September 28, 2014

The Newly Created Pumpkin Family

Here they are!!  Our new pumpkin family that will be joining the classroom tomorrow.  I paint them each year and lucky students are able to take them home.  New this year is the Ninja Turtle...I remember watching this show Saturday mornings with my brothers!


So how do they get them?  Well, they have to estimate the circumference around each pumpkin.  One will be going home each Friday for the month of October!

September 26, 2014

Sweet Apple Taste Test

A HUGE thank you to all the parents who sent in apple products for us to try today.  One student said it felt like we were eating dinner together.  Let's just say that food can REALLY silence a room.

Here are a few pics.

I Can Tell that We Are Going to be Friends

"We're Going to Be Friends"

Fall is here, hear the yell
Back to school, ring the bell
Brand new shoes, walking blues
Climb the fence, books and pens
I can tell that we are going to be friends
Yes, I can tell that we are going to be friends

Walk with me, Suzy Lee
Through the park and by the tree
We can rest upon the ground
And look at all the bugs we've found
Safely walk to school without a sound
We safely walk to school without a sound

Well, here we are no one else
We walk to school all by ourselves
There's dirt on our uniforms
From chasing all the ants and worms
We clean up and now it's time to learn
We clean up and now it's time to learn

Numbers, letters learn to spell
Nouns and books and show and tell
Play time, we will throw the ball
Then back to school through the hall
The teacher marks our height against the wall
The teacher marks our height against the wall

And we don't notice any time pass
'Cause we don't notice anything
We sit side by side in every class
The teacher thinks that I sound funny
But she likes it when you sing

Tonight I'll dream while my bed
While silly thoughts run through my head
Of the bugs and alphabet
And when I wake tomorrow I'll bet
We will walk together to school again.

'Cause I can tell that we are going to be friends
I can tell that we are going to be friends


This song is so fitting for the pictures below.  Last week we worked with a "Friends" poem and I took pictures of each student with a friend.

Click to enlarge

Meet Mallory


Meet Aiden

Meet Lilyanah


Meet CJ


Meet Kavi


Meet Lily


September 18, 2014

Writer's Workshop this Week

We've really taken off with Writer's Workshop this week.  We've been working on Opinion Writing but my mini-lessons have focused on capitalization and ending punctuation.

I read Mean Jean the Recess Queen.  If you haven't checked it out you should!  It fits in perfectly at the beginning of the year and leads to discussions about bullying.

Our question was, "Would you be friends with Mean Jean?"  Students talked and turned with a buddy.   We listed reasons on chart paper and then I checked in to see if anyone changed their opinion.

I ALWAYS get one student who decides to be her friend.  Who wouldn't want to teach Mean Jean how to be nice?  I know it would have to be someone brave.


As I mentioned before my Writer's Workshop starts slow.  We really focus on illustrations and how to draw.  I love hearing them "Rate their Picture" now.  Students give great reasons on why they feel they're a 1, 2, 3, or 4.

After Quiet 10 (where they illustrate), we meet back on the rug to share our pictures.

Next up...LOTS of modeling.  I talk through my writing and they help me write my sentences.  We stretch out words (I really do know how to spell would) and underline words they should know how to spell.


Then it's their turn to practice!!

I also shared the BIG book, The Four Seasons.


We brainstormed what they liked to do in each season.  After turning and talking, they illustrated, and I modeled with my writing.  Then they were off to practice.

Hopefully I'll get to cleaning this board tomorrow!!  Click to enlarge.
To end the week I read, I Wanna Iguana.  Again, we brainstormed a list and followed the Workshop Model.

Here's my example.  I had one student pick right up on my dialogue and started laughing about what I wrote.


Here are a few examples.

Click to enlarge.
Next week I'll give them a challenge...  Can you write 2 reasons why?

Even Teachers Use Magic Tape and Lose Their Voice the Second Week of School

So this post is about apples but the title is fitting.  I noticed after taking a picture of our apple poster that I spelled the word "learned" wrong.  Geesh, guess it's been a long week.  I was ready to post last night when I noticed I had spelled it "learnded."  It's a GOOD thing Magic Tape was invented for teachers like me!!

We completed a KWL Chart (Magic Tape included) and wrote what we knew about apples. They also wrote, "I wonders."

Next up...apple diagrams.  I ABSOLUTELY love doing this every year because I like seeing their reactions when I say they can't use scissors!!   Instead they have to tear the paper.  Once they finished their apples I added mailing labels and they labeled the parts.  Look how unique each one is.

Click to enlarge.
We also conducted an experiment and discussed how scientists are always asking questions.  Our question was, "Do all apples have the same amount of seeds?"

