Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mapping it Out and Thanksgiving

We've been learning about places on the map in Social Studies, which has brought us to our next big project of the year.  Soon we will be sending out our Flat Stanley people.  In the classroom, we made a huge map on our bulletin board and we are mapping where we are going to.  Mine had a bit of a hiccup as my flat person did not return from her trip last year.  She had an extended stay with my best friend in Florida.  Hopefully Flat Mrs. Smith will be returning this year with lots of things to report on. 

Since Thanksgiving is coming up, we have been learning all about Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving.  I have to say, I love Scholastic.  They have a great web site where you can take virtual field trips.  We took one and went on the Mayflower.  The kiddos have been able to compare and contrast Pilgrims and Wompanoags.  They have also been comparing themselves to pilgrim children and how different times are.  More to come next week on Pilgrims since we have a three day school week before Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, our weekly writing project was to write a persuasive piece on why not to eat the turkey.  They had to use a graphic organizer, make a rough draft, then come up with a final draft.  Some reasons they used to support not eating the turkey was,

"His brothers and sisters would miss him"
"Eat at Applebees instead"
"They have too many feathers"
"Eat a hamburger at McDonalds"
"They are nasty"-- this little guy just got right to the point I guess.
"Make more pumpkin pie"
"The turkey will peck you"
"They are too fast to catch"

On Friday, we then made disguises for our turkeys.  They turned out great.  We had peacocks, clowns, a mummy, snow princesses, princesses, queens, snowmen, gymnasts, unicorns, an astronaut/skateboarding dude, and even Santa! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mrs. Smith for President... updated

My class has been learning about the election process and why we vote.  We have also been learning how to write opinion and persuasive pieces of writing.  These fit so well together.

We started out the week reading non-fiction books about presidents, past and present and also about the voting process.  We read picture books about certain characters who wanted to run for President also.  I was setting them up for a mock election.  In this mock election for President was going to be Duck {from Duck for President}, a little girl named Grace {from Grace for President}, and myself {from My Teacher for President}.  We also voted for line leader next week, which was totally not planned for.

In our persuasive writing, I was going to have the kids write about why they would make a good line leader and how could they persuade me to let them be line leader.  I used this teachable moment and made it come true.  I saw how excited they all got about their writing this piece.  So I told them, after we conference one on one,  I will pick the writing pieces who had a clear opening, three reasons supporting why, and a closing.  I had five who went above and beyond.  Out of these five, there were a couple who actually have not produced a solid piece of writing yet this year and struggled quite a bit, I was SO proud of them.  These five were on the ballot for line leader.

On Friday, we used the smart board and graphed our data while counting the votes for President and Line Leader.  I am proud to say we have a new line leader for next week AND I won the mock Presidential vote.  I came out with 13 votes, Grace for 2 votes, and Duck also with 2 votes.

On Tuesday of next week {Election Day} our school is holding a Kids Vote along side all of the other voters in our community.  They will get to go into the polling site at our school and really place a vote for the President of the United States just like their families and as a school we will have a winner.  I think this is such a great learning experience for the kids of our school!!

This was the craft the kids made on Friday.  With their craft, they had to write "If I were President, I would..."  Some of them were hilarious.  I got a few that said they would build more childrens hospitals, give people food, fix the spaceship, and my favorite..."If I were President, I would give everyone a puppy." WINNER!!!

Our polling stations:

The results are in:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fall Things Going On

I have a bunch of stuff that has been going on in my class.  All of this has been going on over the past few weeks.  We studied producer/consumer, wants/needs, and goods/services.  I used apples to tie my last part of science {farming, gardens, life cycle of an apple tree} into our new Social Studies unit.  The kids learned all about how apples get from the orchard to the store, and then made into applesauce.  We also learned how milk makes it from the cow to the carton in the store. 

What is fall without scarecrows?  We aren't allowed to "do" Halloween stuff at school.  So pumpkins and scarecrows are about as far as it goes.  They had fun yesterday making their scarecrow glyphs. 

Also in recent news, I got a Smart Board mounted in my classroom!!  Finally!!! 

Over the next couple of weeks we are going to do some cool things with pumpkins, persuasive writing {yes, in first grade}, and I found a cool unit on the election coming up.  Can't wait! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Had a Dream

I had a dream last night about school.  Even on vacation, I am thinking of my job.  The dream was about a parent finding my home phone number and calling me.  She asked me to meet her at the playground so I could help her son with reading accuracy. 

