Thursday, March 03, 2011

First Flight unit

Our most recent unit was centered around the fantastic David McPhail book, First Flight. Of course, almost everything we did we focused on airplanes or flying things. This was a unit that could have gone on for many weeks there were so many fun things to do. Below are some pictures of a few of the things we did either all together or as workbox jobs.

Here is O Boy showing one of the airplanes he built out of Bristle Blocks.
This was a hand strengthening activity suggested by my mom! I took all the little airplanes out of our Take Off game and put them into our playdoh. Mr. T and the Little Sweetie had fun finding them together.
Here is the spotting (reading numbers on a die without counting each dot) game we made up after putting the numbers from 1-20 in order (see picture below). I put a picture of a suitcase next to #1 and a picture of a Mickey Mouse jet next to #20 and the game was simply to see who could move their bear from the suitcase to the jet the fastest. We used the big foam dice because they love to throw them all over the room and then run after them. This was a really motivational way to practice spotting and I noticed that both boys had pretty well mastered each of the sides of the die by the end of this unit (we played this game a lot!). We made this game on the reverse side of one of our storyboards from another unit (the Snowy Day mural). It was also a piece of the Titanic from our boat unit! Triple usage!
On the day before we started playing the above game I had each boy separately line up and glue on the numbers from 1-20. It was a little assessment to see how well they could do. Plus, the gluing was a great fine motor activity!
Here's O Boy coloring his pilot's cap that we used when we built and played with a pretend jet cabin. I had them color with colored pencils for the first time and, because his grip is still really crazy, I tried putting playdoh around the pencil to make it easier to grip correctly. Bad idea! The playdoh oozed out of his fingers, slid down the pencil etc. etc. He was really patient as we tried to make it work, but in the end gave up.
Here's a plane that Mr. T built as a copy of a plane I built. He wanted to connect the two planes! You can also see a block airport next to him - one job that each boy had on a few different days was to build an airport out of different blocks. Mr. T threw a big fit about this for a few minutes and then suddenly got into the building groove and had lots of fun building for several more minutes.
Another O Boy jet:
Here is the thank you note they drew for the airport crew. The huge green and yellow thing is a massive jet that O Boy drew.
The Little Sweetie helped me use our airplane cookie cutter to make cookies for the airport crew.
Since we were also celebrating Valentine's Day in the middle of this unit, I printed off these visual discrim cards made by Carissa at the 1+1+1=1 blog.
In an ancient "Air Crafts" book I picked up somewhere along the way in life I discovered this cool plan for making Whirlycopters. It was a multi-step process and the end result were some great little fun flying things! I first had them color stripes (in crayon) down the whirlycopter because as it twirled and fell, the lines "turned into" circles. This was quite a challenge for Mr. T as he had to color in the separate stripes! Then they had to cut out the whirlycopters. I folded and taped them to make them flight-ready. Then we dropped them from the balconey! I couldn't get a good picture of these things actually flying because the flight time is so short. But they really worked well!

Coloring the whirlycopters
Cutting them out
Putting airplanes in order by size. This was waaaay too easy for him!
I've really been working with Mr. T on matching number to amount. So I had drew a few "runways", printed out several airplanes and wrote different numbers on post its. Then we pretended that I was the flight control tower asking him to land different numbers of airplanes on the various runways. This is still a very difficult concept for him but I worked with some ideas with his speech therapist I'm going to try next week to help support him in this kind of activity.
After the planes were all lined up on the runway correctly, a huge tornado came up and blew them all away each time (little oral motor work slipped in)!
One day at the end of "quiet play time" (nap time) O Boy came out and proudly showed me this intricate and well-thought out airplane he'd come up with and made all by himself. It used up a few cereal boxes and at least one entire roll of Scotch tape, I think! It was pretty neat!

Something else our curriculum suggested we talk about was perspective. So I took pictures of several items around the upstairs from the top, bottom and side. And then the boys chose a few other things to photograph and they got to take the pictures. On another day I printed out the photos and they had to sort them into groups of top, bottom, side.
This is a fine motor skills activity that helps both hands work together. Mr. T absolutely loves to do it! We called it the suitcase game. We called the pop beads suitcases and he had to transfer all the suitcases from one part of the airport to the plane with the tongs.

I finally got a set of the wooden Handwriting Without Tears wooden block pieces and it's great to have them to use to make the letters with curves!
I also made the basic shapes (big curve, little curve etc.) out of pipe cleaners so that he had to make the letters another way too.

We did some more sorting, this time with feathers. They are still sorting mostly using only color as the defining attribute. I think I'll go back to using buttons to see if they will use other attributes (other than color).
Instead of having Mr. T tell me about how he grouped the feathers, I gave him this toy phone and had him call someone (Dad? Papa?) to tell them. He loved it.
After sorting, he had to blow all the feathers all around.
I got out the flying things pattern block pictures for them to do again.

Here's the Little Sweetie using a calculator as a phone. Whoever she's "talking" to must have wanted to chat with O Boy too!
This was a sort of ridiculous art project I found online. Since we have a bunch of colored popsicle sticks, I thought we'd try it. I'm not sure they really look much like airplanes!
Here's the Little Sweetie adding her clouds.
The finished products. They are supposed to be airplanes!
Here you can see O Boy's flying in a huge storm (he wanted to write boom and crash on it!)
Mr. T decorated his with stickers.
There were so many excellent books we discovered and read during this unit I thought I'd post pictures of them here so that I can remember them for the future!
Plane Song is actually a very, very long poem about all sorts of flying things. It is tremendously well written and fun to read.
This was a neat book about the history and different kinds of kites. Any book by Gail Gibbons is always great.
This is a pretty text-dense book but it was still fun to "read". It's a very technical and complete book all about blimps.
This is a beautiful and exciting book about Lindberg's first flight over the Atlantic. He used excerpts from Lindberg's diary to help write the story. The illustrations are amazing.
This is the main book that our unit was centered around. It is absolutely hilarious. This unit also gave us a chance to read many other David McPhail books like Pigs Aplenty, Pigs Galore, Pigs Ahoy!, The Teddy Bear, and The Puddle.
This is a very fun book all about the Wright brothers and their first flight. It's packed with facts but it's fun to read because it's written in such a cartoony style and the text is broken up with lots of silly illustrations.
This was a very complete look at the helicopters! We had to read it over several days because it's so full of great information.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Jess, your creativity and dedication is inspiring. Your boys are so lucky to have such an amazing mom and teacher. :)