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!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

We are on the countdown to the holiday break and we're kicking off the holiday season with a Dr. Seuss classic - How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Six and seven year olds love this book and I never tire of reading it to them! 
The children will be busy with a variety of fun activities this week.  Borrowing from a lesson posted on Pinterest, the students will write about ways to transform the grumpy Grinch to a happy, smiling Grinch.  The children will also complete a story map, an ABC order activity and two activities to assess their understanding of verbs and short vowel sounds.

Nov. 26 Classroom News


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Then and Now...



Nov 19 2012 Newsletter


Math Facts Fun!

One of our year-end first grade math goals is for students to know addition facts with sums to 20, and their corresponding subtraction facts to memory.  At this time, we continue to focus on understanding the concept of adding and taking away by working with objects, e-tools and playing center-based games.  I briefly introduced the game, Around the World last week to demonstrate how we will use math flashcards to play math games that develop and improve fact fluency.  Fact Monster, AplusMath and Fun4theBrain are interactive web sites that provide practice with math facts; their links are listed below.  If your family has an iPad and you have an app to share, please let me know so I can pass that information along.  Thank you!


This is the dice roll activity I described in this week's newsletter.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

December -Who Am I?

One of our classroom bulletin boards features riddles about the students.  The riddles change each month, along with the new theme.  The children try to figure out who’s who based on the written clues.  The October ghost theme was filled with “All about Me” details. The November thankful theme featured “What Am I Thankful For?” clues. 
It seems we are always pressed for time in school, so the December theme will tie into one of our social studies standards for People in Societies, as well as one of our Harcourt language arts stories, “Where Do Frogs Come From?”  The frog craft that goes along with the story looks similar to these clipart frogs.  The children's frogs will be displayed with their clue cards; Grinch hats will be added to the frogs for a colorful December bulletin board. 
I’ve enjoyed the bulletin board as much as the children; I love to observe their discussions about who’s who!
(The children will write either boy or girl on the first line.)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thankful Turkeys

These very special Thankful Turkeys are hanging on our classroom "Who Am I?" Bulletin Board.
 Thankful writings by the boys in our first grade class.


Math & Making Connections!

Each day we begin our math block with a little dance movement.  The line leader chooses the song/dance for the class.  At this time in our school year, the line leader chooses either “Tooty Ta” or “Macarena Math” by Dr. Jean & Friends.

We are grateful to these two awesome first graders for making connections and then, sharing information about “Tooty Ta” YouTube videos with their first grade friends.  Apparently, in one of the homes, “Tooty Ta” dancing is a family affair!  J


I Know an Old Lady...

“I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie” is an amusing variation of the book, “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” and provided the inspiration for these writings.  The children created rhyming verses like the ones patterned in the story.  The awesome teachers who share ideas via Pinterest were the inspiration for the old lady craft. 

First Grade Poetry

Poetry is an important part of our first grade learning! We will read and listen to a variety of poems this year.  Through poetry, children discover new words, and make connections to sights and sounds through visual imagery. They look for rhyming words in some poems and highlight familiar Word Wall words; they spend time reading poems during morning work or together with a friend during the “Read-to Self/Read-to-Others” center in our classroom library.  Spending time reading and rereading poems is a terrific way to develop reading fluency and expressiveness.

We had our first experience with writing poetry last week.  After listening to the fabulous book, In November, by Cynthia Rylant, the children worked together and wrote verses for a poem we titled, “In the Fall.” I think this group of creative first graders did a terrific job! We'll continue to study poetry off and on throughout the year and discover the joys of reading and writing free verse poetry (no rhyme) as well. 
I added a few poetry books to my virtual bookshelf, via Shelfari, that I hope you'll enjoy.

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coming soon ... Tweet Tuesday

Our class will tweet from our class Twitter account every week on "Tweet Tuesday." 
We'll share classroom news and updates from a first grader's point of view. 


 I just added a gadget to our class blog called Shelfari, a wonderful social book sharing site! The virtual bookshelf located at the bottom of our blog features some of the books we’re reading together in class, as well as books I plan to read in the future. 

I’m providing a link for families interested in creating a Shelfari account with your child at home.  Signing up for the Shelfari account was simple.  The site is directly linked to so you need an Amazon account, but personal information is NOT required for Shelfari.   I added about twenty books to our class shelf; you may want to start by adding just a few books your child has already read, a few (s)he wants to read and any books your child is currently reading.  If you add “Friends” to your account, be sure to add me.  I would love to visit and see the books your child is displaying on his/her shelf!   

Eventually, our class will visit other first grade virtual bookshelves and discover what first graders in other parts of the world are reading. 

My public profile is - Mrs. Brinkman's BEESblog

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Science Exploration!

Melting Ice Cubes
Today’s question was, “How fast can you melt an ice cube?” The children worked with table groups to answer the question, so we had four groups working together. The first thing the groups did was discuss the many ways in which to find the answer. After the groups agreed upon a method to carry out their investigation, they guessed how long it would take for their ice cubes to melt; that information was recorded, and later compared to the actual time it took.
We had two groups who placed ice cubes by the window for sunlight; another group chose the heating vent. The fourth group selected hot water and discovered it took less than two minutes for the ice cubes to melt. We gathered at the end of this simple investigation to allow time for these 6 and 7-year old scientists to review their information (data) and explain their observations.
The challenging part of first grade science explorations is that children feel they are wrong when an experiment does not give the results they expected. This year, I hope the children will learn that unintended results and mistakes will be part of most science explorations. As it goes in real life, sometimes we learn more from unintentional outcomes and mistakes than from having things turn out as expected - sometimes a blessing in disguise.

Aims Education Science Worksheet