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October 10, 2017

Bats! Bats! Bats!

By Shari Carter
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5

    Setting the Stage: Bat Art

    One of the things I love about kindergarten is that we have a new theme or topic almost every week. It has a way of keeping things very fresh and new in our classroom. The kids are always super excited to see what they will be learning about next! Setting the stage is an important part of teaching; it gets kids excited, and student engagement always goes up as a result. For our bat study, I decided to begin with a fun and exciting hands-on art project, and the kids LOVED it!

    What You'll Need

    It was fairly simple to prepare. Here is a list of the materials you will need to do it with your class:

    • Black construction paper (9" x 12")
    • Tempera paint (white)
    • Spray bottle
    • Bat template (I downloaded a bat image from the Internet, copied it on white construction paper, and then cut the bats out so they would be ready to go for the kids!)

    It was a beautiful fall day here in Idaho, so we decided to go outside to make our spray paint bats. Since this was the very first time doing this project, I learned a few things:

    • Water down your paint, and experiment with consistency until you get it right.
    • Not all students have experience with a spray bottle. Show your kids how to use the bottle before going outside (and use water).
    • The lever on the spray bottle can stick. It is helpful to show students how to pull the lever back out if this happens.
    • We got the best results when the kids squeezed the lever in as far as it could go. The painting effect was a lot lighter, and less clumpy. Short strokes resulted in paint just dripping, not spraying.
    • Pick a day that is NOT windy!
    • Don’t let the kids remove the bats! The paint smudges easily.
    • Make sure to let the kids watch you as you remove the bat — this is one of the most exciting parts of the project!!!
    • This activity also doubled as a way to build fine motor skills in the little hands of my kinders.

    Bat Anchor Chart

    I love anchor charts. I say that all the time, but they really do aid in solidifying what children know. They also serve as an incredible resource. In our classroom, we use anchor charts for shared reading and building vocabulary. My students also reference these charts during writer’s workshop — they really are an invaluable tool.

    Anchors charts are a WONDERFUL tool for your children to use as they blossom into little authors. After we have read many books about bats, we talk about the parts of a bat. The kids enjoy helping me complete the chart. I hold up the labels and let the kids tell me what they say, and then they get to put them on the chart. They LOVE this! This simple little chart (that takes no time at all) is such a powerful tool, and my students refer back to it all the time! It helps them so much when they write and confirms just how much they know about the subject! I love that one simple chart can do SO much!

    Directed Draw/Labeling Activity: Parts of a Bat

    In kindergarten, we do a lot of directed drawing. It is important to use a combination of drawing and writing for your youngest learners to feel the confidence they will need to compose written pieces about a given topic.

    When we do directed drawing lessons, we are not only working on art standards. Children are also working on listening skills and following directions — two very important things all kindergarteners need to have to be successful learners.

    My students are so focused during these lessons, and I am always BLOWN AWAY by their ability to draw so beautifully and at such a tender, young age. They are always beyond proud of their creations and very eager to take the next step in writing about their drawing.

    We labeled our bats after our directed drawing lesson and the kids had great success. I love how this activity is differentiated to meet the needs of all my learners. Some of my kiddos can read the words and attach the labels independently, while others can identify the initial sound of the word and use that skill to figure out where to place the label. Other children use the anchor chart to help if they are unsure of what each label says. My children love to work together and help one another and, of course, this just warms my teacher heart! If you would like to do this with your class, you can use these labels as you prepare for the activity.

    Let’s Find Out Classroom Magazine

    A few years ago, I started using Let’s Find Out and it has completely changed my classroom. I LOVE the magazine and I can’t imagine not having the resource to share with my students. Let’s Find Out is a highlight in our week and my kids always look forward to reading their new issue. The seasonal science and social studies themes line up perfectly with the topics I teach in my kids.

    Watch and Learn Videos

    Let’s Find Out has the most amazing videos and my kids are just mesmerized by them! The nonfiction videos build excitement and listening comprehension with a focus on science and social studies themes and topics.

    The bat issue this month did not disappoint! I took this picture while my kids were watching the video in the digital edition, and as you can see, this classroom magazine has clearly caught their attention. My kindergarteners don’t sit still for long, but Let’s Find Out is so engaging, that it has an uncanny way of stopping these little people right in their tracks!

