Sunday, November 9, 2014

Picture Module has CHANGED my life!

Many years ago I taught Kindergarten and we always did this thing called 'picture module'.  We would put up a picture every day and let the kids tell us all the words they could think of to write beside the picture.  We would talk about spelling and letters and really get into what the picture was about.  It brought along such wonderful conversation and vocabulary.  After moving to 2nd grade I no longer did picture module anymore.  It didn't have enough "meat" to it for them and thus I forgot all about ever doing it at all over the years.  I've now been in 1st grade for 5 years and recently remembered the long ago picture module.  I decided it was worth a shot to get my firsties WRITING.  I could do that same thing that I did with Kindergarten, but then they could write about the picture using the word bank that we made.  It worked like a charm!!!!  Students who have been having trouble writing sentences, and especially using capitalization and punctuation, are now blossoming and writing MANY sentences....correctly!!!  I was so impressed with their work that I've decided to throw it in the schedule at least 2 times a week, if not more.  It really doesn't take that long and they get excited about it as well.  Here are the three that we did last week.
I remembered to get some pics of the writing that went with the last one (of the kitty) to share here with you.  We did the word bank and then I told them to write at least 3-4 sentences about what they see.  They could even name the kitty if they wanted to.  That was the only directions that they were given.  These are from a variety of levels in my class (from low to high and some in between).  I hope you are as impressed by their writing as I was!!


Sunday, November 2, 2014

All About My Pumpkin

Just stopping in real quick to share Mr. Mario's wonderful work with writing, crafting, and creating a hallway display all about pumpkins.  He worked so hard on these.  The kids made their own pumpkins.  Then they named them and wrote about them, using two describing words, number of teeth, kind of eyes, and a closing sentence.  After we finished Mario made a big fence for them to rest on and even brought in straw to go on the bottom and around some of the pumpkins.  I was super proud of him for this.  Here are some pictures of their pumpkins, their writings, and his hallway display.
Mr. Mario also got to carve his first pumpkin!
Hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween!!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fun times this week!

Just some random things that we did this week that I wanted to share with you.....

1.  Our amazing Halloween Tree that Mr. Mario came up with.  He said that he had such a fond memory of his first grade teacher making a Halloween tree and he wanted to give that memory to one of our kids this year.  I was so impressed with his hard work on this thing.  It was a branch he found out in his yard that he spray-painted black and then decorated up.  The kids just think it rocks and so do I!!!
2.  We learned about place value this week!  I got most of my ideas from Kelly at First Grade Fairytales a couple of years ago and have been using them ever since.  We began with an awesome song by Teacher Tipster.  The kids got to BE the tens and ones and we used them to make a ton of numbers.  They loved getting to be picked as the "tall" or the "small" and they L.O.V.E.D. the song.  Having Mario helped out a lot with his big man voice singing the song.
I don't know but I've been told,
(I don't know but I've been told)
Tens are tall and ones are small
(Tens are tall and ones are small)
First you add up all the tens
(First you add up all the tens)
And add all the babies on to the end
(And add all the babies on to the end)
Sound Off
(Sound Off)
I don't like candy..........

You add in your own line for the last line and it's usually something 
to make sure everyone is paying attention to the song.  

Next we used pool noodles to introduce the concept of tens and ones.  The kids loved the practice and each got to come up and make a number with the pool noodles.  We talked about how the tens are tall and the ones are small.  We added up all the tens and then added all the babies on to the end.  We sang that song over and over and over and they really seemed to get it.
Then it was on to some independent practice.  We got out the base ten blocks and let them make numbers at their tables.  They loved getting to do this.  We worked with them for a while so they really got the hang of making the numbers and saw what the numbers in the tens and ones places MEANT.
To assess each student to see if they "got it" we gave them a little worksheet with the base ten blocks and saw if they could decide what the numbers were.  We were pleased with the outcome, but did have some to reteach the following day.

3.  We were learning about changes in water and the water cycle this week so we did some culminating activities on Friday.  Mr. Mario helped them make water cycle (yellow:evaporation, white:condensation, and blue:precipitation) bracelets to remember the key words we learned this week and to show a model of what the water cycle does.  We sang a water cycle song that Mr. Mario found over and over to help us remember the words even better.

