Monday, March 28, 2011

Fun Friday=Making Oobleck!

On Friday, we made Magic Muck (commonly known as Oobleck). This was a tie-in to our current procedural (how-to) unit of study in writing. I wrote a how-to piece about how to make this magical creation, and we made Oobleck to make sure my how-to directions were accurate. During this unit of study in writing, students are encouraged to "act out" the steps in the procedures they write to make sure they have included enough detail. We did more than act this one out--we actually made the end product. :-) Providing students with many examples of writing in a particular genre helps them to see/hear how that type of writing should look and sound. We have also explored many published how-to examples, with the intention of using these text models to influence/inspire students' writing. Watch for more hands-on "how-to" experiments to come! A copy of Friday's experiment, "How to Make Magic Muck (Oobleck)" was sent home in your child's green home-school folder. Try it, if you haven't already! Magic Muck can be both a solid and a liquid, which is a great preview of a future science unit--Solids and Liquids.


Officer Jaime Bressler of the Colchester Police Department visited our classroom on Friday morning for the first of four D.A.R.E. lessons. Here's a little info from the D.A.R.E. website ( 

This year millions of school children around the world will benefit from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence.
D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 43 countries around the world.
D.A.R.E. is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
Friday's lesson was about the difference between a true 9-1-1 emergency and an incident that would not require a call to 9-1-1. Students had great questions and by the end of the lesson, they seemed to know which situations would merit a call to 9-1-1 and which would not. A worksheet was sent home Friday to show what was discussed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thank you! (and a few other updates...)

I enjoyed seeing everyone last week for parent-teacher conferences! Thank you so much for being a partner in your child's education. It was great to take time to discuss your child's growth and progress. Many students shared how happy they were about having you come in to hear wonderful things about their learning!

Because of the busy week last week, I did not think to take many pictures, and I've been lax on that this week too. :( I do have some photograph-able things planned tomorrow, so I will try to do some more updates this weekend). Students have done some amazing artwork and we've learned about some pretty cool things! So, stay tuned...

THANK YOU to the many people who responded to my last-minute request for a green snack for St. Patrick's Day. I was amazed with how many sent special green treats. We had enough to last for two days! We had lots of green veggies (cucumbers, broccoli, celery, and green peppers) with green french onion and green ranch dip; green grapes; green kettle corn; mini green chocolate chip muffins; green Rice Krispie treats; and green sprinkle sugar cookies. Wow!!! 

Students were multi-tasking--eating a green St. Patty's Day snack and drawing an Earth with oil pastels for our latest hallway artwork. I will post photos of the finished product soon! 

Green all around!
Today (Thursday, March 24th),  students who earned four or five stickers on their weekly chart were invited in for "Lunch Bunch" in the classroom. This week, the same rules apply to earn Lunch Bunch next week (four or five stickers), but next week students will have to earn FIVE stickers to participate the following week. Way to go, LUNCH BUNCH students! :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Puzzle Mania!

Students had some free choice options during math last week, and puzzles were one of the choices. Wow--they were POPULAR! It was neat to see so many students collaborating to complete these puzzles. And it was so calm and harmonious. Lovely!

Students learned the Attribute Train Game this week. These attribute blocks are different shapes, sizes, colors, and thicknesses. In this game, the block can only differ in ONE attribute from the previous block to be added to the train. It is challenging, but fun!
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Immersion--How-to books

We have now officially started a non-fiction reading/writing unit of study about procedural writing, which we call "How to" writing. Students studied published how-to books to get smart writing ideas to use when they begin to write in this genre. They certainly noticed a lot about the characteristics of this type of book!

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Oreo Moon Phases

We used Oreo cookies to learn about moon phases yesterday. I did the "carving" of the cookies while the scientists recorded their observations. They all ate a cookie as a reward for their hard work. :-)

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The day after the snow day!

We had a snow day on March 7th--a good, old-fashioned snow day when it was truly better to stay home if at all possible. The roads were awful, and I don't know about you, but we weren't plowed out in our neighborhood until late that afternoon. 24+ inches will do that! :-) It made for FUN times on our playground that week. Now that mud season has officially arrived, it's actually kind of nice to see the pristine snow. But I want it gone--time for SPRING!

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences and Report Cards

It's hard to believe it's conference time again! Time has really flow by since we last sat down together in November. Right now, I am hard at work on your children's report cards and I still have a few assessments to wrap up tomorrow. It's amazing how much paperwork and information we have about six- and seven-year-olds! I look forward to seeing you and discussing your child's progress. Here are some piece of info you might like to know ahead of time...

  • You will receive your child's report card the day before his/her scheduled conference. 
  • I have posted my conference schedule in the sidebar on the left to remind you of your time.
  • 20 minutes will go by very quickly! I am committed to staying on schedule this time. So, please be on time and have your questions ready. 
Finally, there may not be many blog posts this week due to my busy schedule with parent-teacher conferences. I will do my best, but you may have to wait until next weekend to get a peek into what happens at school this week. :-)

Have a great week! See you at conferences!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hello, My Name is...

We had some fun with our red words today. At Morning Meeting, each student received a name tag with a word written on it. They were that word for the day for a few different activities. During Morning Meeting, students greeted each other by calling each other by their word name instead of their real names. Later in the day, students did the same thing again, but this time they had to "write" their partners' word on his/her back--we call this "backwriting." We will try this again soon with some of the hardest words from the Fry sight word list. It was fun, and by the end of the day, I think everyone could spell/read those words in their sleep! :-) And that's the whole idea...

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Random moments from this week...

"Mrs. Sorenson, can you please take our picture?" Students want you to see what they create during free choice time!
We used this morning to practice letter formation of lowercase e. First, I demonstrated. Then students tried writing an e on the Smartboard. I took one of our best examples and included it below, in "movie" format. Check out Sketchcast--it's easy and fun! (And it's a great way for me to demonstrate something written and then stand back to let students observe without my hands/arms in the way). It's also a great way for students to see something step by step. We'll be using this program more as we launch our "how-to" writing unit of study next week.

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Sharing at our school-wide meeting

Twice a month, we have school-wide meetings at UMS. This is a time for the whole school to come together to have a Morning Meeting. School meetings follow the basic schedule of our classroom Morning Meetings--greeting, sharing, activity, and message. We taught the school a greeting called "Sally Go Round the Sun, Sally Go Round the Moon." Not all children were comfortable with going up in front of the whole school  to do this, and I always make this optional. Someone took a video, so I will try to track that down and post it soon! We coordinated our greeting to go with Ms. Barnett's class' sharing of their moon artwork since all first grades are studying the moon! Everyone did a fantastic job!
Our greeting included a song with movements and then a handshake with a "Good Morning, ______!" to each new partner. 

After we demonstrated how we do the greeting, we invited the whole school to sing along and do the motions while sitting down. They then greeted someone sitting next to them!
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pizza Party

I hope you heard about our pizza party on Friday! As described in an earlier post, students earned their "tree chart" reward and voted to have a pizza party. What a great way to end our week!

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