Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Holidays Around the World Celebration Sign-Up

Our "Holidays Around the World" celebration will be on December 21st at 2:00 p.m. If you are willing to send something for the party, please visit the following link to go my Sign-Up Genius form:

Everyone is welcome to attend this party in our classroom!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Welcome back!

Everyone seemed ready to be back at school after their week-long Thanksgiving break! Thank you to everyone who was able to attend conferences last Monday. It was nice to see you and share your children's progress! First grade is an amazing year! You will see so much growth--your children are working hard!

Here are a few snapshots from yesterday...

Students can make a candle with tissue paper and glue at the art station this week. Candles are a part of every holiday tradition we'll study during our "Holidays Around the World" theme unit which begins next week!The directions for the project are posted for children to read and follow.
We are working on measurement in our current math unit. Yesterday students learned about measuring in inches using rulers.
Yesterday, students measured things less than 12" long, but we'll be using a variety of measurement tools to measure things and determining which tools work best for whatever it is you want to measure. Sometimes a tape measure is much more efficient than a ruler, and sometimes a ruler works perfectly. 
Kid Blog continues to be a popular activity during the school day and at home too! Please visit our students' blogs and feel free to leave comments. We will be working on creating proper titles and writing complete sentences in our posts. Soon, I hope to have students post photos too! In this photo, one student is showing another how to post links to other websites within a blog post. Cool!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Mrs. Sorenson's 1st Grade Class at UMS! I wish we were all pictured with our adorable fringe-cut turkeys, but I wasn't there the day these were made. These were the turkeys that spent the night in our classroom and were lucky enough to make it to the photo shoot! :-) I hope everyone has a safe and relaxing holiday. See you at conferences on Monday!

Fun with NED!

On Friday, the NED program visited our school! This was a one-man show that focused on 'N'ever giving up, 'E'ncouraging others, and 'D'oing your best! The cartoon character NED was used along with an amazing yo-yo display to illustrate how working hard and making good choices will help you to be successful! The children (and adults) truly enjoyed this wonderful assembly!

Gary starting the show!

Jared from Mrs. Hughes' class was the lucky winner of a yo-yo and balloon hat!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Resources

We have spent some time in class talking, drawing, and writing about thankfulness. Many students have created turkey art projects. We have read some great Thanksgiving books. Unfortunately, time did not allow us to delve too deeply into the history of Thanksgiving during our school day. If you'd like to explore more at home, the Scholastic website offers a wealth of wonderful resources about Thanksgiving. They are worth exploring.We will explore some in class on Friday, but we'll barely scratch the surface.

Click below to visit the Scholastic Thanksgiving resources!
The First Thanksgiving

More about the Moon

We are working on our new "lap books" for our study of the moon. We also did a lap book for our "All About Me" was the project that was in the creatively folded file folder, which is the lap book. This week students designed a cover for their moon lap books and we updated our moon observation logs, as we had gotten a bit behind. It was neat to hear first grade scientists making predictions about when the moon would be a quarter moon again. Someone predicted Thursday, and he was very close! Tomorrow will be a quarter moon. Students have been noticing the patterns in the moon cycle and are now very good at naming the phases.

Have you been able to do any moon watching as a family? It's been excellent to see it in the sky each morning recently. My son was so confused by that: "Mommy, why is the moon awake when the sun is awake too?" Gotta love the mind of a three-year-old!

We have also been working on an earth/moon/sun art project that was delayed due to my illness. :-( It will be worth the wait...

Guidance on Tuesday

Mrs. McCleary came in for her Guidance lesson this week with Kelso, a special frog puppet who helps teach students problem solving strategies. I created a VoiceThread to tell more about what students learned. You can click the right arrow at the bottom of the viewing window to see/hear each page or you can just let it play. If you click on the photos, they will zoom in and then zoom back out.

