Friday, November 30, 2012

Goodbye, Miss Dube :-(

We will miss you terribly, Miss Dube! This video will be shown at today's goodbye party.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Looking for maps!

Do you have any maps around the house or in your car that you do not need anymore? We have officially started our social studies unit about mapping/our place in the world. I went and purchased some great new atlases this evening, and we have several great map books in the classroom too. However, having a variety of maps for students to explore in the classroom would be WONDERFUL! So, if you do have some extra maps, please send them in. Also, if you're out and about and see a display of free maps, please take some for us! Finally, any geography-related books, games, puzzles, activities would be excellent to have in the classroom--either for loan or to keep if they are not being used at your house. Thank you!

The end of November already?!

The school year is FLYING by! I cannot believe we're already at the end of November. We're officially in the second trimester of first grade, and things are going very well. These first graders are hard workers! 

Students have been diligently working on publishing one of their 'small moment' stories during Writing Workshop. This was quite a process! First, students chose a piece to edit and revise. They then worked with a partner to improve their writing through revision. Next, I typed everyone's story and students cut the words and glued them into a special publishing booklet. Finally, they created illustrations using many types of crayons. Many students have been very careful in their publishing efforts, and their dedication shows in their beautiful work. We will have a writing celebration with Mrs. Hughes' class soon. Each time we publish, the finished product will be a little bit fancier/more elaborate, and the celebration will be too. Our community of writers is AMAZING in Room 6! Here are some photos I took during a recent publishing work session...


iPads are a highly motivating tool to use for any subject area, but they are especially appealing for spelling--it turns a somewhat dry subject into something much more exciting! Students enjoy the Word Wizard app, among others.

Measurement is the topic of Unit 4 in math. So far, students have practiced reading thermometers, measuring with rulers and tape measures, using body parts to measure, and just today we practiced time to the quarter-hour (a VERY hard topic). Measuring is FUN! I think some students wish we could do measurement all the time in math. :-) Not only is it fun, it's also a very practical skill. Here are some students using a tape measure to measure the width of various body parts (wrist, elbow, ankle, head, hand span). The results were recorded in their math journals.

Free choice is always a favorite part of our day. Although many students like the draw/color during free choice, I'm trying to encourage everyone to branch out and do different activities once in a while. The Legos and painting have been popular, but in our classroom, writing and drawing are always the top choice! Here are a few pictures from a recent free choice time.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy (Belated) Thanksgiving!

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We made turkey cookies last Friday, using Oreo cookies, M&Ms, candy corn, and frosting. They were a hit!

Also, thank you to all who met with me on Monday and Tuesday last week for a conference. It was great to see you again and share your child' progress.

Here are pictures of our turkey cookies:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Our latest iMovie: "What I Want to Be"

I am pleased to announce that our latest iMovie is now ready. Drum roll, please! I am so proud of Miss Dube and the class for creating such a wonderful project together. With this project, our community helpers unit in social studies has officially come to a close. Starting Monday, we will begin a more in-depth study of mapping/our place in the world (a topic which was introduced during the community helpers unit). This will lead into a study of December holidays around the world.

A (brief) look at the Daily 5

I know that the Daily 5 is  new term for most first grade families. I took a spur-of-the-moment video of students engaged in Daily 5 time last week. I decided to turn this short, unedited video clip into a brief, narrated iMovie. Forgive me tired-sounding voice--I'm fighting a chest cold--but I wanted to explain a bit about what was happening as I walked around the classroom. I hope you find this video helpful, or at least mildly entertaining! :-) (And if you notice anyone missing, it's most likely because they were in the loft reading OR out in the hallway reading with a parent volunteer.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Champ, turkeys, and measurement...oh my! (And more...)

Hello! It was a cold, sunny, and productive day in Room 6 at UMS! We've been in "wrap-up" mode. Our Community Helpers unit is coming to a close, we've started the publishing process again in Writing Workshop, and we put the finishing touches on some projects. 

Your child will be bringing home his/her report card tomorrow afternoon. The report card format is different than in previous years, so if you're familiar with the old first grade report card, you will notice that it looks different. Most of the grading criteria is the same. I will go over the report card with you at your child's conference next week. But, if you have questions in the meantime, please feel free to send me an email.

Enjoy these photos, and be sure to read the captions for more information!

