Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stinky Science!

Ms. Allison started the day out with some energy this morning!  The students each got a chance to hold the pom poms, cheering on the phonics rules that they have learned so far!  At first, they were a bit apprehensive.  But, in no time, they were shouting those rules out loud and clear!  The class then did a review of the phonics lessons that they learned at home over the week.  Ms. Allison used phonics "flowers" to illustrate long vowel sounds.  They followed up with a worksheet on long and short vowel sounds from their workbooks.

There has been a change in our math class!  I have decided that, since I am more familiar with 1st grade Singapore math, I will be taking over for Ms. Jennifer on Wednesdays!  We will also have video lessons to correlate with at home material.

Today, I used blocks to illustrate number bonds.  We used math "stories" to make our problems.  For instance, I placed 3 blocks on the board, explaining that there were 3 frogs on the log.  Then, we talked about what would happen if 6 more frogs jumped onto the log.  Although simple addition may be a review for some, it is important to set up the concept of number bonds, as well as visualization of "adding to" and "taking away" to help them with mental math calculations in later lessons.  Each student took turns making their own subtraction sentences, which we also showed as a number bond.  We then went through three pages of these types of problems.  Each one of them had mastered this concept!

Grammar- I see that the video lessons are a HIT for their at home grammar lessons!  The students remembered the definition of a noun, as well as common and proper nouns.  Common and proper nouns can be a little tricky for 1st graders.  So, after we discussed them, we hit the yard for a relay game.  Each child was given an index card.  Some of the cards had proper nouns on them, and some had common nouns written.  They had to decide it the noun was common or proper... physically running to drop it into the correct pail!  A few of them realized that the proper nouns were always capitalized, which was an excellent hands on lesson!  That will make the concept easier to remember in the future!  The class did such an amazing job memorizing their poem!  We are going to make a video for the poem next week.  I LOVE poetry memorization activities, so I am so excited to see that the class does, as well!

Writing-  Now that I am leading multiple subjects in a row, the adjustment time between classes has decreased.  This left us with an awesome ability to add writing into our day!  After lunch and free time, the class gathered together to hear a story.  Before I began, I asked them to listen to the words that the writer used.  The writer did not simply say, "I went to the beach."  "I jumped in the water".  He used descriptions and examples to make the writing very interesting!  The class listened as I read aloud.  In the story, the author explains how he would have loved to find a message in a bottle.  Our class took that idea and ran with it.  Each child wrote their own message that they would like to find in a bottle.  At this age, students are learning letter formation, they are learning about complete sentences.  They do not already have an arsenal of grammar rules at their writing disposal.  Therefore, the goal for writing is simply this:  Get them to write.  I explained to them that not everyone thinks they like to write.  Sometimes it cane feel like a lot of work!  But, I told them that we are going to work on making writing FUN!  For this small class, I am able to take each children's writing and let them improve at their own, individual pace.  Today, their writings were a simple sentence or two.  I assisted with any words that they needed me to spell for them.  An amazing thing happened:  There were no complaints and they ate it up.  I told them that we will be doing some writing at home and can share it with the class, as well.  Hopefully this will help to set up the parents for some little happy attitudes toward writing!

Spanish-  Today, Ms. Rose led the class through a review of their greetings.  It was obvious that they really worked on them at home!  She played a number line game with the kids, as well.  They will be taking their number line home to show their parents the game, and to practice before next Wednesday.  They finished up their game and learned a song that teaches the Spanish names for the colors.  They will be working on this at home, as well.

Science- Ms. Caroline began science class today with an experiment.  The class had unmarked cups, each filled with an different liquid.  The children had to take observations on the liquids, noting their color, smell, and other properties.  They combined certain liquids and took note of the reactions.  This was a way to help them get familiar with guided, deliberate experiments.  It's not always easy to slow down and document your observations!

In history today, the class began learning about Mesopotamia.  They learned that Mesopotamia was a very important civilization located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.  They created their next History Pocket, and filled it with materials they will need for learning at home over the week.  The class also learned about ziggurats.  Ziggurats were the temples that were build by Mesopotamians.  We created a ziggurat pop-up book for them to take home and share!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Making the Nile!

The day began with the pledge and a prayer.  This little class has done such an amazing job of falling into a routine!  Ms. Allison lead the class in a review on vowels and consonants.  They took turns making letter sounds and moving up and down the "letter ladder".  I am absolutely thrilled with how the class was able to come in, armed with their at home instruction, ready for more!  They all are doing a wonderful job!

In math today, Ms. Jennifer worked with the children on number bonds.  Number bonds are a method that Singapore Math uses to illustrate "fact families", or ways that a whole can be broken into parts.  This will be really important as we learn mental math methods for adding and subtracting numbers.  We will be working at home to study number bonds for each number 1-10. 

We took a journey over to the "farm" today!  The kids met the chickens and the goats.  They learned about eggs and how they take 3 weeks to develop baby chicks.  We will have purebred maran eggs in the incubator on Wednesday of next week.  These chicks will be at our booth at Inman Farm Heritage Days, and raffled off to support our group! 
The class also picked a sunflower.  We talked about the pattern of the seeds, and how math can be found in nature!  We also broke open the flower and collected all of the seeds.  They loved seeing exactly where sunflower seeds come from!  Although the raw seeds were not very yummy, they can be soaked overnight in salt water.  The next day, just toast them at roughly 250-300 degrees for *about* 20-25 minutes.  Keep a close eye on them!  The oven, and the location of the rack, can make a big difference.  You don't want them to burn!

