Friday, April 27, 2012
Miss Nelson's Got the Camera for winning a year's subscription to Samson's Classroom. Thank you to those who entered the giveaway. Miss Nelson, check your email soon for login information. The winner was chosen using a Random Number Generator. The widget can be found at Random.Org.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I recently coordinated an Earth Day Book Swap for our school as a way to promote recycling and reusing what we already have. Students were asked to bring in books to trade with their friends. For each book brought in, they received a ticket which was used to "purchase" a book someone else had brought in. The students swapped almost 600 books. As a part of the Book Swap and as a part of our committment to Rachel's Challenge, the students were also asked to donate books to a local charity. With the help of one of our district's middle schools who also donated books, we collected over 750 books to donate! I am so proud of our students!
During Social Studies, we talked about the importance of Earth Day and the need to take care of it not only on this special day but everyday. As we talked we reviewed how our planet is covered mostly in water. We reviewed the different bodies of water. We then discussed ways we can help the take care of the water and land on Earth. The students then created a fun, Pinterest-inspired artwork. The first drew landforms and water on a coffee filter with marker. They then sprayed the coffee filter with a water bottle causing the marker color to run and bleed onto one another. While we waited for the artwork to dry, we visited the computer lab so the students could type three ways they could help the Earth. They added their sentences to their artwork.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
In our science lab we have been watching tadpoles as they change into frogs. It has been nice for the students to be able to see first-hand how the tadpoles begin to develop front and back legs and lose their tails.
Last week we learned to measure length with non-standard units. In one of our lessons, the students worked together to make predictions about the length of a craft sticks using non-standard units of paper clips, color tiles, and lima beans. As they made their predictions, we discussed which unit we would need to the most of when measuring the craft stick. We talked about that when measuring with a unit that is smaller, you need more of that unit and when measuring with a unit that is larger, you need less of that unit. After making their predictions about the length of the craft stick and recording them on construction paper, they measured the actual length. We talked about starting at the end of the craft stick because just like in a race, everyone needs to start in the same spot to be accurate and fair. After recording their actual measurements, the students compared their predictions to the results.
On our visit to the library on Friday our Instructional Media Specialist, Mrs. Thornton, surprised the class with a new read-aloud. She read ZooZical by Judy Sierra. The book is illustrated by Marc Brown. The story is very funny and the students loved it. It was a great way to end the week!
In the computer lab, the students used Pixie 2 to create a plant diagram. They first used the paint bucket feature to create a cloud background. They then used the spray paint feature to create grass and soil. They used the shape tool to create a rectangular stem. Using the stickers feature, they added a flower and leaf. They used the paint brush to add roots. Finally, they used the text box feature to label each part of the plant and to write two functions of that plant part. Although this lesson could be done on paper by drawing, I find it very important to teach the students how to use as many of the features in Pixie 2 as possible because they transfer to so many other programs that they will need later in life. After the students created their diagrams, they exported them and then uploaded them to their KidBlog. I show the students how to do this step-by-step on the Promethean but the majority of the students are now able to do this independently after just a few lessons.
My teammate, Mrs. Timms, who plans science for our team, taught all of first grade how to make a terrarium. Using soda bottles cut in half, the students first added soil to the bottom half of the container. As they took turns, we discussed what is in soil and how soil is used. They then added a plant to the soil followed by more soil. Next they added water. We discussed that plants need soil, water, and air. The teachers then placed the top of the soda bottle on top of the bottom piece. Once back in class, the students created a four flap foldable to indicate the steps taken to create the terrarium. On the top, they drew the pictures with labels and under the flaps they wrote sentences using transition words. By the end of the day the students were already able to see how the water was evaporating to the top of the container which lead into a discussion of the water cycle.
My teammate, Ms. Branch, shared an engaging math lesson on fact families that went perfectly with our garden theme. Each student traced a flower outline with four petals. They then created a stem and leaf. I gave each student a triangle fact family card. They wrote the three numbers from their fact family on the leaf. On the petals, they wrote the four corresponding fact family sentences. We then added them to our garden display.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Using our Promethean Board, the students wrote various addition and subtraction word problems and then took turns solving them by drawing pictures. After drawing pictures to help them solve the problems, the students then wrote the number sentence and answer with label. They then wrote the related fact family number sentences.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Thank you to April Larremore, our district's Kinder/First Grade Strategist, for giving our class an electronic Jeopardy game. The students love it! We connected it to our Promethean Board thanks to the help of our Instructional Media Specialist, Sharon Thornton. The software that comes with the game is very easy to use and I was able to create several review games. My teammate, Ms. Branch, and I combined classes one afternoon during math to review various concepts. Each student had a dry-erase board to work out problems, as needed, and they took turns controlling the joysticks. They stayed engaged the entire time.
Our Instructional Media Aide, Mrs. Johnson, taught the first graders a lesson on how to use our library database, Horizon, to search for specific topics. The students worked in groups to practice finding specific book titles and broad research topics. Your child can look for books available in our library from home using Horizon.
I've already written several posts about how we conduct research in our class but I wanted to share some pictures of my little researchers in action. It is so nice to see them excited about research and to see how independent they are in finding their own answers to questions!