Saturday, January 29, 2011

Place Value Flashcards to 99

To help the students with identifying larger numbers, I created a set of Place Value flashcards with both numbers and Base Ten Blocks. We use the flashcards in a variety of ways:
  • drawing a number card and building it with Base Ten Blocks
  • drawing a Base Ten card and writing the matching number on a dry-erase board
  • playing "Around the World" with the Base Ten cards
  • identify the number of Tens and Ones with the number cards by drawing sticks and dots
  • drawing three cards of either number cards or Base Ten cards and ordering them from greatest to least or least to greatest
  • matching number cards to Base Ten cards

Story Elements

As a way to help your child with their comprehension, you can use this story elements chart to help them understand the key characteristics of a fiction story: characters, setting, problem, and solution. The students can draw the pictures and/or write notes about each part. As students work on these, encourage your student to look back at the text to find answers. Also encourage them to use specific details such as the proper names of the characters rather than "the boy" or "the girl" and the specific setting such as "a farm in the winter" rather than "outside."


Doodle For Google

What parent couldn't use $15,000 towards their child's future education? What school couldn't use $25,00 towards technology? Google is once again hosting their contest Doodle For Google. It is a great opportunity for our young artists to redesign Google's homepage logo with the theme "What I'd like to do someday..." Previously the contest could only be registered through a school but this year it has been expanded to allow parents and legal guardians to register their child. You can find information and forms here. Below is a previous year's winner:

"Go Fish" Doubles and Doubles+1

Last week we learned about Doubles+1. The students built Doubles towers and then added 1 to the second tower to practice the addition equations. For additional practice the students played a Doubles and Doubles+1 version of "Go Fish." You can download the game here to practice at home or in your own classroom. Just print the fish on the back of the number cards and you're ready.

First Grade Word Wall PowerPoint

I recently updated our First Grade Word Wall PowerPoint. The slideshow advances every five seconds to reveal a new word. You can help your child build automatic recognition of these words by having them use the PowerPoint at least once per week to read all of the words.If you do not have PowerPoint on your home computer, you can download PowerPoint Viewer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Rainbow Days

Each Friday for the next few weeks, our class will have a guest teacher, Ms. K. Ms. K. is a part of a program called Rainbow Days which "teach children and youth a set of essential life skills: skills to help them learn how to cope with difficult family situations, resist peer pressure, set and achieve goals, and refuse alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs." She teaches through read-alouds, discussions, and hands-on activities. You can learn more about their program by visiting their website.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thinking About MLK

Last week as a precursor to writing about Martin Luther King, Jr., the students created Bubble Maps in computer lab to show what they had learned. They created the Bubble Maps using the software Kidspiration.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Base Ten Blocks

This week we will be working on identifying, building, and comparing numbers to 99. To help practice this at home, there is a great online manipulative program at Learning Box. The online program generates random two-digit numbers (can do three-digit for older students) which the students then build with Base Ten Blocks. As an added bonus, the game shows where the built number belongs on a number line or ruler. This helps students visually see which number is the greatest or least.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

How To: Podcasting

Fellow teachers, several of you have asked how we do the podcasting in our class. At first I wasn't sure I could do this either, but Moseley's technology facilitator, Sharon Thornton, showed me that it wasn't as hard as I thought. Mrs. Thornton can explain it better than I ever could and has already done so at her technology integration site. She has examples of how to use podcasting in your classroom, steps to think about before you start, and step-by-step directions on how to create and implement your podcasts. She also has directions for how to download and use the recording software Audacity. She also has several options listed of sites that can host your podcasts. The podcasting host that I use is PodBean. While you are at her site, check out all of the other great resources and downloadable directions that she has shared - she's amazing!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Have a Dream

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the students wrote their dreams and recorded them using Audacity software. These might bring a tear to your eye! The students came up with the ideas all on their own. Click below to listen to their dreams. You can download the podcast to your computer or phone through our class podcasting site.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Short Vowel Poetry

Over the last few weeks we have been focusing on short vowel sounds. To help practice reading the sounds fluently, the students practiced the poem "Ted." You can listen to their poetry reading below. The poems were recorded using Audacity software. A link to Audacity is at the side of the page along with many other helpful links. For fluency practice, a highly recommend Dr. Tim Rasinski's poems which can be found in his books Poems for Word Study. There are several different versions of this book for different grade levels.

Podcast Powered By Podbean

You can also hear other examples of their reading at our class podcasting site.

Martin's Big Words

Today we began our study of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We read Martin's Big Words to read about the history and important contributions of Dr. King's life. As we read the book we discussed good character and how we should treat one another. After reading about the events of his life, the students read, sorted, and ordered the key events into a timeline on a sentence strip.

