Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Castle Project

March is flying by in my classroom! I wanted to squeeze in some of my castle/dragon unit activities before I started SPRING (can't wait!) activities in my centers.  The castle theme is not a huge unit that I spend a lot of time on, but the kids really do enjoy it! As with most units I begin by reading a book on the topic. Usually our next step is to create a thematic word list for the word wall, but with castles I have them begin with representing their previous knowledge of the topic through drawings, paintings and playdoh sculptures.

We read a book about the changes made to castles over the years and then the kids sculpted their own castles.
One of our early castle paintings. I love how the drawbridge ended up looking like a smiley face.
Another castle model made from various materials and LOTS OF GLUE! 

Finally we write our castle words for our word wall and begin some of our writing projects.  We wrote a castle story together before doing any individual castle writing.
For this story I wrote "One day at the castle the queen saw____."  One of my students then wrote the next sentence about the princess getting out of the castle.  We finished the story with the kids telling me their story ideas. They would verbally tell me how to spell our popcorn words and took turns writing some of the sentences on their own using their kindergarten spelling.  Over the next couple of days they worked on writing their castle words in their word rings and began planning their own castle stories in their journals.  Once they had their story planned they could begin decorating their castle cut out and writing their final copy.
"I am a princess. I am trapped in a castle. The dragon is trapping me in a castle. It is big! I am in the highest room.  It is scary but then the knight finally got me in the castle and the dragon was dead."
"The dragon lives in the moat when the king is doing his business." ( I love this one!)

One of our former Scott Forsmann reading series units contained a blank black line master book that featured a queen and a duck.  My class had a fun time creating their own stories!

Our castle project wouldn't be complete if we didn't use "stickies" in some way!! This time it is for math story problems.  We have been working on addition up to 5 recently. I let the kids choose five castle themed stickies on their own and asked them to write their own story problems and equations.
"The frogs are running to the castle.  1 + 1=2"
"The frogs were flying. One more wants to fly.  2 + 1 = 3"

We had a few additional thematic center activities.  Four kids worked on a castle mural together. You can see the finished project at the top of this post. I love having kids work on murals! It requires them to plan, discuss and really work together.  

This group planned the colors and their placement together. They also decided who was going to paint what areas. Their only discussion that was not solved was whether they should put flags on the top of the towers.  They decided they could talk about it some more and add them later.  I chose four kids for this project who typically do not work together. They did a great job!

Now that my youngest child is in fifth grade I find myself raiding the toy closet at my house on a regular basis!! For this project I scored a very cool castle floor puzzle and some model castles for the block center. My class LOVES the fact that there is a boy castle and a girl castle. I love watching the stories they make up while working with the castles!
Have a great weekend and thanks for visiting my blog!
                                                                                        Mrs. M


  1. Cute thematic unit! I love how much into pretend and dramatic play Kindergarteners are. :)

    1. Thank you! They are funny aren't they? =)

  2. Mrs. M, I just found your blog and I truly love it! I'm going to go back and read some of your earlier posts too. My daughter is 21 and I have borrowed so many of her toys over the years: horses, beanie babies, Littlest Pet Shop toys, Legos, etc. I also find a lot of fun stuff at thrift stores and yard sales. Your castle theme is totally awesome! I don't know if it would be helpful to you, but I have a Fantasy Folder that I sell on TPT that you might want to take a look at. I would be so happy if you could come over to my blog and see if there's anything that you could use. I have lots of freebies there.

    Sharon Dudley, NBCT

    1. Thank you, how sweet of you! I just followed your blog...I loved it! Yes, I'm finding myself making numerous trips to the toy closet. Good thing no one has noticed...yet!

    2. Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment on my blog. The latest thing that I "stole" - I mean borrowed! - from my daughter was her old beanie baby collection, which I'll be doing a post about in the next few days. Thanks for following my blog! Can't wait to see more of your posts.

      Sharon Dudley, NBCT

  3. I am your newest follower! Come on over and check out my blog! Have a Happy Sunday!

    1. I'm now your newest follower too! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  4. How fun! I love the castle constructions! I am your newest follower - I would love for you to come check out my blog!

    Rowdy in Room 300

  5. So cute! My kiddos have been asking to study about castles and knights.

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  6. You're too sweet! Thanks for following me and helping me get closer to 100 :) I am now following you too!!!
    Teaching, Learning, & Loving

  7. This is really cute. Thanks for sharing the pictures! I am your newest follower. Please come check out my new blog! Thanks!

    Teaching With Love and Laughter

    1. Thank you for following! I just followed your your post on the kids message books! Very cute!


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