Working with a partner, they found, counting, and glued their seeds onto an apple.  We met as a group and went over the results.

Nothing like Magic Tape to fix my spelling mistake!

Next week we'll be having our apple taste test.  Please send in items September 26th.   Thanks to all that could help out!!

I've also been trying to rest my voice.  I always seem to lose it at some point during the year but this is just too early!!  Plus, I don't really think this husky voice suits me!!

September 13, 2014

Math Workshop

So how do you manage Math Workshop?  This is still one part of my day I'm trying to figure out.  I teach math after lunch so after the lesson is done it doesn't leave much time for the workshop model.

After the math lesson is completed, students will go to MATH (fancy, right?).


M-manipulatives/games (Everyday Math)
A-apps on the iPads
T-teacher time
H-Homework Page (an activity that goes with a math read aloud)

I've introduced each one and they practiced last week.

During teacher time, students will be working in an interactive notebook.  I'll also focus in on skills students need extra practice with.


I'm hoping to use this framework Monday-Thursday.

Let me know how you run your workshop!!

Mean Jean, The Recess Queen

Ohhh, do my students LOVE this story!!  After reading, The Recess Queen, we added describing words to a character map.


Next week, we'll be looking through the book to find pictures and text where Mean Jean wasn't so friendly.  I completed this poster with my class last year.


Students will also listen to Bootsie Barker Bites.  We'll add describing words to a character map and complete a Venn Diagram on both characters.


I'll also be sharing the book Oliver Button is a Sissy.


Our focus in writing will still be opinion writing.  Students will be writing if they'd be friends with Mean Jean!

Opinion Writing: Do YOU like Your Name?

This week our read alouds have focused on names.  These are books I've shared with my class.




I REALLY take my time with setting up Writer's Workshop.  In the beginning we talk about who likes writing and who doesn't.  In my experience, most students say they don't like writing because it's hard.  We share what is easy about it and what's challenging.

I always start with illustrations.  Students spend the "Quiet 10" illustrating a picture.  This is when I play music quietly in the room. When the music stops, students know it's time to write.  You can read more about how I set up Writer's Workshop here (A Look Into Writer's Workshop)

Our focus this trimester is Opinion Writing.  Before I have them jump into writing we talk about what makes a good illustration.  I made these Rate Your Writing Posters for my students to use as a reference. I had many request to make them so I've added them to my TpT Store if interested (Rate Your Writing Posters).  


Students began by illustrating their name.  We met on the rug and I put the posters out I had drawn of my dog.  They worked as a team to put them in order from 1-4.  We then talked about each one.

The kids then rated their illustrations.  Some kids had just started their illustration so we talked about it being okay if they were only 1's. 

Next up...writing.  I ALWAYS model and talk through the process.  We talk about words we already know how to spell and how to tap out words we're unsure of.  At the beginning of the year I tell students I don't spell words for them because I want them to be able to read their work back to me.  I'm so proud of these students.  I've only been asked a few times how to spell a word.

Students stated their opinion, gave one reason, and wrote a wrap up sentence.  Here are a few examples.  When students have finished their writing and illustration I have them stamp the date so we know they've finished the piece.

Click to enlarge.

Meet Karina and Olivia


September 10, 2014

More Special People

Meet Destiny, Donna, and Zachary.  Students have LOVED interviewing and learning about each other.

This is also a great way for me to teach more about vowels, sentence structure, and conventions without them thinking it's work!!  Gotta LOVE that.



September 6, 2014

A Quick Look at Our Week

I don't have many pictures to share because it was just too busy to stop and take them.

We worked with our name A LOT  last week!  After reading Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner Wallendiner Hogan Logan Bogan was Her Name we graphed how many letters were in our names.


Students also practiced Read to Self.  We're building stamina and were able to read for 10 minutes.


We also began learning about students in our classroom.  Each day we have a Special Person.  Students interview him/her and I write the sentences on posters I made for each of them this summer.  We learned more about Austin and Olivia this week!!


September 2, 2014

First Day Success

EeeKkk!!  We made it through the day.  I must say I didn't look at the clock once until I realized it was almost lunch time.  That's how fast our morning went by.  Even my students couldn't believe how fast the day flew by.

We spent the morning going over expectations (No David books are a MUST to read) and settling into new routines/schedules.

We read First Day Jitters, read our Jitter Juice Poem, and even tried some to settle those nerves.  They couldn't believe I was even nervous on the first day of school!





We also worked with our names and made portraits.  As you can see I have no more photos of the activities we completed because I just couldn't keep up with the day!!


I do have these ADORABLE pics to share of their first day in first grade!!







Rest up and I'll see you tomorrow!!