Monday, March 29, 2010

Phonics and Reading Help

If your child is struggling with their reading or seem to have lost interest, check out the BBC's Words and Pictures website. This website has great games and printables for all of the various stages of reading learning. You can use this site to target your child's reading progress at home. For example, if you notice that your child does not consistently read the long vowels correctly, you can visit their Long Vowel Sounds page. If they are struggling with their common sight words, you can visit their High Frequency Page.

Weekly Reminders

This week is a very busy week in first grade!

  • As a reminder, we have a field trip this Wednesday morning to Casa Manana in Fort Worth. We will be watching "Cinderella" and then having a picnic lunch. Please remember that your child needs a sack lunch for this field trip.
  • On Thursday afternoon we will be having our Spring Party at 2:45PM in the grassy area behind the library. The students will be hunting candy-filled eggs. Each child needs to bring one dozen candy-filled eggs by Thursday morning. Please do not put chocolate in the eggs as it quickly melts.
  • Lastly, as a reminder, there is no school this Friday. Enjoy the long weekend with your family!
Check back in with the blog often to see some pictures from these fun events!

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Eggs"perimenting with Teeth

Yesterday we made predictions about what we thought would stain teeth by soaking eggs in three liquids: water, grape juice, and soda. The students journaled about their predictions and today in the science lab we tested our predictions. We found that the soda and grape juice stain the eggshell but the water did not. The students concluded that the water was the best thing for their teeth. In the lab today the students also explored several different tooth-related stations. At one station they were able to see what would clean a grape-juice stained tile the best: store-bought toothpaste or homemade baking soda toothpaste. The students got to make their own toothpaste as a class. At another station they practiced flossing properly with an egg carton and yarn. To practice the correct brushing motion, the students colored cavities on laminated teeth and then used an eraser to "brush" away the cavity. At another station, they explored the pressure teeth has on food by using pliers and scissors on pretzels. At another station, they drew themselves with healthy smiles and wrote sentences explaining how to keep them healthy. They also had a chance to read all about teeth. Enjoy a slideshow of their explorations and experiments.

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All Sorts of Graphing

Yesterday we explored and created three kinds of graphs: real-object, picture, and bar-type graphs. First the students voted on which type of cracker was their favorite: Teddy Grahams, Goldfish, or Animal Crackers. Goldfish crackers won by a landslide. After completing a bar-type graph together with this data, the students each got a cup full of the three crackers. Each student chose eight of the crackers at random to place on their real-object graph. The students loved comparing their graphs to one another. After completing their real-object graphs, the students replicated it using pictures. The students then went around reporting how much of each cracker they had in their cup to compare least, greatest, or equal to. Below a slideshow below of the students graphing:

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Thursday, March 4, 2010

How I Grow and Change

This six weeks we are learning about how we grow and change, how organisms depend upon one another and their habitat. This week we focused on human growth with an emphasis on slow and fast changes. To help the students visualize how much they have grown and changed, we played a guessing game to see if students could recognize their classmates' baby pictures. The students were rolling in the floor laughing as the student in the picture would walk up to the picture and reveal themselves.

Rainbow Lessons: Character Education

Over the last six weeks we have had been having Rainbow Lessons in our class led by a fabulous teacher, Ms. K., each Friday morning following Pride Rally. Rainbow lessons are curriculum based character lessons to help children learn how to cope in difficult situations such as peer pressure. To learn more about their program, you can visit their website.

Revisiting Patterns

During math tubbing we have been revisiting patterns quite a bit. It is one of the students' favorite things. A few weeks ago we practiced with Skittles candy and also by drawing patterns on the dry-erase board. A student had an excellent way to practice patterns at home! She said that they could use Lego's blocks to create patterns. What a creative and fun way!

What's a Name Worth?

To practice comparing and ordering larger numbers, the students used Base Ten Blocks to create the first letter of their name and later the first letter of their last name. After creating their name's letter, they counted how much it was worth. We recorded the answers as a class and found which letter was worth the most and which was worth the least.

More Measuring

Over the last few weeks we have been exploring measurement with non-standard objects. The students started by measuring large objects but then moved into measuring smaller objects. Students are expected to use logical reasoning to know that if you use a larger object to measure, you would need less of that object. If you use a smaller object, you would need more of that object.

Snow Observations

An oldie but a goodie!

A few weeks back when the weather was a little bit chillier, the students had the opportunity to observe snow as it began to fall. Whenever there is a major visible change in weather we take the opportuntiy to write in our science journals about what we see. The students made great observations about the speed and volume of the snowfall as well as what they think causes the change in weather. A great way to build critical thinking in your child is to ask them why they think something is happening. Its even better if you have them write about it!
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