Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Check out our bear t-shirts!

Our bear t-shirts were completed last week--hooray! Thanks to many people's hard work, we have great t-shirts to wear to celebrate this year's school-wide theme: Be Enthusiastic About Reading (B.E.A.R.). Thank you, Mrs. Derry, who designed the shirt and carried out this project during art class. Thank you to the many parent volunteers who washed the shirts and those who ironed on individual bear designs. Wow! We wore our shirts to our school-wide meeting yesterday and will wear them again for our school musical performance in April. More details to come soon about that!

Be silly bears!
I guess I should be in a few of these...
We wore our bear t-shirts for guidance yesterday too. Mrs. McCleary taught students about an "apology of action"--showing you're sorry rather than just saying it. 
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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Observatory Field Trip Postponed...

Unfortunately, our trip (scheduled to be Wednesday, February 16th) to the the Saint Michael's College Observatory will need to be postponed.  There is currently too much snow surrounding the observatory and covering the dome itself.  We will let you know when a new date is set! 
(This notice was sent home via your child's green folder yesterday, but I am posting the news here to make sure everyone knows!)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Photos from our wonderful Valentine's Day...

It was a great day! I hope you enjoy the photos...

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The slideshow from today's "We Love to Read and Write" Celebration!

Hi everyone!
We had a great celebration in our classroom today. If you were not able to make it (or even if you were), here's the slideshow that I created of your children's reading and writing progress throughout first grade. They have worked so hard! :-)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Working together for a common goal

The 100th day of school brought a new part of our daily routine. I introduced our "Heart Tree" on Tuesday, and students seem to be excited about it so far. I told students that after 100 days in first grade, they certainly know the rules and expectations for making our classroom a safe, happy, and productive place to learn. Our heart tree is a visual reminder of how we're doing. Each child randomly selected a numbered heart to put on the tree. This number is their number for the rest of the school year...even when our heart tree becomes a different type of tree (I plan to change the tree according to holidays/seasons/themes/etc. For example, in March we may have snowflakes or shamrock shapes for our tree). The goal every day is to keep your heart in the tree. As long as students are following our classroom rules, that will happen. When a student does not follow a classroom rule even after a friendly reminder, he or she must move his/her heart down a level. There are several levels on the tree:

Top of the tree=I had a VERY smooth day and helped make my classroom safe, friendly, and productive! I get to work with a friend during quiet time tomorrow!
Dangling on a low branch=I forgot a rule at least once but turned it around and had a great day! 
Top of trunk=I had at least two reminders about being safe, kind, or productive and had to make a mental plan to share with Mrs. Sorenson or another adult.
Middle/bottom of trunk: I had three or more reminders about the choices I made today and will owe 10 minutes of free time tomorrow. 
Off the tree: I had four or more reminders about my behavior today and will owe 10 minutes of free time tomorrow AND Mrs. Sorenson will contact my parents about how today went.

There is also a group incentive--students can help the class earn marbles to put in the jar. We try to collect enough marbles at a class to have a special treat! If a student stays at the top of the tree, he/she gets to contribute 2 marbles at both check in points--before lunch and at the end of the day. If the student is at the bottom branches of the tree, he/she can contribute one marble. If a student is on the trunk or off the tree, they do not get to contribute a marble toward our class goal.

We already earned enough marbles for a class party on Thursday. Hooray!! Great teamwork, everyone!
You can help support this system by checking in with your child about where they were on the tree each day. If you ever have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me.

The 100th Day of 1st Grade

Tuesday was the much-anticipated 100th day of first grade! Students participated in 100th day activities throughout the day, from the moment they walked in the door until the moment they left! It was a busy, fun day! Thank you to everyone who sent in items for the snack and some of the activities. Your generosity is very much appreciated!

Ribbon at the door helped to create a festive atmosphere!
Everyone got a bag full of 100th day treats when they arrived at school.
Math stations were all related to the number 100--"Race to a Dollar" is a game where the goal is to roll the die and trade up from pennies, to dimes, to a dollar (100 cents)! The Tally Mark Game was a race to see who could make 100 tallies first by rolling a die and adding tallies to a chart.
This may have been the day's most popular activity--counting 100 marshmallows and building structures with toothpicks and marshmallows.
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Some students worked as a team, some preferred to work alone. Either was fine!
The number 100!
A team-created 100 with smiley faces in the zeros. :-)
Students from our class and Mrs. Hughes' class were mixed up and went to both rooms to do 100th day projects. We made 100th day crowns in our room!
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It was fun to see students from Mrs. Hughes' class!
After lunch, students were surprised by a hunt for 100 Hershey Kisses! I labeled each Hershey Kiss with a number, 1-100, and students were each invited to find 5 to bring to the 100 grid on the carpet. We worked as a team to find all 100 kisses...but a few were not found until today! :-)
Students had to cooperate to place the kisses in the correct spots on the grid.
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Numbered Hershey Kisses--a close-up.

