Saturday, February 28, 2015

1st Grade News

1st Grade News Link

I snapped this picture last week for a silly Dr. Seuss theme class book we'll put together this coming week.  

22 Silly 1st Grade Friends!

We finally made time for a science experiment last week that I planned to complete closer to Valentine's Day.  The science topic was matter and a colleague found this worksheet from Curriculum Castle. 

Each child was provided 3 candy hearts to place in cups that contained water, soda or vinegar.  Before the students placed candy hearts in the cups, they discussed and made notes of their predictions on the backside of the worksheet. 

We allowed the candy hearts to soak in the soda, vinegar and water for about twenty minutes.  After that time period, the children drew pictures to record their observations.

The kiddos worked in partner and small groups to discuss their findings.


The energy in the classroom during a science experiment is palpable.  First graders love to learn, explore and experiment with new science topics.  Most of all, they appreciate the opportunity to be engaged in learning.  I'm just sorry I don't have pictures of the rest of this inquisitive group of little scientists.  I took a ton of pictures but most didn't turn out as I'm having problems with my camera.  Ugh...


Sunday, February 22, 2015

1st Grade News

Thanks to our PSO and COSI, our students were treated to hands-on science learning last week.
The Center for Science and Industry (COSI) brought its mobile version of "Current Conditions" to our building to engage the students in weather-related activities.  Students learned about clouds, air pressure, weather tools, lightning, tornadoes and words and symbols used by a meteorologist.

This station was designed to teach the students about air pressure.  When air was removed from the center of the sphere, about 400 pounds of pressure held the pieces together, making it impossible to pull the two rounded plastic pieces apart.

 At this station, students were asked to place their arm in a vacuum sleeve to feel the powerful force of air pressure.


Picture blocks were used to demonstrate the elements and factors necessary to create various weather events.

Weather forecasting...
High school volunteers encouraged students to predict the weather and then, place the appropriate weather symbols on a map.


Students learned about weather instruments and tools, including an anemometer.


This experiment with air pressure was a favorite.



The high school volunteers did an awesome job of encouraging the students to describe the weather experiments.
The children used this tool to create conditions for a tornado.

 Students learned that clouds are formed when there is significant fluctuation in air pressure. These boys worked a bike pump to create high pressure.  

We had just two days of school last week, and we're hoping to have 5 full days of learning this week!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

1st Grade News

February Love!
Our first graders are excited about our Valentine's Day party!  My room mother plans to have the children open and read cards with a party volunteer during one of the center-based activities.  This lucky group of children will love the attention and opportunity to have an adult listen to them read.

"Love is when family and friends listen to you."

"Love is when Mrs. Brinkman smiles. Love is my mom and dad."

"Love is about friends who are nice."

Link for 1st Grade News

Writing in First Grade:

Although we provide writing prompts at times, especially for the purpose of displaying work in the hallway, we also make sure our students have opportunities to choose their writing topic in order to maintain a focus on the process of writing and not the product.  As you can see from the journal entries I uploaded for this post, spelling is not corrected in writing journals; the children are expected to correctly spell word wall words, however.  At this time of year, the children are learning about punctuation and how it helps clarify meaning for the reader. 

This sweet, loving first grader chose to write about birthday celebrations.  (CCSS W.1.2) She did a wonderful job introducing the topic and supplying interesting details and facts.  She recalled details about her 6th birthday celebration, then added details about her cousin's upcoming birthday.  We are working on closing statements, which she omitted here, so we'll discuss that during our next writing conference. 

  1st Journal Page

Page 2

This poor fella wrote about getting sick.  (CCSS W.1.3) In his narrative, he introduced the topic, shared two sequenced events and ended his writing by saying, "It was not comfortable."   

Sometimes you have to journal about feelings, which is what this guy chose to do.  The 2015 Super Bowl was a heart breaker for most of my students.  On Thursday during writing workshop, he was still reflecting on the Seahawk's loss.


This week, in addition to describing weekend experiences to classmates via writing journals, we'll pair writer's workshop with reading activities.  Our focus this week is informational text, so we'll work on the trait of organization, while writing animal reports.

"Author's Chair"

These two authors allowed peers to provide feedback and suggestions.  We always make time to compliment and discuss good writing qualities during Author's Chair. Allowing suggestions is a delicate process that requires careful monitoring.  


Sunday, February 1, 2015

1st Grade News

It's a winter wonderland here and the snow continues to fall...

This silly Shel Silverstein poem is one of the poems we'll add to our poetry binders this week.

Link for Shel Silverstein Poem

Newsletter Link

Happy Learning!