Friday, September 30, 2011

What's Alive?

We had a great week as scientists. We explored living and nonliving. Students drew pictures of something they saw outside. Next, we sorted the drawings. But the class could not decide if the leaves on the ground were living or nonliving. With some help from the book, What's Alive?, students discovered that the leaves on the ground were "once living." So we created a new category. Finally, we did a new sort on the SMARTboard.

Check out some cute photos below of us enjoying our once living lesson.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Room 105 C.A.R.E.S!

I wanted to share about our introduction to CARES. CARES stands for Cooperation, Accountability, Respect, Empathy, and Self-Control. We focused on one word a day this past week. I read a children's book each day, showcasing the character trait and then led a discussion. Students are beginning to develop an understanding of these "big" words, but we have much more planned! Next week, we will be participating in roll plays. Students will also will be creating a page for our book "Room 105 CARES!"

Below you can check out the books used in introducing CARES.






Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011-2012 Word Wall Program

We're "hoppin" into our Word Study program beginning Monday! 

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.


We began our first science unit this week...Our World and Us. We begin this unit by learning about scientists. We read one of my favorite scientist books, What is a Scientist?, and began investigating what scientists do. This is what we learned...

One thing that scientists do, is use their senses. After several rainy days, we were able to become scientists and use our senses to explore the world around us. With a recording sheet and magnifying glass in hand students explored the area around our school. Students recorded something that they saw, heard, smelled, and felt.




And we had fun too!!!


We continue this unit next week. Check back for more!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Meet My Team

Here is my wonderful First Grade team! Mrs. Blosser and Mrs. Havrilla are our AMAZING intervention specialists. Mrs. Weiler, myself, and Mr. Holden have been a teaching team for three years. You know that you are a team when you all three where the same colors for picture day and do not even plan it! Mr. Lovell said that our brains have merged into one :).

You can check out Mrs. Weiler's classroom happenings at Far Out First Graders.  And I am sure you will hear about the adventures of Joey the Guinea Pig in Mr. Holden's class. Mr. Holden also has begun a running club at our school for students in grades 4-6, along with a few other teachers...(definitely not me!!)  

Mrs. Havrilla made a visit to our class this week. She shared her forever book, along with her families forever books.

I look forward to a great year!

Building Community

I wanted to share a few photos of our week. The first six weeks of school are critical for building community and setting up routines. One of the lessons we did this week was about Peacemakers and Peacebreakers. We read No David and The Recess Queen and generated a list of what peacemakers do and what peacebreakers do. The lesson was inspired by Cara's lesson at The First Grade Parade.

We completed a follow-up lesson about how the words we say can hurt another. We read Big Al. It is about a large, scary fish that has no friends. He is the nicest fish in the ocean, but the others will not be his friend because of the way he looks.

Students were then introduced to "Sam." He is not well liked by his peers. We thought of some words that might be said to Sam that would hurt his feelings. Each time, we crumbled a piece of Sam. After awhile, we discussed what Sam looked like all crumbled and how we thought he felt.

Then, we began to give Sam compliments. For every compliment, we smoothed out a section of Sam. However, we just could not get all the wrinkles out. We can really hang onto hurt words. The lesson is from Anna at Crazy for First Grade.

We finished up the week by interviewing a new friend in class.

We will continue to build our community in Morning Meeting. Next week, students will learn how Room 105 C.A.R.E.S.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Forever Books

We have been talking about our reading lives in Reading Workshop. I introduced the students to my forever book, Just Grandma and Me, at the beginning of the year. It is my forever book because it reminds me of all the special times I shared with my grandma on vacation when I was a little girl.

Today, Mrs. Cooper shared her forever book with the class. Umbrella is her forever book because her mom read it to her when she was a little girl and now she reads it to her girls. They LOVE to play in the rain, so the book has extra special meaning to her.

The students are sharing their Forever Books with each other. Some chose a book because it was read to them by mom. Others choose a book because they had a special connection to the story. Some students just LOVE their book and said they have read it over and over and over again.

What is your forever book?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Language Arts Publications

Please check out these resources from the Department of Education. They give parents suggestions on how to help their child at home and also go over reading research.

Our Community Standards

We worked hard last week developing our Community Standards. We began the year by creating a class book about Why we go to school. Then each student came up with a Hope and Dream for the school year.We moved onto how we can help each other reach our Hopes and Dreams by creating our Community Standards. Community Standards are like rules. However, the standards are things we will do instead of what we won't do.

Students began listing rules for our class. Then we changed each "don't" into a "do." Next, we sorted rules into groups. The students felt that "Walk" and "Go down the slide," could all be covered with "Be Safe."

These are standards developed BY the students. I guided students when needed, but they felt these five should be our standards for the year.

I typed our our standards in fun fonts and today the students were able to decorate the letters. We worked with the word cooperation before beginning. Here are some students hard at work.

Each group worked together on one standard. I have hung up the Community Standards on a special bulletin board, but you'll have to wait for the big more special addition.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Mathematicians

I am a HUGE fan of Math Investigations! Several years ago I began searching for new approaches to math instruction after I was disappointed in my students Iowa math scores. (That is when first grade took the Iowa tests.) I began teaching math with the same philosophy of Investigations several years ago after taking a Marilyn Burns class. It was eye opening and helped me develop a passion for Math. I became even more excited when I saw results. So when they asked for teachers to pilot Investigations two years ago, I jumped at the chance and haven't looked back.

Students dived right into our Math tools. The exploration days are some of my favorites. I get to observe what students already know and what they discover during this time. Many of you saw the photos at Parent Info Night. Students were exploring symmetry. They discovered that you can put certain shapes together to create a new shape, and had much fun with patterns.

We have now moved onto number sense. We learned Collect 20 and then focused on counting and ordering quantities.

As we began Collect 20, I did not tell students how to organize their counters. This student chose to do rows of 5. I challenged him to figure out how many rows of 5 make 20. He was so excited to share what he learned with his classmates!

These students chose to make a pattern while playing Collect 20! 

These girls are working together to create staircases.

So proud of his finished product!!

This week we will continue to work on ordering numbers, but also comparing numbers.