Friday, March 30, 2012

An Amazing Food Drive!

Thank you to all who were able to support the food drive for the Colchester Food Shelf this week. The classes at UMS are taking turns collecting food throughout the rest of the school year, and this was our week. Our class and Mrs. Hughes' class collected a lot of food--WOW! We took a walk this afternoon to drop off our donations to the food shelf next door. The volunteer there was so happy to see all that was donated, as the shelves were starting to look pretty bare. It was great to see students excited to give to those in need. It was a quick trip, but a very important one. Again, thanks for the donations!

Posted by Picasa

New technology!

This was another exciting week in terms of technology in our classroom! I introduced the MP3 players (thank you to the four families who offered to record books on MP3 for us!). Students enjoyed listening to the great recordings during our Reading Workshop. 

But, I don't think anything can compare to the excitement that resulted from the announcement that the new iPad cart is here! I have been researching and implementing instruction with the iPad throughout this school year. We are fortunate in our classroom to have had an iPad AND an Apple TV for a while now. Whatever is on any iPad can be projected onto the interactive whiteboard. This has allowed us to do some pretty amazing things! Your children LOVE the iPad and really enjoy using the apps. They all know what "mirroring" to the Apple TV means, so if you're not sure--ask a 1st grader! ;-)

So, today, when I announced that the UMS iPad cart is here and ready to go, students were SOOOO excited! (I don't blame them--it is an amazing learning tool!) We are part of a pilot at UMS. There are three teachers at UMS who are part of this pilot. Right now, the cart houses 20 iPads, and they are all equipped with apps that are appropriate for learning in the primary grades. The cart will be available to all beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. In the meantime, me, the other two UMS teachers, and the students in our classes will help work out the kinks. What a fun and useful task! I feel confident in saying that our class will do amazing things with these iPads. They are equipped with some great knowledge and motivation and are ready to GO!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nick Johnston (a meteorologist) Visits UMS!

Nick Johnston, meteorologist with ABC22 and Fox44 News, visited our class and Mrs. Hughes' class today at school. He came with a great slideshow and a miniature tornado science experiment he designed himself! Students asked many questions about weather, and Mr. Johnston was very patient about trying to answer everyone's questions--there were a lot! (Students seem especially interested in severe weather.) It was neat to meet a meteorologist in person and find out more about his job. I was impressed with how much students could share about what they know about weather too!

I took a few photos on the camera too, just in case the iPad pictures and video did not turn out...

Classes smiling with Mr. Johnston
Classes being silly with Mr. Johnston!
He was blocked in the group photos, so he got his very own personal photo with our special guest. :-)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I am trying to blog for the first time from the iPad using a few photos I took using the iPad. There is great excitement about certain books in our classroom right now. They are graphic novel/comic type books for children and, my goodness--what excitement! I cannot remember the title at the moment, but I bet your child will know if you ask. :-) I do not own any, but they sure are popular!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Skypin' about the weather

We put our web cam to good use again on Friday--we had a great Skype visit with a 2nd grade class in Ohio. The plan was great--our students would ask questions of the 2nd graders to try to figure out their location based on clues, and then our 1st graders would do the same. It worked great for figuring out the mystery location of the class in Ohio...until I let the cat out of the bag about our "secret" location. Oops! I inadvertently mentioned Vermont as the Ohio kids were describing their weather (we all had unusually warm weather last week). Oh no! Our class was pretty good natured about it, laughing that I was worried about them revealing our location accidentally and then it was ME who actually let it slip! The main focus of this virtual visit was to compare and contrast weather conditions as a part of our science unit about weather. It was a great activity for that, and it really got students thinking about US geography! We will have another Skype visit this week...and I will do my best to keep our location a secret! ;-)

I just loved seeing this student hard at work on this letter during dismissal time on Friday. I don't know if it was the Skype visit or what it was, but he left school very happy on Friday! :-) (There was more about how much "school rocks" but he wanted to take it home to work on it.) 
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Four Winds: Nests

I hope everyone has enjoyed this amazingly warm and sunny week! What a nice start to spring...

We had another great Four Winds session on Monday. I am so thankful that Mrs. Gamelin, the mother of a child in Mrs. Hughes' class, is willing to be our Four Winds volunteer. Thank you, Katy! The children enjoy Four Winds and are such keen scientific observers. It's fun to learn right along with them. Monday's topic was bird nests. Students watched a puppet show, studied real birds nests and drew them/took notes about them, and then went outside to work in teams to try to build a birds nest using nest-like building materials. We all realized that birds are pretty amazing creatures and are fantastic nest builders. It's not easy! Enjoy the Animoto video slideshow with some pictures from our lesson.

Math homework mistake

Hi everyone!
Sorry about the mistake with this week's math homework. I copied the fact triangles onto a double-sided page, which meant no one could cut out the triangles for practice without cutting into the work page on the other side. I told students that once their homework was checked and returned, they could cut out the triangles to use for fact practice. Sorry for any confusion!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Our Writing Celebration!

