Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ten Things I have Learned from Teaching...

Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade is hosting a Linky Party.  What have I learned from teaching?  Over the past Ten Years...SO Much!

10.  Education is always changing.  I teach much differently than I did ten years ago.

9.  I do not teach reading, writing, and arithmetic.  I teach the "whole child."

8. Every year I think "I have seen it all."  My students are always surprising me.  Teaching leaves you on your toes.

7.  I will always cry on the last day of school.

6.  Primary Teachers have a special connection.

5.  The team you teach with makes all the difference in the world.  And I have the BEST!

4.  Teachers do not have June, July, and August off.  It is the time to take classes, workshops, and prepare for the year ahead.  You should see our school on August 1st!  I just LOVE the beginning of the year!

3.  A note from a student saying "I love you" or "You're the Best" can lift your mood instantly.

2.  Witnessing a student reaching out to help another student gives you the most rewarding feeling.

1.  Classroom community is EVERYTHING!

I cannot imagine doing anything else.  Teaching is not my job.  It is my passion.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Once Upon a Time

Over the past two weeks we have been studying Fairy Tales.  It is such a fun unit!  We began by using our schema and learning the elements of a Fairy Tale.  Thanks Abby for the great resource.  It was perfect timing!.  Then we jumped into Fairy Tales by working with Cinderella and Cinderella stories from Around the World.  We had fun comparing each version.  Our favorites were Rough Face Girl and Cindy Ellen

Students were excited to read Peter Pan.  We cannot wait to go to the Taft Theater in April to watch a performance of Peter Pan Jr..  After reading Peter Pan, students created Peter and wrote about Never Land.  We have them displayed around the classroom.

Students also enjoyed Hansel and Gretel.  They did a great job not eating all the candy for the candy houses.

Using Little Red Riding Hood students studied adjectives and sequencing.  During word work, we used adjectives to describe Little Red and the Wolf.  We created a sequencing quilt in the afternoon.  Each student drew one part of the story.

We also worked with Jack and the Beanstalk and The Three Little Pigs.  We used different versions of the Three Little Pigs for Reader's Theater. We finished up the unit yesterday by completing a Fairy Tale tree map.  The unit was great fun!  And even my boys who were dreading the unit, enjoyed it by the end.

Subtraction, Editing, and Fun

We had a great week!  We completed our 6th Unit in our Investigations program.  This week we focused on subtraction and problem solving.  This is the second year I have used this program and am amazed at my students' thinking!  Students are learning to solve challenging problems by breaking numbers apart.  They are learning to apply what they already know to help them solve new problems.  During a game of Five in a Row Subtraction a student solved 14-5 by using 15-5.  "I know that 15-5 is 10, so 14-5 is 9 because 14 is one less than 15."  I love it!

Here is Five in a Row with Three Cards.  Instead of using dice, the student draws three cards and finds all the possible combinations.  

We also concluded our Personal Narrative unit is Writing Workshop.  Students worked together this week to revise and edit one of their books.  Now we begin one of my favorite units...Poetry!

Finally, we had great fun on St. Patrick's Day.  Our school has been collecting money for Relay for Life.  We reached our goal and our Principal, Mr. Lovell, was turned into a leprechaun for a day!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Oobleck Recipe

Here is the Oobleck recipe.  This is the one I use with the class.  On the sheet that is sent home with students, the recipe is cut in half.

1 1/2 cups of warm water
16 oz white school glue
Green food coloring

Mix the above in a large bowl

1 cup of warm water
3 teaspoons borax

Mix the above in a small bowl

Pour the small bowl into the big bowl and gently stir together.  Pour off any excess liquid.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ooey, Gooey, Oobleck!

What if something NEW fell from the sky?  That is what King Darwin of Didd wanted in the Dr. Seuss classic Bartholomew and the Oobleck.  The story teaches readers how powerful the simple words "I'm sorry" can be.  Though the students enjoy the story (and listened through the ENTIRE reading) , the making of Oobleck is the favorite part.  The smiles and "wows" make the lesson so worthwhile.  It is a "must-do" in my teacher files.

Students were given a paper to go along with the lesson.  (It has the directions on at the top, so parents you can make it with your children on a rainy weekend.)  We put the water, glue and food coloring in a large bowl.  Then more water and borax in the second bowl.  At this point students recorded their predictions for what would happen when we combined the two bowls.

