Monday, May 30, 2011

Bike Ride Preview/Tips Video

This video is meant for UMS 1st graders, but anyone's welcome to watch it...

I took some video clips while riding my bike today. I was thinking of things that students should know about bike path etiquette before our trip. I notice when I run/ride on the bike path that a lot of people don't always know what to do when passing, pulling over for a break, etc. So, I was inspired to take some quick videos to show what to do in these situations. It's not perfectly polished, but I think it will help make our trip go more smoothly. It's only fun if everyone's safe! Note (for those who watch the video): If you're wondering what I mean about cars on the bike path in flooded areas, let me clarify: on the south side of the bike path bridge between Colchester and Burlington, there is an area with significant flooding. This does not affect the path itself, but some homeowners have had to park their cars on the side of the path. Not many, but there are a few. I just want students to be aware to go around the cars and know that they are parked and not driving.

The filming is quite shaky in the video--beware! I was riding my bike, after all. You may get a bit motion sick! ;-) And there's a little mistake in the credits at the end. Oops! :-)

Bike trip photo preview

I made this slideshow to show students a little bit about what the our path will look like on our field trip this week. I took a ride with my son, Will, today and took photos along the way. It was a great day for our bike ride, and so far Thursday's forecast looks good too!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Goodbye, baby chicks!

We had lots of fun with the chicks while they were at school! Today was the last day they were in our classroom, and it was a good thing since they were outgrowing the tank! :-) It was time for them to go to their new home at the UVM farm. They will have room to roam and will be with lots of other chicken friends. And our room will smell a lot better! ;-)

Here are some pictures of the times we had the chicks out to hold...

First graders in action...

"Take my picture!" Here are a few moments that some students wanted you to see. :-)

Team work and a cool pattern block design!
Inspired by our chicks. 
More creativity inspired by the newly hatched chicks...who are watching from in the tank! :-)
Reading around the chick tank was a popular thing last week! 

A great cause...

Relay for Life

This is the first time that I have used my blog as a way to get the word out about a great cause, but I think it's worth a try! The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life will take place on June 24th-25th this year at the Champlain Valley's Fairgrounds. Tricia McMahon, Austin's mom, will be taking part in this very important event to honor the memory of her mother who passed away in March. For more information on Tricia's relay team, please visit:

Trish has also sent in containers to collect donations to fund the effort to help find a cure for cancer. There is a bucket in the staff room in the front of the building, and there is also a can in our classroom. If you'd like to donate, please send the money with your child in his/her green folder. Just be sure to note that it's for the Relay for Life.

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Watch a chick hatch!

I was able to capture a video of one of our chicks hatching today. You can hear how excited students were about this! I had to keep the incubator in a protected location, so that it wouldn't get bumped and jostled during incubation. It's sitting at our writing station near the main classroom door. It was safe there, but it made for some strict rules about crowd control around the incubator. It was hard, but children did a good job of waiting to be invited up to the incubator, even when they knew big things were happening inside. Fortunately, we had a lot of hatching action today, so everyone got a glimpse. 

This video shows one chick will hear just how excited everyone got (and me doing crowd control)! I love what Alexis says at the end. Listen for it. :-)

Our newborns :-)

We had lots of birthdays to celebrate in our classroom today--eight to be exact, at least as of the time I left school this afternoon. We incubated 13 chicken eggs, and so far, eight have hatched! We know that there are more likely to hatch this evening and overnight, as several more eggs were "pipped," meaning they have the first hole/crack in the shell which means a chick is working its way out. There are two eggs I am not sure about, but if we have 11/13 hatch, that is considered excellent in the world of chicken embryology. In fact, a hatch rate of 50% is considered normal. 

The students in our class were excellent scientists and took great care when turning the eggs. Maybe this helped our hatch rate?! In any case, we are all extremely excited about the new babies in our room. They hatched on Day 20 of incubation, which is on the early side, as 21 days is the average incubation period. But, as I explained to students, human babies have a due date, but the actual birth does not often happen on that predicted date! With chicks, it's a bit more exact, but it helped everyone understand that we did keep the correct count of days and that's just nature for you! :-)

Two of the first three chicks that hatched overnight.
It's neat to watch the chicks gather together and huddle near eggs to "cheer on" the chicks  still trying to hatch.
This one had JUST emerged. So exciting! You can see its ear!
The big brothers and sisters attended the birth of their new sibling. :-) 
Tomorrow I will move the chicks from the incubator to a tank with food, water, and a heat lamp. They need to stay in the incubator until they are fully dry. The chick on the left must've been one of the first-born. It's already bigger and is nearly dry.

Chick watch

Boys and girls took turns watching the incubator today. There was A LOT going on in there...never a dull moment! Everyone was able to see the chicks in some stage of hatching, and some were lucky enough to watch the chick emerge from their eggs. Fortunately, we had great egg watchers and I was able to catch one of the hatches on video for everyone to see.

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Checking in...

The chicks are the BIG news in first grade, but here are some other things that have been happening...

We've learned LOTS of new red words this year! Since we're nearing the end of first grade, this is great time to review how to spell them and to practice writing them neatly! SWR BINGO was a fun way to do this!

One day we wrote the words and got our BINGO boards ready...

The next day we played BINGO! Everyone earned a prize. I just ran out of time to hand them out...oops! Tomorrow!

The class worked hard to earn their "marble jar reward" for good behavior on our tree chart. The class voted to have popsicles and play outside. It was not good weather for that, so we ate popcorn and Emily's birthday cupcakes and watched a Magic School Bus movie about the journey of a chick inside the egg. Very appropriate for our current science unit, and FUN too!

I have been incorporating some free choice during our math station time. Pattern blocks have been popular all year!
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Amazing art!

I am always so impressed with the high-quality artwork students do in Mrs. Derry's art class. They do not always take home their finished products right away. In fact, student artwork is normally collected throughout the year to be sent home in a special portfolio. This will be coming soon! Last Wednesday, when I went to pick up the students at the art room, they were lined up at the door with these cute birds made from Model Magic. I loved them so much--they are so bright and cheerful! Since the birds had to stay the night at UMS to dry more thoroughly, I took a picture. I hope they made it home safe and sound!

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St. Michael's College Observatory

Thank you to the many families who were able to make it our evening trip to the St. Michael's College Observatory. Although we had to visit during daylight (as our winter trip had to be cancelled due to large amounts of snow!), we were still able to see high-tech telescopes and go into the dome of the observatory to view the moon. We (re-)learned that it was a waxing gibbous moon that evening--it had been a while since we wrapped up our unit on the night sky. :-) Some lucky students were able to see craters on the moon!