Thursday, December 13, 2012
In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, Nicholas and his mom provided a Fun Friday snack for our class that had a little assembly required! The kids had a blast painting their ice cream cone Christmas tree with green icing and decorating their "tree" with lots of edible goodies. Thanks for making their treat so fun and delicious!
Our class was fortunate to have Mason's big brother, Jake come to our class and share his talent with us. He brought in his saxophone and played some Christmas songs for the kids. They got to sing along and then ask him questions about learning to play an instrument. Thanks so much Jake!!
Sunday, December 2, 2012
I feel so fortunate to have parents who are willing to come read to my students 15 minutes before our school day officially begins. It is usually a hectic, crazy time for me getting last minute preparations ready for the day. What a wonderful gift for my students to have a morning reader begin their day with a book! These readers are simply parents who want to share their gift of reading, interacting with students, and sometimes making them laugh and surprising them! Below is Mason's dad reading a holiday book to the students. Before he read the book, he pulled out his Santa costume and beard and hat from his bag and put it all on for the students. They were so excited! Thank you Mr. Owens and thank you to all of the parents who have volunteered as a morning reader for our class!
Sunday, November 11, 2012
The students had an incredible day last Friday dressing up as their favorite Kevin Henkes character and rotating through fun centers. They played Kevin Henkes bingo and showed off their knowledge about Kevin Henkes as an author, his characters, and his books. They watched an animated version of his books and enjoyed some "cheesy" snacks. They went to the "Lightbulb Lab" and used their imagination and creativity to create letters, puppets, and much more. They made purple purses and wallets, decorated ties, and made movie-star sunglasses (inspired from Kevin Henkes' book-Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse). The students had a blast and it was so nice to see the students being so creative! We ended the day with students performing their scripts of a Kevin Henkes book in front of our class. They practiced turn taking, using loud reading voice, using intonation, and taking on the role of the character. It was a super "mousey" day! Kevin Henkes Centers on PhotoPeach
Kevin Henkes Celebration Day on PhotoPeach
Each Nine Weeks, we celebrate the efforts of all of our students by holding an awards ceremony. The school prints out awards for Perfect Attendance, E Honor Roll, and Soaring Eagles. Students who receive excellent behavior receive a red, white, and blue ribbon! I print out an additional award for each student and their own academic achievements, whether they are exceeding the standard, working above the standard, working at the standard, or working towards the standard. Because our class has read and practiced "Filling Buckets" from (Have you filled a bucket today?), I decided to present our two top "bucket-fillers." I love Award Ceremony time! I was the most excited I have ever been about handing out awards this time because of a special project that Jett's mom helped me with. My class has been "obsessed" (in a great way) about math clubs and learning clubs. A HUGE thanks to Mrs. Turner for designing, printing, and cutting out over 300 pins. The students felt so special to have these one-of-a-kind pins that uniquely represented each learning club that they are in. They also motivated students to try to get into new clubs for the next nine weeks. I have already heard students say, "I'm going to practice counting by 2's so I can get that pin next time." I am so excited that they are so eager to be active participants in their own learning and so encouraging to the other students in our class for their achievements as well! Amazing Awards! on PhotoPeach
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Monday, October 29, 2012
I read the students the story, Bullies Never Win! After reading the story, I showed the kids a big red paper heart. I asked the kids to tell me some of the mean and hurtful things that the bully in the book said. Each time they shared something mean, I folded the heart a little bit. I used this folded heart to illustrate that bullies can say mean things and they hurt but their words don't break your heart. You can stand strong and unfold those hurtful words and still be YOU!
Our class wore mismatched socks last week to take a stand against bullying and to make a difference. I held an assembly and talked to first graders and Kindergarteners about how special and unique each of them are. They also learned about standing up for themselves and others who are in a bullying situation. I talked to them about how we are all different but that doesn't mean that we are not to accept each other. I know the value of this lesson will last beyond one day. A sweet little Kindergartener told me on the playground the day after I presented the assembly, "I remember you...You told me Bullies Never Win!" That is an awesome feeling to know that these life lessons are laying the foundation for what type of person these young students will become later in life and how they will treat others for the rest of their life.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Here's a picture of our Literary Pumpkin. Our class is in love with Kevin Henkes books and characters from our current author study! The students chose to make our pumpkins into Chrysanthemum the character and the flower. You can see all of the creative literary pumpkins on display in our front lobby this week!
Monday, October 22, 2012
Math journals are used to build a student's number fluency. By the end of first grade, we want students to be able to take a number and be able to identify how to represent the number using tally marks, place value (groups of hundreds, tens, and ones), greater than/less than, money, use the number in story problems, as well as addition and subtraction equations. The pictures below show a chart that outlines what the student's should do for the number of the day in their math journal. Also, you will see a hands-on tool that students use to help them with creating addition and subtraction equations ( 20 linking cubes strung together-10 of one color, 10 of another color).
