Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying the snowy weekend! I know we are! My week in review will be a bit shorter this week, but there was no shortage of excitement in first grade! Here's a look...
We continued our study of solids and liquids last week and even made popsicles with juice to observe the change from liquid to solid. This week we will do more experiments, especially now that we have snow!
We also enjoyed another wonderful Four Winds science lesson thanks to Bobbi and Tammie! They taught the class about snags and rotting logs and how and why they are important. Ask your child to tell you what he/she learned. The time machine activity was popular and was a great illustration of how time, wind, rain, and insects work together to break down logs until they eventually return to the earth as soil. Students were very eager scientists when it came time to dig into some partially rotted logs. They found many interesting things in those logs, too!
We use technology throughout our day in many ways, as you know, but we had a unique opportunity on Thursday afternoon. As part of Computer Science Education Week, we participated in an Hour of Code, which as I mentioned before, thousands of schools across the U.S. (and beyond) did too. In fact, CHS had a special Hour of Code opportunity that was describe in the CSD Spotlight last week. During our hour, Aimee Boucher, the K-5 Tech Integration Specialist, came to our classroom to teach students what coding/computer programming is and how it's useful. She started by showing us how coding works using a stuffed animal and arrows to signify commands to make it move. Then, Ms. Boucher introduced a website (Tynker) and app (Daisy the Dinosaur) that students were able to explore on laptops and the iPads. Students seemed to enjoy this special activity, and I know I learned a lot!
During math stations last week, I was able to teach everyone how to use PicCollage, one of my favorite apps for the iPad. I made the collages above using PicCollage, and it's an easy and fun way for students to share their learning. Watch for collages of the math learning shown in the photo below to show up on your child's Kidblog next week!
Here's one example of the PicCollages that students made to track their math thinking using Rekenreks:
Although we are not officially into our study of mapping, our holiday card project has definitely prompted students to start thinking about where we are in the USA compared to the schools/classes we receive cards from each day. This project has been engaging for everyone--it's exciting to open the cards, read about other schools, and place the cards on the map in our classroom. The map also shows our blogging/Skype connections. I need to get a world map up there too, as we are going to be making some global connections starting in January!
It's a little bit hard to see the blue yarn I used to connect the holiday cards we've received to the states from which they were sent. I will probably change that and will post a new picture. And, you can check out our map in person on Friday at the holiday party!
We also had two mystery number Skype calls last week--both with first grade classes in British Columbia, Canada. Very exciting! They were in different cities, but there were our first international Skype calls!
SWR: Students did not take a SWR check-up on Friday, as we need to do more working with writing plural words. We had a few schedule changes in the morning this week that prevented us from doing a daily SWR lesson. New skills will be added this week, and students will take a check-up on Friday morning.
Writing: This week's focus in writing was helping students learn how to use KidBlog on the laptops as opposed to the iPads. From now on, students will be writing on their KidBlogs during Writing Workshop on their sharing day. That way, everyone will have a new post each week. If your child did not post anything new last week, it was either due to absence or their blog post is still in draft form. I encourage children to blog from home as much as they wish!
Reading: Vocabulary was the focus of last week's mini-lessons, along with distinguishing true/false statements after reading a book. We are starting a vocabulary wall with words we focus on when reading books together. The hope is that students will learn to pay attention to words they don't understand and will make attempts to determine the meaning by using their schema (background knowlege) and the context of the word in the text (pictures and words around it). See this link for more information.
Each week, there are several choices of ways for students to practice words when they go to the Word Work station during our Daily 5 time. Last week, Wikki Stix were one of the choices. Several students did some pretty impressive word work using this tool, as seen in the photo below. :-)
Students will take an assessment for Unit 4 this week during our math block. The focus of this week's lessons will be improving "fact power" and knowing addition and subtraction facts within ten automatically. We will also review counting money and showing various amounts using a variety of coins. After the vacation, watch for information about the Dreambox website. Our class will be part of a two-month trial subscription for this site, and I will be looking for feedback from families about its usefulness/value. I am excited about the possibilities I see with this resource, and I am glad to be a part of the pilot/test period.
I hope you have a great week, and I hope to see you Friday afternoon (12/20/13) for our holiday party from 1:00-2:00 p.m.