Students made these fantastic, movable "Champ" puppets during their art class today. I think they are wonderful!
Students have been taking turns wearing the "Whiz of Is" crowns this week. This is just another fun way to help students remember our SWR "red words." :-)
Students made fringe cut turkeys this week--aren't they cute?! They spent some time today writing about what they are thankful for. The turkeys are displayed in the hallway and you can view them on conference day. 
Students have been working very hard on their lap books for our Community Helpers unit. These will come home soon. The iMovie will also be ready soon. I will post it this weekend, as soon as Miss Dube finishes her final edits. :-)
We have truly diligent workers in our classroom--I am truly impressed!
Hands down--Work on Writing in the most popular Daily 5 literacy station. These students love to write!
Students are logging onto RAZ-Kids at least once per week during classroom time. Remember, your child can log onto RAZ-Kids for extra reading/comprehension practice at home too. Most children really enjoy using this website. It can be accessed through this blog on the right-hand sidebar. 
Book Clubs are what I call our classroom reading groups. Your child meets with a teacher for small group reading instruction at least once per week, in addition to one-to-one conferencing. So far, the Book Clubs are going very well!
Students have been learning about ways to improve their "Small Moment" stories as we begin the publishing process. Today, students practiced editing a mixed up piece written by Miss Dube. What a great way to practice what it means to edit/revise writing to make it better. Everyone was very engaged.
Revising with Miss Dube.
Measuring to the nearest inch is one of the newest math skills we've been practicing. Students have also had fun measuring with non-standard units of measurement--their feet, fingers, hands, paperclips, cubes, and more!
"How Tall am I?" is a game that practices measurement. Many students played this game during their math station rotations today. Others may choose to play it tomorrow. There are other measuring activities open at the Hands On math station as well.
One of our new word families this week was the -ing family. Did you child bring home his/her "King of -ing" crown yet? I hope everyone remembers that -i-n-g says "ing"! Sometimes projects like this do the trick!

Have a great weekend, and I will see you on Monday or Tuesday for conferences!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Breaking News: Duck Wins the UMS Vote!

UMS students voted for the president this week--that is, their favorite children's book about the presidential election! :-) Every class heard both Duck for President and Grace for President either in the library or in their classrooms. They then voted in the library for their favorite of the two books. Duck for President won by a very narrow margin: 109 votes to 105 votes for Grace. What a great  voting experience. Thank you, Mrs. Flanagan!

Miss Dube's Solo Week

Hello, everyone! I hope you've had a great week. Since Tuesday, I have only been in the classroom a little bit, as it is Miss Dube's solo teaching week. She is doing a fantastic job, and I know your children are learning a lot! I have been busy too, preparing materials, working on report cards, and doing lots of lesson planning. This week, the only time I have been in the classroom is during Reading Workshop. We began "Book Clubs" this week! These are my small guided reading groups, and I meet with each group at least once per week. Students meet with me during either their "Read to Someone" or "Daily 5" time. It was fun to meet with (almost) everyone this week. I had to change one group's time, so they will meet with me for the first time next week. Mrs. Martell, our lovely classroom assistant, took some photos of Miss Dube and I in action today...

In this picture, students are learning what's in store for them today through the Morning  Message at Morning Meeting.
Hooray! Another iMovie is being produced and is coming soon! I think Miss Dube will be hooked on using iMovie after this project. It's so fun and easy to use! I can't wait to teach your children how to produce iMovies too. I bet some of them already know! The current iMovie is about careers and what children want to be when they grow up. 
Miss Dube loves UMS; UMS loves Miss Dube!
Today's Book Club groups met in our "downstairs library." They did a fantastic job reading their book!
Here's another Book Club meeting. :-)
Students have been using RAZ-Kids during Daily 5 time this week. They will visit this site each week on their new sharing/RAZ-Kids/book shopping day. Has your child logged into RAZ-Kids at home yet? They can! It can be accessed through the link on the top-right sidebar of this blog. I encourage students to use RAZ-Kids at home too. 
Students did very well on their SWR Proficiency Test #1 last week. You should have received the results in your child's home-school folder this week. They really know those red words. Ask your child what motion they're doing in this picture to practice those red words ("You can't sound them out, you just have to know them!). 
I think students enjoyed "back writing" to practice red words. :-)