Monday, December 24, 2012

Wintery Work & FREEBIE

Winter Celebration Festivities

        Well- like you I am so ESTACTIC break is FINALLY here! Those last few minutes on Friday seemed to drag by! Friday was great though- we had our Winter Wonderland Celebration. We did wintery things all day, and the kids LOVED it.
        In the morning we made glittery snowflakes from coffee filters. I showed them different ways to cut shapes into the filters and then let them go. Then they used glue and glitter to make them fancy J. I forgot to snap pictures because I was running around helping students with glue bottles, glitter, and cutting snowflakes. I did take pictures of the two I made during my demonstration:

        This took a good chunk of time in the morning, so we were only able to start our next activity… puffy paint snowmen! I made puffy paint with white glue and shaving cream. I used to make this stuff when I worked at my MIL’s daycare, and had forgotten about it until I saw it on Pinterest. We cut out the arms, hat, eyes, and mouth before heading to PE, lunch, and recess. Then we were ready to paint our snowmen when we came back in from recess. The kids thought it was so neat that the paint was made of shaving cream and glue.  

I have been waiting to put up a cute winter board and thought this would be a GREAT display for January.

       Next we did a little graphing activity. I found a recipe for a ‘mixed-up snowman’ snack on Pinterest, gave each student a snack bag, and a recording sheet. We talked about what each part of the snack would be on a snowman (marshmallows =body, twizzler = scarf, etc), then we quickly reviewed how to complete a graph, and the no eating {yet} rule. Once students had completed their graphs I let them eat 5 things from their bags.

     Then we decorated snowflake sugar cookies that my Mister made! They had blue frosting, sprinkles, sugar flakes, M & Ms, and mini-marshmallows to use… again I meant to snap some pictures, but was running around trying to help. I did get one picture, simply because it was too funny not to! 

 All in all, it was a FUN day- here’s the proof:

Our carpet NEVER looks this messy at the end of the day!

Wishing you all a restful break!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Card Exchange

Holiday Card Exchange

        While I was in Michigan over Thanksgiving break, I signed my class up to participate in a winter card exchange. I heard about it while I was visiting my cooperating teacher (it was GREAT to see her). The card exchange is run by Jen Wagner, who organizes other projects for classrooms.  From what I have experienced she is AMAZING!! So, onto the card exchange; I filled out some basic information and then viola, my class was in.

        A week or so later, I received an email with the addresses of 28 schools (across the country and globe) to which we would be sending cards. Apparently there is a theme for the cards each year, this year its snow globes. Jen provided us with a template to use for our cards, but we were also free to create our own template/card design. Since, this was my first year participating, I use the template she provided. I shrunk the template to fit a quarter fold card and copied it onto white paper, so the kids could color the picture. We talked about things to write in the cards, and we focused on winter sayings like ‘Winter is snow much fun.’ The kids also drew their own pictures in the cards and signed their names. They LOVED this! They wanted to know where the cards were going and how long it would take them to be delivered. We also had a nice discussion about the Postal Service and how mail is sorted and travels by land, air, and sea. In total we sent cards to 21 different states (we had a few repeats) and 1 card to Australia!

        They were excited to make the cards, but they were even MORE excited when we started to get cards in the mail! We got 8 cards Monday, but I didn’t check my mailbox until after the kids left. I had a hard time waiting to open the cards until Tuesday when the kids came back! When I told them that we had gotten some cards in the mail they let out a little cheerJ.

        The card exchange has been a great vehicle for teaching social studies, especially because we have been learning about maps. I pulled out a smallish map of the U.S. and as we opened each card we found the state on the map. The kids enjoyed seeing how close or far the states were to Maryland.  Then I gave each student a map of the U.S.  and we colored the states we got cards from on Monday blue, Tuesday orange, Wednesday yellow, and today we got four more cards in the mail, but we didn't have time to add them to our map.

        I created a display in our alcove outside our door with a map and string to show where each card came from. The display grows each time we get more cards in the mail. So far, we have received 15 cards.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A House for Hermit Crab

A House for Hermit Crab

        Last week we read A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. I LOVE this book! The students really seemed to enjoy it too. On Monday we read the story and talked about the story sequence. Students identified that the story takes place over the course of the year (they figured that out without any hints). Then we illustrated the story sequence on large pieces of paper. The pictures took students two days, so on Tuesday we revisited the book, but didn’t do a full reread. 

        On Wednesday we reread the entire book and then we extended the story by decorating our own shells. I passed out glitter, construction paper squares, and green Easter grass. We talked about all of the things Hermit Crab had on his shell throughout the story, and the things he imagines adding to his new shell. I told the students to get creative, and I think they did.

Friday, December 7, 2012

It's Matter!

Matter, Matter, Everywhere!

        We have been learning about matter in science. Last week, students were introduced to the idea of matter and its three forms. We did A LOT of work in our science journals! After reading a little about matter, and having a class discussion about it, students illustrated four pictures of things made of matter. Some of the students got VERY creative with their pictures!

        Then, we identified the three forms of matter. Students identified examples of each for our anchor chart. We talked about how solids do not change shape when moved from place to place, or container to container. I modeled this buy dumping crayons into a clear plastic cup and then into a yogurt tub. Then I modeled the same thing with water and asked the students what they noticed. Boy, were they mesmerized! We also talked about different kinds of gases and ways we know they are there, even though we don’t see them. After identifying many solids, liquids, and gases, along with their characteristics we did a little writing in our journals.

        Next week we will be doing an experiment each day (at least that’s the plan). I’m hoping to make oobleck, do the mentos and diet coke experiment, try mixing different solids with different liquids, do the dancing raisins experiment, and I haven’t decided on the final experiment yet! The kids are super excited (and I am too!).

        What do you do with matter? I’d LOVE to hear!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bats and Turkeys

Return from a Hiatus 

        I apologize for my prolonged absence! I have been extremely busy the past month and had to take a blogging break (as much as I HATED to). I am convinced I would have lost my mind if I hadn’t! On that note, this post is a hodge podge of the last few weeks in first grade.

       The two weeks before Thanksgiving we were learning all about bats. I purchased two bat units on TpT (Erica Bohrer's Batty for Bats and Rhonda Baldacchio's Bats! Bats! Bats!) and downloaded a FREE Stellaluna supplement pack I found on Pinterest. I used the FREE activities for centers, they were perfect! To start off the unit, I gave each student a sticky note and had them write something they “knew” about bats on it. Then each student shared their writing and we put the sticky notes on our Bat Facts and Misconceptions chart. Each students’ sticky started on the Fact side, and then were moved throughout the unit to the Misconceptions side if necessary.  


During the unit we made several anchor charts: 

Then, as a culminating activity each student wrote a nonfiction book about bats. They used the various activities we had done throughout the unit to help them, as well as the nonfiction books we read. They did a GREAT job! Students created the cover, table of contents, a vocabulary page, a fact page, and a diagram. Some students made two fact pages! Here are some pictures:

    I was inspired to create this nonfiction book template by Deanna Jump. She has a similar nonfiction book template in her Penguins unit. I simply changed the font and background; only because we will make a Penguin book in January using her template. 

   We also made turkeys! We read the Junie B. Thanksgiving book and made a Thankful List just like her class. Here it is:

Then we made Thankful Turkeys:

In math we made Fact Family Turkeys:

     When I was at my parents’ house in Michigan I snapped some pictures of the wild turkeys to share with my kiddos. J

    I hope to be back no later than Saturday to share what we have been doing in science and math this week, and our A House for Hermit Crab activities too!