Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Class Book

On Friday students created a Pixie page for our Polar Express Class book.  Please view the video below to check out the favorite parts of the special day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Technology is amazing!  There is so much I do with my students now that I could not have imagined doing with my students ten years ago.  Today we Skyped for the first time!  What an experience!  We were able to see and talk with a third grade class from North Carolina.  We took turns asking questions about our school, community, and state.  The students in North Carolina were shocked to learn that it was 4 degrees when we came to school this morning.  They also could not believe that we are a K-6 school.  I look forward to more Skype projects!

Polar Express Day

Friday was a fun-filled day centered around the classic, The Polar Express!  I am so lucky to work with the most amazing, talented, and loving first grade team!  We have been looking forward to this day since the beginning of the school year.  Here we are after the conductor (Mr. Holden) performed a beautiful reading of The Polar Express.

After the special reading, students received a ticket and completed various stations centered around The Polar Express.  We arrived "home" to hot chocolate and donuts and then we had the biggest surprise!  We received a special delivery from the North Pole!  Yes, The North Pole!  Inside, were silver bells and they were as cold as The North Pole!  It was such a special day to share together as a class. 
Enjoy the slideshow!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Elf Sort

I was inspired by the Gingerbread Sort at First Grade Parade and the Dasher Sort at First Grader at Last to create a sort for our vowel work this week.  Our focus this week is short e.  I want my students to be able to distinguish between the sounds of long e and short e, so I created this elf sort.  I will be turning them into cards and completing the sort whole group, but it can easily be used at a literacy station.  Parents, you can print this out and use it to reinforce our study.  Click on the elf for the words.  Click HERE for a recording sheet.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Happy Hanukkah!

This week students studied "The Festival of Lights."  We learned about the traditions and symbols of Hanukkah using several books including Celebrating Chanukah and Chanukah Lights Everywhere

Students learned how to play the game Dreidel and took home a dreidel as a learning souvenir.  We also designed our own menorahs and wrote about our learning.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Feast

On Wed., Nov. 24th, we celebrated The First Thanksgiving with a feast.  We made our own butter and enjoyed yummy food.  Days leading up to the Feast were spent creating placemats and hats for our celebration.  (Thanks Mrs. Chitwood and Mrs. Wisniewski for your help!)  Thank you to all the volunteers who helped out and made food.  It was a HUGE success! 
Enjoy the slideshow!

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If I Were a Pilgrim

Last week students created this Pixie about being a Pilgrim.  I was out that day, but how wonderful is it when a guest teacher can lead an activity such as Pixie?  For all those teachers out there, you know!
We studied the lives of Pilgrim children throughout the week using the books Sarah Morton's Day and Samuel Eaton's Day.  In addtion, our shared reading was Pilgrim Children Had Many Chores.

Thanks to our Technology Director I learned a better way to present Pixie projects.  Thanks Lynn!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How did the Wampanoag Use Animals?

We have been studying how life during the Pilgrim Times was much different than how we live today.  This week we spent two days studying how the Wampanoag Indians used animals in everyday life.  I designed this lesson when taking a class on Museum Resources at Miami University two years ago.

This guided inquiry lesson has students observe, question, and make predictions using their schema before diving into "research" materials.  The class was divided up into several groups.  Each group was given a bone, skull, or body covering to investigate.  All items were borrowed from the Hefner Zoology Museum at Miami University.  Thanks MU!

I wish you could have heard the "ooohs" and "eews" from the kids!  After reviewing what scientists do, these little scientists jumped right in.  They observed, then recorded their observations.  The scientists also had to record questions before writing a prediciton.

These boys wondered when the animal died.

These girls predicted that their animal was a bear.
This student predicted that the Wampanoag put feathers in their hair.

This boy predicted that the Wampanoag used skunks to make a hat.
I just love their thinking!!  Day one ended with a gallery walk to look at all the objects we were investigating.

