Sunday, December 20, 2009

Writing Celebration!

We joined students in Miss Stevens' class for a Writing Celebration on Friday morning. This was the culmination of our "Small Moments" Unit of Study--writing focused personal narratives. Students read their published pieces to a partner and then enjoyed a video and popcorn (the popcorn came later in the afternoon for us, as you may have heard--oops!). We are so proud of the great work students are doing in writing!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fun with Puppets!

Mrs. McCleary brought puppets today for her Guidance lesson on problem solving situations with friends. Last week, students drew pictures and told about problems they have recently encountered. Today, Mrs. McCleary selected some of these scenarios to have children role play using puppets. Topics included feeling left out on the playground, name calling, and playing fairly. What a valuable experience!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Just a couple reminders and requests about shoes/boots...

Now that there is snow and children are wearing boots to school, please make sure to send your child to school with shoes as well as boots. If you'd like to keep a pair of shoes at school, that's fine. Your child can keep them by his/her coat hook.

Second, I prefer that children only wear shoes with shoelaces if they can tie their own shoes. This would be a great skill to practice at home! Also, it's getting harder for me to bend down to tie lots of shoelaces every day! ;-) I will post a "Shoe Tying Club" poster after the vacation. Students who can tie independently can put their name on the poster!

See full size image

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our travels to Sweden!

Today children learned about St. Lucia Day, a winter celebration that takes place in Sweden, Norway, Italy, and other countries. It is called "The Festival of Lights," as it is meant to be a reminder that light will return after the long dark days of winter. It is also the kick-off to the Christmas season for many families. Children are currently working on making candle crowns. The following PBS Kids link gives some kid-friendly history about St. Lucia Day:
Tomorrow we head to Mexico to learn about Las Posadas!
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SWR Skills

Today students used the sound graphing page in our SWR notebooks to segment sounds in words and spell them. This works very well when new sounds are introduced, such as "qu," which students have been practicing in their spelling this week. To "graph" a word, students fill in the number of boxes on their page that corresponds to how many sounds they hear in the word. For example, the word "quick" has three sounds: /qu/ /i/ /ck/ but it is spelled with five letters. The /qu/ and /ck/ "share letters" to make the sound. I taught children the "Qu Song" to help them remember this sound. I will record it tomorrow on video for you to see and hear!
Sound graphing is fun and effective!

I projected the sound graphing page onto the Smartboard for all students to see. Unfortunately the image doesn't show in this picture.
During our Literacy Station time, students can play literacy skill games.

These two were so silly about having their picture taken, but they did a great job solving these vowel puzzles together!
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Homework Update!

Hello! Just a quick note to let you know that this week's home work is the last homework we will send until the new year. With the short week next week and the busy schedules that go along with holiday preparation, we figure families need a break from the homework routine. Enjoy! :-)

The Dreidel Game

As part of our Holidays around the World theme, students learned a bit about Hanukkah traditions Friday and today. Last week, students played Dreidel during math station time. You may have noticed that your child even brought home his/her own dreidel! Students seemed to enjoy this game, and they even got some math skill practice (figuring out half of a number, counting, etc.). Here's a link to directions for Dreidel, if you wish to play at home.

Another great web site for math games!

Check out this website if you're looking for great math games to play on the computer at home. I will be introducing it to students this week to use at school. I encourage lots of practice with addition facts, and many games on this site fit the bill! Have fun...I did! ;-)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A little about our day...

Today was the day of the second H1N1 vaccine clinic. Although it went well overall, there was a bit more anxiety about this time around than the last time. Perhaps because students knew exactly what was coming. They did a great job, all things considered! Getting shots is never fun!
Here are some photos from some OTHER (more fun) parts of our day... :-)
We played a German game called "Topfschlagen" (Hit the Pot) twice this week during Morning Meeting. This activity is very similar to "Hot and Cold," as students help lead the "searcher" towards the hidden pot by saying "hot" if they are getting close or "cold" if they are far away from the hidden pot. When they find the pot, they hit the pot with a wooden spoon and say "Topfschlagen!" There was a stuffed chicken hidden under the pot this time, but in the traditional game children would find a special gift to keep. This game connects to the first stop in our "Holidays Around the World" travels: Germany. We learned many interesting facts (i.e. the tradition of the Christmas tree began in Germany during the 16th Century), and we even greeted one another by speaking German one day. Guten tag!

Each day, students come up and help fill in missing words/parts of words in our morning message. This helps to reinforce important spelling skills, and it makes the message interactive!
I involve as many students as possible in the morning message. Students not at the whiteboard are encouraged to write the missing words "in the sky" or "on the carpet" with their fingers and imaginary ink of course! ;-)

Students from Miss Stevens' class joined our class this afternoon for literacy activities. We started with a round of Jeopardy on the Smartboard and ended with some partner reading time. Here are some photos from the partner reading time. Students are making SO MUCH PROGRESS in their reading. Hooray!
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Guten Tag!

Since the first "stop" in our Holidays Around the World theme was Germany, students said hello to each other in German on Monday morning as our daily greeting. Now you can watch and listen! Enjoy!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Not countdown to Christmas (which seems to be occupying most children's minds) but Countdown, our latest math game. :-) This game is a great connection to one of our latest topics in math--FACT POWER! We have been discussing and practicing how to gain "fact power," which is the ability to recall basic math facts "in a snap." I compare having fact power to knowing sight words, recognizing numbers quickly, knowing letters of the alphabet, etc. After enough fact practice, students will know the math facts without even thinking about them. In first grade, we focus on the +0, +1, doubles, and complements of 10 addition facts. For example, 1+0, 2+0, 3+0, and so on; and 1+1, 2+1, 3+1, and so on; and 1+1, 2+2, 3+3, 4+4, and so on; and facts that add up to 10 (1+9, 2+8, etc.).

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A gingerbread house!

Thank you, Maura, for coming in last week to help students make a gingerbread house last week for our cooking project. What a great connection to a popular holiday tradition many families share! The Jan Brett book, Gingerbread Baby, was a nice literacy connection for this fun activity. Here are a few pictures of the project.

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Friday, December 4, 2009


Students have been learning about measuring in many different ways. A couple of days ago, students used tape measures to measure their partner's head, hand, wrist, ankle, and elbow. Students practiced measuring to the nearest inch. Check out some of the photos!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A glimpse of our afternoon...

Here are a few pics from today...
We played an interactive game of Jeopardy using the Smartboard. This was a great way to practice for our second SWR proficiency test, which students will take tomorrow and Friday. The categories were: Red Words, Word Family Words, Punctuation, Scrambled Sentences, and ABC Order. Students used clipboards to write some of the words included in the clues. Fun!

I caught these three doing a wonderful job of buddy reading during our "Partner Reading" time. Sometimes we have to be flexible with our partnerships when someone is absent or a student has to leave the room. :-)

Our reading groups are in full swing. These two decided to use "icky fingers" to point to the words in their new book. We practice many things in reading groups--reading new and familiar books, practicing the Fry sight words, using comprehension strategies, figuring out tricky words, and more!
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