Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy Baby!

So, you might be wondering if I have given birth yet or not...I have not. Nothing happening yet! At this point it looks like I'll be back next week.
The class enjoyed special mini cupcakes on Friday before vacation, courtesy of Catherine and her mom (thank you!). The students spontaneously broke into song when the cupcakes were served--"Happy Baby to You!" (to the tune of "Happy Birthday"). It was very sweet, as you can imagine! I did video record it, so I promise to post that soon.

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Students painted paper to use next week when we make a round shaped moon phase books. The gray (above) is to make the moon, and we spatter painted black paper to look like constellations!

Four Winds this month was all about sounds and how we are able to hear sound. Fantastic!

Mrs. Fath came in to make yogurt parfaits with students. Delicious!
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Attribute blocks

Last week students learned the Attribute Train Game. It was fun, but a bit challenging. Students had to build a train using our attribute blocks, which vary in color, shape, size, and thickness. To attach a block to the "train," it could only vary in ONE attribute. A great problem solving activity!

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Monday, February 15, 2010

A note about conferences/assessments...

It's conference week (for our class)!!!
If you need a reminder of your conference time, just let me know.

So you're aware, I will be sharing an "in progress" report card with you when we meet. Our literacy assessment window just opened today and will continue through the two weeks following our February vacation. I will do as much assessment as I can before we meet. I will also complete as much of the report card as possible, but things like the attendance record cannot yet be filled out, and specialists are not yet required to have their grades entered. A fully completed report card will be sent home during the week of March 15th.

Remember, I am doing conferences this week so you can get an accurate picture of your child's second trimester progress thus far. Mrs. Lucier is wonderful, but she will have only known your child for a short period of time when the regular conference times come around in mid-March. Because I am holding conferences now, Mrs. Lucier will not be required to hold conferences in March. It is my hope that these early conferences will be of benefit to you.

Homework Note

Hi everyone!
There is not a new SWR list this week. With the special events we had last week, our SWR time was interrupted. We will continue to practice the same skills this week and students will take a check-up on Friday as usual. They did not take one last week due to our altered schedule. Thank you!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Our Literacy Celebration!

I hope you enjoyed our Literacy Celebration! If you were able to be there, thank you for coming! If you were not able to make it, here are some photos of the children sharing their writing and reading with our visitors.

Enjoying a Photo Story presentation...

One of my favorite technology tools for the classroom is Photo Story 3. It allows you to import photos and other digital files to create slideshows set to music with motion and animation. Students and guests at our Literacy Celebration were treated to two Photo Stories. I have posted both of them in the next post, so everyone can enjoy them.

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Photo Stories!

These are the Photo Stories I mentioned in the post above. I hope you enjoy them!

This is a Photo Story that looks back on the year in first grade and how students have grown as readers and writers...

This Photo Story is an example of "electronic publishing" of a poem we wrote as a class, Winter Is..."

Valentine's Day Party

Our Valentine's Day celebration was simple and sweet. Children delivered Valentines to each other's "mailboxes" and then had a simple, delicious snack. Thank you for helping your child prepare his/her Valentines and for the treats. Before the party, students enjoyed a station time filled with Valentine reading, writing, and art choices. It was a lovely, relaxing afternoon!


Students thought about magnetism in a different way last Thursday. Mrs. McCleary read a great book, How to Lose All Your Friends by Nancy Carlson, which is a light-hearted look at how NOT to behave when one wishes to make friends. She then had students take a large magnet and give an example of something they do that attracts friends to them. After giving an example, each student used the big magnet to draw a "friend" (the small magnetic items on the carpet) to them.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

We're going on a WORD hunt!

Students had a chance to show what they know during Reading Workshop today! They went on a "contraction hunt" with their reading partner and found examples of contractions in their books (don't, can't , I'm, etc), which they could later share with the group during our Sharing Circle using the Smartboard and document camera. Last week, students hunted for different features of print, such as "magic e" words (time, lane, mope, etc.) and words with digraphs (sh, th, ch, wh). This has prompted many students to look more carefully at words and make the connection that the things we talk about in SWR really do connect to our reading. The reading/writing connection is so important! Great job, everyone!