Pardon my sick voice in the narration. I'm just getting over a nasty illness. I plan to create a special Thanksgiving VoiceThread with students tomorrow when I'm back at school, so I wanted to practice ahead of time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

We are Bloggers! (And the "King of -ing")

It was an exciting morning in 1st grade! THANK YOU to Bekah Gwozdz and Tammie Wirtz, our reading volunteers, who donned their "tech help" hats to help students enter the world of blogging. I can see that some students have already let their families know about their new blogs--hooray! I welcome everyone to log in at home too. Some students asked if it's OK to blog at home. I said, "YES, of course!" I want students to feel free to write and post at home, and you can even include photos, videos, links, etc. if you'd like. Currently, we're just working on the basics in 1st grade--using a title and writing a sentence or two that connects to the title. And if that didn't happen yet--oh well! Everyone was able to log in, find their blog, and start typing. That's a HUGE step if you ask me.

Also, PLEASE leave comments (see for students. It's very exciting to receive comments. And invite other family members, near and far, to comment too. I am thinking about incorporating "blog buddies" (2nd graders) as we progress in this adventure, to help with spelling, grammar, etc. Right now, I was just really happy everyone was 1) EXCITED!, 2) inspired to write, 3) focused, and 4) learning how technology can offer us an audience for our writing. At some point soon, students will be adding photos to go along with their posts. One step at a time!

Today in SWR we learned about the -ing word family, brainstormed some -ing words, practiced writing the letter "g" and made these cool "King of -ing" crowns. Don't worry, boys and girls can both be kings in SWR. :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Report from our class reporter

I have the class reporter sitting next to me as I type, telling me some highlights of the past few days. Julliana came up with the idea, so she's our first reporter. Here's the report:

  • We are studying about the moon!
  • We have been counting money in class--pennies, nickels, and dimes.
  • We got new LEGOS and the boys like them. :-) (Mrs. S's note: I think some of the girls do too). 
  • We played Poison Ball in P.E.
  • Remember to bring your library book on Tuesday!
  • In Art, we are making masks! We are using paper, glitter, and beads.
  • We took turns playing instruments in the middle of the circle at Music. 
  • Julliana thinks we should get a bouncy castle at UMS. :-)
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


We took a bit of time during math stations today to do something fun...and delicious! Students created turkeys using Oreo cookies and various candies. Everyone's been working very hard every day in 1st grade, so a little treat was just the thing for a rainy afternoon. 

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wonderful Wednesday

We had a GREAT day at school today. Here's a peek in to a few of the many wonderful Wednesday moments that happened today in our classroom. Enjoy!

Our science station time was very calm and hard-working. Spatter painting was
a huge hit. We are working on an art project to go along with our study of
the moon/night sky.
The nice weather this week has put everyone in a good mood. Since today was especially nice, we spent some extra time outdoors.
It is always SO nice to see students helping one another. In this case, a student helped another without even being asked. She just wanted to help to her friend!

One student had the idea today that we should add the job of "Class Reporter" to our job chart. What a wonderful idea! She decided to volunteer to be the first reporter and to demonstrate what future reporters can do. Normally, reporters will take notes for a week and then share their notes with me to create a blog post for this blog. Since this is brand new, I just had to share her notes. Warm fuzzy! What great thinkers we have in 1st grade! 

Students as bloggers

As many of you probably already know, I went to a fantastic technology conference last week on Thursday and Friday. I learned a lot about integrating technology into the classroom in a way that engages students and enhances their learning. Students love this blog, so when I learned about sites out there that make student blogging simple, safe, and easy, I was ready to go! I set up a class blog site for us and posted the link on the right-hand sidebar of this blog. One student, Max, saw this link and got very excited about trying it. I showed him how to do it while he was waiting for his bus---pretty simple!

Today, Max made a good point. He wants people to see his blog posts but isn't sure they'll know to look unless I tell the world. So, here I am, telling the world! We now have student blogs. So far, Max is our only student who has posted. I plan to teach everyone how to post on our site on Friday. When I do, I will post a notification so you know to check.

For those of you how want to check now, here's the link:

I will send home printed directions on Friday about how to log-in, in case your child wishes to blog at home too.