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
We had an awesome Open House! Students were their parents tour guides and showed them around the classroom. They had a checklist of items that they had to explain to their parents, including showing them their morning journal, explaining calendar math, showing and explaining the Common Core Standards, showing and explaining their vocabulary journals and math journals, and reading one of their leveled books. Students were MOST excited about the test that their parents had to take. It was titled, "Are you smarter than a First Grader?" When parents weren't sure of some of the answers, they were told to call on their first grader. Some parents were attempting strategies (good job), some parents were "googling" answers (resourceful-but still cheating!) Ha! It was a great way for parents to see just how much first grade has changed since they were in school. Students really do work really hard, have a lot of fun with hands-on activities, and learn a lot of difficult concepts! It was a great night for me as a teacher to see and hear students really doing a wonderful job explaining the different learning tasks that they do each day. The students were so excited and full of pride to show their parents all of their hard work! Open House on PhotoPeach
We were so honored to have a special guest come in last week, Madeline's Dad. Mr. Riley came in to our class with a cooler and a jar of pizza sauce. He asked the kids what he thought we were going to make. Of course, the kids saw the pizza sauce and said "pizza!" That was just a diversion! He brought out a juicer and a whole bunch of fruits and vegetables. Each student got a chance to put some fruit or vegetables in the juicer. Each student also tried the homemade healthy juice! The kids had such a blast!! Thanks Mad's Dad! Making Homemade Juice! on PhotoPeach More Juice! on PhotoPeach
Monday, September 17, 2012
Students met with their awesome fourth grade buddies again today. This time, students practiced math games with their buddies. After reviewing and modeling the game, students played On/Off and recorded their answers. Several students shared how they played the game, how they recorded their answers, and how they came up with their combinations. Then, students played the game "Compare." Students each have a set of number cards 0-9. They each turn over one card at a time and then compare the numbers on each. The person with the highest number says "me" or "more." The fourth graders really helped challenge our first graders by asking them to explain their answers and their strategy. Students also tried to explain how many more (or the difference) between the two cards. Ex: 8 is 6 more than 2.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
We began our morning with a moment of silence for all of the heroic Americans who risked and/or lost their lives on September 11th. We also celebrated all of the people who worked together to save lives and help each other on this unexpected day. After reading the book, September 12th- We Knew Everything Would Be All Right, students wrote about what "FREEDOM" means to them. The book is an amazing resource because it is written and illustrated by first graders. We worked together to make our own hand-made American flag, which is proudly displayed outside of our classroom.
One of the things that I am most excited about this year for my students is providing them with opportunities that will extend beyond the classroom. One of these awesome opportunities is to be partnered up with a fourth grade class as our reading/math buddies. It is so important for students to learn to communicate and connect with others. This year-long partnership will allow my students to be partnered with an older student who will actively listen to them, encourage them, laugh with them, and help them. Today students partnered up and asked each other a few fun questions to help them get to know each other better. Students were quickly seen laughing and smiling together. First graders then had the chance to "show off" their individual reading skills by sitting knee-to-knee with their fourth grade buddy. As Mrs. Nash and I walked around the room, the students were actively reading, intently listening, and redirecting students. At the end of our time together, it was so great to hear fourth graders share compliments about things they noticed about their reading buddy. It was so sweet to see the first graders face light up when they heard these encouraging words! The first graders also got to share some of the fourth graders answers to some of the "getting to know you" questions, such as their hidden talent or the funniest thing that they ever did. What a great way to start a budding relationship and what a beautiful thing to have another person who will be there to believe in your child and his/her abilities and help them continue to grow!
Monday, September 10, 2012
Last week students played a game utilizing "twenty frames," which is a mat that has twenty boxes on it. Students work together in pairs to roll a dice. Whatever number the dice lands on is how many colored tiles the student puts on the "twenty frame." Once they are done putting their colored tiles on the mat, they ask their partner to look at the "twenty frame" and decide how many tiles are still left without a tile. Students come up with multiple strategies for quickly recognizing how many tiles are left. Some students were able to recognize that the tiles were in rows of five. So if there were fourteen tiles filled in, a student may recognize that one row is still empty (and that would be five) and then one more from the previous row (and that would make six altogether). Once students rolled the dice, put the tiles on the "twenty frame" and asked their partner to count how many tiles were left, they switched turns and the pattern continued. The more students play this game, the more practice they get at discovering more efficient strategies.
A morning message is a daily tool that we use during our Skills Block portion of the day. Students work to edit and correct the morning message. The message is written so that is has missing letters, blends, and letter combinations. Students need to correct the punctuation and know where to capitalize words. This process helps students apply their editing skills.
Last week we spent some time in our school garden. Students split into two different groups. The first group planted seeds and beans, while the other group picked weeds in another section of the garden. Then the groups switched jobs. Who ever knew kids would have so much fun pulling weeds? Look at the smiles on their faces! We are so grateful to Mrs. Brenda for working so hard to sustain our school garden and for inviting us to take part in taking care of the garden. Gardening Time! on PhotoPeach
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Students were asked to fill out an inquiry sheet that reflected on something they are good at, something they need help with, and something they want to learn about in first grade. Then students rated how well they liked reading and math. It was really interesting to see how well students knew themselves.