Tuesday, April 30, 2013


This week's focus in SWR is making sure students are very secure in spelling all red (non-phonetic) words. We are also working on ending blends, -st and -nt. Everyone enjoyed doing crayon resist word writing on Monday. Ask your child to explain how it works!


We are reviewing a very important math (and life!) skill right now--telling time. Today, we used a giant interactive clock on the whiteboard to help us. This is a difficult concept and many students still need more practice with telling time to the five-minute interval on an analog clock. Keep practicing at home!
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The Eggs are HERE!

I am sure you've heard about the arrival of the chicken eggs in the first grade classrooms of UMS. It's quite the hot topic around our school! :-) Today, Nurse Kelly came in to wash the eggs to prepare them for the incubator and to explain the importance of good hygiene when dealing with eggs and chicks. We will be doing thorough handwashing to keep everyone safe. Today the eggs were set in the incubator, and tomorrow will be Day One of incubation. Watch for much more to come about this engaging science study.

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Pajama Day

The day before vacation was Pajama Day at UMS. Everyone enjoyed spending time with a stuffed animal or doll and going through our regular school day--in their pajamas! It was the first warm day of the spring, so I think some were feeling a little toasty by the end of the day. Nonetheless, it was a great way to end Spirit Week!

Ask your child to explain the greeting shown in the photo above. 
Read to Someone time was even more fun with stuffed animals!
Everyone was so relaxed for reading time!
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Thursday, April 18, 2013

"Fill a Bucket" Day

Today was our fourth day of Spirit Week at UMS, and we celebrated "Fill a Bucket" Day. I hope this day helped serve as a reminder of the importance of being kind to one another. Students enjoyed helping to fill this class bucket with "coupons" that told of each others' kindnesses. I noticed many students being very mindful of their actions and words today. Let's be "bucket fillers" every day. No "bucket dippers"!


Everyone seemed to enjoy creating bucket artwork today...I took a lot of the same photo in the hopes I could get everyone's face to show...I am not sure I succeeded, but these are fun to view anyway.

Kiera's family surprised her with a special t-shirt for today. Isn't it great?!
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"Fill a Bucket" Day

Tomorrow is "Fill a Bucket" Day at UMS, which is a day dedicated to the idea of being kind to one another in both actions and words. This, of course, is a theme that is part of the culture of our school every day, so tomorrow is simply a day to take time to celebrate and recognize kindness! If you are not familiar with the book, Have You Filled a Bucket Today, here's a link to a site with more information.

We will enjoy this catchy little tune tomorrow:

Have a great day, and be sure to be a "bucket filler," not a "bucket dipper"! :-)

Have you checked the other UMS blogs lately?

I am glad to see many regular visitors to our blog, but I want to be sure that everyone knows to check other blogs too! All our Unified Arts teachers (Art, Library, Music, P.E.) have a blog, and so do Mrs. McCleary and Mr. Antonicci. You can find links to their blogs here, which will take you to the "UMS/CSD Links" section of this blog.

Here is a video Mr. T. posted on his blog just a couple days ago. He takes lots of videos in P.E., so be sure to check his blog and his YouTube channel. Very impressive!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

More ice cream photos

As promised, here are more pictures of our ice cream experiment last week. It was a hit! It is a really simple recipe (click here if you want to see it...we used milk instead of half and half). It was a good demonstration of changing states of matter through adding or taking away heat. In this case, it was taking away heat (cooling) that made the liquid (milk, sugar, and vanilla mixed together) turn to a solid (ice cream). 



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

We made ice cream today!

Did you hear we made ice cream today? We finally finished our study of solids and liquids. (I guess it's hard to stop something when you're having fun...but it's time to move onto other fun science topics--weather and hatching chicks!). These pictures are just a few taken by some first grade photographers. There are more to come...I think everyone enjoyed the ice cream and the process of making it--even if our hands did get really cold!

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Fraction Action!

We have spent a considerable amount of time in math talking about fractions. Fractions are a personal favorite of mine, in terms of math topics. After all, we use fractions all of the time, and to children, fractions are absolutely essential. After all, how else are we going to figure out if everyone is getting a fair share?! :-) Pictured below are a few of our recent fraction learning activities, and a sneak peak at our symmetry butterfly/dragonfly projects. If you wondered why a half dozen folded blue squares tumbled out of your child's folder tonight, now you'll have an answer. :-) I was given a couple of Hershey bars not too long ago, and they have sat, tantalizingly, on my computer table for at least two weeks. Today seemed like the right day to break those out and ask fraction questions to connect math with something that is near and dear to many of us--chocolate! Everyone got to have 1/12 of a Hershey bar since I had two (24 pieces). Guess who at the leftovers?! Oops.

The Pizza Fraction Game was a favorite.
Just wait until you see the finished products--students did a fantastic job with their symmetrical butterflies and dragonflies...this is not connected to fraction learning, but it was a math activity.

Today's math lesson focused on divided whole squares into equal parts--halves, fourths, and eighths. The class did very well with this activity. Fractions are fun, but they aren't always easy! Here are some students "modeling" their fraction pieces with their labeled fractional parts. 
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Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Grade Notebooks

Has your child shared his/her first grade notebook with you yet? We started these on Monday, and they have been quite popular so far. What is a first grade notebook? Quite simply, it's a composition notebook. Right now, it's divided into two sections--one for our Monday journal entries (writing), and one for math. The old Monday Journals will go home tomorrow and are your child's to keep. They were getting quite worn and the children were simply ready for a different format for writing. The new notebook has many more lines for writing and is just more sophisticated. :-) We will add more sections in the coming days, as this will be a place for keeping notes and keeping track of learning across subject areas. I have told children that they may bring it home to share, but they must try to bring them back the next day, since they will be used often. If your child has their notebook at home, please help your child remember to bring it back the next day. Thank you!

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Super Science!

This week, we've focused on thinking about how matter changes state--how solids become liquids, liquids become solids, and how solids and liquids can combine to make new solids or new liquids. This week so far, some students helped make "Oobleck" and everyone enjoyed the process of making pineapple-banana smoothies today (I think drinking them was the most popular part). :-) Students seem to have a good handle on distinguishing solids and liquids and thinking about what causes them to change. Our culminating idea will be thinking about why this all matters(no pun intended!) in our lives. Our next science unit about weather will be a nice connection to this study, since the water cycle and precipitation are a clear connection to the changing states of water (water evaporates and condenses to form clouds, water droplets condense to form rain/snow, etc.). 
Making Oobleck--first group (more students will do this soon!)
Is it a liquid? Is is solid? It is both!

Making Banana-Pineapple Smoothies!
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