Weather Cycles Unit

So after 3 days out for S*N*O*W last week, we are finally back in a normal routine this year.  Today is Wednesday {hump day} and it's the first time in about a month that I've worked 3 days in a row... now that's just crazy!

We're diving into our unit on cycles and weather this week.  Here are a few things we've been up to...

First, we read this book on weather.  This comes from a Scholastic set of weather books that are fantastic readers for first graders.  They're perfect non-fiction books.  Easy enough for first graders to understand, but beefy enough to teach good information.  I love these books so much that I have a set for our animals unit we do also! They have lots of simple non-fiction features too {bold print, table of contents, glossary, captions and labels}. **Note: I'm not sure why the link goes to such an expensive set of books.  I bought mine through book clubs for less than $10 for the set...


As we read our weather book, we charted weather words on our "cheery" weather words chart...hey! I had to think of some way to bring a little warmth and sunshine into our lives.  Mother nature certainly wasn't doing her part last week!

We also started an on-going chart on Earth's natural cycles.


I absolutely love doing this chart because it lends itself to such great conversations: what cycles are, the difference between cycles and linear events (weather types versus water cycle), natural cycles versus unnatural cycles (like recycling)...  The kids love "discovering" cycles during our unit as I strategically lead them  on their own. :) The following may or may not have been heard in my classroom in during this unit in past years:
   
      "Our schedule is the same as it was yesterday!"
   
      "So, it was December and the end of the year before we left for break and now we've started ALL OVER again in January. Hmmm."
   
      "You mean after 12:00 it's 1:00 AGAIN??'

Yep, guilty.  It's just so much more meaningful when the kids "figure it out" on their own!  Also, they love getting their name on each of our cycles papers we add so they can claim their discovery.

This week we did a carousel activity where students rotated in groups around our room to write about what they already know about weather types.  We will go over each of the charts as we talk about them whole group so we can find misconceptions, and new learning.  They had 1 minute at each station to write what they knew about sunny, snowy, icy, cloudy, partly cloudy, sunny, windy and stormy.  While I've used the carousel strategy for several years, this particular group was 100% lovin' this activity!  I'm going to be finding more ways to use this carousel activity in our classroom because they were hooked from start to finish!  Because I'm a color-coding *freak* I gave each group a different color pen.  Have you ever noticed that writing in pen is super awesome? Because it is. To six year olds anyways.  Everything is better in pen.  But, the "real" reason for colorful pens was so I could see that each group was adding to the poster.  It makes it easy to see which groups are contributing and which are not...

Today we did our shadow experiment to talk about what causes day and night and why our shadows seem to move during the day.  We were supposed to do this Tuesday when it was 50 degrees outside, but it turned out to be cloudy Tuesday.  So we settled for today.  When it was 28 degrees.  With a windchill of -200.  Or something like that.  We jogged to and from our recording spot in the school driveway just to keep from turning into ice.  Seriously.  Why didn't we wait until another day? We didn't have another day this week that worked and next week we need to be moving on to other cycles.  So today it was.  I had this great plan of taking pics of my kiddos tracing each other's shadows, but that plan failed {but I did take pics the next year....read about it here!}  Apparently, I was focusing on warm thoughts and not pictures! Brrrr!!!  I did take a picture of their recording sheet once we were back in our cozy, 76 degree room!

Of course all of these activities and tons more are in my weather unit on TPT!

Sending warm thoughts your way...


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