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!

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