Counting Unifix cubes during our 100th Day-themed choice time.
We made a tasty 100th day snack mix!


Everyone's job was to count 10 of all 10 items to make a 100th day treat. The Hershey Kisses were everyone really had 105 items in their baggies!
These boys got well beyond 100 in their structure, which spanned several tables.

100 marshmallows? I'm not sure, but they sure worked hard to make this three-dimensional and to get it to stand up!
Students were given the a 1 and two zeroes to make the number one hundred on construction paper and to then turn it into something else. This project took place when students rotated between our room Mrs. Hughes' room. This was Mrs. Hughes' fun project!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Night Sky Unit and Observatory Visit

Our next unit of study in science is "The Night Sky"! I am excited to begin this unit after we complete our study of magnets. Our study will focus on the moon (the lunar cycle, specifically), but we will also learn a bit about the stars and planets. We will begin this study the week of Feb. 14th and an optional field trip to the St. Michael's College Observatory will happen on 2/16/11! We will continue learning about the night sky after we return from our February break. 

A notice was sent home on Friday about a visit to the observatory at St. Michael's College on February 16th @ 7:00. All four first grade classes are invited, but each class was given a 15-minute slot to tour the observatory and look through telescopes. In the past, we've schedule an hour for all classes and it was quite crowded, so the shorter scheduled window of time should help alleviate this problem and give your child more of an opportunity to explore the observatory. I plan to meet everyone at the observatory, but children must be with the adult who brings them to the observatory at all times during this visit. It should be a fun, valuable learning experience!

We love to read!

The students in Room 6 seem to have a genuine love for reading. It is so wonderful to watch and listen to them read, especially when they choose their own partners. This is a glimpse into our "Read to Someone" time...students chose their own partners on this day and loved it! On Friday, students gave me names of three or four students they think would make great reading partners for them. Since we have a new student in our class, it's time to change our reading partnerships and change is often a good thing anyway. I will be pouring over their lists today and making new partnerships to begin tomorrow! 

We can't wait to read to everyone at the "We Love to Read and Write" celebration on February 14th at 1:15 p.m.!

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Some recent happenings in 1st grade

Here are a few photos that tell about some of our activities last week:

On Monday, we started our day with a school-wide meeting. We also had a new student, Lexey, join our class from Hawaii! It was a very exciting day! At the school-wide meeting, Olivia was one of the first graders who read the "No Bullying Pledge" to the entire school! Hooray, Olivia!
We continued to add reading strategies to our CAFE board last week, and we practiced making mental images. Here, students were drawing their mental images after I read a poem about the winter sky. We talked about why everyone's drawings were different (we all have different background knowledge, or "schema"). 
The 1st grade scientists watched the BrainPopJr. video about Magnets one more time, this time with the option of taking notes with a clipboard while watching. Everyone recorded four interesting or new facts they learned about magnets. 
Some students wanted to take notes as they watched the video. Others chose to watch the video and then record their ideas. Both were fine--I offered both as options since we all learn in different ways! Also, students could decide whether to draw their thoughts, write their thoughts, or draw AND write their thoughts. 
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Thursday, February 3, 2011

100th Day Projects

Just a quick reminder that your child can bring in his/her 100th day collection in the plastic baggie provided anytime between now and the 100th day. If you need another gallon-sized bag to hold the collection, please let me know. A few students wondered if they could do something on paper or cardboard and then put it in the bag. The answer is YES, of course! It could also be a necklace or chain of some sort, a design created from 100 of something out of some sort of craft or food material...the sky's the limit.

Also, I sent a class list on the back of the note about the 100th day project and Valentine's literacy celebration notice. Please let me know if you need another copy. Thanks!

Date change for 100th day, items still needed, and paper towel rolls... :-)

The much-anticipated 100th day of school has been postponed until Tuesday, February 8th due to Wednesday's snow day. What fun we had today in all that gorgeous snow when we went out for recess! It was great to see the sun and to get outdoors. 

If you have signed up to contribute items for the 100th day activities that will take place throughout the day, please send them in by 8:30 Tuesday morning. Thank you! We still need a few times--if you are able to contribute please visit THANK YOU!

Also, we really need more paper towel rolls for the number scrolls we are making in math. If you have any, please send them to school.