Thursday, January 27, 2011

SMART Board for Dummies

This was the book that was left for me after the installation of our SMART board.  It is a little how I felt yesterday when trying to import a PDF document for us to use. 
The possibilities of this technology are endless!  Yesterday we did not do any "cool"  lessons, but did learn about how to write on the SMART Board and taking care of this tool.  The kids were AMAZED that we could watch a more ancient televsion that is older than my students by several years.  Yesterday we did our word work and watched Magic School Bus in the Arctic.  I cannot wait to use it for everything!

Teachers...I would love to hear how you use the SMART board in your classroom or of any great resources.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's Here! It's Here! It's Here!

Look what was in our room when we came to school today!  Yippie!  We will post pictures of us in action using the SMARTboard.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I have a Dream

Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream.  Students learned about this American Hero and his dream around Martin Luther King Day.  Today I finally put up the bulletin board!  We really did not do it that long ago, but with all the snow days, it feels like ages.
After learning about Martin Luther King Jr. students created a portrait of him using the program Pixie.  I printed out their work.  We used the fact sentences provided by Brooke from Primary Perspective to learn even more.  Students had to cut apart the words and put the sentence in order.  Finally, we completed a text-to-self connection paper after reading Martin's Big Words.  Students had to write about MLK's dream, then about their own.  Many students wrote that they dream everyone would be friends, others wrote about personal dreams.  I had a student write about a dream she had about her cat.  I learned that I need to go over the meanings of "Dream."

I can't wait to do it again next year!

What I Love about First Grade

I had one of those moments this morning that reminded me of why I LOVE teaching first grade.  During Reading Workshop students gathered around a student, interested in her book.  She chose to quietly read aloud so they could hear the story.  The students were so engaged I could not break it up.  I have a very special group of kids!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Picture Perfect Science

If you teach Science, this is the book for you!  Picture Perfect Science was developed by two Mason, Ohio teachers.  Emily and Karen are amazing!  I have been lucky enough to participate in two of their workshops and their lessons are some of my favorites.  They are the ones that got me excited about teaching Science.  Miami University just posted their summer courses for the Green Institute.  You cannot beat it.  $300 for two weeks.  In return, you earn 6 credit hours (4 in summer and 2 for 2 follow-up classes), many, many resources, inspiration, and two weeks of fun!  Trust me, you'll love it and your kids will LOVE the lessons!  If you are too far away to participate you can order their book on Amazon or check our their website.  They are also on facebook.

More Picture-Perfect Science is for K-3...and they are working on a new book for K-3.  My favorite lessons are Magnetic Dog and Roller Coaster.  You can check out my post from April 2010 of my students engaged in the Roller Coaster Lesson.

Kiss Your Brain!

Ask my first graders what I tell them to do when they share their brilliant thinking..."Kiss Your Brain!"  My kids giggled the first time I told them to do this at the beginning of the year, but now it I tell all of them or an individual to "Kiss Your Brain!" on a daily basis.  It is so cute to see the little ones kiss their hands and then touch their heads.  Well now they are REALLY going to love it!  A few weeks ago I saw a post on First Grade Teaching about PorterPolkaDots.  Mrs. Walsky featured this "Kiss Your Brain" jar.  Of course, I had to have it.  Ashley at PorterPolkaDots was so nice.  I emailed her what I wanted and look what appeared at my door this weekend. Our classroom theme is frogs and blue and green are everywhere!  She also has a very cute blog for teachers:  The Polka Dot Patch.

I filled it up with Hershey Kisses and I am ready to go.  I know it will be a hit!  Now I am just going to have to have enough self-control not to eat them all myself...I say that as I am throwing another into my mouth.
Looking forward to seeing the kids again tomorrow after an unexpected four day weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Day Activities

One snow day last week, two this week.   I should have known that it was going to be a long winter when we had two snow days and bitter cold in Dec.  Currently, it is 9 degrees with a windchill of -4!  I have to admit, it is a beautiful sight!  I am sending some activities for my parents to do with their little ones today.  Ice Decorations from Ucreate with Kids is one of my favorites and perfect for today!

If you do not know Ucreate with Kids, it will become a favorite.  This year our craft at the Holiday party came from this blog.  Creative, fun, hand-on activities for you to do with the kids.
I would love to hear your favorites. What are some of your favorite Snow Day activities?  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Indoor Recess Again!!

