Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ag Unit: Student Work

At the end of a unit or a project I love to see the work that students have completed and how far they have come. 
The first day of our ag unit they worked with a partner to write their observations during the observation walk

As a reminder here is where we display some of our work. 

Also on the first day of the unit, we gave each student an ag portfolio. 

Inside was a chant book.

Each of the chants was typed out with a space for an illustration.  After we processed each chant we let the students process their own chant (draw a picture to help them remember the chants).  The student above draw equipment (a tractor). 

During the unit we also learned Farmer Grows a Rainbow - this song is so cute! It is too long to write out and hang up in the classroom so we just had a typed copy in their portfolios. 

They also go to draw their own cotton pictorial.

We shrunk the pictures (by we I mean my amazing teaching partner) and had students recreate the mind map.  This took us a long time - two days and it could have taken more time. 

They also drew the cotton belt map.  They did this twice - the first time I gave them a blank paper and the second time I  had them do it while I was at the Ag in the Classroom Conference and the sub gave them a blank map - they just had to fill in the words.  They took that home so I wasn't able to see it.   

This is more family work than student work but I was so impressed with their home/school connections that I had to share them again! 

We also did a guided draw.  A guided draw is when we draw something together, I have a big paper and the students have regular sized papers.  I tell them what to do and we do it together.  Then I give them 5 minutes to add details (like chicken in the coop or food on the table that we didn't draw together).  Then I give them time to color.  Usually we would take the drawing out at another time and write about it, but we never got around to doing that this time. 

There was also the All About Cotton books which turned out really nice. 

We also used one of the pages from Cotton's Journey which was a cut and paste sequencing actvity. 

This was the perfect way to wrap up what we had been learning.

So, there is the student work from our ag unit! I love to see what students do during a unit - it really shows how much they have learned!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ag Unit: Rice Mind Map

After the Daddows came and talked to our class about rice farming we made another mind map.  It was very similar to the cotton mind map we did. 

Same concept as the cotton mind map.  Since this was our second time and we knew so much about rice after the farmer's visit - this mind map took us one day to complete. 

Instead of multiple pictures I took one picture of the rice the Daddows left us and labeled the picture.  I like this way because the kids can see the whole plant (since we didn't draw a pictorial for rice). 

I used the same pictures for soil, water, and sunshine but added a picture I took of a rice field.

I took pictures of the items Susan brought and had the kids tell me what they remembered (they remembered all of them) then put up the picture and labeled it. 

Pa told us this interesting fact during their visit so it was nice to review it - I found the picture via google images.  Gosh, I love google! 

This shows that a mind map can be used to introduce information like we did with cotton or to review information like we did here. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Platter Holder Tutorial

If you saw the dining room and bar tour, then you know that our table sits in front of this beautiful bay window.  What wasn't pictures was this part of the room:

Nothing there (but that random cable cord) and I thought that one day I would put in cabinets or small buffet table or something.  Then, one day I was reading Country Living (LOVE that magazine!!) and found this, an amazing platter display cabinet shelf thingy (I am pretty sure that is the technical term for it):

I thought and thought ... then (months later) got out paper, a pen, a tape measure, and some trusty blue painters tape and started taping to see where I wanted my amazing platter display cabinet shelf thingy to go. 

I taped and taped then retaped and adjusted - poor Chance was pretty bored.

I even got out a chair to make sure I could reach the stuff on the top shelf. 

I kept readjusting the tape, until ...

I finally liked what I saw.  You can see I even got out a platter to make sure they would fit and come in and out of the finished piece easily.  I made a drawing and wrote all the measurements.   

Then, I went to Home Depot with my drawing and the magazine and wandered around the lumber section for an hour.  This step is optional ...  I took the boards down and made a mock up of the amazing platter display cabinet shelf thingy on the floor (luckily it wasn't busy). 

I purchased 2 furrowing strips, an 8' 1"x4", a 4' 1"x6", a 12' 1"x4" (which I had them cut into 3 equalish pieces), and three dowels (1/2" or 3/4" - I can't remember).  It was less than $20.

Brought them home and did another mock up on the garage floor. 

