Monday, September 21, 2009

Word Work

Each Monday we will introduce the words for the week. The students will get to take turns holding the words, saying sentences using the words, then we will all alphabetize the five words and put them back on the board. Then, each child will highlight the weekly words in their B.E.A.R. book.

Each Tuesday, during D.E.A.R. time, the students will cut out the letters they need to create that week's word wall words. Then, during Word Work, we manipulate the letters, spell the words, and see what other words we can make using those letters. We also work on our word family for the week. These letters will come home the following week to be used with their homework packet.

Wednesdays is "Active Spell" and Handwriting day. Students will spell the words while doing physical activities like pretending to bat a ball, jump rope, yo-yo, beat their chest like a gorilla, etc..

Thursday is "Game Day." We'll practice the words by playing "Word Wall Detective," "Wheel of Fortune," "Letter Scramble," or playing "Mystery Writing" on their friends' backs. They "write" the letters to spell one of this week's words on the back of their partner and their partner had to guess what word it was. This was a fun way to practice spelling our words.

On Fridays, during Word Work this semester we will be practicing our words with some type of sensory activity. One week we used playdough to practice our words. The students spelled Texas, Austin, and Zilker and then they got to spell their name and their friends' names.

The next week, we used shaving cream to spell our words.

The third week, we went outside and used sidewalk chalk.  Hmmm.... I wonder what we'll do next week?

Five Senses

Our first unit in Science was "The Five Senses." We talked about our five senses and then we went on our "Senses Walk." The students recorded what they saw, heard, smelled, and touched. We talked about how as first grade scientists we will be focusing on those four senses. During the rest of the week and into next week, we will be doing specific activities for each of those senses. The students put their recording sheets in their science notebooks when they finished.

Then, we focused on the sense of Sight. We read Eric Carle's "Hello, Red Fox." This book was a BIG hit during our study of five senses. It plays "tricks" on your eyes. It is based on a the basics of color theory developed by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Here is a link that explains a little more about the book:

Then, we played a game with our 4th grade buddies where students put six items on a tray. Then one turned around while their partner removed an item from the tray. Recalling what they had seen, the first student tried to identify the missing object.

Next, we focused on the sense of hearing. First we past a few containers around. Using only our sense of hearing, we predicted what was inside. Some cans were harder than others! Then, we played Animal Sounds Bingo. The children worked together to figure out what animal sound they heard. It was fun listening to all of the different sounds the animals made.

After hearing, it was time for touch. The students reached inside of bags and only using their sense of touch, had to figure out what was inside the bag. We recorded and shared what we thought. We all thought that the items were pretty easy to figure out, but we realized we couldn't tell the color of the items just by feeling them. You would need your sight to be able to figure out the color.

Finally we focused on our sense of smell. We passed around numbered film canisters. Students took a sniff and then had to determine if the scent was lemon, perfume, vanilla, vinegar, chocolate, or baby powder. They recorded their observations and discussed the results. Some of the scents smelled so good!

To wrap up learning about the five senses, the students each created their own collage by cutting out pictures of things they could see, hear, smell, our touch in magazines. After they finished, they added the collage to their science notebooks. While cutting, we talked about which senses we use the most and the least.

Week Two

During the year, we will keep a tally of how many children lose teeth during the month. We were able to end August with our first two tallies of the year! Two of our students lost a tooth! It's fun to see which months had the most missing teeth. Let's see if we'll have more than two in September!

We talked about the various stages of writing. Then we had Writer's Workshop. We spent the first 5 minutes writing with no talking. It was a great way to get our thoughts together, and write and draw what we were thinking about. Then we spent about 15 minutes working with our friends, talking about what we were writing, and illustrating. Then we spent the last 5 minutes sharing. One table got to share their work. After each student shared, the others gave them "hurrays!" (a.k.a. compliments). Our classmates were so kind to each other. The children were already looking forward to next week to continue working on what they were writing.

We also had a lot of fun playing the card game Compare. The children took turns each turning over one card from their deck and comparing them with their partner. The one with the highest number got to keep the cards. They really enjoyed playing this game.

We read “A Porcupine Named Fluffy” by Helen Lester. It was such a cute book about a porcupine who has an unusual name. After reading the book, each child drew a picture of an animal and then came up with a creative name for it. For example, on student said "A turtle named Rush." The children were very creative!  Their work is hanging in our front windows.

We also reread the big book Lunch. This time we learned what an adjective was and we picked out all of the adjectives in the book (red, juicy, tender, green, etc..). Then, I had the children tell me an adjectives to describe the top they were wearing. They really got the hang of it! We also practiced recalling the order of the fruits and vegetables.

We also focused on letters vs words. After re-reading Lunch by Denise Fleming, the students each received a mixed up sentence from the book. They cut up the words, put them back in order, glued them, and then illustrated the sentence.

This week we are focusing on our names. First, each student wrote their name on an index card. Then they put a star sticker over each vowel. We counted how many vowels were in each students' name and then we graphed our names by number of vowels.

We practiced what it should look like and sound like during D.E.A.R. time (Drop Everything and Read). Reading by yourself or with a friend (looking at pictures, thinking about the story, reading words, or listening to someone else read).

In social studies, we created "All About Me" glyph quilt squares. We compared our glyphs and looked for things that were similar and different among our classmates. They are hanging in our front windows.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

1st Week of School

We had a wonderful first week of school! The children were excited to be back, see old friends, and make new ones.  We read "We Share Everything" by Robert Munsch. He is definitely one of our favorite authors! Then we worked on our first class book where each child completed a page and wrote and drew what we could share in first grade.

We spent quite a bit of time reading books about rules and then we created our own class rules together. We read a very silly book called The Rules by Marty Kelley. Then we read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. We talked about how Max didn't follow the rules and why it's important to have rules and follow them. One of the highlights of the week was wrapping up our Where the Wild Things Are activities. First we did a following directions activity where the students had to color certain monsters certain colors and add certain details. Then, we made Monster Munch with rat toes, bug eyes, drie worms, and ant eggs. The children brought home recipes so you can make it at home, too!

As the week went on, we added to our calendar routine. Now we are working on days of the week, months of the year, place value, tally marks, patterns, the math problem of the day, and more! We also used our prompt writing journals for the first time. Every day we will complete a prompt in these journals. We are really working on "Kid Writing," writing down all of the sounds that we hear.

During Word Work each child created their own name necklace with alphabet beads. We also worked on "Me Mobiles." Each child wrote and illustrated three things that they do well on stars. Then, I helped them attach their stars to a moon. We also learned the "Tooty Ta" song and dance!

We also explored some of our math manipulatives--pattern blocks, geoblocks and color tiles and worked on a time capsule, which we will open on the last day of 1st grade. Whew! What a busy week! I am so thankful for my fabulous bunch of first graders! We are going to have such a wonderful year!