Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Handwriting-  In handwriting today, the class used our little personal whiteboards to practice correct letter formation as they wrote some of the more challenging spelling words from list 8.  We talked out controlling our handwriting, keeping the letters on the line (no hovercrafts!), and letting the letters reach up and touch the lines that they need to touch.  Sometimes, as children learn to write, they mix lower and uppercase letters throughout their words.  I am working to help break that habit!  For fun, the class also learned a short song to help them spell Halloween!

Writing- The kids shared their writing assignments, "The Best Halloween Ever".  Each of them really went above and beyond with this one!  We compared the length of their stories, handwriting, capital letters, and punctuation to their earlier writing papers.  I that seeing how far they have come helps motivate them for  further improvement!

"Make & Do" - In art today, Ms. Bev taught a lesson about negative and positive space.  They looked at different books by Eric Carle, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, The Very Lonely Firefly, and others.  In these books, Carle creates the illustrations from a collage of colored paper.  The children made collages using tissue paper today.  Hopefully, the lesson on space and collage will "stick"!

History- In history today, Ms. Jennifer finished up her side discussion on the election process!  The kids each took turns in the voting booth, casting their ballots.  They reviewed the information they have learned in class about voting, political parties, and presidents!

Math-  The students have been learning new strategies for mental addition and subtraction.  I explained to the kids that these strategies are just like having "tools" in their mental toolbox.  Sometimes you come upon a problem that needs a wrench.  Some problems need a hammer.  Some need a screwdriver.  By learning different addition and subtraction strategies, they will hopefully be able to apply them to math problems in order to mentally calculate them in the easiest way possible!  Today, they learned a method for subtracting a single digit number from a two digit number, when the single digit is larger than the ones in the double digit number.  For instance, in the video lesson at home, the kids learned that you can subtract 14-2 without having to worry at all about the tens.  The 4 is large enough that they can simple subtract 2, and then plug the tens group back into the answer.  4-2=2, so 14-2=12.  However, this strategy doesn't work for problems such as 16-8=__.  A method for mentally calculating problems such as this one is to subtract the 8 from the ten.  10-8 =2.  Then, just add the 2 to the ones that were untouched.  2+6=8.  So, 16-8=8.  I posted a video of today's lesson so that parents can get a feel for the concept.

Spanish- Ms. Rose incorporated a review of Spanish shapes and the Spanish names for facial features into a Halloween Jack-o-Lantern activity!  The kids created Jack-o-Lanterns, labeling the shapes used and the part of the face, in Spanish!

Science-  Ms. Caroline taught a biology lesson today on the first chapter in their biology book.  They worked through an activity where they came up with different chores, and had to think through a list of materials needed for each chore.  When they think of washing the dishes, they seldom think of all of the things needed to wash them: soap, water, dishes, a rag or sponge, water, a sink or basin, a towel, a well to pump the water or access to public water, and so on.  In science, it is important for children to think beyond the obvious and truly think of the resources needed and the "why's" of things!

Language Arts- The students reviewed proper and common nouns, specifically the months of the year and days of the week.  They also learned about root words and suffixes.  If took a while, but the whole class was shouting out root words in no time!  In addition, the class learned that usually, when a word is divided into syllables, a vowel that is in the middle of the syllable makes a short vowel sound while a vowel on the end of a syllable makes a long vowel sound.  We read aloud together and discussed the passage from their Tiptoes book. 

It was a fun, wild, crazy, action packed day today!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Marble Art!

Writing- The class showed off their writing assignments today!  Each one did a great job explaining what things would be like if their toys could talk.  We talked about sentences, remembering that they have to start with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark.  The class really seems to be enjoying writing for their friends!

Handwriting- The border sheets for this week were beautiful!  The class was excited to hand them in, hang them up, and get a "star"!

"Make & Do"- Ms. Ben taught the students how to paint with marbles today!  They learned about primary and secondary colors.  The marbles rolled through the primary colors, one at a time, on the paper in their boxes.  After two or more primary colors, they were able to see the secondary colors.  They loved this activity, and made some beautiful pictures!

History- Next week, our class will be entering their very own voting booth and casting their (silent) ballots!  Ms. Allison has been teaching the class about our voting process.  They know the two candidates, but parents may need to delve into the differences between the parties at home.  In history, the class reviewed what they had read about the the pharaoh, Hatshepsut.  Because Hatshepsut dressed as a male in order to be the pharoah and lead the country, Ms. Allison helped the class to make beards to wear! Oh, and those mud bricks that they worked on a couple weeks ago turned out great!