The the "wows" began when the two bowls were combined.  After draining the excess liquid, each student was given a piece of the Oobleck.  Students had to describe how it felt in their hands.  Finally students wrote about the properties.

I do believe the lesson was in the top 5 activities for many students.  They could not believe they got to take it home!

I am looking forward to this week...Fairy Tales!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Our Week in Review

Well my computer with all the cute graphics, photos, and documents is down AGAIN.  So, no newsletter.   Here is our week in review.

It was all things Seuss this week.    Dr. Seuss can teach us so much.   My two previous posts below tell how we began our week with Dr. Seuss. 

Here is our AMAZING bulletin board celebrating Dr. Seuss.  Thank you Mrs. H!

In Reading, students worked with Dr. Seuss reader's theater scripts.  We used The Foot Book to review Antonyms.  We were inspired by Cara from The First Grade Parade for the antonym lesson. Students created Antonym books. 

On Thursday, our Theme lesson focus was Horton Hatches an Egg.

  "I meant what I said and I said what I meant.  An elephant's faithful one hundred percent!"  As a class we discussed the meaning of faithful.  Students wrote about what they believed faithful meant.  We also read The Sneetches.  Both of these books helped tie together our Anti-Bully focus from last week.

Today's Dr. Seuss lesson is my favorite.  We are making Oobleck!  Oobleck?  Yes, Oobleck!  It goes with the book...

I will post pictures this weekend of us making Oobleck.  Students will be bringing home some this afternoon.

In math we have finished our first session of Unit 6.  Students continued to focus on combinations of 10 with a variety of games and on Thursday we explored all the ways to make 10.  Today we are begining Crayon Puzzles.  It is like our peas and carrots lessons and our apples and bananas lessons from earlier in the year.  I have 12 Crayons, some are blue, some are red. How many can I have of each?  This will continue next week.

Our BIG event of the week was COSI!  The focus was local animals and the habitats around Ohio.  Thank to all the parent volunteers who spent all day working at the stations.  The students LOVED it!

                                                  Exploring how animals are tracked in Ohio.

Exploring Animal Antlers.

Learning about fishing in Ohio.  Thanks to our Math program, we knew a little about keepers.

Wow! We had a busy week!  And I am very excited about our next two weeks...stay tuned!

Wacky Wednesday

What a wacky day! The students came dressed wacky from head to toe.

We completed a Wacky Word Work activity in the morning. We used a letter spinner on the SMART Board to form words. All the "words" we made were very wacky! Actually, it was a learning experience for me.  I need three separate spinners so we can at least make nonsense words with a vowel.  The spinner rarely fell on a vowel.
The students then searched for things in the room that were wacky. Upside down work, word wall words mixed up. Mr. Holden had a shoe on a wall!
It got REALLY Wacky after special when each first grade teacher picked up a different class and completed the Wacky Wednesday lesson with that class. I picked up Mr. Holden's Class. Many students caught on right away. We enjoyed reading the book and looking for all the wacky things in the illustrations. We ended by creating a class book. Students drew themselves on Wacky Wednesday.  What a fun day!  Students loved the book so much that they have been rereading it all week.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

We have had a great start to our week celebrating all things Seuss.  We kicked off Monday with the beginning of our new reading incentive...Hats off to Reading!  Students will earn a sticker for every 15 minutes ready.  The goal is to earn 20 stickers by March 31st (up from 15 stickers last month). Click on the photo to download a reading log.

Last week we studied Dental Health, so what better way to kick off Dr. Seuss week by reading The Tooth Book.  This great book tells who has teeth and how they come in handy all in rhyme.  So students were challenged.  Could they write how teeth come in handy using rhyme.  It was a fun challenge.  Here is are two examples:
Today we read the favorite, Green Eggs and Ham.  I was inspired to create an alphabet book after seeing adorable stickers at Michaels.  Each student created a page or two.  Would you eat them in an igloo?  Would you eat them with a Kangaroo?  Would you eat them with a Monkey?  These are a few examples.  Tomorrow our Kindergarteners are eating green eggs and ham.  I cannot wait to hear all about it! 
Click below to get a blank copy of the ABC Book.

I am looking forward to tomorrow...Wacky Wednesday!  I will be posting photos.