Saturday, January 9, 2016

What's in the box?

Well, the first week of the new year was great. My kindergartners and first graders are beginning a unit on texture. Last year when introducing texture, I first showed my students how to make a texture rubbing with the side of the crayon, and then took them outside to create texture rubbings from things around the school. However, I met with my younger ones later in the day and this year I start the morning off with 1st graders. Not thinking too much about the weather when I was originally planning for this year's texture unit I had planned to do the same thing. Not a smart idea with little ones when it is below 40 degrees in the morning. So I had to plan something different, and it has turned out to be a great intro to texture.

Trying to intro texture during the first week back after break the activity had to be short because I had to revisit rules and give new seating assignments. We tend to have a lot of move ins and move outs during winter break. Not sure if everyone deals with that. After all the new seats and a few new procedures, I scooted into the front of the room "my box".

I told my students that I had a secret inside of my box, and that I wanted to share that secret with them. I let them know that we would play a game to find out the secret of what is in the box, but first we would read a story. We read "Seven Blind Mice" by Ed Young. This is a great box for introducing the idea of the sense "feel". I asked the students what it meant to be blind. I got a few strange answers, but most knew. Then I asked, if you were blind, how could you tell what something was? Some said to smell it, others to taste it, and eventually a student would answer to "touch it". I let them know that the mice in the story come across something new, and have to touch it to find out what it is. Then we read the story, with a few questions and explanations as we went along.

After the story we played our game to figure out what was in the box. I picked one student from each of the eight groups in my room to come to the front, close their eyes, reach their hand under the apron and through the hole in the side of the box, and feel around to try and figure out what was on the bottom of my box. Each student then returned to their table and whispered to their group what they thought was in the box. They could not let the other groups hear. Each student from the group then had to draw a picture of what they were told was in the box. I then went around the room asking what the students were told was in the box. There were answers of things like dinosaurs, dirt, mice, nothing, and occasionally the right answer of a fish. I had used one of the rubber fish for doing fish prints as my secret object. Out of 64 student throughout the week that came and felt around in the box only 3 figured out that it was a fish. Like the story, we talked about how you had to feel all of the object in order to figure it out, that experiencing only a small part of something does not clearly inform you about it. This was an awesome lesson, and my first graders and kindergartners were way into it.

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