Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recent happenings

Yesterday (Wednesday) was the annual UMS holiday sing-along. I wish our school were large enough to host everyone for this event--it is always so amazing! Kudos to Martie Mutz, our music teacher, for putting together such a fantastic program. One of our students was chosen to be a drummer for an African holiday song. She played wonderfully! 

Here are a few photos of the past two days in first grade..just a glimpse into the very busy days we've had!

Way to go, Miss A! Excellent drumming!
The annual "Jingle Bell Rock" performance by the teachers/staff. :-)
I LOVE Writing Workshop in our classroom. It's just such a productive and peaceful time of our day. (We are working hard on learning new vocabulary in first grade--today we talked about the word, "productive.") Can your child tell you what it means? Everyone loves Sharing Circle after writing time! 
We have some wonderful glittery poinsettias gracing the walls outside our classroom. The class learned that poinsettias are a popular Christmas decoration in Mexico (and here in the USA too). 
Students can now use a whiteboard during our calendar math time (math meeting). This has helped students become more engaged in the learning that happens during this important part of our math time. During our calendar math time, we discuss the date and the number of days we've been in school. We also practice counting coins, tally marks, and base-10 blocks. We  create number models for the 'number of the day,' as well as coin combinations that total that number. We also sing songs about the calendar, money, and numbers. 
Our 'Calendar Helper' leads the math meeting.
Wow! Check out this fantastic work with numbers!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Skippyjon Jones at the Flynn

I am pleased to announce that the first grade classes are going to see a theatrical production of Skippyjon Jones at the Flynn Theater on Wednesday, January 30th at 12:00 noon. A letter about this was sent home today. If at all possible, please return your child's permission slip and money by this Friday, December 21st. Thank you! We can take four chaperones, which is not always to case due to limited tickets. I will be drawing names on Friday for those slots--please don't send money for your ticket until you hear from me. This is a great event for our students to look forward to after the holidays!

Monday in Room 6

It was a productive Monday in Room 6 at UMS.  It is obvious that students are excited for the holidays and vacation--the energy level is high--but despite that, everyone worked very hard today! We are experimenting with some changes to our schedule--math earlier in the day and ending our day with social studies and free choice. Yesterday's free choice was a fun, happy time. Just look at the smiles in the photo below! I hope everyone has a great week.

Our study of winter holidays is in full swing! Students have 'traveled' to Mexico to learn about Las Posadas and poinsettias (we made beautiful glittery poinsettia art which will hang in the hallway soon!). They have also heard books and songs about Hanukkah and have played the Dreidel Game during our math station time. We have discussed our own family traditions and how we celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays. Students are working on a scrapbook that describes some of the the holiday traditions we learn about. Today, students learned about a Swedish holiday called St. Lucia Day. As part of the celebration, any families in Sweden drink coffee and eat special sweet buns that are served by the children (sounds good to me!). I switched this around a bit and surprised students with an end-of-day treat of hot cocoa and a sample of a cinnamon roll. I think most students loved this special surprise! I snapped a few (very quick) photos of our St. Lucia mini-celebration. 
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Base-10 Blocks

Students have been working with base-10 blocks during math time recently. These unassuming blocks are actually a powerful tool to help children develop a better understanding of numbers. I came across the following online guide for parents, and I think it's a useful resource for explaining base-10 blocks and the many other "manipulatives" we use during math time. Check it out when you get a moment. Students seem to enjoy using base-10 blocks, as it allows them to see numbers in a tangible form. So far we have used the blocks to help students add, subtract, and build their concept of place value. Students have done work with counting base-10 blocks in their math journals, as well as through math games during math workshop time and some of our online math games. The Unit 5 Everyday Math Family Letter (sent home last Monday) describes this, as well as other skills students are learning about in our current unit of math. 

In the photos below, students are using base-10 blocks to help them complete math journal pages and, the final photo, the student is using virtual base-10 blocks to solve a two-digit addition number story. 

Does your child access the Everyday Math games at home? If not, please encourage him/her to do so! Log-in information was sent home near the end of September. The directions to log-in are listed below. if you have lost/forgotten your child's log-in information, please let me know and I can send it to you again. There are some wonderful resources available!

