Thursday, September 30, 2010

Repeating Patterns

The students created a movie about repeating patterns in computer lab last week. We used a program called Pixie 2. Enjoy their movie:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fluency Phrases

A large part of learning to read is fluency. According to Dr. Timothy Rasinski, a pioneer in reading education, fluency includes the following skills:
  • Accuracy, or accurate decoding of words in text;
  • Automaticity, or decoding words with minimal use of attentional resources; and
  • Prosody, or the appropriate use of phrasing and expression to convey meaning.
To build fluency, Dr. Rasinski suggests practicing and learning short fluency phrases that include 50 percent of all the words children encounter in elementary school reading. To help your child practice these at home, download and save this Fluency Phrases Powerpoint. The phrases are short and after some practice, the children should be able to read them independently. You may wish to print a copy of the Powerpoint slides as well. These phrases are good to keep in your car for your child to practice on roadtrips.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Shape Spotters

This last week the students explored the features of 2-dimensional shapes in many way. The students found shapes at home to share with classmates during "Shape Show and Tell", created clowns and identified the number of each shape used, sorted shapes into example and non-example groups, created pictures of everyday objects from shapes, and created posters of triangles and rectangles to identify how many sides and vertices each has. The students even used pretzel sticks and marshmallows to create models of triangles, squares, and square rectangles. The pretzel sticks were a good representation of the sides and the marshamllows gave the students a hands-on example of how many corners, or vertices, each shape has. To see all of the shape spotting the students did over the week, check out the slideshow below:

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Up, Up, Up! It's Apple-Picking Time!

Last week we read Up, Up, Up! It's Apple Picking Time! by Jody Fickes Shapiro. The students then worked together to retell in writing what happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story. The students wrote together using a method called Interactive writing in which the students and teacher take turns sharing the pen and help one another spell. The students then summarized the story in their own words using the shared chart as help. At the end of their comprehension lesson, they created an apple tree. Below are a few examples of the students' work:

Sorting by Properties

In Science we have been studying different ways to classify objects: size, shape, texture, and color. As a part of our study we create a Bubble Map to describe various objects. We then went into the Science Lab with Ms. Goolsbay's class to sort a wide variety of materials by the four properties including buttons, shape blocks, stuffed animals, bugs, etc. Enjoy a quick slideshow of our Science Lab fun.

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M&M Pattern Practice

Last week we reviewed patterning by creating color patterns out of M&Ms. Pattern knowledge helps in so many other math concepts as students are able to transfer their knowledge in areas such as addition and subtraction patterns. The next time your child looks at you and says they are bored, you can help at home by providing various household materials such as buttons, coins, crayons, blocks, etc. that lend themselves to patterning. The kids think that they are playing but they are doing math at the same time. Below are a few pictures of the students creating patterns with their M&Ms.

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First in Math

Our school is utilizing a new online math program this year in all grade levels. The site, First in Math, allows students to practice math facts and concepts in a game format. Each student has a unique username and password. I sent home the usernames and passwords for each student last week; please feel free to contact me if you need it again. We will be using First in Math each week during our computer lab time as well as during our math workshops. You can help by having your child practice at home as well. Each day we will check our status to see who the "player of the day" is and that student will get to wear the First in Math necklace of honor. At the end of the week, I will check to see who the "top player of the week" is to be recognized at Pride Rally.

Spelling City

To help your child practice their weeklly word wall and phonics words, please visit our grade level SpellingCity page. SpellingCity is a great interactive site that enables the students to practice their words in a variety of ways: playing games, handwriting, practice tests, etc. Spelling lists for the week can also be printed out at home. You can search for our grade level lists by choosing "Find a List" and searching for the teacher name Moseley First. The current lists will become availabe each Monday after the First Checks have been given in class.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Caps for Sale: Retelling Stories

In Reading we have been working on retelling stories from beginning, middle, and end. Last week we read Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. After reading the story, the students partnered with a knee-neighbor to orally retell the story. Then, as a class we created a three part chart to summarize the story. The following day, after rereading, the students did Interactive Writing on a Flow Map to summarize the story in their own words. The students then created a foldable to illustrate and write about the events of the story from beginning, middle, and end. Below are a few pictures of their work.

Pattern Practice Online

As you have seen in the previous post, we have been working on creating and extending repeating patterns. You can help at home by having your child visit Pattern Mania. In this game the students have to identify what shape comes next. The students should already be familiar with repeating patterns from Kindergarten. Our goal in first grade is to have them not only create and extend the patterns but to identify the pattern using letters, identify the pattern core, and how many time it repeats. You can also help at home by having the students create patterns out of everyday objects such as buttons, candy, Lego blocks, etc. As a part of our study, we went on a "Pattern Hunt" around the school to see how patterns are used in our everyday lives.

Repeating Patterns

Last week we worked on creating and extending patterns. Our goal was to move beyond simple patterns with shapes and color to more complex positional patterns. Enjoy a short online scrapbook of the students finding inventive ways to create patterns.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Literacy Stations

Each day while I am meeting with small groups for guided reading practice, the students rotate through two Literacy Stations. The stations we have in our class include Buddy Reading, Big Book Station, Classroom Library, Pocket Chart Station, Creation Station, Science Station, Drama and Poetry Station, Listening Station, Writing and Handwriting Station, and ABC/Word Wall Station. The stations allow students to have additional practice on reading and writing skills previously taught at an indpendent pace. The stations are designed to be interactive and to encourage students to take an active role in their learning. Below are a few pictures of the students in action!

Shaving Cream Words

At least once a week the students practice writing their weekly word wall and phonics words in shaving cream. This activity is especially good for those students who are hesitant to write. They see it as play and therefore are willing to spend much more time working on learning their words. If you are looking for another way to have your child practice their writing at home, you don't need to look any further than your bathroom cabinet! Pull out the bottle of shaving cream and your child will write away!

Exploring Manipulatives

In our grade, math is taught primarily through the use of manipulatives. The more students use concrete materials to explore and practice math problems, the better they will become at abstract math concepts later on. We teach and model using a variety of manipulatives which the students then use in guided practice. The students then take the skills they learn and apply them in written form. To introduce math this year we had several lessons in which the students created designs with pattern blocks, geoboards, color tiles, and other manipulatives. At home, you can use everyday items such as beans, stickers, erasers, crayons, paper clips, lids, coins, etc. Enjoy the slideshow of the students exploring manipulatives.

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Capturing Kids' Hearts: Social Contract

In our class we follow a Social Contract to help the students and me work together to achieve positive behavior. A Social Contract is part of the guidance procedures we use at Moseley through the program Capturing Kids' Hearts. To create the Social Contract, the students divided into four groups and brainstormed on a Circle Map how they thought they should treat their friends, how they wanted to be treated by their friends, how they thought they should treat the teacher, and how they wanted to be treated by the teacher. After creating the Social Contract, the students each signed it. They also created faces of themselves to hang with the Social Contract. As a part of the program, the students are taught to "check" their classmates behavior in a positive, constructive manner. They are also taught how to affirm one another both verbally and in writing. Below is the Social Contract that our class created together.

Who We Are!

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ten Frames

Last week in math we were practicing recognizing numbers to 20. One of the ways we practiced this was to use Ten Frames and Double Ten Frames. Ten Frames are manipulative mats with ten boxes. The goal is for students to use them to quickly recognize, without counting, how many items are there. To practice this skill at home, you can visit the great math site Illuminations where your child can play the Ten Frame building and addition game we have been using in computer lab.
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