Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bike Trip 2012

Thank you to EVERYONE--each and every family--who helped make the annual bike trip a success once again! From dropping off/picking up your child's bike at school, to packing the cold lunches, to accompanying us on the trip as a bike rider or crossing guard--it took all of us to make this work!

We had a great day for biking--not too hot or cold, but just warm enough with some cloud cover so no one overheated. Hooray! We had a few bumps and scrapes, but no serious injuries. Hooray! Most of all, everyone I talked to had fun. Hooray!

Thanks again for a wonderful day. This is one of my favorite field trips!

Posted by Picasa

Potato Planting

I hope your child's sticker, which read, "I planted a potato today, ask me how," prompted some good conversation about our potato planting activity on Thursday. UMS and the Colchester Food Shelf have formed another partnership in addition to our food drives--planting potatoes for Tuberville, an organization which grows potatoes for those in need. There is now a potato patch behind the new Colchester Food Shelf (next to our school) and the first graders were the first to plant the potatoes that will help provide food for those in need come fall harvest time. And, when that harvest time comes around, our students will be second graders and they will help harvest the potatoes. What a great way to be involved in helping our community! Great work, 1st graders!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Four Winds Day 2012

We had a great Four Winds Day on Thursday last week. It was windy, warm, and FUN! This year's topic was ferns. Students went to four stations outside to learn more about ferns and then watched a great puppet show presented by our volunteers in the afternoon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ah, what an exciting day! This is the first Animoto video I'll create...I have a feeling there will be more as the chicks come out of the incubator and into their new habitat. Stay tuned! (And see below for a video of a chick hatching taken today).

The first hatch!

It was pure excitement as students gathered around the incubator to watch our first chick hatch this morning. They hatched a day early...well, three of them did! We are hopeful that there will be more when students get to school tomorrow.

This video is a little long, but I think it's worth watching. We were able to do a "simulcast" (thanks for the reminder, Mr. Antonicci!) on the whiteboard using the Apple TV as I recorded the hatch using the iPad. This allowed everyone to see the action, even if they weren't standing right at the incubator. The excitement in the room was contagious! (And if you're wondering why students are cheeping, we decided the chicks needed some encouragement to hatch! Some students think the chicks respond well to our singing too.) :-)

Bike Safety

Mrs. McCleary came in to talk to our class and Mrs. Hughes' class about bike safety this morning. This lesson was created because of our upcoming bike ride field trip on May 31st. Mrs. McCleary reminded students about the importance of having a bike that's in good working order, wearing a helmet, and following bike bath etiquette. Students even went outside and pretended to ride bikes to practice bike path etiquette (riding single file, staying on the right, stopping and watching for cars before crossing at crosswalks, etc). We are very excited for our upcoming trip!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Field Day T-Shirts

We will be decorating white t-shirts for students to wear at Field Day on June 6th. If possible, please send a clean white t-shirt for your child to decorate at school. I will keep these in the classroom after we decorate them and keep them for your child to change into before we leave for Airport Park on the morning of Field Day.

Please send the t-shirt (marked with your child's name on the inside tag/collar) by Tuesday, May 29th. Thank you!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chick Hatching VoiceThread

The VoiceThread below will be used tomorrow to help us review what has happened so far in the incubation phase of the chicken life cycle, and it will also help prepare students for what is to come over the next few days. We are really hoping to have a successful hatch this year! It's important to note that a 50% or higher hatch rate is considered good. Since we had 13 eggs, we're hoping at least 6 or 7 will hatch. Two never started development. We'll keep you posted!

I will be working with students on how to add their comments, questions, thoughts, etc. to the VoiceThread. Then, they can teach you to do the same! A VoiceThread is meant to be a collaborative tool. Stay tuned for more, as we will be adding to it as a class as the chicks hatch.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fluency practice, wonderful writing, and math at Morning Meeting...

Fluency Practice:
This week, we added another choice to our literacy station schedule--fluency practice using an app called Audioboo on the iPad. It's a pretty basic recording app, but WOW--student motivation to read independently SOARED last week! I have never seen so many students choose "Read to Self" as their literacy station as they did last week. Hearing themselves read was a huge motivation. Students practiced their reading and recorded it until they thought it sounded fluent. They could then save their fluent recording to share with me/others. If you have a recorder of some sort at home, I'd recommend inviting your child to use it to record their reading. They loved hearing themselves and I heard some pretty amazingly fluent reading! 

Here are a few photos of students using the Audioboo app:


Wonderful Writing:
These two girls worked collaboratively to write a book about chicks last week. They were excited to share it with our class, and the class was a very appreciative audience!

Math at Morning Meeting:
Math happens a lot more than just during math time! For example, one of our morning greetings last week was the dice roll addition greeting. Students touch the dice on the interactive whiteboard, add the total, and count that many people around the circle. They greet the person they end up facing. For example, if the roll was 3+4+2, they student would count 9 people around the circle and greet the ninth person. Then that person would take a turn rolling and adding until everyone has been greeted. We discussed how it's best to start with the largest number, try to find a fact you know "in a snap" (for example, 4+3=7 and then add the last number, so 7+2=9. I am trying to break the habit of counting all the dots on the dice to determine the total. Counting on is more efficient and having fact power (knowing the sum automatically or with very little thought) is even better.
Posted by Picasa

Four Winds: Camouflage

Our most recent Four Winds science lesson was about camouflage and its importance in nature. Mrs. Gamelin delivered another amazing lesson! 
Learning about the six different types of camouflage in nature through the puppet show.
There were lots of items hidden in the woods at the back of the school--students had to look for them and determine if they were camouflaged by their surroundings. Why does camouflage help animals in nature?
Do you see the paintbrush? 
This little birdie found a lot of "worms," but some were more camouflaged than others!
Find those worms, little birds! :-)

Principal of the Year!