The Three Snow Bears

Today in our whole group comprehension lesson we worked on making inferences and drawing conclusions. The students looked at the cover of the book The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett and discussed what they saw. After discussing that the cover had three bears - a papa, a mama, and a baby - the students were asked if they had ever read a book about three bears. The quickly came up with Goldilocks and The Three Bears. The students then retold the story of Goldilocks to a neighbor. After retelling, we talked about how we can use what we already know to predict what will happen in our new story. After reading a few pages, we would stop to allow the students time to predict what would happen next. To complete our comprehension lesson, we created a Double Bubble Map to compare and contrast the two stories. The students then created their own "snow bear" by only cutting out simple shapes.

Guest Author

We were fortunate today to have a guest author in our class - one of Moseley's own 4th grade students! She also happens to be the sister of one of our class members. The 4th graders did a great writing lesson where they took a Kinder level book are rewrote it using more advanced descriptions and details. A few of the students were chosen to share their new stories with the first graders. The first graders loved the story and illustrations. The fourth grader was a great inspiration to the beginning writers about how much better a story becomes when you pay close attention to the details. Thank you to the fourth graders and their teacher, Mrs. Francis, for being great inspirations!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snowy Numbers

On Monday we were so excited about the weekend snowfall that we decided to practice our math in snow - otherwise known to adults as shaving cream! To review larger numbers, the students built two different numbers in the snow by drawing ten rods and ones. We then discussed which number was the greatest and which was the least. The students had to explain how they knew. We have been focusing looking at the tens first to compare the numbers and then at the ones place if the tens place is equal. The students are getting really good at this!

Someone Special

Last week the students wrote about someone special to them using their Write From the Beginning strategies. They first created a Circle Map followed by a Tree Map. They used the Tree Map to help them write sentences. In small group, we went over their sentences and the students wrote their final draft. The students wrote some really sweet things about their family members!

Landforms and Bodies of Water

In Social Studies and Science we have been learning about bodies of water and landforms. To help distinguish the attributes of different types of landforms and water, the students created a six part foldable to illustrate the features of a mountain, a hill, a plain, an ocean, a lake, and a river. With the landforms, the students practiced motions to help them remember that a mountain is pointed, a hill is round, and a plain is flat.

How to Be a 3D Shape

Last week the students used what they learned about 3 dimensional shapes to write a "how to" paper. The students used our class created grid to identify how many faces/surfaces, edges/rims, and vertices/points each shape had. They then formated them into notes on a graphic organizer which they then used to form complete sentences. Thank you to my teammate, Mrs. Linnabary, for finding this great lesson idea on LessonPlanSos.

Comparing Larger Numbers

We have been finding new ways to practice comparing numbers. Today we went to the computer lab and built larger numbers using Base Ten Blocks in the program Kidspiration. The students built four numbers with the blocks and then used text boxes to label them. After their numbers were built, they used text boxes to type the numbers in order.

You can have your child practice this at home by having them draw the tens as lines or sticks and the ones as dots. Another fun way to practice is to use pretzel sticks and marshmallows. You can also have them build ten rods with Legos.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fluency Podcasting

As guided reading today, the students practiced recording their favorite poems using Audacity software. They recorded again and again until they were happy with their recording. The poems that we typically use are from Dr. Timothy Rasinski's book Poems for Word Study. You can hear all of their recordings at my podcasting site on Podbean. You can download the podcasts to your computer, IPhone, IPod, or IPad. Below is an example of today's recordings:


As I was lesson planning, I came across an interesting site, Scribble, that reminds me of our classroom activity of Making Words by Patricia Cunningham. On this website, you are given a random generation of letters and the goal is to write down as many words as you can think of using only those letters. They can be short words or long words. It is a great way to challenge your students, especially those who enjoy puzzles. This could be a fun game to incorporate into a family game night - see which family member comes up with the most words.  Another great site that we use in class as a part of Making Words is Words in Words. Words in Words allows you to type in a word and it will generate a list of words that can be made from the same letters. Below is an example of just a few of the words found within the word "student."

Storyline Online

The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has a great website, Storyline Online, where actors read their favorite children's books. The site is a great way for your child to hear engaging and fluent reading as well as practice their comprehension skills. As additional practice at home, have your child listen to one of the stories online and then have them tell you the events of the story in order. You can extend the learning by having them write the beginning, middle, and end of the story in a Flow Map.

3D Shape Sort

In computer lab today, the students created their own six-part chart in Pixie 2 to sort clipart into 3D shape categories. Enjoy a quick movie below of their work:

Water Is Useful

This week we have been studying about different landforms and bodies of water. As a part of our study, the students wrote and illustrated at least one way that they use water. Students who find lessons relevant to their own lives are more likely to remember what they were taught. The students also created a foldable of the earth to learn how much of the earth is covered in water. The students took a circle and folded it into fourths, which was a good review of fractions, and colored in three out of four parts blue to show that the earth is made of mostly water. They colored the last part green to show that one out of four parts are land.


3D Shapes

This week we have been learning about 3 dimensional shapes and their attributes. The students are expected to know how many faces or surfaces each shape has, the number of vertices or points, the nubmer of edges, and real life examples. To practice this, the students practiced making the shapes out of playdough. They then counted the number of faces, vertices, and edges each shape had. The students also worked in cooperative groups to sort real life objects on a large thinking map.

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