It is that time of year!  Snow, Ice, Wind Chills.  We have had indoor recess for three days in a row.  However, the students do not seem to mind.  They love it!  They are playing our Math Investigation games, giving surveys, and even working in their Writing Workshop books.  A favorite is to explore with our Math manipulatives.  Check out what was created today!
This student even told me she made hers symmetrical!  I love it!

This group wanted to use all the pattern blocks.  They had to stop when the bell rang.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's Melting!

This time of year offers so many exciting science opportunities.  We have been doing a unit on the properties of matter.  We have used ice, water, and snow with the study.  I LOVE snow!  However, with snow comes snow days.  Due to snow days and delays we have had to rearrange our plans.  I have decided to cut out our 2-day It's Melting lesson.  This modified lesson come from Science NetLinks.    I had created recording sheets to go with the lesson.  I wanted to share them with you.  Parents, this is an activity you could do at home.  Teachers, I would love feedback on how the lesson worked in your classroom and anything I should change on the recording sheet. Happy Snow Days!

Monday, January 10, 2011

You Scream, I Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

Here at BES, we always spend the first two weeks back from break on a Properties of Matter Unit.  We use snow and ice as our focus in studying solids and liquids.  Last week we began our study by investigating ice cubes.  We completed several experiments and used modified ScienceLinks lessons.  (We are going to complete Water 3 later this week.)  Today we had some FUN!  Students studied solids and liquids using Deanna Jump's Ice Cream in a Bag lesson from Simple Science 2.  Oh what fun and may I add...Delicious!  I loved hearing students shout..."It's turning into a solid!"  Parents, I wish I would have video recorded my students shaking their hearts out.  Your children are adorable!
A few notes...towels, lots and lots of towels.  I had covered my tables with bulletin board paper.  It helped, but I still had quite a mess to clean up. Gloves!  I had my students wear gloves.  They are shaking the bag for about 15 minutes.  It gets quite cold.  Finally, at least an extra pair of hands.  Next year I will ask for a volunteer or two.
It was a great experience.  I will be adding this to my must do lessons!

Growing Snowflakes!

Did you know that you can GROW snowflakes?!  This is a lesson that I have done for several years.  Each year I do it a little differently.  I still have not found the perfect solution.  Basically you combine HOT water and Borax, then soak a pipe cleaner snowflake overnight.  The result...a beautiful crystal snowflake!  Last year I thought I would be able to use a large plastic storage box, hang the snowflakes on skewer rods, and have an easier clean up.  Nope.  My little electric tea pot could not heat the water quick enough and the water cooled before I could get enough in.  The experiment did not work and I ended up making 22 borax snowflakes in my kitchen over the weekend. 
This year I got smarter...individual jars!  Now it was still a learning experience.  I could only fill two jars at a time.  So I either need a parent volunteer to help for a couple of hours or find a better way to heat water.  I was thinking of using the tea pot and a crockpot next year, letting the water heat in the crockpot all day.  If anyone out there has a suggestion, I would love to hear it!
Nevertheless, it worked!  We grew snowflakes!  My little scientists were great thinkers.  Many thought ice formed.  One student observed that the size of the crystals varied.  I wonder why?! 
We are going to hang the snowflakes on our window for the month.  Below are pictures and the recording sheets we used.  Michelle Gagne, an AMAZING KD teacher from Ohio, has posted pictures and directions on her website.  I guess I need to get some electric burners!

Making Connections

We began our Making Connections unit in Reader's Workshop last week.  Students learned about schema and text-to-self connections.  On Friday, we read The Biggest, Best Snowman by Margery Cuyler.  Students completed the text-to-self paper attached below.  The connections were priceless!  Some students made connections to snowmen they have built in the past.  Others made connections to how Little Nell felt. 
After we completed the connection paper, we created snowmen paintings using oil pastels and tempra paint.  This snowman painting can be found on MaryMaking
I cannot wait for this week...we will be making connections with MLK books on Friday.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Room 105!  Today we celebrated the New Year with many of the activities from Primary Perspective.  We created new self portraits and wrote about our New Year Resolutions.  Students want to help their parents more, clean their room, and be nicer.  We had a New Year countdown and toasted to a great 2011 with grape juice.  I am looking forward to an amazing year with amazing kids!