Sunday, December 22, 2013

Merry Christmas!

From our characters to yours, Merry Christmas!

Christmas Party

On our last day before the Christmas break, we had our class party. The students made Christmas trees out of ice cream cones, icing, candy, and sprinkles. They also had "magic" drinks made from Sprite and candy canes. Thank you to all of the parents who sent items for the kids to enjoy. Thank you also to the parents who helped set up and clean up.

Holidays Around the World

In writing we researched and compared the role Santa Claus plays in The United States, Germany, France, and Mexico. As a whole group, we charted our findings on a grid for who the gift giver is, what he looks like, how he travels, when he comes, and where he leaves gifts. The students then took notes on their own copy of the grid. Using their notes, they chose to countries, and their version of Santa Claus, to compare on a Venn Diagram. After completing the Venn Diagram, they added heads, hats, legs, and arms to the Venn Diagram to look like Santa. Later in Social Studies we compared even more of the traditions of each country. We also looked at the traditions of Hanukkah in Israel as a part of our Social Studies lessons.

Polar Express Day

Friday we had our annual school-wide Polar Express Day. The day started out with a holiday sing-along in the cafeteria. We then went to the library where the office staff and specialty teachers did a Readers' Theater version of The Polar Express. The students were then treated to hot chocolate. All of first grade joined us in our class to watch the movie as well - a very rare treat for the kids. And, of course, I read the story to my class and we created a Story Map together to identify the story elements. Below are some pictures from our day:

The pictures below were taken to go on The Polar Express train ornament that the teachers make for the students each year. Fellow teachers, I didn't get a picture of the one we made this year, but if you are interested, you can see an example here from a previous year. We also have the students a bell necklace as a connection to the story.

Holiday Pictures

I downloaded and printed these adorable holiday photo props that I found on Pinterest. I took individual pictures of each student for them to put in a card for their parents. I also took a class photo that they could keep. Here are some of the silly photos we took.

Holly Wreath Fact Families

To quickly review addition and subtraction fact families, the students created Holly Wreaths. They counted how many leaves and how many berries and wrote their corresponding number sentences. You can download the templates for this mini-lesson here.

If Santa Got Stuck in the Chimney

The students wrote to explain what they would do if Santa got stuck in the chimney. A lot of the students said they would ask their parents for help. Several said they would call 911 or firemen. One said he would tickle Santa with a feather until he sneezed so hard he would come out of the chimney. Their stories were really funny!

Depicting Larger Numbers

In a training with one of our district math strategists, we learned a technique to get students to show what they know. Each group has a different pen or marker color and completes one portion, task, or question at a given station. They then rotate to the next station and do the same. They either add to what the other group has done or come up with a different answer. Using this idea, I created Place Value Depictions to 120. These worksheets allow students to depict numbers in pictorial models (sticks and dots for tens and ones), on a tens/ones chart, in expanded form, and in written form. I set up stations around the room with one of these worksheets at each. The students rotated to each station until all the ways to depict the numbers were completed. I loved it because the students could not always rely on completing the portion that came the easiest to them - someone else may have already done that portion. The kids loved it because they got to work together and it was like a puzzle to them. I plan to continue having the kids work on these in math tubbing. Once we have a complete set, I will bind them as a class book for them read as review. You can download the file here.

Sources of Water

In science we have been learning about various water sources. The students created foldables to illustrate rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, oceans, and glaciers. They label whether each source of water was fresh or saltwater, whether it was an open or closed water source, as well as its relation to land (i.e. land on both sides, land all around, etc.). They also brainstormed ways we use water. They illustrated at least four ways we use water.

Elf Descriptive Writing

The students created elves out of holiday scrapbook paper. They then wrote to describe their elves. They also wrote one thing they would do if they were an elf.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

We read the How The Grinch Stole Christmas to work on several reading skills. The students first retold the story to a partner and then individually completed a story map to identify the story elements. Then we discussed how the Grinch changed throughout the story. As we discussed the character traits, we talked about better vocabulary to use when discussing emotions. We charted the vocabulary and the students took notes about the Grinch's character traits at the beginning of the story and the end on Deanna Jump's handout from her Grinch unit. The students then created their own Grinch and wrote at least one way they could make the Grinch smile. We have been working on making connections to text as well.

Too Many Tamales

We read Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto. After reading, we discussed the story elements of the book and charted them on the Promethean Board. The students then completed a story map on their own to put the story elements in their own words. They also wrote at least one connection they had to the story and illustrated it.


Our Class Christmas Tree

Here is our class Christmas tree that the kids decorated. I made the ornaments a few years ago by printing pictures of book covers. I laminated them and hot glued a hook on. The kids loved finding places to hang them on the tree.

Puzzle Wreath Ornaments

The students made these cute puzzle wreath ornaments as a gift for their parents.

Skip Counting Reindeer

As a part of our lessons on coins, we needed to review skip counting by 5s and 10s. So, the kids made these skip counting reindeer. We first counted them by 5s and related this to counting Nickels. They then counted them by 10s and related this to counting Dimes.

Stocking Descriptive Writing

Over the Thanksgiving break the students were given a stocking template to decorate however they chose. When they returned to school, the wrote to describe their stockings. They turned out fantastic!

Auntie Claus

We read one of my favorite Christmas books, Auntie Claus, to analyze character traits. As a class we created a Flow Map to retell the story with an emphasis on how the main character, Sophie Kringle, changed throughout the book. After reading, the students made a connection to the message of the story - that it is better to give than to receive. Each student made a "gift" to write at least three things they can give that do not have to be bought (hugs, affirmations, etc.)

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

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!

Pilgrim Writing

We learned about the Pilgrims' journey by using the Scholastic website and PebbleGo. The students then wrote about what the Pilgrims wear, eat, and can do. After prewriting, writing their first draft and editing, they made a Pilgrim to hold their final draft.

Thanksgiving Alliterations

In reading we have been working on identifying examples of rhymes, alliterations, and sensory details in poetry. As a part of this study, the students wrote their own Thanksgiving alliterations. On a Circle Map they brainstormed words that started with /t/ or /th/ for Thanksgiving, /n/ for Native Americans, and /p/ for Pilgrims. As a class they then came up with the three alliterations which I recorded on the Promethean Board. They then divided into three groups to write and illustrate them on construction paper.

Skip Counting Turkeys

The students worked in small groups to create skip counting turkeys. Each group was given a number to start with and then told if they would skip count by 2s, 5s, or 10s. They discussed the number patterns with their group and then recorded their pattern on the turkey feathers.

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