I need to go to a far away place... maybe if I am out of the state, I will forget about school for a little while. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Time for a Much Needed Break

It's the time that most of us year rounders look forward to... track out!  It's been a very long time since I last tracked out.  I switched tracks this year, so I had to wait an extra 3 weeks and 2 days {but who is counting?!} before I got my "me time".  We are now finished with quarter one.  Only three left to go before the school year is over.  :)  Let me tell you, it cannot go fast enough.  I have mostly a good group this year but some of them are wearing thin on me. 

I'm excited to be able to enjoy my time now, with my two boys at home.  Lots of fun stuff planned. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Comprehension with Minerva Louise at School

This morning I made a quick work page for comprehnsion.  I read a big book that goes with our Houghton Mifflin Reading series.  I mainly use the stories for other purposes and not use the whole program, as Common Core has changed most of it. 

I wanted to see if the kiddos understood what I read and guess what?!-- MOST of them did!  :)

Here is the work page if you would like to use it with this story. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Daily 5... New and Improved

This school year I needed a new Daily 5 theme.  I found new poster sets and switched some things around in my classroom to make it more cozy.  Here are the changes:

Found a hippie theme on TpT's and fell in love with it.  It came with i-charts, cafe board headers, and Daily 5 headers as well. 

In the spirit of the 70's my door has been done in a Brady Bunch style thanks to Susan  :)  I will use my door to display work from the kids each week.  I cannot always hang up everything they do, so each week I can highlight certain things.

A sample of squiggle stories they did.  Squiggle stories are one of their choices for Work on Writing.

I have added Work on Writing and Work on Words in the same location.  You can also see their magazine file boxes.  These hold their writing workshop folders.  Even though we have work on writing in Daily 5, I still hold a formal writing workshop each day.

Also for work on writing, they have a choice of stencil stories too.  There are about 15 different die cuts and each one has a word bank. 

Work on words at the beginning of the year... they love play doh!  I also have stamps and stamp pads, markers, index cards (for making word puzzles), magnetic letters, and bottle caps.

My Caleb sitting in the reading area while I was taking pictures one morning. 

I am doing my morning messages different this year also.  Each week I have just one message.  We use the same one all week but focus on different things each day.  Mondays are usually finding missing punctuation and capital letters.  Tuesdays are finding high frequency words of the week.  Wednesdays are finding our phonics focus of the week.  Thursdays are just rereading and Fridays are locating the opening, body, and closing of the letter. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Living Organisms

The first science unit we hit this year was living organisms.  Let me start by saying that the "kit" we use comes with living materials like guppies, moss, snails, millipedes, and rollie pollies {or pill bugs if you like to call them}.  It's really set up for ONE classroom to use at a time.  Our first grade has NINE classrooms.  Three of us were sharing at the same time.  It just did not fit.  Plus the fish were hard to keep.  Some were DOA {dead on arrival} and others had followed soon after arrival.  Not my idea of providing rigor to the kids in my class.  Let's observe the fish with a fuzzy hand lens and write about it.  Meh, not our cup of tea.  I decided to add some more to my science unit after perusing OLPBNSKODF {old lesson plans before new science kit of dead fish} and Pinterest.

I took my kiddos on a web quest of animals and their habitats.  Then we made our own habitats.  As I posted before, Mr Principal gave each of the students in our class a mini beanie baby to keep.  SO awesome!!!  They studied many different habitats and then once they got their animal, they knew just what to do.  Each child got a small shoebox and had to create a habitat inside for their beanie.   They turned out to be quite terrific...

A cat in a "country habitat"  LOL

A giraffe in the savannah

An ostrich in the savannah and a sting ray in the ocean.

We also had the jungle, arctic, and woodland forest.

After our animals and habitats, the we went back to the basics of plants.  They already knew what they needed to grow, so we reviewed.  Once we did that we used lima beans to explore the inside parts of a seed, planted them in some cups, and watched them grow.  We used our science journals a lot during this time too.  We recorded our growth findings and any other thoughts about the process.  Once again, sorry about the sideways pictures, but you get the point. 

We had a lot of healthy sprouts and they all took them home to plant in a better place for this Labor Day weekend.