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I love being in position where I can still learn new things. I feel that I am at a job where it would take a huge amount of energy not to learn new things. This week I had the pleasure of having my intern from the University of Central Florida begin her semester with us. We immediately clicked and she instantly formed a bond with my students.

Her first day was a teacher's workday. We spent the day organizing my class and looking over her assignments. It was nice not having the students there because I had the entire day to answer any questions. Once we started doing lesson plans, we began bouncing ideas off of each other and coming up with great ideas.

One of her assignments was to create a discovery box. The discovery box was filled with items from outside that she had collected from her backyard. She filled it with sand, dirt, leaves, rocks, sticks, etc. The assignment was meant to be open-ended and watch what the students did with the items. I let her chose three students and I took the rest of the class and did a whole group lesson.

As I was working with the rest of the class, I occasionally looked back at her group. I saw the students engaged and working with together exploring the items. I was impressed at what she was doing but I was far enough away that I couldn't hear what she was telling the students.

After we were both done with what we were doing and the students were at specials, I asked her what exactly she had done. I was impressed to hear, that she never gave the students directions. When she was talking with the students, she was asking what they were doing. The students answered that they were sorting the leaves, using the magnified glasses to search through the sand and dirt, measuring the sticks, and recording what they found on paper.

I was amazed at what she had done with them. Later, I thought about what she had done and realized the amount of skills the students used while they were discovering what was in the box. They used their own problem solving skills to research what was in the box. I thought what a meaningful way for the students to learn at their own pace. I observed from a distance using skills that came natural to them. I love that I am learning new things daily at my job. Having that feeling makes me think that it's not a job but something I love to do.

Nocturnal Animals

We spent the whole week learning about nocturnal animals. During a whole group lesson, we used Google to search for nocturnal animals. The students are becoming familiar with Google. When the students started building Mount Everest on the playground, I had many students ask me information about the mountain. We used Google to find pictures and information about it.

After we search for nocturnal animals, the students made a list of the animals. I let the students use clip boards as we made a list. The students wrote the animal's name and then drew a picture to illustrate the word. I had the students raise their hands to name a nocturnal animal. Then I wrote the word on the chart paper and the students copied it. Last, I did my best to draw the animals. I had many terrible drawings but the students kept encouraging me and telling me they were great.

Another great activity I did with the students was creating an illustration on Kidpix. I drew a tree in the middle of the page. On one side of the tree, I painted the background black to represent nighttime. The other side of the tree I painted blue to represent daytime. Using the stamps Kidpix provides, we sorted the nocturnal animals from the non-nocturnal animals.

The students became a little excited during this activity. Mainly it was because I did not know all the features on the software. I had to ask for directions on how to do something. It gave the students confidence and it showed them that I did not know everything. I was impressed at how well the students knew how to do different things with Kidpix. Some of the features are taught during computer class, but most of them are self taught when they have free time on the computer.

Click here to browse more early childhood animal themed activities!

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Early Childhood Teacher are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.