Saturday, October 29, 2011

Double Facts!

This past week we worked on strategies for addition. One of the more fun ones is using the doubles. I teach doubles four a couple of weeks so that the kiddos get some BIG time practice and hopefully start to memorize them!

We always start out with The Doubles Rap. I learned this when I taught SAXON math and have incorporated it ever since! The kids just love it... and we add some pretty funny movements to reinforce (video would be hilarious... me, getting my rap on, boy oh boy!). I have changed the words a bit from the original version, so that it would work for my kids. We have it poster size in  the room and they have a copy to keep in their desk for practicing. Click the pic to get your copy!

The doubles were easy to recognize when we compared it to a double scoop of our favorite ice cream! We made these ice cream cones in our fave. flavors and put a doubles fact of our choice inside. As you can see, no template was provided...but they came out pretty darn cute anyway!

In math tubs we did some more doubles work with an ice cream matching game... and any time ice cream is involved the excitement factor goes way up... the kids were pumped! I didn't get a pic, but I'll grab one this week and add it in later :) Click the pic to get the game and HERE for the recording sheet!

All this talk about ice cream is making me want some, ha! Have a happy weekend.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Pumpkin Time!

We had a pumpkin week this week; it was all pumpkins, all the time :)

We jumped off by reading some great non fiction pumpkin books to learn about the life cycle of the pumpkin. We made a fun project out of paper plates courtesy of Michelle at Fabulous in First .  We especially loved the paper plate pocket. I think they turned out fantastic!

We did a fun sink or float activity. Can I just say that I love to mislead them in this activity... awful right?, but it is just more fun when they are SO surprised that it floats...

We completed an investigation worksheet to go along with our sink/float experiment and you can have it too! Click HERE to download!

Then we investigated the pumpkin. We did this with the apple a few weeks ago. My kiddos really liked it, so its a reprise! We did the outside first and did some expository writing to go along.

Later we cracked open the pumpkin to count seeds in groups of 10 and carve (all thanks to Cara's great ideas over at The First Grade Parade!).

There were 315 seeds!
The finished pumpkin

Have a happy Friday night!

Monday, October 24, 2011

For my fast finishers...

Have you seen these? If you haven't check them out now!

I have such a split level class, that after our math lesson there are 15 kids done almost instantaneously! It is ridiculous... now don't get me wrong, it is fabulous that I have kids high in math and it makes me available to my kiddos that need the extra small group time, but what to do with those fast finishers? Wrap ups are my answer. They help the kids with their math facts and can be self checking, but I have them run it by me first so I can keep track of their work :) Best of all, the kids are IN LOVE and silent cheer every time I allow them as a finisher choice. Nice, right?

Have a peek at my firsties working hard with their wrap ups!

Friday, October 21, 2011

What's the Weather?

Let me start by saying science has been seriously suffering this year :( With my crazy schedule, we literally have only 75 min a week to squeeze in science (or social studies, depending) and it is driving me bonkers. So we have been sluggishly moving through our weather/seasons unit, but we have had some fun doing it that's for sure.

We made two season trees, fall and winter...spring and summer will be coming sometime soon.

We tore the paper for the tree and used the end of a paintbrush for our falling leaves.
shaving cream and glue combo to make puffy snow. This was awesome and the kids loved it! A wonderful pinterest find.

We talked about the types of weather we can have and completed this in our science journals.

doesn't that storm cloud look dangerous!

Then we got to meet Miss Meteorologist! We learned what she does and how she does it! We watched a clip of a weather anchor on the news. Then we put together this chart to show what we had learned.

And of course, this led us right into talking about the tools to measure weather. I got out the GIANT thermometer (I wish I had a pic, it really is big), our rain gauge, and some pictures of a wind vane (because I don't have a real one; it's on the "to get" list). It wasn't rainy so the rain gauge didn't go over as well as the thermometer... but it will rain soon enough.

 I cant wait till we get to the water cycle in a couple of weeks! FUN WILL BE HAD!

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Tie Your Shoes!"

Do you have a classroom pet peeve? Mine is untied shoes. I can handle a lot from these firsties, but there is something about those stringy laces hanging on the ground. They inevitably get stepped on and played with and drive me NUTS.

In past years I've just dealt... but this year I cant take it! I have one kiddo who insists on putting his untied shoe laces in his mouth... eww! So I started the I Can Tie Club in my class. I have been encouraging my students to BEG their parents to teach them how to tie. When they can successfully tie their shoes, they get to sign the giant shoe and get a pencil.

We started last week and I have 3 kids down, 18 more to go... yikes! But we will make it; all tying by the end of the year (or sooner, fingers double crossed!).

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Daily 5?

Okay ... I did it. I bought the book. I read it cover to cover and I became inspired. Then I got hit by reality. My district has a BIG policy about staying true to the core curriculum. Not to say I don't "love" HM, but HM and only HM? It is a hard thing to deal with.