In Spanish today, Ms. Rose worked with the children on their greetings, "Good Night" "Good Morning" and "Good Afternoon".  They played a game with suns and moons!  The kids used their greetings at the correct times!  They also worked on their Spanish numbers.  I think they are going to enjoy the Spanish songs that they are going to be working on at home!

Ms. Caroline taught the class all about molecules today.  They learned about atoms, and how atoms must follow different rules.  Some atoms can only connect to 2 other atoms, and some can connect to many, many more!  To illustrate this, Ms. Caroline used Legos.  She explained that the Legos have a certain number of pegs and holes.  They can only connect at that certain number of spots!  After the visual, the kids made their own molecules, using marshmallows and toothpicks!  They had to follow Ms. Caroline's rules as to how many bonds each could make. 

In history today, each student showed the class the timelines that they made about their lives!  These were wonderful... and the kids really loved explaining them to their classmates.  We talked about timelines, learning how they read from left to right.

As a class, we read about the Nile River, the Nile River Delta, and the impact on early Egyptians.  We learned that rivers always flow downhill... to the sea or ocean.  The Nile River, in particular, floods each and every year!  The class discussed how this impacted the Egyptian farmers.  Because the farmers expected it, they were able to let the rising waters help them out!  They learned about how the river deposited fertile silt onto the floodplain.  The class then did a map activity.  The learned about about North and South.  Early Egypt was separated into Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.  Using the map, I was able to show them how Upper Egypt wasn't actually "upper" on the map!  Upper Egypt was actually south of Lower Egypt, but they were further up the river, closer to the mountains!

For our project, we created the Nile River in an aluminum baking dish.  We used potting soil, creating a slope from the "mountains" to the "ocean".  We then lined the river bed with aluminum foil.  The children sprinkled grass seed all over the potting soil.  Then, we flooded the river!  They were able to see how the flood plain watered the seeds.  Hopefully, they will grow for us!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Big Day! 1st Day of the 1st Grade!

As our school day began, each of our new 1st graders was a little shy, a little nervous, and a little excited!  Actually, the teachers were a little nervous and excited, as well!  In no time, everyone loosened up and came out of their shells.  I can tell that this is going to be an amazing year full of learning and fun!

Language Arts- Our day began with the Pledge of Allegiance.  We will begin each day with the Pledge!  Ms. Allison started us off with an activity where the students could all get to know each other.  They passed a ball around a circle.  Each person who caught the ball answered a question about themselves... "What is your favorite ice cream?"  "What did you do this summer?"  "Have you ever fed an elephant?"  In no time, the ice was broken!

Ms. Allison taught the children about vowels.  They even made a vowel "train"!  They marched around the room, saying the alphabet.  Each time they came to a vowel, they had to clap in the air!  After the vowel train made it back to the station, the children worked on letter formation.  Today, they simply worked on making circles and lines.  First, they made circles in the air, moving in a counter-clockwise motion, just like is needed in many letters.  Then, they moved to the tennis court to draw circles with chalk.  The children then added "sticks" to the circles, creating letters such as "a", "b", "d" and "p".  After handwriting, Ms. Allison read the book "Andrew Henry's Meadow" to the students.  They loved it!

Math- In math today, Ms. Jennifer began with a counting review.  The children looked at numbers and number words from one to ten.  They counted the pictures on pages 12 and 13 in their textbooks, and wrote the corresponding numbers.  Then, Ms. Jennifer introduced them to a card game.  Each child was given 3 cards.  The pink ones had numbers on them.  The green ones had stickers.  The children had to count the stickers and see if they had a number card that matched.  When they found a match, they could place their matches on the table.  Ms. Jennifer then had the children choose a card to discard.  They then passed that card to the person on their left.  Then, they checked again to see if they had a match.  This continued until students ran out of cards!

Grammar-   Today's grammar lesson was all about nouns.  The children learned that a noun is a person, place, thing, or idea.  We read a poem, "The Caterpillar" by Christina G. Rosetti.  I explained that we will be memorizing this poem over the next few weeks!  Last, the students colored a picture that had to do with the poem.  They then labelled all of the nouns in their pictures.

Spanish-  Ms. Rose had a great time with the children today!  Her dynamic teaching and enthusiasm is contagious!  The kids played games with counting in Spanish, learned greetings, and sang songs.  They even played Hide and Go Seek, where they had to ask "Donde Esta" as they looked for their friends, and "Aqui Esta!" when they found them!

Science- In science today, Ms. Caroline discussed chapter 1 in their science books.  The children learned about how everything around us is made up atoms, and how those atoms work together to form molecules.  They discussed how we all learn about the world around us by making observations.  To demonstrate this, the children used a magnifying glass to examine different objects.  They then documented their observations in their workbooks.

History-  The class was introduced to what we will be studying this year in history class: Ancient Civilizations.  They learned the term ancient, and they learned what civilizations are and why they are important.  As we prepared for our lessons, we created our first history pocket.  Our history pockets will help guide us through the lessons that we learn at home... and give us a fun place to collect the crafts and papers that we complete as we go!