Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Make S'Mores

This week in reading we are learning how to follow multi-step directions and in writing we are writing to tell how. Since our weekly theme is camping, we learned how to make s'mores. The students were shown how to make the s'mores step by step. As they worked, they had to verbally explain how to make them. They are currently working on the writing portion of this lesson. Then, of course, they ate their delcious treat!

Human and Physical Characteristics

In Social Studies the students have been learning to differentiate between physical and human characteristics. To assess their understanding, we took our lesson outside to the school garden. The students drew the school garden and then identified at least two physical characteristics and two human characteristics from the garden.

Living and Non-Living

In science the students have been learning how to differentiate between living and non-living objects. They have brainstormed various objects, illustrated them, and sorted them according to their categories. They have also created a Circle Map to identify the needs of living organisms. They then worked in small groups to cut out various pictures from magazines. In their small groups, they sorted the pictures into living and non-living categories. They then created collages in larger groups of living and non-living.

Modeling Larger Numbers

In math we are working on modeling, ordering, and comparing numbers to 99. In this lesson the students worked in partners to build larger numbers with Base Ten Blocks. They then checked on another's work. After both partners agreed the models were correct, they represented their numbers on paper by drawing sticks (tens) and dots (ones). They then identified in writing the number of tens and ones, the expanded form, the standard form, and the written form of the numbers. They then again worked with their partners to check the work.  After checking, they discussed which number was the greatest and which was the least. They had to justify their thinking by explaining how many tens and ones were in their numbers. The partners then switched numbers with another set of partners and repeated the process.

100th Day Collections

The students were asked to bring in 100 items that were all the same in a bag. They shared with their friends what they brought in. We then discussed how some items filled the bags and some only took a little bit of space. We talked about how although they were all the same amount, they were different sizes which is why some looked like more.

When I'm 100 Years Old...

The students created portraits of what they think they will look like when they are 100 years old. They turned out so great!

100th Day Trail Mix

In celebration of the 100th day and to review the concept of skip counting by tens, the students made a 100th day trail mix. They first created placemats with ten colorful circles on it. They then chose ten different items for their mix. They placed ten of each item on a circle. Once they had all of their circles filled, they practiced counting by ten. They then added their mix to a bag and enjoyed their delicious snack. Thank you to all of the parents who generously supplied the snacks.

100th Day of School

We made it! Last Friday was the 100th day of school! To celebrate, the students made crowns and then we had a mini-awards ceremony. Each student was called to receive a certificate and sticker noting they had successfully completed 100 days of first grade. Then, we took these silly pictures!

Space Food

As a part of our study of space, we learned about how astronauts have to eat. We learned that they often used packaged food that can be eaten straight from the package due to the lack of gravity. The students were then treated to their own "space food" (easy squeeze applesauce).

Don't Let the Cows Out

In math we play a game called "Don't Let the Cows Out" to practice math facts. The students sit in a circle, "the fence", while two "ranchers" go in the middle of the circle. They use two large dice, "the cows", throw in the middle. The first "rancher" to add the two dice together correctly stays in the circle while the other goes to sit down. If the "cows" go outside of the fence, they both are out. This little trick deters the kids from throwing the dice to far and keeps the game from getting out of control.

Writing to Explain Why: Astronauts

The students have been learning to write to explain why recently. Since we have been studying space, they wrote about whether they would like to be an astronaut or not. They then created an astronaut out of a template a former teammate drew.


Mindful Mondays: Respect

Our school has started a new way to incorporate character education into our weekly curriculum: Mindful Mondays. Last week our focus was on being respectful to peers and not just adults. First the students were presented with the word "respect" on a piece of paper. Then a few students were asked to cover the word with toothpaste. Once the entire word was covered, a few other students were asked to put the toothpaste back in the tube. As hard as they tried, they could not get it all back in. This led into a discussion about hurtful words. We discussed that it is easy to say mean, hurtful words to our friends but it is not so easy to take them back. We talked about the importance of saying your sorry when you truly mean it but that saying your sorry alone does not always undo the damage caused by the negative words.

Ordering Events by Duration

In math the students have been learning how to order events by duration. They often think that just because you do something ten times it must take longer than something that you do five times no matter what. We have been learning that you have to think about each task and how long it takes to do it just once. Then you have to think about how many times you do it. For example, it takes them less time to read their weekly poem five times than it does to read their guided reading book one time. At the conclusion of our lessons, the students illustrated three events, or tasks, from their school day and ordered them from the least time taken to the most time taken. They then wrote comparison sentences about the events' durations.

Space Facts

As a part of our space research, the students wrote and illustrated at least one fact they found independently from an informational text.


As a part of our study of day and night, the students learned about constellations. They then created their own constellation on black paper out of silver star stickers. They then had to count how many stars were in their constellation. They then had to write at least two sentences to explain the shape of their constellation and how many stars formed the shape.

Space Research Papers

After researching space from various informational texts, the students used their Circle Maps to independently write research papers. Before beginning, we had a mini-lesson on how authors often use a "hook" or something catchy to get a reader's attention. One of the ways we discussed is that author's sometimes ask a question to actually state a fact about their topic. The students all started their papers by ask a "Did you know?" question by stating their most interesting fact. They then wrote at least four more related facts about their topic. They glued their Circle Map and final draft (we always edit writing together) on a black piece of construction paper.

Day and Night

In science the students learned about the cycle of day and night. To show what they know, they drew a picture with labels of sunrise, day, sunset, and night. They then put the pictures in order in a cycle on a piece of construction paper.

Space Research

In reading we have been learning about informational texts. As a part of those lessons, the students have been using various non-fiction sources to research space. The students were divided into groups. In their groups they chose a specific topic about space: astronauts, space shutttles, stars, the sun, or the solar system as a whole. They worked in small groups with me to research using PebbleGo. They recorded important information on a Circle Map. They then worked together to find book sources to record addtional important information.

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