We had a great Writing Celebration with Mrs. Hughes' class last Friday. Check out the video I created on a new (to me) tool, Animoto. It's easy and fun! I think I'll have to teach students how to use this site. Enjoy!

St. Patrick's Day

Here's another video created on Animoto (I'm telling you, it's EASY and FUN!) showing a bit of our day on Friday. Thank you to all who sent something for our St. Patrick's Day treats. I am always humbled by your creativity and generosity. You're great!


We have been busy in first grade, as always! Our latest math unit has been great fun--I love teaching Geometry and the students seem to enjoy learning about it. We have studied both two- and three-dimensional shapes. Students have learned shape-related vocabulary, such as corners, sides, edges, faces, base, and vertice. They have also learned about symmetry and had a chance to find the line of symmetry in various images. We will do one of my favorite projects next week when students create symmetrical butterflies and dragonflies. Math is fun, and Geometry is especially fun (in my opinion)! Here are some pictures from last week, taken by students. 

Students explored shapes in many ways last week. They built shapes (2-D and 3-D) with straws and pipe cleaners, Wikki Stix, and some chose to explore shape building with toothpicks and marshmallows. There was some amazing teamwork in our classroom!
I introduced our new voice recorders to a small group of students this week. These will be used for MANY purposes--recording reading to monitor fluency, explaining a concept in math or science (which will allow me to hear students' thinking for assessment purposes), answering questions (again, an assessment tool for me), and much more.

Take 1, 2, 3, and 4 :-)

We had a Writing Celebration on Friday with Mrs. Hughes's class. I took these group photos with an iPad. I couldn't get back far enough to fit everyone into one shot, so I took several. It got to be a bit comical watching me try (I couldn't back up any more and had to contort myself into some interesting positions!). More pictures from the Writing Celebration to follow. Students read their latest Small Moment stories to at least one person from Mrs. Hughes' class and had a cookie at the end since they're such "smart cookies"!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A favorite Morning Meeting Activity...

It was a busy video day in Room 6 today! I have been experimenting with taking videos on the iPad and using various programs to edit/upload them so I can (soon) teach students to use these functions/apps. (Although, I have to say that they might know more than me about some of this!) One of our favorite Morning Meeting activities is "Double This, Double That." Have fun watching the video to learn more!

The Water Cycle Song

Our study of weather has been great so far! Have you heard the "Water Cycle Song" yet? If not (or even if you have), check out our video below. Students are learning some pretty sophisticated scientific words! Evaporation, condensation, precipitation...impressive! This video was taken on the iPad--our favorite classroom tool!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Water Cycle

We are learning about the water cycle as part of our weather unit in science. Students have learned a water cycle song (video to come!), completed a water cycle labeled diagram, studied the cycle on a poster, and watched a cool stop-motion video about it. One student requested I post the video, since she likes it so much! So, here it is! I will add a "Cool weather sites" sidebar on this blog very soon. Stay tuned:

The Water Cycle stop motion from StopMoGo on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lino It!

We have been using a cool tool during our science time recently--Lino It. It's a web-based program that allows us to make virtual sticky notes and to change them in many ways--content, color, font, etc. Last week, we made two Lino It virtual bulletin boards with sticky notes to answer the questions, "What do you THINK you know about weather" and "What do you want to learn about weather?" It's important to find out what students already know about a subject and also to learn about any misconceptions students might have going into the study. If you look at our first board, you'll see there are some misconceptions we'll have to address during our unit. And it's extremely valuable to find out what students want to learn to make sure everyone's engaged and motivated!

It was great to hear students' thinking and to hear them discuss how we should move the sticky notes around according to commonalities, subject matter, and more. Very impressive first grade thinking!

Click on the links below to see our "Lino It" bulletin boards!

Just because...

I thought I'd share some recent photos...just because! :-)

This was an impromptu photo taken on the iPad for our Morning Message. :-)
The class is ready for sharing time...and unfortunately the person who was about to share is not visible in this photo. Oops!
Lake UMS. Everyone should still bring boots to school. It's muddy and wet out there!
This student is wearing a labeled diagram of a truck on his shirt. I thought it was great because we were studying nonfiction text features at the time. :-)
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Our first Skype call!

Our Skype video call with author Natasha Wing was a success! Yesterday was World Read Aloud Day, so it was great to celebrate in this way. Mrs. Hughes' class joined our class, and the students were an excellent audience for Ms. Wing. She told me initially she'd only have time to read the book aloud, but it turned out she had time for a few question at the end. Very exciting! Remember, if you'd like to order a signed copy of The Night Before St. Patrick's Day, the orders are due tomorrow (Friday, March 9th). 

Posted by Picasa