Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Holiday 2011

I had some quality time with the iPad on our 15-hour drive to Michigan to visit family. I am learning how to use iMovie so we can use it in class. The video below is my first iMovie creation--made in the backseat of my car wedged between Patrick and Will. :-) We're here in Michigan now and having a great time! I hope you enjoy this video. It's a peek into the pre-holiday fun that happened in Room 6 last week. Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

No homework

There is no new homework for math or SWR this week. Several students were actually disappointed. Let's hope this great attitude towards homework lasts for a long time! Assignments will resume after the holiday vacation. Keep reading, though!

Reminder: Our "Holidays Around the World" party is Wednesday (12/21) at 2:05 in our classroom. Students will rotate through four stations: snack, game, project, and cookie decorating. All are welcome!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Creative builders!

Students were excited about some of the things they created during math and choice time on Friday. My camera was in high demand. I promised I'd post these photos for posterity--it's always hard to clean up after working so hard on something. Taking pictures helps make it easier. 

This student made a menorah with our giant Tinker Toys. What a great connection to our "Holidays around the World" study!

This was a great group effort!
I wish I could remember the details of what this is--it was very imaginative!
A house
A lion

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The latest...

Here is a brief update through photos about a few recent happenings in first grade...

Students enjoyed having hot cocoa and cinnamon rolls to celebrate St. Lucia Day. This holiday is primarily celebrated in Sweden and Norway and is the kick-off to the Christmas celebrations. Traditionally, children bring coffee and cinnamon buns to their parents in the early morning...we changed that around a little bit. :-) This is one of the holidays children learned about as part of our 'Holidays around the World' unit.
Students gobbled up these treats so quickly I almost didn't get any photos!
Our latest writing unit is about writing for many purposes. So far, students have written lists and cards. Card writing was very popular today! I was very impressed with students' careful work and sweet messages!
We also recently changed table spots. I allowed students to choose their new spots, with the stipulation that it should be a mix of boys and girls. They are doing very well in their new spots!
These two boys decided to make cards for each other. :-)
Look at this excellent work!
In math today, we started Unit 5 which focuses largely on place value. Students did very well counting base-10 blocks to figure out what number was represented. The next step is for students to show how numbers can be represented using base-10 blocks. These are a wonderful tool for helping children develop number sense and place value.

With the holidays just around the corner, the energy level in the classroom is quite high. Having at least 20 minutes of free choice time every day has been a positive way for children to use their energy in a creative, productive way.

These students worked cooperatively and imaginatively to create this  structure.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Writing Celebration!

We had our second writing celebration on Friday morning. This time, we celebrated in our classroom without Mrs. Hughes' class (as we're in a slightly different place in writing at the moment). We'll rejoin them for a future writing celebration for sure! The celebration in our classroom was nice because students were each able to share their writing with the students in their table groups. We then had a celebratory snack of Smartfood popcorn and apple juice. I complimented the writers on all their hard work. It was a great way to end our morning (and our week)!


As you know, we have started our 'Holidays around the World' unit of study. We started by thinking about  our place on the planet--our home, our town, our state, our country, our continent, our planet. We are currently making a flip book about these geography skills. Yesterday, student created these wonderful paper plate Santa Claus projects. A few students decided to make elves instead. I love the finished products! We will learn more about how Santa is depicted around the world, including names for Santa in various languages and differences in his clothing. This, of course, connects to the Christmas holiday, which is one of the traditions we'll study in this unit. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Four Winds--Pine Cones

Thank you, Mrs. Gamelin, for another great Four Winds class today! Students learned all about pine cones. Mrs. Gamelin first asked the class what they already know--and students knew a lot! She then showed them some examples of different types of pine cones and did a puppet show with pine cone characters. Everyone learned so much and were able to answer questions about pine cone facts after the puppet show. Students then got a pine cone to study and observe. Most students drew their pine cone and a few decided to take written notes on what they observed. Mrs. Gamelin showed students how to make a bird feeder to using sunflower butter and bird seed. Your child should have brought this home today to hang outside sometime soon.

Here are a few photos of the highlights of today's class with a slideshow showing all the photos I took during Four Winds today.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A "thinking cap"

This student had a warm head and some extra thinking power when he wore his new hat to do his math homework. I love it! He asked his mom to send me this photo, and I asked him if I could share it on the blog. Thanks to all families for being so great with helping your children establish the routine of doing homework. I hope you're having a great week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Math Resources

During parent-teacher conferences I spoke to several families about counting coins. This is a difficult skill for many first grade students. Check out http://www.mathwire.com/money/money.html for some excellent suggestions for helping K-2 students count coins.

I have updated the "Parent Info" tab above with this link and others.

School-Wide Meeting

Part of our school's Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning includes getting together regularly as a school community. We have a school-wide meeting each month and different teachers, students, and classes lead the school in a greeting, share, and activity. An adult reads the "News and Announcements." Our class enjoyed leading the greeting for the November school-wide meeting, and this time we enjoyed being excellent audience members and participating when appropriate. Here are a few photos from last Thursday's meeting.

These two students helped Mrs. Flanagan demonstrate a greeting. They were so brave to go up in front of the entire school!
Hooray for Ella and Jameela (and Mrs. Flanagan)!
Ms. Barnes class shared their thankfulness turkey. Isn't it wonderful?! Students shared their thankful writing.
Mrs. Hughes' class lead us in a super fun song with movements called "Concert Maestro." It's an old favorite at UMS, but it was new to most everyone in the audience.

More Measurement...

Last week we measured with both rulers and tape measures. We discussed why and how we might use each tool and why one might be better than another for certain uses. Then students practiced measuring one another using tape measures! They worked in partnerships and did VERY well with this activity. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Out of this world artwork!

I am so amazed at the artists in our class! Check out these beautiful works of art. Boys and girls worked diligently to create the Earth, moon, and stars using a variety of art media and techniques. It's not exact by any means, but we tried to show the relative size of the Earth, moon, and sun. We learned today while reading a nonfiction book about space that over 1 million Earths could fit into the sun. I told students that only a mere sliver of the sun could fit on their papers since the sun is SO much bigger than the earth and moon.

To create these collages, we spatter painted the construction paper background using tempera paint, used oil pastels to draw the Earth, mixed white/black paint and sprinkled it with sand to create textured moon paper, and tore/glued tissue paper on construction paper to create the sun. The Earth, moon, and sun were all cut and glued onto the background to create these amazing collages! I hung them up in the hallway after school and will snap a photo tomorrow to show ALL the finished products. They're eye-catching and have already received numerous compliments from other teachers. :-) Watch for your child's "lap book" about the moon to come home tomorrow or Monday. 
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