They next day we reviewed what we had done and shared our questions and predictions.  Then I read Tapenum's Day.  We closely looked at the photographs and made connections to the book with the objects we were investigating.  I also read parts of a smaller book on the Wampanoag.

We had a lot of fun with this lesson!  Students developed an understanding of how the lives of the Pilgrims were different than the Wampanoag.

Up next...turkey fun!! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Quilt

We ended our unit on Shapes with a study of Quilts.  This was such a fun week-long study!  We began by taking a gallery walk of the quilts brought into our classroom.  Students observed patterns created with shapes we had studied all month long.  We had quilts with rhombus patterns, square patterns and even hexagon patterns!

We then read books about quilts.  Here are a few of our favorite quilt books:

Here is a list of more children's books about quilts:

Our next step was designing quilt squares.  Each student designed six quilt squares then chose their favorite to create their quilt.

After choosing their favorite quilt design, students used the square as a guide to create an entire quilt.  Each paper quilt was made of nine quilt squares. 

What amazing patterns they created!  It was so neat to see how other shapes were formed when all nine squares were completed.
We were inspired by The Kindness Quilt to create a Thanksgiving Quilt.  Students wrote and drew what they were thankful for and we hung the pieces together to create our beautiful Thanksgiving Quilt.

Now if I could just create a real quilt :)!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Today our Investigation lesson focused on four sided shapes. Students learned the meaning of quad and definition of quadrilateral. Wow, was I impressed with their understanding and exploration! Check out this student's work with Power Polygons. She created a design using only quadrilaterals!

Friday, October 29, 2010

What will we be for Halloween?

Today we learned how to use Pixie during Computer Lab.  The VERY cool art program allowed us to create portraits of ourselves in our Halloween costumes.  Students can also type a sentence in the program.  I loaded the portraits for you to enjoy in Photostory.  Some students typed their sentence independently, while others asked for assistance.  You can also  view it in Edline.  I have posted it twice there on our Language Arts page.  If you have Photostory on your computer you can click on Halloween Class Book in Edline and view each page individually.
Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

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On Friday, October 22nd, we celebrated the harvest season with a celebration.  At the celebration students enjoyed apple and pumpkin foods, compared the weight of a mini pumpkin to an apple, created a pumpkin crafts and learned the parts of an apple.  Thank you to all the parent volunteers who made food and assisted at the celebration.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's Alive?

We have spent that last few weeks on our unit:  The World Around Us.  Students learned What is a Scientist and became scientists as we explored the world outside.  We also studied Living and Nonliving objects.  Students began by observing two types of worms:  Nightcrawlers and Gummy Worms. 

The next day we went outside and observed our world.  Students were instructed to sketch one thing they observed outside.  We brought in our drawings and sorted the pictures into two groups:  living and nonliving.  We did have to do some researching.  One student drew dried leaves and another student drew a pinecone on the ground.  After making observations and researching using the book What's Alive, students created a new group:  Once-Living.

Finally, we sorted the living things into two groups:  Living Plants and Living Animals.  
We also enjoyed a treat: Gummy Worms!  Yum!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spelling Practice

This is a post from one of my favorite blogs, First-Grader At-Last

In talking with my fantastic first grade parents over the years, it seems that some of my first grade friends don't feel as motivated to read or practice sight words and spelling at home! Although I try not to give too much homework, I believe strongly in reading each night, and in making reading a bonding experience that is enjoyable for everyone involved! It is my hope that reading and spelling practice at home will no longer be a chore, but something those energetic first graders can look forward to! Here are some ideas that could make spelling and reading practice a little more exciting...

Make spelling words glow with the glow station!

Find a fun font and have your child type their words.

Put sight words on sticky notes and use a fun pointer. Call out words you want them to find.

Cut up old magazines. Look for sight words, or cut the letters out to spell the words and glue onto a piece of paper.

Fun spelling snack! Yum.

Write words with the Aquadoodle!

Bath time and learning time combined! Write words with bath crayons or bath markers!

Don't forget you can practice our spelling words at Spelling City.