4.  To learn the difference between solid water and liquid water Mr. Mario made this adorable ice snowman with balloons, salt between the balls to hold it together, and construction paper eyes, nose, and mouth that just stuck to the ice.
The kids thought it was AWESOME!!!  We watched him MELT all day long and turn from a solid to a liquid.  Here he is after he fell apart and was really melting...
5.  We did some "Rainy Day" writings this week.  I was SOOOO impressed with how the papers turned out.  This year I took the writing process S...L...O...W... and we went once part at a time.  We did "On a rainy day I..." (feel, wear, can).  They wrote the first sentence and filled in the blank.  Then we did what they could wear.  They we came up with ideas of things they could do.  Then we did a closing sentence that said what they think about rainy days.  Here are some of their writings.
6.  Mr. Mario made it "rain" in a bottle this week too!  He put boiling water in a jar, placed a saucer of ice on top, and we watched the water droplets "rain" into the jar.  It was pretty cool!!
7.  During our reading groups this week I took in my iPad for the kids to play the game FUTABA.  It's a word game where a picture pops up in the middle and four choices for words pop up at the bottom of the screen.  The first person to get the word gets the point.  They play three rounds of a minute each to find the winner.  They LOVED playing this and the great thing is that FOUR people can play at a time on the one iPad.  We will definitely be doing that again soon!
Well, that's it for this week.  We stayed super busy but did tons of really fun activities that I think will stick with the kids for a long time.  I hope you all had a wonderful week and get to have a relaxing weekend.  One more week for us until Fall Break!!  Plus, BONUS, it's really starting to feel like fall outside and I LOVE this kind of weather.  Heading out now to start a new fish tank with my personal kiddos.  See you again soon!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

FUN class-size 120 number line and kid-made 120 charts

We've been super busy this week!  On Monday we put together a class-size number line, 20 numbers at a time.  I saw that my friend Kelly had used these pre-made, FREE numbers to cut out on different colored paper and I headed to grab them.  They are from Jennifer on Tpt. She also had the great idea for the number line and has it all laid out for you if you go snag her product (and don't forget - it's FREE).  We did the first 20 together, then each table came up and glued on the next color, 20 at a time, and then we did the last 20 (101-120) together.  I took them around the school to show off their HUGE number line and then we glued it to the wall in the classroom so they could use it all year long - SCORE!
The next day we got to work on putting together the whole 120 chart in groups at tables.  I used the same number pages and did each set of 20 on a different colored paper.  They cut them out themselves and then got to work putting it together.  They worked so cooperatively!!  I was super proud!  And what I thought would take forever for them to do didn't take them that long at all!  AND they've asked to redo it a couple of times this week and have gotten even faster!
 On Wednesday we worked in groups putting numbers in order (5 at a time) and today we worked on missing numbers as well as before, between, and after numbers. Well, that's it for me for today.  Just wanted to share these cool 120 activities.  Plus, I promised the kids to put their pictures online so we could go look at them! :)  Hope you all have a wonderful evening!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Creative Landforms

Short blog today but really wanted to share some great pics with you of the work my kids did today!  We ended our week of learning about landforms today with some hands-on fun!  
I asked that parents send in some Play-doh and they did!  
TONS of it!!  

So after we did our little mini-labeling quiz this morning we broke out the Play-doh and went to work.  Here are some of the things that they came up with.  I was really proud and they tried so hard!  We are doing landforms for one more week so I promised if they did really well all week we would do it again next Friday.  
 an island with a fish swimming in the water
 a volcano
 a valley
 working on another volcano
 the coast and some seashells
 a desert with a plateau and some cactus plants
 a mountain with a snow covered peak
 another snowy mountain
 a simple little pond
 another really large mountain
 a plain with an orange tree
 a lake with the forest all around it and the beginnings of a river
one last desert with the cactus

And MY favorite was when the colors got mixed up and this little boy came up and told me he made the world.  It was so cute and just perfect!!  Can't wait to do something like this again.  They were really concerned with characteristics and talked about them as they worked TOGETHER to create these gorgeous landforms (and I didn't even tell them they had to work cooperatively - so BONUS)!!!