Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Skip Counting Reindeer

To practice skip counting patterns, the students created reindeer using their hands as the antlers. We then hung them up on the bulletin board and placed number cards under each reindeer to show the skip counting pattern. To review place value, we then went back and discussed how many tens each number in the skip counting pattern had. For example, if we were on the ninth reindeer then we knew it had nine tens. The students then would make the connection that nine tens is ninety. Below is a picture of the skip counting reindeer.

As a part of our skip counting lesson, the students also used interactive writing to fill in the missing numbers in skip counting patterns. You can help with skip counting at home by writing skip counting patterns similar to the ones pictures below for your child to complete. As you work with your child, start at various numbers in the skip counting pattern to make it more challenging and to see if your child really understands the sequence.

Life Without Rocks

This week in science we have been learning about rocks. We've been learning about the different types of rocks such as granite, marble, and coal as well as their uses. As a part of our study we read about various objects made from rocks and then created a Circle Map of those items. The students then wrote a sentences about objects or things we could not do without rocks.

Doubles Flashcards

This week we are learning addition and subtraction shortcuts such as using "doubles" (1+1=2, 3+3=6, etc.) To help you child at home, you can use the online interactive flashcards found on Math Cafe. There are flashcards for Doubles Addition and Doubles Subtraction. Students need to be able to understand how addition and subtraction problems are related.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Gifts that Teach

Several parents have asked if there are any specific items that you can buy to help your child with their reading and math. My best advice is to find games that teach. Below are a few games and toys that I highly recommend:
  • Scrabble Flash - Students make as many words out of the letter combinations as possible. It is very similar to the Making Words activity that we do in class each Friday. Students will start to see patterns in words as they can change only one or two letters to make a new word. The great thing about this game is that it has automatic scoring and can be played independently.
  • Bananagrams - The game is played like Scrabble but does not require the board and is easy to travel with. Through playing with words, students will begin to make more connections between the spelling of words.
  • Bendomino - This is a twist on classic dominoes, which I also love. Dominoes help students with number recognition and can be used as manipulatives in a variety of ways. As you play dominoes with your child, have them add the two numbers of the domino before placing it down.

With those recommendations, I must say that I believe children do need time to just play and be kids. It is great to find teachable moments at home to reinforce what we are learning at school, but it is just as important to let children express themselves in stress-free, unstructured play. For that, I recommend having a supply of crayons, markers, blank paper, Legos and other types of blocks.

Don't Let the Cows Out!

In an effort to create an engaging way for the students to practice their math facts, I came up with a game called "Don't Let the Cows Out!" It's a game that you can play easily at home or even in the car with your children. The way to play the game is to get two dice - we use large foam dice - but you can use regular dice. Two players roll the dice, one per child. The dice are the "cows." The first student out of the two players to add the dice together and say the sum correctly wins and stays in the middle of the circle, or "fence." The students who are awaiting their turn act as the fence. While they are acting as the "fence" the students also pretend to cook for the "ranchers" in the middle. If a player has stayed in the middle of the "fence" for a while because they are winning, we take a break to pretend to throw some food as a way to encourage and cheer on the players. Students are reminded not to "let the cows out" of the fence as a way to keep the game in control. If a student rolls the dice out of the fence, they are automatically out and have to go "clean the cow stalls." Below are a few examples of the game in play. I encourage you to get some dice to keep in the car for long trips or for places where waits may be long (doctors' offices, etc.)

A Day of Giving Thanks

As a part of our study of Thanksgiving, the students drew or brought a picture from home of something or someone they were thankful for. As homework, they wrote about why they were thankful for that person or thing. In class, the students read their sentences and showed their pictures to their classmates. They did an amazing job! To end our day, the students were treated to a feast of turkey sandwiches and Thanksgiving sweets. Thank you to the parents for providing all of the treats for the students. Each student made a Thanksgiving headband and placemat which set the scene. Enjoy a quick slideshow of the day's events.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Digital slideshow created with Smilebox

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Words of Thankfulness

Today we brainstormed a list of people we were thankful for on the outside frame of a Circle Map. Then the students brainstormed reasons they were thankful for that person using only one word. After our Circle Map was complete, we went to the Computer Lab to type them into an online program called Wordle. The students typed the name of the person they were thankful for several times and the word "thankful" several times to make these words stand out. They then used the class created Circle Map to list as many characteristics about that person that they were thankful for. After they were finished, the students used the program to turn their lists into word art. The students were able to change the colors, size, and fonts. We then printed out their work to take home. Below are a few examples of their Wordles. Wordle is a great tool you can use at home. Have your child practice typing their word wall and word family words into the program. You can also have them brainstorm nouns, verbs, and adjectives into the program. If you print them out, the could be used as study guides.

Handy Turkeys

Handy Turkey
This isn't just a turkey,
As anyone can see.
I made it with my hand,
Which is a part of me.
It's made with lots of love
Especially to say,
Hope you have a very
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make your own slideshow design

Pattern Block Turkeys

In math yesterday the students reviewed patterns by making a new kind of pattern - symmetrical patterns. They turned their symmetrical patterns into turkeys! They started with a yellow hexagon as the center and then built their pattern one level at a time until the circle became larger. After building their patterns with the blocks, they used paper pattern blocks to tranfer their pattern to black paper. The students then added the turkey bodies. Thanks to a fellow blogger, The First Grade Parade, for this great idea! Enjoy a slideshow below of some of the students' work.