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I spy...

...a contraction! Can you see any contractions on the pages shown on our Smartboard? :-)

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Monday, February 8, 2010

100th day fun!

We had lots of fun on the 100th day! Students visited each first grade classroom and did a special project or activity in each one...
Mrs. Sorenson: We made 100th day crowns with 100 dots on each one!
Miss Stevens: Students did 100 jumping jacks, marched in place for 100 steps, wrote their name as many times as they could in 100 seconds, and much more.
Ms. Barnett: Students used the numerals 1-0-0 and created artwork with it.
Mrs. Davis: Students built with a variety of hands-on materials (100 of one thing).
The glasses and crowns make quite the fashion statement! :-)

100th day artwork from Ms. Barnett's "station."

100th day, continued...

The students arrived to find 100th day treats on their tables and a bag to decorate...I hope these goodies made their way home safely!
The first grade teachers each decorated a shirt with 100 sight words. The shirt says "100 days...100 words!" This was our 100th day project!
Sportin' their new 100th day glasses!
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Saturday, February 6, 2010

An exciting week!

We have a very exciting week to look forward to in first grade...

Monday is the 100th Day of School! We will do many special things, including a special 100th Day co-op time with the other first graders. This time, students will be in mixed groupings with students from all four first grade classes. They will visit each classroom for 15-20 minutes for a special project or activity. Fun!

Friday, February 12th is our Literacy Celebration and Valentine's Day party. Please join us from 11:15-11:55 for our Literacy Celebration. Students will be sharing their most recently published piece of writing from our "How to" unit, and they will read some "just right" books to you. If you'd like to stay for lunch in the cafeteria, please let me know ahead of time. Also, please RSVP to let me know if you can attend!

Our Valentine's Day party will take place that afternoon. Your child can bring Valentines to distribute. This event is a low-key celebration of friendship and is for kids/teachers only.


Just a few photos from recent learning experiences...
Oobleck was a very popular way to explore solids and liquids. As I wrote in an earlier post, children from all four first grades rotated through four learning experiences that all related to solids and liquids. I love this picture, as it really captures the messy fun of Oobleck! The recipe was sent home, and it's very easy to make!
These boys LOVE having me take photos of the things they create. I could create an entire album with pictures of the wonderful things students build during their free time. Such great imaginations!
Our latest cooking creation related nicely to our solids and liquids unit. Mrs. Jones came in to help students make ice cream in baggies. The big bag had rock salt and ice and the smaller bag inside held cream, sugar, and vanilla extract mixed together. Then students shook the bags for about 10-15 minutes and voila--ice cream in a bag! They gave it rave reviews! The shake dance party was quite a sight to behold! I wish I would have caught it on camera, but I think you get the idea...
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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More word family crowns

The previous SWR crowns (the "King of -ing," the "Star of Are," and the "Whiz of Is") were so popular that we came up with more for this week's tricky word families: -ang and -ong. The goal is for every child to wear one of the crowns before the week is over, if desired. These crowns are like advertisements for the word families--they help the "sound chunks" stick in children's heads so they are committed to memory. Just like an annoying commercial jingle. ;-)
There are two teeth hanging down on the "Fang of -ang" crown!
The "Kong of -ong" is self-explanatory. :-)


Students did two parts of a four-part culminating activity for our Solids and Liquids unit today. Each first grade teacher is hosting one activity that focuses on the changing states of matter--from solid to liquid or liquid to solid...and some that include mixtures and multiple changes. Jello and Oobleck were the activities of the day for our class and Miss Stevens' class. Your child participated in both activities, and the reviews were very positive!
The photos below are of the Jello project in our classroom. Our document camera and Smartboard once again came in handy to show the action up close for everyone to see! Most students in our class think of Jello as a solid once it's been cooled in the refrigerator for a few hours. Scientifically speaking, it doesn't neatly fit into either category and is considered a "colloid." Either way, it made for great discussion and showed how much students know about solids and liquids and how they can back up their thinking with evidence. So smart! (And eating it was a nice reward for all that thinking!)

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