I am sure that you have all heard by now, but I cannot neglect to mention it on the blog. We are so honored to have the Vermont Elementary Principal of the Year at our school! Way to go, Mr. Antonicci! We have known this all along, but you certainly deserve this official recognition. You put Union Memorial School on the map and helped make it an amazing place to learn (and work)! 

Our class was the model class at the last School-Wide Meeting of the school year a couple weeks ago. This meant we arrived in the gym first to show other classes how they should look and sound as they sat down for our School-Wide Meeting. I took this chance to get a picture with Mr. Antonicci before the rest of the classes arrived. 
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 14, 2012

Guidance Update

Mrs. McCleary has just finished with the personal safety unit in guidance.  Please check out her blog for more information about what was covered.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope that all the mothers/grandmothers who read this blog had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. It was a fantastic weekend for me. I feel very fortunate. I also hope that your Mother's Day card/book made it home safely. It was a light photo week for me, so watch for more blog updates this week. We are certainly busy in first grade, and there's always a lot to share! Have a great week!

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mirroring with the iPad using Apple TV

It has been wonderful having access to multiple iPads for the past several weeks. The iPad cart is such an amazing resource! We use the iPads in many ways--the photos below show students working with a partner to show given amounts of coins. Once everyone had enough "think time" to come up with coin combinations that equaled the given amount, students were invited to mirror their solutions on the interactive whiteboard. Mirroring means that whatever is shown on an individual iPad can be projected onto another screen. This allowed several student partnerships to show their work and describe their thinking in a relatively short period of time. 

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The eggs have arrived!

If you haven't heard about this, I'd be extremely surprised, but THE EGGS HAVE ARRIVED! The much-anticipated chick hatching science unit has begun. We are now studying the life cycle of a chicken, and we have the privilege of incubating 13 chicken eggs with the hopes that in 21 days we'll be the proud "parents" of 13 healthy chicks! Yesterday we prepared the incubator, and today we set the eggs in the incubator. Stay tuned for more news about our eggs...

We're excited to put these eggs in the incubator!
Our lovely nurse, Mrs. Kelly, talked to students about the importance of careful hand washing (for our health and the health of the developing chicks) since students may have the opportunity to turn the chick eggs. She washed each egg and I marked each one with an X and an O and a number. The letters help us keep track of which eggs we've turned and the numbers will allow us to track the growth inside each egg. We will be looking inside each egg on Monday to check development through a process called candling. 
A student held the incubator cover while I set the eggs in. I really didn't feel nervous holding them like that, but looking at the picture makes my stomach drop! Good thing I waited tables for many years--great balance!  
Replacing the incubator will now only be opened for turning the eggs (ask you child how many times per day we are supposed to turn the eggs) and taking the eggs out to be candled. How warm should the incubator be? Ask a 1st grader!
Our 1st egg turners! Their badges say, "Official Egg Turner: I turned an egg today. Ask me how!" This group is also working on a short iMovie about this first stage in hatching chicks. Watch for it to be posted soon...

Before vacation...catching up a bit

It was a very busy week before vacation, so I didn't do a lot of blogging. There were some exciting happenings, though! See the photos below for a glimpse of some of the events from the week of April 16th. It was great to see many of you for our Red Clover evening on Thursday, April 19th. I did not take photos at that event (the pig puppet activity was MUCH to busy for me to stop to take pictures), but it seemed like a good time was had by all.

It was Spirit Week at UMS! This is a picture from hat day. 
We've enjoyed using the website Into the Book to review and practice reading comprehension strategies.  Check it out  if you haven't already.   
Showing our work using iPads and the Apple TV continues to be a favorite way to practice skills and share our learning.Counting base ten blocks was the focus of this lesson.

Red Clover afternoon at school on April 19th was a bit hit! It began with a skit performed by many UMS staff members. They acted out scenes from the Red Clover books and students had to guess the book. What fun! Students then went to two different book-related art activities. Ask your child what she did and whose classroom he/she visited that day. 
Mr. T acts out Stand Straight, Ella Kate
Mr. Antonicci and other teachers helped recreate Nabeel's New Pants
Bink and Gollie was a very popular book!
I led an activity related to the book Art and Max by David Weisner. Students from all grade levels and many different classrooms came to read the book and create some lizard artwork!

On the Friday before vacation, we Skyped with a class in Georgia. We gave clues about our location and they guessed where we were. We did the same to figure out their location. It was a great way to help students think more about U.S. geography! We also compared climate and weather. It was fun to Skype in pajamas, since it was pajama day at UMS. 
It was hard to figure out their location, and vice versa. We used all of our clues to help them!
Posted by Picasa