Thursday, December 20, 2012

Projects by Jen!

Inspired by first grade teacher, Jenna French, our first grade team participated in an awesome collaborative project this year!   The project – Holiday Card Exchange 2012 - was created by another teacher, Jennifer Wagner, who reaches out to teachers around the world to share project ideas via twitter, face book, pinterest and her blog.
Participants in this holiday card exchange project created and exchanged holiday cards with 29 other classrooms around the world.  We designed cards and then, shared information about our schools on a pre-made template which we inserted in the cards.
Most classrooms used Google Earth to share landmarks.  Since my classroom computer has not been working (to be serviced over the holiday break!), we used a traditional 2-D map.  We gathered information about each school, including the average December temperature, the number of boys and girls in the classroom, and something special about each school.  Our class recorded the information on this worksheet.  We heard from classrooms that have as few as 13 students and as many as 32.  The children learned that December 15th temperatures across the US and Canada can go as low as -5^ and as high as 70^.  Each classroom shared something of interest on the pre-made template, and our class was most impressed with the fact that a school in Illinois has an iPad for every student. 
If you have a minute, check out ProjectsbyJen.  Incredible stuff!

To date, we've received 26 cards from 19 states and 2 Canadian provinces.   The pre-k to grade 6 classrooms represented public, charter and private schools.
This was our first grade team's card design.  Because we had 29 cards to send and only 23 students in our class, several first grade friends offered to make more than one card.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12.12.12 Activity

These wonderful first graders don't just talk about ways to care and share, they live it! 
I snapped pictures of the partner groups while they worked together to create posters, and writings about ways to show they care and share.  Read on to find out how these kiddos open their hearts and lend-a-hand.
1. We share books.
2. We listen.
3. We give smiles.
4. We donate toys.
5. We say thank you.
6. We help friends.
7. We take care of our pets.
8. We show respect.
9. We play nice.
10. We say nice things.
11. We are helpful.
12. We donate food. 


After the children finished their posters and writings, we sat in our school lobby and listened to partner groups as they shared their ideas and drawings.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Polar Express

If you'd like to view the pdf document, click here.

Our adorable first grade friends brought stuffed animal pals from home for our Polar Express activities.
This booklet cover was copied onto light gray construction paper.  The completed story maps were stapled together with the booklet cover page and gray construction paper for the back page .
The children received this "ticket" on Thursday and presented it to me on Friday, for our Polar Express Day. 
The children added 24 Word Wall words to this template for a fast-paced game of WORDO, aka, BINGO.  WORDO is a great way to work on memorizing first grade sight words!  Link
The children cut-out and glued 24 of the 25 words listed below onto the WORDO squares in random order.


Dec 10 Newsletter


Monday, December 3, 2012

If You Take a Mouse...

I planned to read the book, If You Take a Mouse to the Movies, by Laura Numeroff today, but we had a surprise reader; one of our first grade buddies read her own book during afternoon snack! 
Our mouse activities began today with a focus on text-to-self connections:  “Does anything in this story remind you of anything in your own life?”  Making text connections helps readers better understand what they are reading.  The children then went on to use a variation of the circle plot structure to complete the writing prompt:  “If you take me to the movies, I will ask you for…”  They topped off their writings with adorable miniature mice.
Continuing with the mouse theme this week, the children will work on initial blends, math facts, and sequencing the story events.

I apologize for the sun glare!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Classroom News

The children are having fun counting down until the holiday break begins!  The countdown links, numbered 1-18 for the number of school days after Thanksgiving until the holiday break, are color coded odd & even numbers.  The children started with number 18 and are counting backwards. 
We may lack for daylight hours this month, but we are not short on excitement!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Reading Logs

A Note About Reading Logs in First Grade:
We are beginning a new routine in first grade – individual reading logs. The purpose of the reading log is to encourage and celebrate daily reading! Whether your child is reading a book, magazine or on the computer, (s)he is choosing to spend time engaged in a wonderful activity, so let’s provide a little recognition for that commitment and effort!

When keeping track of daily reading, please keep in mind the minutes logged should include all activities in which your child is working on reading: reading with someone; listening to someone read; and reading independently. Include time spent reading web-based programs and iPad applications as well. It’s not necessary to have a fixed schedule or predetermined number of minutes for daily reading. Most likely reading times will vary based on your family’s schedule. What’s most important is that your child continues to read every day!
The December reading log was placed in the back pocket of your child’s red home folder. Please feel free to keep it there until it is turned in at the end of the month. New monthly reading logs will be distributed at the beginning of every month.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
As always, I am so grateful for the continued support of our Highland Drive families!

"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Reading Eggs

Information about the web-based program, Reading Eggs was sent home today in the children's red home folders.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!  It's difficult to take a picture that captures all the students working in the computer lab; however, I'm posting these pictures so you can see the students are engaged and attentive while working on Reading Eggs.


Monday, November 26, 2012

No Grumpy Grinch's!

Our classroom was filled with kind words and happy thoughts for the Grinch as the children wrote about ways to make the Grinch smile! He was invited over for several play-dates and birthday parties; a trip to the zoo, a soccer game, a snowball fight, to eat popcorn, and to build Lego's. He also had invitations to watch Irish dancing, go swimming, play on the swings, meet the teacher, and an invite to sing Christmas carols.  These kind-hearted first graders know a lot about compassion; the old grumpy Grinch is sure to be grinning now!