Math- In math class today, the students learned a mental math strategy for adding two one digit numbers whose sum is great than ten.  The strategy involves splitting the smaller number into parts, so that the larger number can be made to equal 10.  For instance, in the problem 9 + 5 = ___, you can break the 5 into a 4 and a 1.  The 1 can be mentally combined with the 9 to make the 9 a 10, which leaves you with the more simple problem of 10 + 4.  If the class can learn this technique, they will be able to build upon it as their math needs grow!  I will post a video of this strategy on the homework hideout page so that parents can see exactly what we did in class.

Spanish- In class today, Ms. Rose and the children reviewed the seasons, months, and weather.  They used the song they have been learning at home to help them whenever they were stuck!  Afterward, Ms. Rose taught them the Spanish words for facial features: eyes, nose, mouth, etc.  They labelled a face with the correct Spanish words.

Science-  Today was our first biology lesson!  After explaining what biology is, Ms. Caroline discussed the different ways that animals are classified, or sorted.  They did an activity where the class was sorted by hair color, by gender, by clothing color, etc.  They learned the meaning of "characteristics", and will be using this in future science lessons.

Language Arts- We discussed the spelling list for the week, and read out loud from our Tiptoes book.  The students were excited to discover that the words from the spelling list are in the reading... who knew!  The class learned about syllables.  We worked on separating words into syllables, and learned that often the syllables are separated between two consonants, such as in tur/tle.  At first, the kids had a difficult time with single syllable words, as they wanted to clap each letter.  I explained to them that the vowel sounds determine the number of syllables.  If there is only one vowel sound (as in "cat"), then it only has one syllable!  In grammar, we reviewed the definition of a noun. The class will be getting into the "idea" part of nouns... happiness, sadness, joy, freedom, etc.  This is a difficult concept to learn, so I want them to all be sure to have the "person, place, and thing" part of the definition down before moving on!  At home, work on pointing out nouns in sentences whenever possible.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chemistry Ends with a Bang!

Writing- I really enjoyed reading the students' papers today!  Each child thought about the super hero that they would like to become.  They made up super hero names, described their costumes, and explained what they would do as a super hero.  As always, I kept these writing assignments for their writing folder.

Art-  Today was Ms. Bev's first day of art class. The class worked on a sewing project.  They learned the colors of the rainbow (ROYGBIV), how to thread a plastic sewing needle, and how to stitch a rainbow!  They did not get finished today, but it wasn't for lack of focus!  They absolutely loved this project, and went back to it during free time throughout the day!

History- The class has been reading about Egyptians and Nubians in "The Story of the World".  In their reading, they learned that when Egypt defeated the Nubians, the Nubians gave gifts to the Egyptians. Wall carvings show the Nubians giving gifts of incense, gold, ebony, furs and MONKEYS!  In class today, the students made gold cuffs, which the Nubians wore on their arms.  They also made sock monkeys, to symbolize the Nubians' gifts for the Egyptians!

Math- In math today, the lesson was on position, direction, and ordinal numbers.  First, the class had to learn their left from their right.  They used words that describe position to give directions and describe the location of items in the class.  Then, we used left, right, and other terms to find locations on a grid.  Although the kids did a good job with this, I suggest working on left, right, and counting steps on a graph (see textbook page 59 for an example).  Once the students demonstrated that they could give directions using left, right, up, and down on the grid, we moved to ordinal numbers.  The class already knew the terms "first", "second", "third", etc, and of course know their cardinal numbers (1, 2, 3), but learned today that the words can be written in ordinal numbers, "1st", "2nd", "3rd", etc.  They will be working more with these concepts at home this week.

Spanish-  The class reviewed the days of the week and months of the year today.  If you are not listening to the music at home, it really helps with memorization!  Ms. Rose was talking to the class about the months and seasons when she realized that the class wasn't familiar with which months fell in which season.  So, she switched gears and taught a lesson on months and seasons.  The class learned the Spanish words for each season along with the months.  They used construction paper to represent each season.  As they sang the seasons/months of the year song, they pointed to each season as they said the word.