    Word Wall Words

    We begin our week by reading the new edition of Let's Find Out. My kids really enjoy getting out their highlighters and finding all our word wall words in the magazine. I love to listen to them as they hunt for the all the words. They work together and examine each other’s magazines to ensure they have found all the words. This is a terrific activity to help students build their concept of word skills. 

    Celebrate Learning!

    At the end of each week, we love to celebrate all the wonderful things we’ve learned in kindergarten! It is a nice way to wrap up our week, and just another reason why our Fridays are called, Friday Funday! These little celebrations (or culminating activities) definitely put the FUN in our Fridays!

    Cute Bat Snack

    I searched and searched for a healthy bat snack, but kept on coming up empty-handed. Most of the healthy recipes I found were too time-consuming for me to pull off during my work week, so I caved, and decided to go with these cute little bat brownies for our Friday Funday snack!

    These sweet (and very cute) parent volunteers helped assemble all the bats for me. I really don’t know what I would do without the amazing help I receive from my parent volunteers! When they were done, they put the bats at each child’s seat and the kids were shrieking with joy when they returned from their specials! To make this yummy treat for your class, all you need are the materials below:

    Bat Headband

    Oh.My.Word! These bat headbands turned out so stinkin’ cute. My kids were so excited to make them, but they were even more excited to wear them when they were done! I had many parents tell me that their child had so much fun this week learning all about bats. I was super excited to share all these activities with my kiddos, and knowing my kids thoroughly enjoyed our bat week, made me all kinds of happy!

    To make these cute headbands, I simply cut three-inch strips of black construction paper for the band that goes around their heads. I also cut out scraps of black, white, and brown construction paper that the kids used these to make the bat ears, eyes, nose, and fangs. What I liked best was that each child’s bat headband was unique — no two looked the same. I could’ve cut all the pieces out, but they are so capable and it also provides one more opportunity to help them strengthen their little hand muscles. They only thing I did prep for them were the wings. I thought those might be a little tricky and really didn’t want any of my kiddos feeling too frustrated. It was a great success, and they begged me to let them take a scary bat picture, so here it is! I just adore these cuties of mine!

    Bat Books

    Kids learn a lot from read-alouds, and there are so many good books out there that are all about bats. I love that you can easily find both fiction and nonfiction books to share with your students. It’s imperative that children are exposed to a wide variety of genres and I really can’t think of a better way to start them off on a path that will hopefully lead them to becoming lifelong booklovers. 

    Here are a few of my favorite bat books that I enjoy reading to my kids:

    Fly Guy Presents: Bats

    Animated characters, Fly Guy and Buzz add comic appeal to this colorful introduction to a host of subjects, packed with straightforward fun facts, humorous asides, and photographs throughout.

    Stellaluna

    A sweet baby bat lives in a nest with a bird family. Through trial and error, she finds her true nature and her true family. Includes a helpful list of bat facts.

    Nightsong

    The beautiful story of a young bat who must learn to trust his senses to navigate the world and find his way home.  

    National Geographic Kids: Bats

    Stunning photographs and flawless on-level information introduce young minds to the wonder and mystery of our natural world.

    There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat

    There was an old lady who swallowed a bat—not to mention an owl, a cat, a ghost, a goblin, some bones, and even a wizard! A spooky twist on the classic tale.

    Biggety Bat

    Ann Ingalls blends lyrical text with information about a real-life urban bat colony in Austin, Texas. Readers will love discovering this unique habitat as they help Biggety Bat find a new friend.

    Book descriptions are from the Scholastic website.

    Storyline Online

    Most of the time, I am reading aloud to my children, but a few years ago I discovered a resource that I love and use quite frequently. It’s called Storyline Online. “Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White, and dozens more.”

    Here is Stellaluna, read aloud by Pamela Reed. She does a beautiful job with the story!

    Additional Resources Your Class Will Love!

    My kindergarten class loves this song, and sang it all day long after hearing it. It has a great way of explaining the concept of echolocation to your youngest learners. Super fun and engaging!

    This is a fantastic video loaded with all kinds of facts about bats. The images are incredible and my students were awestruck as they watched it. It’s one thing to read all about an animal, but to actually see what they do in their real-life habitat is such an amazing experience for the kids!

    This question and answer mini book from Scholastic Teachables details many basic facts about bats. This would make a great resource to use during guided reading.

