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Hoffart, Cathy

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506ee4ea37b11 The "red group" was very intentional in their sorting and came up with the lone "spotted" group.
The "orange group" labeled one of their groups, "broken."
The "purple group" had some great terminology - "curvy and pretty" to mention a couple.
The "green group" was the only group to use colors as their main attribute for sorting their leaf collection.
The "red group" was very intentional in their sorting and came up with the lone "spotted" group.

First Grade Scientists

October 05, 2012

In my estimation, millions of school children around the United States have, are, or will be collecting a sack of leaves to take back to school and use in some "craftivity" or investigation.  In Wakefield, Nebraska, we are no different!  I’m surprised there are any leaves at all left on the ground!  Our class collected SCADS of leaves this week to bring back to the classroom and touch, smell, crinkle, observe, crunch, investigate, and  pulverize into my classroom carpet (Sorry, Josie!)

In an attempt to make our curriculum more standard-based and rigorous, my teaching partner, Mrs. Sharpe, and I have “stepped it up” in the area of Science and are proud of the work we are doing.  The students are learning valuable vocabulary as well as investigation skills that will serve them well in the upper grades and beyond.  Our “little scientists” are all about exploring, asking questions, observing, and investigating all things living and non-living (which pretty much covers everything!) This vocabulary development is important for all students, but our ESL population REALLY benefits from our intentional effort to use “science words” whenever we can! 

With that in mind, we did a bit of “Leafy Investigating” this week with the SCADS of leaves that we managed to haul back to the classroom.  First we brainstormed lists of describing words with the help of a fabulous book that’s been part of my repertoire for many years, Autumn Leaves, by Ken Robbins.  This book has GREAT pictures and even better vocabulary!  Once we had some words to use, students were put in groups and asked to group their leaves by their own, student-defined attributes and name said groups.  It was fascinating to watch the students interact and use the vocabulary that we had just introduced and discussed.

All in all, this was a great experience and, in our discussion today, the students recorded their groupings in their Observation Journal.  As a header to their journal entry, the students were asked to formulate a question, like a scientist would, that we could have asked (but didn’t, directly) in our investigation before we started.  After a few interesting tries, they came up with, “How can we sort our leaves and name the groups?” We now know that great scientists ask questions, observe, and try to find answers (oh, and use clipboards!)  

If you're interested in learning more about our classroom and what we do, go to our blog, agrowingclass.blogspot.com and follow us!

First Grade Scientists

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