Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's happening in Reading Workshop?

We've done a lot of very important comprehension work in our reading mini-lessons lately. Recent topics include retelling a story in sequence, identifying story elements (characters, setting, problem, and solution), making/confirming predictions while reading, and paying attention to the punctuation while reading the story (also a fluency strategy).

Here's one student showing the class how he was paying attention to the exclamation points as he read and adjusting his voice as he read. 

More spider studies...

A few more pictures of our exploration of spiders this week...
Ha ha! I love this! Creepy!
Spinning webs with glue!
These students are taking a close-up look at real spiders!
The glue webs became glitter webs! So cool! They will hang in our classroom windows. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

A sneak peek...

It was a busy day with lots of twists and turns (the biggest one being that our 9:15 Skype call didn't work due to technical difficulties!), but boy did a lot a wonderful learning happen today! Here are a couple great smiles from today (and their "spooktacular" patterns)!

More to come! 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Spiders...part 1!

We began our mini-study of spiders on Friday afternoon. We will continue again on Monday. Here is a glimpse at the learning stations. So far, everyone has only been to one station, but they will visit the others tomorrow!

Studying books and magazines about spiders is another way to learn about these fascinating creatures.

Watching short videos about spiders is one station...

Creating a web with glue and glitter!

Students were very scientific about making observations of our live spider collection!


We had an excellent visit to the Burnham Library on Friday morning! Everyone was able to learn about the library's history and get to know Hannah and Pam, two of the children's librarians. They are certainly important helpers in our community! Our class went with Mrs. Hughes' class, and it's always fun to join up with friends from other classes. As we left and I was thanking our hosts, one the the librarians said,"It was our pleasure. They were delightful!" What a compliment for our students!

Everyone checked out a book--they brought it home if they had an account in good standing at the library. For those who were unable to check out a book on their own, we allowed them to check one out under a teachers name to be kept at school. If your child brought a book home, you are responsible for returning it to the Burnham Library. If this presents a problem let me know and I will help get it back on time.

Fire Safety

Our fire safety dog hats were a hit! I tried go get a photo with everyone looking/smiling, but after 10+ takes, I had to call it a good try. ;) We have a fire fighter from the Colchester Volunteer Fire Department visiting our class tomorrow. Unfortunately we were able to coordinate a visit to the fire station this year :( Meeting a fire fighter and touring the truck outside UMS will be great fun too!

**Update as of 10/28/13** We CAN have a visit to the fire station sometime in the next couple of weeks. Hooray!!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Math Magic

We have been busy as always during Math Workshop! This week, I broke out the Halloween-themed math counters and students used them for many math purposes--counting, sorting, patterning, and making up and solving number stories. It's great when things that are left open ended yield great math thinking. It was a popular math station! 

This is not related to the Halloween counters, but what a design! Had to share.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


We are going to do a "Genius Hour" inquiry study on Thursday, and our first topic will be spiders. So, if your child asks you to bring a spider to school in a jar, it's really OK with me (if it's OK with you)! I will collect live spiders at my house too...it's eerily easy for me to find live examples around here. :-) We will let them go in the woods in the back of our classroom after our study...in case anyone is worried about the spiders' well being.

Also, do you have any spider books at your house or any other learning materials? Send them in if you're willing to loan them to us!

This will be great fun...more details to come!


Have you checked out our Twitter feed on the right hand side of the blog? Since this is a recently adopted technology for me, I've been experimenting with it a lot professionally (I have a separate teacher account) and have found that it's helped me make some great connections and find valuable resources for teaching. Now that I have a good handle on how to use Twitter, I'm ready to start "tweeting" more regularly about first grade and inviting student to join in the fun too! If you are a Twitter user or if you'd like to become one (it's another quick and easy way to connect to our classroom), please go to Twitter and follow @Sorenson1st. You can also go to the Twitter feed on the right-hand sidebar and click "Follow."

Here are some things I shared on Twitter recently...the first two are mini-videos from the Vine app that take about 30 seconds to create and are fun to share so you can see the action in first grade:

A peek at Math Workshop:

A glimpse at Writing Workshop:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Four Winds

We are so fortunate to have Tammie (Ian's mom) and Bobbie (Marybeth's grandmother) volunteering to teach the Four Winds nature program this year! Students were delighted to see them today! Ask your child about leaf eaters and the food chain...also, can they name a producer and a consumer in the natural world?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Our Skype with the fire dogs!

Our first Skype session was a complete success and I am eager to do more very soon! We invited Mrs. Hughes and her students next door to join us for our visit with Firefighter Dayna and her wonderful Dalmation fire dog, Molly. Dayna was wonderful with the children and integrated a lot of valuable teaching into this session. Students had an opportunity to think about geography and, of course, fire safety. We decided it was easier to see our "guests" on the whiteboard with the lights off, so I apologize that the quality of these pictures isn't the greatest. Currently, our next Skype is on Monday, October 28th with a class in New Jersey with the theme, "Monster Math." I am busy arranging connections with many classes for a variety of learning opportunities, so stay tuned!

Firefighter Dayna had a great way with the class! So friendly and so knowledgeable!
Students enjoyed having an opportunity to ask questions.
Seeing the dog  (Molly) was definitely a highlight!
The iPad made it easy for students to ask questions and be seen and heard. The images from the iPad were projected (mirrored) to the whiteboard screen.
I loved that Dayna plugged Colchester into a maps app on her iPhone and calculated how far apart were were--Arkansas to Vermont! Great geography connection!

Popcorn Party!

Last Monday, we had a popcorn party in first grade! Ask your first grader how we earned such a treat! Thank you, Mrs. Lucier, for making our party MUCH more special with a fancy popcorn maker! Awesome work, first graders, on earning this reward!