    Here's wishing you and your students have as much fun learning about bats as we did. I sure hope you can use some of these activities and that you always remember, when you love what you teach, your students will love what they learn!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following my blog, and here’s to a BATASTIC October!

    xo-Shari

    Setting the Stage: Bat Art

    One of the things I love about kindergarten is that we have a new theme or topic almost every week. It has a way of keeping things very fresh and new in our classroom. The kids are always super excited to see what they will be learning about next! Setting the stage is an important part of teaching; it gets kids excited, and student engagement always goes up as a result. For our bat study, I decided to begin with a fun and exciting hands-on art project, and the kids LOVED it!

    What You'll Need

    It was fairly simple to prepare. Here is a list of the materials you will need to do it with your class:

    • Black construction paper (9" x 12")
    • Tempera paint (white)
    • Spray bottle
    • Bat template (I downloaded a bat image from the Internet, copied it on white construction paper, and then cut the bats out so they would be ready to go for the kids!)

    It was a beautiful fall day here in Idaho, so we decided to go outside to make our spray paint bats. Since this was the very first time doing this project, I learned a few things:

    • Water down your paint, and experiment with consistency until you get it right.
    • Not all students have experience with a spray bottle. Show your kids how to use the bottle before going outside (and use water).
    • The lever on the spray bottle can stick. It is helpful to show students how to pull the lever back out if this happens.
    • We got the best results when the kids squeezed the lever in as far as it could go. The painting effect was a lot lighter, and less clumpy. Short strokes resulted in paint just dripping, not spraying.
    • Pick a day that is NOT windy!
    • Don’t let the kids remove the bats! The paint smudges easily.
    • Make sure to let the kids watch you as you remove the bat — this is one of the most exciting parts of the project!!!
    • This activity also doubled as a way to build fine motor skills in the little hands of my kinders.

    Bat Anchor Chart

    I love anchor charts. I say that all the time, but they really do aid in solidifying what children know. They also serve as an incredible resource. In our classroom, we use anchor charts for shared reading and building vocabulary. My students also reference these charts during writer’s workshop — they really are an invaluable tool.

    Anchors charts are a WONDERFUL tool for your children to use as they blossom into little authors. After we have read many books about bats, we talk about the parts of a bat. The kids enjoy helping me complete the chart. I hold up the labels and let the kids tell me what they say, and then they get to put them on the chart. They LOVE this! This simple little chart (that takes no time at all) is such a powerful tool, and my students refer back to it all the time! It helps them so much when they write and confirms just how much they know about the subject! I love that one simple chart can do SO much!

    Directed Draw/Labeling Activity: Parts of a Bat

    In kindergarten, we do a lot of directed drawing. It is important to use a combination of drawing and writing for your youngest learners to feel the confidence they will need to compose written pieces about a given topic.

    When we do directed drawing lessons, we are not only working on art standards. Children are also working on listening skills and following directions — two very important things all kindergarteners need to have to be successful learners.

    My students are so focused during these lessons, and I am always BLOWN AWAY by their ability to draw so beautifully and at such a tender, young age. They are always beyond proud of their creations and very eager to take the next step in writing about their drawing.

    We labeled our bats after our directed drawing lesson and the kids had great success. I love how this activity is differentiated to meet the needs of all my learners. Some of my kiddos can read the words and attach the labels independently, while others can identify the initial sound of the word and use that skill to figure out where to place the label. Other children use the anchor chart to help if they are unsure of what each label says. My children love to work together and help one another and, of course, this just warms my teacher heart! If you would like to do this with your class, you can use these labels as you prepare for the activity.

    Let’s Find Out Classroom Magazine

    A few years ago, I started using Let’s Find Out and it has completely changed my classroom. I LOVE the magazine and I can’t imagine not having the resource to share with my students. Let’s Find Out is a highlight in our week and my kids always look forward to reading their new issue. The seasonal science and social studies themes line up perfectly with the topics I teach in my kids.

    Watch and Learn Videos

    Let’s Find Out has the most amazing videos and my kids are just mesmerized by them! The nonfiction videos build excitement and listening comprehension with a focus on science and social studies themes and topics.

    The bat issue this month did not disappoint! I took this picture while my kids were watching the video in the digital edition, and as you can see, this classroom magazine has clearly caught their attention. My kindergarteners don’t sit still for long, but Let’s Find Out is so engaging, that it has an uncanny way of stopping these little people right in their tracks!

    Word Wall Words

    We begin our week by reading the new edition of Let's Find Out. My kids really enjoy getting out their highlighters and finding all our word wall words in the magazine. I love to listen to them as they hunt for the all the words. They work together and examine each other’s magazines to ensure they have found all the words. This is a terrific activity to help students build their concept of word skills. 