Click to play this Smilebox greeting
Create your own greeting - Powered by Smilebox
Make a greeting card

The Monkeys and The Hat

Yesterday we read a story called The Monkeys and The Hat. The story is very similar to the book Caps for Sale which led to the students making connections and comparisons about the story elements. After reading the new book, the students shared with their neighbor what the book reminded them of. The students then divided into small groups and wrote and illustrated the story elements: characters, setting, problem, and solution. They then shared their charts with the class.

Place Value Towers

This week we are reviewing Place Value and working on identifying larger numbers. One way that we are doing this is by playing a game called Place Value Towers. In Place Value Towers we have two teams. A player from each team draws a number out of a bag. The players race to see who can build that number the fastest with Pop Cubes. The person who builds it the fastest with the correct answer wins a point. Then we take the Pop Cubes and put them together in a tower to see which one is the greatest. It is a good visual representation for the students that the number that is the greatest will have the tallest tower. The team with the greatest number will also earn a point. So, a team could earn two points in one round or they could both earn a point. The team with the most points at the end wins. We keep track of the points by using Tally Marks which reinforces skip counting by fives.


Today we had D.E.A.R. time! What is D.E.A.R. time? It is when we drop everything and read! The students got to choose their favorite books, stretch out and relax, and read for about twenty minutes. I encourage you to have your child read at home just for fun as often as possible. Below are a few pictures of the students reading.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Turkey Descriptive Writing

Using our writing program, Write From the Beginning, the students wrote descriptive pieces about a turkey. They then colored a turkey however they wanted. Below is an example of their writings and turkeys.

Cornucopia Placemats

This week the students created Cornucopia graphic organizers to show what they are thankful for. First we brainstormed as many people, places, or things we were thankful for on a Circle Map. Then each child dot painted several pieces of fruit and a cornucopia. They then glued them onto construction paper. During guided reading, each child told me up to twelve things they were thankful for which I typed. They could use the class Circle Map to help them. Each child cut out their boxes of the things they were thankful for and glued them around the cornucopia likea Bubble Map. Below is an example of the finished product which was laminated and which will be used at our Thanksgiving celebration later this week.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Creative Clocks

As an introduction to our lessons on telling time, my colleague, Mrs. Linnabary, wrote a lesson about comparing analog and digital clocks. As a part of the lesson, the students had the opportunity to create their own creative, analog clocks. As the students created the clocks, we talked about the features of an analog clock and practiced skip counting by 5's. The students then wrote why telling time is important. Parents, you can help your child practice telling time by visiting Primary Games' "What Time Is It?" game. Fellow teachers, you can learn more about this lesson by visiting Mrs. Linnabary's professional blog, Crayon Bits. Below is a slideshow of the students' creative clocks.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This slideshow personalized with Smilebox

Fluency Practice

Last week I had the opportunity to learn a new blogging tool, Glogster, from our Instructional Technology Facilitator, Sharon Thornton. Glogster is like blogging but it allows you to make posters. I am hoping to use this in class, once I learn more about it, to have the students make their own poster projects over literature. Below is a Glog about our class fluency practice. The students recorded two poems this week: Phillip's Trip and Fast Crab written by Timothy Rasinski. Click on the "play" symbols to hear recordings of their poems. We used Audacity to make the recordings.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This week we went into the science lab to experiment with magnets. We read the book What Makes a Magnet? by Franklyn M. Branley. The students first made predictions about which objects were magnetic and then went "fishing" with magnet wands to test their predictions. The students discovered that the magnetic objects all had something in common: they were made of metal - more specifically, they were made of iron. Click below to check out a few pictures from the lab. The slideshow is interactive so you can move the pictures.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
This picture slideshow personalized with Smilebox

Rainy Day Recess

As the weather is changing, we have to find creative ways to give the students opportunities for fun, physical activities for recess even when the weather is inclement. One of our favorite activities is doing exercises to a video called Rainy Day Recess. Rainy Day Recess can be found on Discovery Education. Although Discovery Education is a primarily a school resource, there are great Home Resources that include homework help in the core subjects. Below are a few pictures of our class and Ms. Goolsbay's class doing Rainy Day Recess together.
As a side note, we do go outside for recess every day, weather permitting. As the weather is changing, please make sure your child brings a jacket to school each day.


Over the last two weeks we have been learning about fractions, or parts of a whole. First graders are expected to know that fractions are divided into equal parts and be able to identify how many parts are shaded or not shaded. For example, if there is a box divided into four equal parts and two parts are shaded in, the students are expected to know and use the terminology "2 out of 4 equal parts." To help the students learn this in a hands-on, concrete way, the students created fractions using playdough, foldables, and pattern blocks. To help your child at home, visit the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives Fraction of a Whole Activity.

The Nature Center

Last week we had the opportunity to visit The Nature Center. The Nature Center is a district run facility that allows the students at all grade levels the chance to explore science in a hands-on manner. Below is a slideshow of our field trip.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
A picture slideshow by Smilebox

Math Tubbing

This six weeks I introduced Math Tubbing to the students. Math Tubbing is like Literacy Stations but with math content. Instead of going to a station, the students get a container filled with content-specific materials (games, books, manipulatives, etc.) that they can work on independently or in small groups. While the students are working on previously taught concepts, I work with small groups in Guided Math. In Guided Math we focus on the specific areas that individual students struggle in. The Math Tubs that the students are using right now include Number Recognition, Place Value, Graphing, Addition/Subtraction Operations, Shapes, Fractions, and Patterns. Students also have the opportunity to use our online computer program, First In Math. Below are some pictures of the students working with Math Tubs.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...