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!