My current dilemma... Ho to make it work in my room?  Well, I decided to start with  read to self. We currently do an independent seat based universal access/workshop time (a whopping 45 min) and I have decided to begin each workshop with read to self.

We are up to 6 min! I am happy with my kiddos' progress and I am sure they will be to our goal in no time.

And now for a picture... here is our three ways to read chart. I love the stars!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Spiders, Spider, Spiders!

This week was all spiders... creepy, crawly, spiders :) Take a look at what we did, we had so much fun!

We started out the week with our spider poem/ finger-play: My Spider. I love this poem and so do the kids, since their hands get to be the spider crawling all around.

click to download

We read all about spiders in non-fiction format. My fave is Are You a Spider? by Tudor Humphries. The kids loved this book and it led us to compare ourselves with spiders.We did a venn diagram to share similarities and differences. I forgot to take a pic of the whole class version, DARN! But, it wasn't anything fancy, just on the white board. Then the kids filled out this one...

click to print!

Later we put all of our spider knowledge into a circle map to get us started on our spider writing.

I actually make a rough version on the white board with ALL of their ideas first, but for writing I narrow it down to some of the more specific details and add pictures to help my ELs.

The original circle map that we did as a whole class... so messy.. AHH!
In math we had some spidery fun too! The kids loved measuring in non-standard spider units with some plastic spiders that I got at the Dollar Tree. They actually started out as spider rings, but I snipped the ring part off, and tad-ah! Spiders to measure with. To download the measurement recording sheet click HERE!

They also did a web sums sort. Taking number sentences on spider and fly cards and matching them to the correct web.

We did a graphing activity with the story Miss Spider's Tea Party. First we voted weather or not we would have tea with Miss Spider if we were insects.They wrote their yes/no onto little tea cups.

ok, ok... I know she's a little creepy, but it sorta looks like the book's illustrations... right?
After we read through the story, we talked about why the insects changed their minds about Miss Spider and if anyone in the class who said "No Thanks!" before the story, would now have tea with her... of course they all would! We also had to discuss how the story is fiction, because as a few of mine were quick to point out, a real spider would have eaten the hurt moth...

Then we analyzed the graph. We have been working on reading graphs, interpreting data, and tallying, so this worked out perfectly. I wish I had gotten a pic of a kids, but we did it whole class so they looked about the same.
click to download
 And finally we finished up the week with a fun art project I got from Kacey over at doodlebugsteaching. It is a silly spider and is really, just so cute!

Okay, that was a lot..... so many spider things, so little time :) Have a happy weekend!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

October Fun!

I wanted to share two activities that we will be doing in the next few weeks. That way, if you are in need of a little something extra, these are at your fingertips!

To brush up on alphabetical order, October style, we will be putting each set of three cards into ABC order and recording them!

Click to download!

And for some math... we will be pairing witches and goblins together by solving the number sentences and looking for the related facts.

Click to download!
 Have fun and check back for some spider fun this week!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Scambled Sentences!

Building sentences is a hard topic for my firsties. It takes us a lot of practice to create sentences that have the correct word order and details. So we start early in the year by working on unscrambling sentences to get us thinking.

In the beginning we do a lot of whole class scrambled sentences (usually with our phonic focus). The kids work together to unscramble the sentence and make it into something that "sounds good". And as an added bonus... the kiddos use positional words to describe where they want the words to go... " the word red should go between the and hen" for example.

Then we transition into partner work with sentences that are written on index cards. They unscramble their sentence while I roam about and check their reading skills, partner skills, and correctness. They switch with another group when they have finished. All in all they work on about 4-5 sentences in about 10 min. But the best part is the conversation between the kids. I love when it comes down to..."no, no red has to go here because its telling about the hen" or "wait let's read it again to make sure its sounds right."  Words to die for!

And of course some independent practice to finish it all up. They do this at workshop :)  I have two versions one with five boxes for the beginners and one with room for a whole string of words for my advanced kiddos. And you can have them too, just click the pics to download!

Have fun unscrambling!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October Quilt

We made it to the weekend... yea!

One of my favorite things we do each month is our literature quilt. My intention is to do this every month beginning when school starts, but we never seem to get a handle on it till October.. you know how that goes. So needless to say, we completed our first quilt on Friday.

I choose Spookley the Square Pumpkin as our October book (about a pumpkin different from the rest that will end up saving the day... great for touching on problem solving, hard work, diversity, and rhyming...seriously a cute story... check it out). We responded by answering the question: How would you stop the pumpkins from rolling out of the patch?

I was really surprised by some of their great answers! Catching it with a net, building a wall, asking people for help, mend the fence...those smart firsties  :)

And I can't do anything without a corresponding art project, so that's where the quilt comes in. A tissue paper and starch pumpkin with a pipe cleaner vine. The kids had so much fun with this! I love doing art mediums they have never done before.
"I will make a wall. The wall will be strong."

And our finished bulletin board...
crooked... grrr
Do you make a classroom quilt? Try it out if you don't... it is a great change of pace from the everyday reading program and a fun filled art project to go along! Happy October!