    Celebrate Learning!

    At the end of each week, we love to celebrate all the wonderful things we’ve learned in kindergarten! It is a nice way to wrap up our week, and just another reason why our Fridays are called, Friday Funday! These little celebrations (or culminating activities) definitely put the FUN in our Fridays!

    Cute Bat Snack

    I searched and searched for a healthy bat snack, but kept on coming up empty-handed. Most of the healthy recipes I found were too time-consuming for me to pull off during my work week, so I caved, and decided to go with these cute little bat brownies for our Friday Funday snack!

    These sweet (and very cute) parent volunteers helped assemble all the bats for me. I really don’t know what I would do without the amazing help I receive from my parent volunteers! When they were done, they put the bats at each child’s seat and the kids were shrieking with joy when they returned from their specials! To make this yummy treat for your class, all you need are the materials below:

    Bat Headband

    Oh.My.Word! These bat headbands turned out so stinkin’ cute. My kids were so excited to make them, but they were even more excited to wear them when they were done! I had many parents tell me that their child had so much fun this week learning all about bats. I was super excited to share all these activities with my kiddos, and knowing my kids thoroughly enjoyed our bat week, made me all kinds of happy!

    To make these cute headbands, I simply cut three-inch strips of black construction paper for the band that goes around their heads. I also cut out scraps of black, white, and brown construction paper that the kids used these to make the bat ears, eyes, nose, and fangs. What I liked best was that each child’s bat headband was unique — no two looked the same. I could’ve cut all the pieces out, but they are so capable and it also provides one more opportunity to help them strengthen their little hand muscles. They only thing I did prep for them were the wings. I thought those might be a little tricky and really didn’t want any of my kiddos feeling too frustrated. It was a great success, and they begged me to let them take a scary bat picture, so here it is! I just adore these cuties of mine!

    Bat Books

    Kids learn a lot from read-alouds, and there are so many good books out there that are all about bats. I love that you can easily find both fiction and nonfiction books to share with your students. It’s imperative that children are exposed to a wide variety of genres and I really can’t think of a better way to start them off on a path that will hopefully lead them to becoming lifelong booklovers. 

    Here are a few of my favorite bat books that I enjoy reading to my kids:

    Fly Guy Presents: Bats

    Animated characters, Fly Guy and Buzz add comic appeal to this colorful introduction to a host of subjects, packed with straightforward fun facts, humorous asides, and photographs throughout.

    Stellaluna

    A sweet baby bat lives in a nest with a bird family. Through trial and error, she finds her true nature and her true family. Includes a helpful list of bat facts.

    Nightsong

    The beautiful story of a young bat who must learn to trust his senses to navigate the world and find his way home.  

    National Geographic Kids: Bats

    Stunning photographs and flawless on-level information introduce young minds to the wonder and mystery of our natural world.

    There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bat

    There was an old lady who swallowed a bat—not to mention an owl, a cat, a ghost, a goblin, some bones, and even a wizard! A spooky twist on the classic tale.

    Biggety Bat

    Ann Ingalls blends lyrical text with information about a real-life urban bat colony in Austin, Texas. Readers will love discovering this unique habitat as they help Biggety Bat find a new friend.

    Book descriptions are from the Scholastic website.

    Storyline Online

    Most of the time, I am reading aloud to my children, but a few years ago I discovered a resource that I love and use quite frequently. It’s called Storyline Online. “Storyline Online, streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. Readers include Viola Davis, Chris Pine, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, James Earl Jones, Betty White, and dozens more.”

    Here is Stellaluna, read aloud by Pamela Reed. She does a beautiful job with the story!

    Additional Resources Your Class Will Love!

    My kindergarten class loves this song, and sang it all day long after hearing it. It has a great way of explaining the concept of echolocation to your youngest learners. Super fun and engaging!

    This is a fantastic video loaded with all kinds of facts about bats. The images are incredible and my students were awestruck as they watched it. It’s one thing to read all about an animal, but to actually see what they do in their real-life habitat is such an amazing experience for the kids!

    This question and answer mini book from Scholastic Teachables details many basic facts about bats. This would make a great resource to use during guided reading.

    Here's wishing you and your students have as much fun learning about bats as we did. I sure hope you can use some of these activities and that you always remember, when you love what you teach, your students will love what they learn!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for following my blog, and here’s to a BATASTIC October!

    xo-Shari

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Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
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