Science-  Today was the very last day of our chemistry unit!  The class had a review activity, where they cut and pasted vocabulary words and definitions. They began this in class, but will work on it as a review of the unit at home over the week.  To send off our chemistry unit in style, Ms. Caroline brought in Mentos and Coke... leading to some VERY amazed reactions from the kids!

In language arts today, we read in our Tiptoes Book.  We worked on the rule about double s, f, and l at the end of a word... This usually means that the vowel is a short sound!  We worked on this rule as we reviewed our spelling words, read aloud, and even in handwriting today.  The students also have been working on using capital letters at the beginning of their sentences, and ending each sentence with punctuation.  This is something that they know, but have a hard time remembering to do!  This is definitely something that needs to be practiced at home, as well!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Jump, Paste, Cut, Taste, & Play!

Jumping for Spelling!

Math Fact Family Fun!
Trying to find fact families.

Spanish class learning shapes

Spanish- parts of the body.
Sceince - Sweet, Salty, or None of the above!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Playin' In The Dirt

Today was one big messy dirty day!

We began the day by taking a short trip over to the farm.  The kids have been learning about what animals need, and about the responsibility of animal ownership!  Whenever we have time, I love taking them over to take part in a few morning chores.  The kids love it, as well!

In language arts today, the class continued learning about compound words.  We took compound words apart to find their parts.  Also, we worked with the rule about "ck" coming after a short vowel sound (duck, lick, luck) and "ke" coming after a long vowel sound (cake, Luke, like).  Our spelling list for this week deals with words that follow this rule.

In grammar, the class played a game with common and proper nouns.  Afterward, we used capitalized proper nouns to write addresses.  The class learned about the purpose of zip codes, the comma between the city and the state, and state abbreviations.

In math class today, the kids learned another technique for subtraction.  We have been working on mental math strategies and fact families.  Today, I made sure that the students knew how to count back on a number line.  Many of us would take this skill for granted, but children often count the starting number when they count on and count back, which gives an answer that is 1 number short!  Over the next week, we will continue to work on subtraction skills.  It is my hope that the class will be able to commit the addition and subtraction facts up to 10 to memory.  This helps so much as math gets more complicated!

In history last week, Ms. Allison taught the class about elections.  With the upcoming Presidential election, the 1st grade class will be learning a little about the election process.  However, neither of us will be sharing any political opinions!  Instead, we are encouraging students to talk to their parents about the Presidential candidates and learning what they like and do not like about each one.  In November, we will have a mock election and let the children privately vote to see who the class would have elected!

After a talk about elections, Ms. Allison dove into the history lesson of Mohenjo-daro.  The class learned about the making of mud bricks... and the actually made one!  It was mess, but fun!  The class was amazed at the things ancient civilizations had to do by hand!

Science- Last week we talked about mixtures and mixing. This week we talked about UN-mixing. We UN-mixed mixtures. We mixed rocks and legos, then used a specific method (our fingers) to UN-mix. We mixed rocks and sand, then used three different methods to UN mix. We used chromatography to UN mix four different colors of food coloring in water. We used strips off coffee filters taped to our pencils to draw specific colors from the rainbow and water mixture. We UN mixed colors!!!!!

In Spanish class, Ms. Rose worked with the children on their Spanish numbers to 32 and months of the year.  They played a pretty difficult game.  Ms. Rose called out a Spanish number, and the class had to tell her which month it correlated with in the year!  Then, she reversed the instructions, giving them the Spanish month and having them tell her while month of the year it was, using Spanish numbers.  Afterward, the class worked on the spelling of the months.  Ms. Rose played another game with the class, similar to hangman.  She gave the class the vowels found in the Spanish month, one at a time.  The class had to guess which month it was... with all guesses in Spanish!  

Sometimes the integration of subjects can be surprising!  In agriculture class, the students were given rulers.  I taught them the difference between cm and inches, and helped them to measure lengths of paper.  They needed to know that you cannot simply measure from the end of the ruler.  You must measure from the 0 line!  They each measured and cut a length of paper to 1/2".  Using this as a visual aid, I taught the class how to plant carrot seeds.  Carrot seeds need to be planted 1/2" deep.  The kids were amazed at how tiny the seeds are!  I explained to the class that we will be planting the seeds in a shallow container, but will have to transplant and thin them into a deeper one.  Hopefully, the kids will be so excited to have carrots grow, that they will actually want to eat them!