Logging into Everyday Math Online

1. In a web browser, visit the home page at (You may want to
“bookmark” the address or save it as a “favorite” to get to it quickly in the future.)
2. In the Username box, type the LOGIN name from the Login Card that
your child brought home from school. Click the LOG IN button.
3. In the Student Password box, type or click the PASSWORD from the
Login Card, and click the LOG IN button. The teacher chooses the password format, but you
should see a form on screen that matches the format on the Login Card.

Your child may now use the features and components of Everyday Math Online. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Leading our School-Wide Meeting!

Last Tuesday, we led the school-wide meeting with Mrs. Hughes' class! Many students were quite nervous about this, but everyone did a very good job and I think most actually enjoyed being up in front. We started with a greeting for the whole school called "Where is...?" This song, sung to the tune of "Are You Sleeping?," is a popular greeting in our classroom. When we do this in the classroom, everyone hides. Then I sing, "Where is (person's name)? Where is (person's name)?" and the students respond, "Here I am. Here I am." Then I sing, "How are you today, Miss (or Mr.)?" and they respond, "Very well, I thank you" and I sing, "Come sit down, come sit down." Doing this with the whole school was a little bit different--we sang, "Where is Kindergarten, Where is Kindergarten?" etc. and the grade levels stood up and sang back to us, and then sat back down. There was no hiding involved! ;-) Everyone enjoyed the greeting. Then, we shared our "Community Helpers" iMovie with the school. Since the sound didn't work very well on the speakers in the cafeteria, many classes watched it again back in their classrooms so they could hear what was said. Finally, Mrs. Hughes' class lead the school in the activity--Oliver Twist. What a great School-Wide Meeting! We have these meetings once a month, and pairs of classes are taking turns leading the meeting. Excellent work, first graders!

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

What's new in 1st grade?

Enjoy a few photos from the end of last week...

Students were officially introduced to blogging, although not very many had a chance to actually create a blog post at school. This week, everyone will have a chance to post, as we should have a normal schedule every day! :-) They are certainly excited to blog, and I will post more about this as soon as all students have had an opportunity to create his/her first post!
Students are creating a great "Me on the Map" circle book for our latest lap book about mapping.  So far, they have created the first three circles for the book: our school, our street (Main St, where UMS is located), and our city (town, really). Tomorrow, we'll work on a page for our state. 
We have had fantastic work times lately. We have very hard workers in our class! They know that "Quality work takes time," and they certainly produce quality work! 
We are an amazing community of readers. :-)
Happy with books--what more could I ask for?
Miss Dube stopped by and she gave all of us a gift and we gave her the second part of our gift--the tote bag with books!
We had our picture taken for the yearbook on Friday afternoon, wearing our Champ t-shirts. I had mine on too, but I wanted to capture Miss Dube with the students since she happened to wear hers when she came for a visit! Nice planning!
We did a fun math/art project on Friday. Students created a snowy nighttime background with crayons/watercolor paint and then measured strips of green paper to create a measurement Christmas tree. The measurements were 1-7", but I gave them the freedom to use the pieces they felt made their trees look "right" to them. They are gorgeous and will be hanging in the hallway soon!
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Writing Celebration #2

We had a writing celebration on Friday last week with Mrs. Hughes' class. We met in our room for the first celebration, so we gathered in Mrs. Hughes' classroom for this one. Students shared their stories with two people from the other class. At the end of the celebration, every writer received a star necklace for being super star writers! Great writing, everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Farewell to Miss Dube, Part I

We had a nice farewell party for Miss Dube last Friday. She loved the piece of art we created for her--our class picture in collage form! Everyone is standing in the same places in the collage as they were for our class picture. I want a collage like this for my house--so colorful and beautiful. Miss Dube has already hung it up in her home. The framed version is photographed directly below, but the close-up is without the frame to avoid glare. The ice cream sundae party was a hit, as was the slideshow (shared in a previous post). Miss Dube will return Friday morning for the rest of her parting gift. :-) We miss her already!

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Holidays Around the World

Our holiday celebration will be on Friday, December 21st at the end of the day--2:00-3:00 p.m. I have created a Sign-Up Genius online form for those who wish to contribute food/other items for this celebration. You can follow this link or see the left-hand sidebar on the main blog page to access the Sign-Up Genius at any time.

Parachute fun in P.E.!

Although this video is already posted on Mr. T's P.E. blog, I want to be sure everyone sees it! Students were soooooooo excited to use the parachute in P.E. on Friday. I had fun watching this video, since I wasn't there for the activity. I think you will too. Thank you, Mr. T, for featuring our class in this video.