children new to school.

Playing 'helicopters'. 

This is a great activity for children to practice if they are new to skipping. One child spins around with the rope and others jump over the rope as it spins around. When they are hit with the rope they can swap places.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

What's Going to Work? Teamwork!

Look at what teamwork accomplishes.

These three children were busy making this super long creation during our reading rotation. Colour me impressed!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Twinkle, Twinkle

 Twinkle, twinkle little star.

We made these stars to celebrate Matariki. 

We have been enjoying reading and performing the actions to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (click here for a copy). Here is the our favourite You Tube clip.   

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


Our Matariki celebrations have begun. Matariki is the star constellation also know as the Pleiades, or the Seven Sisters. Matariki is visible in our New Zealand sky normally around late May and early June. 

Once a year, twinkling in the winter sky just before dawn, Matariki (the Pleiades) signals the Māori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life. In the 21st century, observing Matariki has become popular again. Heaven-bound kites, hot-air balloons and fireworks help mark the occasion.

This You Tube clip explains a Maori legend surrounding Matariki. 

 Our Mountaineers Discovery session included several Matariki themed activities:
Making stars.

Sensory play with glitter playdough.

Star bread.
This piece of star bread was judged too delicious and was eaten before it could be cut into a star. (We used sugar coloured with food colouring for the sprinkles on our bread.)

Stamping with paint.

 Pushing holes with giant pins (I have been hanging out to use these pins since I bought them!).

 Kite making. 
We made our kites with plastic bags and a piece of string. Traditionally Maori kites were made to celebrate Matariki because they flutter close to the stars. Our kites didn't fly quite that high but the children had a great time running with their kites.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Sight Word Fishing

A while ago I made fishing rods out of magnets and bamboo garden stakes. We have used them for fishing the felt-fish I made for maths (inspired by this website). Because the fishing rods are incredibly popular and one wonderful mother was telling me about how much her son likes using them I was inspired to make some sight word fish too.

And here they are -
Sight Word Fishing.

Thanks Sparklebox, I laminated my fish and used a split pin for the magnet on my fishing rod to stick to. Although I love the idea of having more felt-fish these fish only took a short time to make. (That's important because I am also busy writing reports.)

These fish support a variety of skills that we are learning at school. They can be used as an independent activity. The children can catch a fish and read the sight-word on it. It also takes coordination to catch the fish you want. 
With a partner it encourages turn taking. Today we talked about how to play fairly when using the fish. The children had lots of ideas, they suggested that one person could catch all the fish, then it could be the next persons turn. Or catching one fish at a time, then giving the fishing rod to another person. 
Today during our reading wheel rotation I watched a group of children with this activity, they sat around a blue sheet from my dolls cot, which acted as the water with all of the fish spread out on it. They spent at least 5 minutes deciding how to play the activity fairly and making sure they took equal turns. I was pretty proud to see them thinking carefully about what we had discussed earlier. 

I try to have a variety of reading and writing activities, and now that my class are mastering their alphabet knowledge I am keen to introduce some of the sight-words they need to know. Of the 100 high frequency sight-words that were available for these fish I chose about 20 words to print that I have found we are currently reading and writing most often. 

Check out these posts about some of my other reading and writing activities:

Friday, 15 June 2012

Once I Caught a Fish Alive

Look at our gorgeous fish!

So colourful and bright on a cold winter's day. And our colouring and cutting skills are getting better and better.

We have been reading this poem, you can read this post about our Under the Sea Discovery session for more ideas about fantastic fish and sea creature art and craft.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Under the Sea

Our Under the Sea Discovery session included lots of art and craft, bubbles, and a sea creature puppet show. I rearranged our playhouse to turn it into a puppet theater, complete with a couch for the audience and cozy bean bag cushions. 

Our sea creature craft included:

Recycled jellyfish.

Seahorse threading.

Octopus with curly tentacles.

Stamping on large paper.

Fish stencils with water-colour pencils.

Paper fish.

We also practiced counting and reading numbers with these fish and some cool biting fish counters I discovered hiding on our shelves.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Green Eggs and Ham

To support our Dr Seuss Discovery session we have been reading 'Green Eggs and Ham' by Dr Seuss this week. I came up with this simple green egg art and craft. 

We practiced our cutting and cut out a simple egg shape from paper. Our photos are covered in green cellophane and make up the inside (yolk) part of the egg. I hung our green eggs so that the children can easily see the photos and read the owners name on the back. (It just means that any adults need to duck their heads - hanging hazards abound in my classroom!)

Friday, 8 June 2012

Our Alphabet Socks

One of the favourite reading activities in my class is pegging our alphabet socks (from Sparklebox).

The children match the capital and lowercase letters on the socks as well as the patterns. This is a great activity for emergent readers. It supports alphabet and phonic knowledge, and pattern matching. Pegging promotes fine motor skills and strengthens fingers to get them ready for writing. 

(Sometimes I've looked up from my guided reading group to discover that the dolls clothes have been pegged up too. My class are so sweet!)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Fantastic Work of Dr Seuss

The books of Dr Seuss were our inspiration for our Mountaineers Discovery session this week. 
Lots of Dr Seuss reading.

 Catching doughnuts with our Horton trunks - we borrowed this game from the toy library.

Imaginary play with Horton Hears a Who elephant ears.

Truffula trees from The Lorax. I used powdered tempura paint to colour our cotton wool balls.

Cutting and gluing practice with stripy cat hats from The Cat in The Hat.

'at' words on cat hats - from Cat in The Hat.

 Bean The Lorax truffula tree planting.

Great sensory play with oobleck from Bartholomew and the Oobleck. 
 Oobleck (or gloop) is a non-newtonian fluid - it hardens when pressure is applied to it. That means it is both a liquid and a solid.

Watch this clip to see how you can make your own Oobleck and learn about the science behind it.

Visit this amazing website to learn more about Dr Seuss and his books.