Monday, May 31, 2010

The forecast and our trip...

I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend! I have been regularly checking the forecast-- the current prediction is rain likely with a chance of thunderstorms for Thursday. :-(

If we do need to call off the trip, there is no rain date. This trip requires many volunteers and it has proven difficult in the past to arrange for the necessary help with short notice. We won't make our final call about whether or not to go ahead with the trip until Thursday morning. So, please bring your child's bike to UMS on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning if you do not plan on transporting it to Airport Park yourself. In the event we do not go on the trip, you can pick up your child's bike on Thursday afternoon as originally planned.

I do hope we get to go--think sunshine and mild temperatures!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Co-op time and chick watching

Last week the first grade team had another co-op time. Students from each first grade class were once again mixed up into groups to rotate through stations in different classrooms. This time, everyone rotated to an activity with Mrs. Hughes, Ms. Barnett, and me (with Mrs. Davis). The children seem to enjoy interacting with students from other classrooms, and it gives the teachers a chance to meet other first graders.
I taught students how to make a "chick on a stick," which is a paper chick puppet. They made great puppets--I hope you were able to see your child's creation!
After watching chicks hatch in the incubator, students were excited to watch the chicks in the tank in our classroom. They are quite interesting to watch, actually. Ask your child about what the chicks did during his/her "chick watch" time.
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More quadramas...

I am trying to get pictures of everyone with their finished "quadramas." Each section is labeled with the phase of the chicken life cycle represented: egg, hatching, chick, chicken. The boys and girls did such great work! Here are some of the finished products:

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chick Update!

We are going "chick crazy" in first grade! Our projected hatch date was tomorrow (May 26th) but some of the chicks made their appearance today! It was quite exciting in our classroom. When I left school today, we had four hatched chicks and about 4 or 5 were "pipped," which means the chick made a hole in the shell and is slowly pecking its way out. This is a nice diversion from the heat wave were having!

Here's a live video of a chick hatching in our incubator! The colored lights are a reflection of the lights we have under our loft, where the incubator is housed. I hope they are not too distracting! (Thank you, Hilarie, for sitting patiently and waiting patiently to record this moment while we were out of the classroom!)

Students started working on "quad-ramas," a variation of the traditional diarama. They are created four quadrants to make a three-dimensional representation of the life cycle of a chicken. We had a great discussion today about what comes first--the chicken or the egg. Classic! :-)

Students took turns being on "Chick Watch." During this time, students watched the activity in the incubator and reported any major movement to the class. We will continue our "Chick Watch" tomorrow, although the chicks that hatched today will be transferred from the incubator to their new home in an aquarium stocked with chicken feed and water (and a heat lamp...for when it cools down!).

Mrs. Hughes lead both classes in singing one of our favorite songs--Mrs. Gooney Bird! Today students sang the song in a line and marched through both rooms. What fun! Thanks, Mrs. Hughes! I caught the tail end of it on video...

Bike Trip Update

Thank you for getting the bike ride permission slips back to school! I am very excited about our upcoming field trip and am hoping for nice (but not TOO hot) weather for the bike ride. Just a few notes/clarifications...
  • Helmets: Students DO need a helmet. Some are not very excited about this rule, but it is a must! I can arrange to get a helmet for your child if he/she does not have one.
  • Bikes: Students need to ride a bike...the bike can have training wheels or not, of course, but it does need to be a bike (a few children want to bring scooters instead). If your child needs to borrow a bike, that can be arranged. Please let me know!
  • Volunteers: Any and all volunteers are welcome! If you indicated that you can transport bikes from UMS to Airport Park, please plan on doing that unless you hear otherwise from me. You can pull up right behind the classroom at 10:15 a.m. on the day of the trip to load bikes. If you cannot transport bikes, please meet us at Airport Park at 11:00 a.m.
  • Lunch: We will eat lunch at Airport Park after our bike ride. Please send your child with a packed lunch that day, and be sure to include extra drinks as kids tend to get quite thirsty after our ride!
  • Cancellation: In the event of rain, our trip will be cancelled. We will let families know of a cancellation via an automated call from UMS the morning of June 3rd. We cannot have a rain date for this trip, as it requires too much volunteer support--we know people need notice to attend special events like this!
We will have a great time! I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Hi everyone!

