Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Classic "Run Out Of Time To Do Anything At The End of the Year" And A Little Rainforest Fun!

Hello, hello!

I think every teacher in the world can attest to the fact that it is nearly impossible to get any sort of academic work completely accomplished in the last week of school.  Between end of the year activities, assessments, and just all around madness it's so difficult!  But, nonetheless , I tried to capture a little bit of our learning to share!

At our school we call our social studies/science units "theme".  Our last theme of the year is rainforests and I always have the highest hopes for doing so many fun things and lots of rainforest-y learning and I always end up having zero time to do so.  The other day we had a little inkling of time to squeeze in some theme.  So I announced, "boys and girls today we are going to do theme," one of my kids says "Wait, Miss D'Andrea!  What's theme?"  I about laughed out loud.  Seriously? We've been doing theme all year!   It never ceases to make me laugh that some kiddos just don't grasp the routines until there's 3 days of school left and just in time to send them off to 2nd grade.  Haha!

To kick off our rainforest unit, I did an activity with my kiddos that I tried earlier in the year to kick off our weather theme.  When I saw how much the kids loved it and how much they rocked giving thoughtful ideas, I had to try it again!  

I covered all the tables in our classroom with butcher paper and tossed a couple cool rainforest pictures on each sheet.  I don't tell the kids what we are going to learn's a secret and we have to be detectives! My class this year needs so much guidance to do activities in which we are up and walking around so after a TON (no seriously, a ton) of modeling we could get started!  They held markers behind their back and for about a minute we just walked around and silently looked at all the pictures.  After that, the kids got to walk around and stop at any pictures they wanted to write down anything they were thinking.  I tell them that they can write down things they wonder, questions, connections, comments, and so on.  We are all super excited to "get our brains warmed up and thinking."  Their job is to try to figure out as they are writing what our new theme is!  They LOVE this freedom and really create thoughtful responses to the pictures.


I've found that this activity really gets them thinking and helps them take their thoughts and put them into writing.  After we finished the activity, we gathered on the carpet and share our guesses about what our new theme is!  And guess we did!  The kids guesses ranged from wild animals to the jungle and nature, and hey, just for kicks, bugs!  Oh and in case you're wondering there were exactly zero pictures of bugs in our little picture walk activity so...that guess was intriguing.  But we finally discovered that our new theme was the rainforest  and then promptly ran out of time the remainder of the year to learn about them! 

I kid, I kid.  We did manage to squeeze in a couple rainforest layer activities but that's about it.  We watched the rainforest video on brainpopjr and had a discussion about the different parts of the rainforest.  We learned a cutesy song and dance about the rainforest layers which really cracked my kids up.  I have no idea where this song originally came from but regardless, I have uploaded my typed out version below for your use!  

After we learned our rainforest song, we made these perfect little flipbooks from Classroom Compulsion.  Click on the link to be taken to her TpT store!  This activity worked out perfectly!


This little guy even pulled out his rainforest layer flipbook later in the day when he finished his work early, plopped right down in the ever-comfortable and cozy spot on the cold tile next to the recycling bin (because why not?) and re-read over and over again.  They thought the layers were so interesting!

That's all for now folks!  I'm off to Milwaukee to go see my little sister graduate from college.  Woohoo!  Have a fantastic rest of the weekend!  Only four more days in my school year!!


  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of putting the pictures down on the paper. What a great way to gets kids thinking! I can't wait to do this! I see you are just starting out in the blogging world...same here!
    Two Friends In First

    1. Thanks, Kheila! It works like a CHARM and my kids just love it! I am just starting out in the blogging world and super pumped to get going with it! Come back and visit! :)

      I'm your newest follower!