Writing Letters to Disney Characters and Learning About Rainbows!

It has been a great week in Kindergarten. Spring Break officially started today, so I am hoping for some nice weather since we have had so much snow and ice this winter! Towards the end of the week, the kiddos were getting a bit hyped up, but we loved learning all about rainbows and writing informal letters! It was a fun week filled with some exciting activities!

In science, we learned all about rainbows and how they are formed. We also talked about how the colors in a rainbow are in a specific order. I started the week by creating this anchor chart with my kiddos (I am a huge proponent for the anchor chart! As a kinesthetic learner, I sometimes like to have paper in front of me. I LOVE my active board, but I love using chart paper! Anyway, I digress...).

Our Rainbow Anchor Chart

We started by discussing what we need in order to make a rainbow. I told the kiddos to close their eyes and to remember a time when they had seen rainbow. We talked about how we need it to be sunny and raining at the same time. We also talked about how special rainbows have to be because it is sunny and rainy at the same time. I asked the kiddos why rainbows were rare, and several of them talked about how it is usually cloudy when it is raining, so the clods usually cover up the sun.
Then we talked about what has to happen in order for a rainbow to form. This can be a difficult concept to explain (especially to five and six year olds), but the kiddos were genuinely curious about rainbows, and they were wanting to know how they were made. I explained (VERY SIMPLY) that when sunlight passes through the raindrops, the raindrop breaks the light into different colors of light. I didn't go into a lot more detail, but the kids were excited to tell their parents all about how rainbows are made.

To continue our rainbow theme, Ms. Ellison (another one of the fabulous Kindergarten teachers at my school...I adore our team, and I will mention them often in this blog...Again, I digress) shared a great rainbow craft where the students tear apart construction paper into small pieces (I mean SMALL) and glue them on lines in order to create a very cool looking rainbow! Ms. Ellison rocked our socks off with this cool activity!

Working hard on our rainbows!

Rainbows are awesome!

I will warn you, you will not finish this project in one day! If they are doing the activity right, they should tear the paper into really small pieces, and they should glue the pieces very close together. When they finish the project, it looks very cool! We will add on to this project by having them write about the colors of the rainbow! I will definitely be putting this on the bulletin board outside our classroom! 

We ended the week by creating our own anchor charts about rainbows. One thing you should know about me is that I love putting students in cooperative learning groups and having them work on a project together. They had to draw a rainbow (with the colors in the correct order), and then they had to label each color in the rainbow. Then, they had to draw the two things they needed in order to create a rainbow! I turned my anchor chart around so that they had to make an anchor chart based on what they remembered about rainbows. When we finished, we presented our posters in front of the class. The kids always enjoy working together, and I love asking them questions and listening to them discuss how they are going to create their anchor chart!

Working hard on our anchor chart!

Discussing how to create our anchor chart!

Since today was an inservice day, I decided to take down my winter bulletin board (it was a very wintery board full of snowmen), and I began to put together a rainbow bulletin board. I still have some work to do, but it is off to a start!

 I am starting our rainbow bulletin board outside
our classroom.

I still have to add our cloud and raindrops and then the student work when we are finished! I will share the end product when I get everything put up!

We also talked about writing informal letters this week. I saw a really cool pin on Pinterest about how kids could write letters to different Disney characters, and, if the teacher sends the letters to Walt Disney Communications, the students will get an autographed post card back from their favorite character! Here is the pin.

So, we decided to start by talking about the parts of a letter including date, greeting, body, closing, and their name at the end. I have an anchor chart I use (I know...shocker), and I velcro the labels for each part onto a large letter. We discussed how it is polite to start your letter with a question (usually it is "How are you?"). When I finally told the students that they would be writing to Disney characters, I thought they were going to explode! Needless to say, they were very excited!

I posted the following slide on my active board so that the students could decide who they wanted to write to. This also allowed the students to see how each characters name was spelled so that Disney could correctly identify who the intended recipient was.
Can you guess which characters were the most popular?

 The Frozen characters were HUGELY popular! I am amazed by how much momentum this movie has had...

This was the first time that I did not give the students a sentence stem to use. I wanted to see how much they could write without input from me. The letters were funny and sweet. I was amazed by how much empathy the kids had for certain characters. I had a student (she was writing to Hiro from Big Hero 6) who wrote about how sorry she was that Hiro's brother died. I also had students who were trying to convince Olaf that he should not like summer. It was wonderful to watch the students really take ownership of their writing! Here are a few examples:

The only problem I faced with this project is that the students ask about their letters EVERY DAY! I have told them each day that it will take several weeks to hear back from their character. I love how excited they are!

As I said earlier, today was an inservice day. Our literacy coach, Mrs. Henderson, gave a great presentation about positivity! She talked about the Marigold effect, and its impact in our school (Marigolds are often grown next to other plants because they help other plants grow by protecting them from bugs and giving them the nutrients they need to grow into strong plants). If a person is a marigold, they will help others to grow stronger. Marigold people help others become better by caring and looking after them. Mrs. Henderson did a fantastic job on her presentation, and it was just what we needed to hear right before Spring Break! I am so blessed to be at the school I am at! I am surrounded by so many marigolds!

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