It has become an annual tradition to make class t-shirts to wear on Field Day, which is June 8th. Please send a plain white t-shirt to school for your child to decorate by Friday, May 28th. You do not need to send supplies--just the t-shirt. Thank you!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kindergarten Reading Buddies

We are now "Reading Buddies" with Mrs. Helfrich's kindergarten class! Students have now met and read with their reading buddies twice. During this time, we visit Mrs. Helfrich's room and each child reads one or more books to their kindergarten buddy (in some cases, children read in groups of three). The kindergarten students also read one or more books to their first grade buddy. We started this activity as a whole school last year in an effort to foster excitement about reading and increase fluency, confidence, and motivation. It was extremely successful last year and is going great so far! Ask your child about his/her K reading buddy.

A movie and a walk...

Students have been watching the movie Charlotte's Web to celebrate reading this wonderful book during our read-aloud. It took us a few months to read it, but it was worth it! It is hard to find time in our busy day to watch the movie, so we've watched a little bit at the end of each day.
Last Thursday we enjoyed a 10-minute walk around our school as part of a school-wide "Walk at Lunch" initiative. It was a gorgeous day and it was an excellent way to spend time together outdoors! Your student received a bag and an activity book as a part of this event.
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Candling our eggs

Last week, students got a glimpse of what is going on inside our chicken eggs. We "candled" each egg to try to see if the embryos are developing well. So far, it looks like 12/14 eggs are doing well! I caught students off-guard in this photo, but it gives you an idea of how we candle the eggs. It takes a dark room, a very bright light, and the observant eyes of a scientist! We could see movement in many of the eggs, as well as the dark spots which are the brain and eyes. Very exciting stuff!
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All About Books

Students worked very hard with Mrs. Lucier to write All-About books--nonfiction books about a special area of interest and/or expertise. Students published their books and shared them with a partner last week. I am so impressed by their writing! I can tell everyone worked very hard on these books and learned a lot about the conventions of nonfiction writing. This writing unit was paired with a nonfiction unit of study in Reading Workshop.


Our latest unit in both Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop is Poetry. Students have been reading published poetry by famous authors as well as examples written by other first grade students. We have immersed ourselves in the genre in order to get ready to write poetry this week! Ask your child what he/she remembers about seeing the world "through a poet's eyes." They were very good at looking at everyday objects in new, poetic ways!

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Monday, May 10, 2010

A day of transition...

It was a bittersweet day for students...I came back to school, and Mrs. Lucier left. :-( I would like to sincerely thank Rosie for the WONDERFUL job she did. It is clear that students continued to grow and learn while I was gone, as I knew they would. Today, Mrs. Lucier and I both taught during the day to help make the transition easier for everyone. Tomorrow and thereafter, it will just be me. I wanted you to be aware of this, as I know transitions can be hard on many children! I can guarantee we will have a FANTASTIC end to the school year. I can't believe how close we are to the end. I am back in the swing of things already and am very excited to continue teaching this great group of children.

Now that I am back in action, I promise more regular blog post with updates of what's happening in first grade. :-)

The eggs are here!

Thank you to Mrs. Hughes (formerly Miss Stevens) for her photos of the arrival of the eggs. I was not here for this, so I borrowed some of her photos...

As I'm sure many of you have already heard, we have started our most anticipated science unit - The Life Cycle of a Chick. Students will be learning about the life cycle, different parts of an egg, how to care for the eggs and chicks, and many more interesting facts! The cycle takes approximately 21 days which puts our 'hatch' date as May 27th!

A full incubator!

Our class joined Mrs. Hughes' class last week to await the arrival of the eggs!

Nurse Kelly came in to help us clean the eggs and teach us how to keep ourselves and the developing chicks healthy.

Each egg is marked with a number and the letters 'x' and 'o'. This will help us to monitor their development and make sure that we have 'turned' them in the correct direction.

Ask your child about what they already know. I think that you will be impressed!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Bike ride field trip...

It's time to get ready for the 4th annual bike ride field trip! Miss Stevens (now Mrs. Hughes!!!) and I will be taking our classes on a field trip to the Colchester/Burlington bike path for a group bike ride sometime in the beginning of June. This is an annual event that is always very enjoyable! We will be in touch soon with details, but I wanted to encourage everyone to practice bike riding now that we have this great spring weather. I am sure a lot of you do that already, but if not, the bike ride field trip often encourages students to practice, practice, practice!

We will need LOTS of volunteers for this trip, so please watch for information to come home soon regarding this trip (sometime during the week of May 10th).

Hello again!

Welcome back! I hope everyone had a great April vacation. I will be seeing you on Monday, May 10th. One more week! The chick eggs will arrive this week--hooray! This is my favorite science unit. See you soon!
Here are some photos of my boys...
Patrick smiles all the time now!

Will loves to go to the playground!

Our cat Peso is protective of the babies.
I like playgrounds too! :-)
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