Monday, September 27, 2010

Skills Centers!

We have 5 different skills centers in our classroom that help us to become awesome readers! Each day tables are assigned to a skills center. Students spend about 15-20 minutes at their center. They practice the different skills that we focus on during our whole group meeting. The tables rotate each day so that every table has visited all the centers throughout the week. Our centers are: computers, practice sheets, white boards, magnet letters, and bingo. As students are actively learning, Mrs. Alvarado and Miss Donofrio are either assigned to a particular center for that day or we rotate to check on all of our friends!

computers: Students log in all on their own and visit Starfall and PBS kids. They practice skills such as letters, sounds, blends, word families and even reading the calendar!magnet letters: Each student has their own set of magnet letters at this center. They are given pictures of objects and must look at the picture and build the word. For the past couple of weeks, we have been focusing on building words with blends, digraphs, and letter combinations. If they come across a blend or digraph without a picture (for example, pl or ch) then they must create their own word.
white boards: In this center, students are also given pictures. This time, they are writing the words on the white board. Again, if they come across a blend or digraph without a picture (for example, pl or ch) then they must create their own word. They use a sock as their eraser! This student is focusing on the blends and circling the blends in all the of the words she has written!
bingo: Students have been playing CVC (consonant vowel consonant) or short vowel bingo for the past couple of weeks. Friends rotate to be the one who calls out the words. The rest of the table keeps track of their words on their board by placing the chips over the word that is called. They must pay attention and say their words before they place their chip down.
practice sheets: Students will complete a practice sheet for the major skill of the week so that we can keep track of who is grasping the skill and who may need some help and extra practice. One of our major skills this week is antonyms! Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. This is just one of the practice sheets students completed with the guidance of the teacher. We read the words together and then thought of their antonyms to fill in on the blanks. When students finished, they drew pictures for each of the words.

When we close out our skills centers, we have a friend from each center share something that they learned that day. Students really enjoy the centers and are able to dive deep into practicing skills with their friends!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Taking a Look at Maps!

Today we began studying maps in Social Studies! We learned that this is a map of the United States of America, the country we live in. Students stated the different things that they noticed about this map: the states are different colors so we can tell them apart, the blue represents water (and there is a lot of it!), the ocean bordering Florida is the Atlantic Ocean, there is a key which gives us clues about how to read the map, and there is a compass and directions-North, South, East, and West. One of our friends helped us to find Jacksonville, Fl on this map!
When we took a look at a map of the world, students quickly named places that looked familiar to them: China, Africa, and the United States were among the places that were named with excitement. Our friend Caleb even brought in a globe to share with us today and we took a look at the difference between a globe and a map! We learned that the Earth is actually a sphere just like a globe, and that it is NOT flat like a map. Globes and maps sure look different, but both are used to help us locate places in our world.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sensory Safari

We had the opportunity to go on a field trip like no other today. We were invited by J.Allen Axson Montessori School to participate in their Sensory Safari exhibit. Members of the Safari club presented information about various animals from different parts of the world. The students saw, touched, and listened to interesting facts about each animal. You can see from the pictures what a unique opportunity this was. Although this was an adventure to walk to the school and back, our students were awesome! My favorite part had to be before the field trip even began when Kloe said, "I just can't stop smiling I am so excited for this field trip."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning About Properties of Objects

The past few weeks in Science Workshop, students have been using their five senses to learn about our world. They have also been using their senses to sort objects based on their properties. In our class, we define properties as the characteristics of an object; we think 'How can we describe this object?'
We have been focusing on shape, color, size, weight, and texture. Today, we studied weight and texture. We had the awesome opportunity to use balances to weigh our objects and to work around the room with our table partners to describe the texture of objects! We made sure to record all of our data in our science notebooks because we know that good Scientists make sure to keep track of all of the information they collect. We have done a super job with this unit and can't wait to see more from our Super Scientists this year!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Counting 20 Together!

This week in Math Workshop, we learned a new skill center called Counting 20 Together. In this center, students work in pairs using a dot cube and counters. The goal is for the pair to collect 20 counters together and fill the Twenty Frame. For example, one friend will roll the dot cube and place the number of counters they rolled in the boxes of the Twenty Frame. The next friend will roll and add their counters to the Frame. Together, they will count their collection and keep rolling until they collect at least 20 counters.

Students learn how to quickly recognize the collection of dots on the cube without having to count each dot. They also use different strategies to keep track of their counters on their Twenty Frame. Students are encouraged to adopt strategies for counting. For example, they learn to count by 5s and 10s as well as counting on. The numbers along the right side of the Twenty Frame help students to visualize the counters in groups of five. As they are practicing this skill, Mrs. Alvarado and Miss Donofrio walk around with checklists to see if students are using their strategies and can answer questions about their Twenty Frame. This is a great way for us to know where to take our skills in math and is also great exposure for our blooming mathematicians!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!

We hope that you enjoyed a nice three day weekend!

Scientists at Work!

We are scientists! Students went outside to use their five senses to collect information about their surroundings. They drew pictures, discussed with their friends, and then described in their journals what they saw, smelled, heard, and touched. No least not for this lesson. The next lesson was for students to describe all sorts of items and compare/contrast them. Students are learning about properties (size, weight, color, temperature, and texture) and how to sort objects by different properties. Ask your scientist what two objects he/she recorded in their science journal last week.

New Friends!

Here are a few quick pictures of some outside fun! They have made new friends already!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Exploring Materials in Math

This past week, students have been exploring linking cubes, pattern blocks, and geoblocks. They have been comparing and contrasting them. They also tried to see how the shapes can connect and build.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our First Day!

We had an amazing first day this year as we work to Cultivate a Community of Excellence! Our principal, Mrs. Phillips, had some awesome surprises for us that aligned perfectly with our theme for this school year. We started out the day by interacting with farm animals. Then, we learned all about bees and their homes and how they help plants grow. Next, we planted seeds so we too can be farmers and each have a plant of our own. Because it was pretty hot outside, we took a break to have some fun and rolled watermelons in the field and then enjoyed a slice of the refreshing treat! Finally, we had a REAL farmer teach us a song and read a story to the entire first grade! It was a day we will never forget :)