Max and Austin were very excited to see their photos posted electronically...Mr. Antonicci has a "tie club." Any student who comes to school wearing a tie (as Mr. Antonicci almost always does), they can go to his office to get a picture with him. And, just for the record, girls can be in this club too. :-) Max--what a perfect tie for our current unit of study in science!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Quick updates

Hello and Happy Monday! It was another busy day in first grade. One piece of news today is that students met with their new literacy partners. They gave input on Friday about three people they thought would make good reading partners for our Read with Someone time. I then took their input and did my best to match everyone with a partner for reading and writing. Our partnerships change every 4-6 weeks, on average. Students were glad to participate in the process this time. I was especially impressed with how well everyone did during Writing Workshop writing with their new partners. Such great collaboration!

Literacy partners hard at work!
Another piece of news is that students will soon become bloggers! We will be using a site called One student noticed my announcement about blogging (see right-hand sidebar) when he was looking at our blog at home and asked during pack-up/dismissal time if he could write a blog post. Well, sure! I have not yet introduced this to the whole class, but I will soon. I will send instructions home at that time in case you want to try this with your child and/or leave comments for your child to read. 

A proud new blogger!
We started exploring Google Moon during science today. I am admittedly novice in exploring this tool, but I can tell it's a pretty great resource! It's a 3-D model of the moon online with links to videos and photos of the moon, lunar landings, and more. If you are familiar with Google Earth, you can find Google Moon within the Google Earth application. Google Earth is a free download. Here's more info:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Moon Watching Reminder...

I hope you and your child have had the opportunity to view the moon together over the past couple of weeks. We have had perfect moon-viewing conditions. If you have not yet had the opportunity, here's a link to a calendar that lists the moon rise and moon set times for our region: Moonrise/Moonset Calendar

The weather is supposed to be clear at least through Thursday, and Thursday is a full moon. So, this is prime moon-watching time. A key understandings for first graders is that the moon's appearance changes as time goes on. We have been discussing how the moon looks different throughout the month and these changes occur in a cycle. An important (but difficult) concept for first grade students to grasp is that the moon's size doesn't actually change. The amount we see is simply how much of the moon is lit by the sun.

We are keeping a moon log in class. We check this blog each day to see the current moon phase and record it in our logs. The BEST way to note these changes is live observation. So, please go out and see the moon! THANK YOU!

Our latest video is here!

At long last, the video the class worked so hard to create is complete. From thinking together about how we're alike and different, to creating Venn diagrams with a partner on paper, to rehearsing our video clips, to filming--this was a collaborative process! The final details were left to me. Going to a conference focused on technology for the past two days gave me the shot of motivation I needed to do the final touches on our "We Are Alike; We Are Different" video. Students will watch this on Monday as a class. As you're watching, keep in mind one of our essential questions for the "All About Me" unit: "How are we alike and how are we different?" 

1st School-Wide Meeting

On Wednesday, we had our first school-wide meeting. We will have these meetings at least once a month. It is a time for students to see what other classes are doing or learning, enjoy some time together, and hear about any important school news or announcements (Mr. T let us know that NED is coming November 18th - more to come about this later!). Often, classes will lead different parts of the meeting.

Mrs. McCleary lead our first school meeting.

Our class lead the greeting!
We taught the school how to do the "Martian Call." Fun!

Three of Mrs. Davis' students shared their hiccup poems.

Mrs. Helfrich's class lead an activity with song and motions.

Mr. T ended our school meeting with some news and announcements.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I am trying something new--Voice Thread. I recorded a message for students! Check it out!

Note: This is a very basic Voicethread! Also, there is a five second pause before you hear my voice.

Click here to hear it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Moon

In case you haven't already heard, we have officially launched our study of the moon in science. Today, students began a month-long Moon Observation Log. Each day we will check the moon phase on the internet and will record it in our logs. I encouraged children to go outside with an adult when it's dark to view the moon. The next 10 days are a terrific time to view the moon because the moon rise happens in the afternoon and the moon set happens after children's bedtimes. This makes it possible to see the moon during the day and at night (provided it's not overcast).

In class, we created a chart of what children THINK they know about the moon before starting our study. I want to be aware of what children already know and of any misconceptions. We will explore books, videos, websites, and do in-class explorations to help children learn more about the moon and it's phases. As we move along in our study, we will continually revisit our chart to confirm or revise the statements children made before we started our unit of study. Students have been VERY enthusiastic about learning about the moon--they are great scientists, I can tell!