Sunday, August 9, 2015

Science Notebooks . . . or How I Sneak In Science With My Munchkins All Year Long!

Howdy friends! Lindsay here . . .
I kinda can't believe that the last time I was on here writing to you all was when I was wrapping up the school year with my End of the Year Awards . . .
But then I think about what I've been up to this summer . . . and it kinda makes sense.  Being home with my boys all summer and spending the days breaking up fights and dealing with tantrums making memories  has been keeping me pretty busy! :)
Not only that, but I had several items on my School To-Do List that I needed to check off.
I am the Checklist Queen.
Need to run to the grocery store?  Don't forget the checklist!
Brainstorming Christmas present ideas in August?  Need. A. Checklist.
So NATURALLY the Checklist Queen likes to actually get things CHECKED OFF her list(s).  The biggest item on my School To-Do List was my Kindergarten Science Notebook unit . . .
It all started last summer when I was just feeling overwhelmed with the amount of NEW programs and things that were being required in my district, and the feeling that things such as science and social studies were being forgotten.  I had never done a science notebook before, but my bestie Kerri had used a science notebook with her Fab Firsties and I thought WHAT THE HECK.  LET'S GIVE THAT A TRY.
Not only that, but I also thought it would be so fun to create a THEMATIC science notebook!  That would solve all of the world's my problems, right?
Think about if for a second . . . So often the science textbooks/pacing plans that we are given are not ordered in any particularly helpful way . . . In my district our kinder kiddos are given district science assessments that just make NO sense.  For example, the physical science assessment is given in the fall, when teachers are naturally talking about seasonal things such as apple trees, pumpkins, harvest, etc. (a.k.a. LOTS of life science!).
 Makes sense? NOPE. 
And not only that, but I found myself always supplementing my science resources anyway.  I felt like science should be tied in with writing.  Duh!  We want our kiddos doing expository writing . . . then let's guide them in organizing their learning in meaningful ways that will be helpful in making them more confident emerging writers!
 Not only that, but science should be tied in with language arts as well!  Particularly in light of the emphasis on nonfiction with the new CCSS, using read-aloud books (fiction AND non-fiction) makes perfect sense. Kids LOVE to read and explore ALL books . . . so why not use that as a platform or hook to get kids excited about science?
 Also . . . technology.  There are amazing videos, websites and other resources that can really make science come alive for our little super scientists.
My great idea soon turned into one GINORMOUS checklist item.
I started last year and created a Kindergarten Science Notebook {Fall Edition}, then a Winter Edition . . . and by the time spring rolled around I was assessing, conferencing, report carding and doing who knows what all else . . . and the Spring Edition never happened.
Epic fail.
After giving myself a little grace (turns out you can't actually do ALL things with your Teacher-Mommy superpowers) I realized it wasn't a fail, just a an item that still needed to be checked off The List.
So . . . after many hours of planning, typing, fiddling, editing, retyping, formatting, etc. . . . IT. IS. FINISHED. 
Not only is the Kindergarten Science Notebook {Spring Edition} done, but I changed the format of all three units (fall, winter & spring), added some new pages and resources (posters, graphic organizers, etc.) and put it all into one Kindergarten Science Notebook YEAR-LONG BUNDLE.

Check. Check. Check.

Soooooooo  . . . if you too are looking for a way to "sneak in" the science this year, or perhaps you have never done a science notebook before and are interested in trying it out . . . here you go!

My Kindergarten Science Notebook {Fall Edition} - full of apples, pumpkins and sink & float activities!


My Kindergarten Science Notebook {Winter Edition} - featuring activities with the 5 Senses, arctic animals and states of matter!

And my Kindergarten Science Notebook {Spring Edition} - with activities centered around weather, butterflies and plants!

Here is a sneak peek into how I plan to use my Science Notebook Bundle this year . . .

First off, I printed out the entire Science Notebook Bundle and put it into a binder that will be my go-to science resources this year.  As I sit down and plan each week I will have one handy resource from which I can pull my plans and things to print!

Inside the binder I put in all of the Science Notebook sets, organized by season.  I hole punched all of the pages EXCEPT for the colorful posters (those will be laminated and put into a special pocket for easy access!) and put the seasonal covers into page protectors that make handy tabs to divide up the year!

Within each season, the "themes" are broken down by month.  For October, for example, the monthly focus is on pumpkins.  Each monthly guide features vocabulary that is helpful to focus on for the month, as well as resources to be used during the month. The resources range from National Geographic for Kids readers to favorite read-aloud books to YouTube videos.  You can use what you like!  The resources, however, are not always to be used WITHIN the lessons themselves.  They are meant to be interwoven into the learning throughout the month. 

Behind each monthly guide are the specific activities.  Each activity is numbered for the month, and each month has 3-4 activities centered around the theme of the month!   

When it is time to teach a lesson, you can simply pull out the teaching guide for the activity and the student response page to be copied and you are set! 

The student pages themselves are meant to be used with a spiral notebook.  (Included in the pack are covers for your students' notebooks (color or b/w).)  Each page that your student completes has a dotted line around the perimeter.  After completing each page . . .

. . . your students simply trim around the edge on the dotted line . . .

. . . and glue the page right into their notebook!

Easy, peasy, lemon-squeezy AMIRIGHT??!

The activities are all totally different.  Some of the response pages are more "interactive", but still kinder-friendly . . .

. . . while other pages are more straightforward and simple.

One thing that I swear by in my classroom are graphic organizers, so I have included many of those to be glued into the science notebook as well!

(Confession: on occasion last year when I didn't have time to have my kiddos trim their page AND glue it in their notebook, we simply folded the page in half and glued it in the book so that it could still be opened and referenced later!)

 My students LOVED using their science notebooks last year!  Their favorite was probably learning all about owls in October! 

First we completed an owl step-draw and practiced labeling together! I heart kindergarten art!

After reading and "researching" together using lots of books, we completed a tree map with our "owl expertise"! :)

And finally . . . we examined an owl pellet!  Yes, nothing says SCIENCE like looking at regurgitated items under the doc camera.

Just going through old pictures from last year makes me SO EXCITED to get my fresh crop of kinder kidlets!
I hope that you enjoyed hearing all about how I do science in my classroom . . . and perhaps you will give science notebooks a try this year too!  I guarantee your kiddos will L-O-V-E it!
That's it for today!  I'm off to the pool with the fam!  Happy Sunday folks!