Got a tape measure, something straight (a ruler for fabric), and a pen.

Then I set up a cutting station in the garage (if you have a table saw you rock, so you won't have to do this) with a table, some clamps (both are what I take to the farmers markets), and a circular saw. 

Then because I wanted a straight cut I clamped the board to the table and another board to the board I was cutting so I could run the edge of the circular saw and have it cut exactly where I wanted it to. 

I started at the top (the 4' 1"x6") and put the sides on (the 8' 1"x4" cut in half).  Then I cut a piece of the furrowing strip the fit.  Remember to measure twice and cut once!

I attached the sides and the furrowing strip with 1 5/8" gold screws - which I counter sunk to make a nice finished look. 

Then I measured and cut the bottom (a piece of the 12' 1"x4" I had Home Depot cut).  Then attached it with the same screws - counter sunk again. 

I started with the bottom shelf.  I measured and cut the bottom shelf (part of that 12' 1"x4" I had Home Depot cut). I hard the hardest time trying the make it level - I must have called my mom 15 times.  She said either use the level or your tape measure to make sure the shelves are even, and if you use the level make sure your floor is level first.  My floor wasn't level so I went with the tape measure method.  I measured up from the bottom and made sure it was at the same distance on both sides.  Then I screwed it in.  I measured for the furrowing strip, cut it and attached it. 

I did the same thing for the next shelf. 

Measured for the furrowing strip again, cut and attached it. 

Then, I measured for the furrowing strip to got at the bottom.  Cut and attached that. 

I had to choose where I wanted to dowels to go on each shelf so I got out a platter and adjusted it until I was happy.  It was 6" up. 

I measured 6" up on each side for each shelf and drilled a hole the same size as the dowel.  On the right side I drilled all the way through and on the left side I drilled about 1/2" into the side. 

I put the dowels in, stepped back and hated it.  Even though I got thick dowels they still drooped and just didn't look right to me.  So, I took the dowels out and it sat in the garage for a few days. 

Luckily, I didn't cut the dowels so I took them back to Home Depot and searched the lumber department to see what else I could use.  I found 4' long squares of thick wood (sorry, but I have no idea what they are called - I found them by the dowels).  I measured, cut, and attached them with the help of my studly boyfriend Michael. 

Then I was in love again ... but apparently did not take a picture. 

Michael patched the holes (including the holes I drilled for the dowels).

Then he sanded the whole thing.  He is so amazing - he took a day off work to go to the DMV (super fun, right?) and got done early so he did this for me. 

Before you paint, make sure to protect the garage with an old sheet or some plastic.  Putting it up on buckets is easier on the back (and knees and butt) and if it is up it won't stick to the sheet. 

He painted the back first. 

Then he put a coat on the front. 

I added another two coats.  We used white paint we had left over from painting the bathrooms when we moved in. 

We let it dry and Michael held it up for me while I looked at it until he looked back at me and told me that it wasn't light.  I guess I was looking too long - I couldn't help myself, it is so beautiful!  We put it exactly where I wanted it and marked the bottom of each shelf.   

 It took us forever to find the sneaky studs. 

We found the studs - which by the way are on 12ish" centers.   

We drilled like 10 holes to find each stud.  Then put it back up and attached it to the wall with 2" gold screws. 

Doesn't it look AMAZING?  We are not going to live in this house forever and I wanted to be able to take it with us when we move, so I didn't want to putty and paint over the screws but, I didn't want to be able to see the screws, so I went back to Home Depot and bought these screw covers.  They were $2.50 and worth every penny.

Just to show you how amazing these fancy screw covers are, here is the before:

and after.  LOVE them!

And that is it!  I put my platters in/on and realized that I need more platters to fill it.   

And there it is again . . . I am planning on putting pitchers on the top.

And, because I love before and after pictures:

This was very easy to make, cost less than $25, looks great, and is a great use of space!  I love that it looks like a built in and provides a place for those hard to store platters.

Although it can be customized to any size this 4' by 4' square was perfect since I had almost no wasted wood.  If I were to make a bigger one I think I would make 2 of this size and mount them side by side - or 3 look awesome with the middle one higher. 

What do you think?  Would you make something like this?