Monthly Archives: February 2012

23 Down, 14 To Go

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Woah! When did I get so lazy?! Tuesday?! The thing is…it’s not like last week was long. It was a three day week. 

Monday- Teacher training. Boo.

In language arts, we are still working on our research book that will never end. We also did an insane amount of reading comprehension. Reading comprehension is what my kids are weakest in, so I took the  opportunity of not having a spelling list that week to work on reading. My munchkins made HUGE strides. It’s amazing what a few strategies can do!

In math, we finished up fractions. The kids were great at it, which was such a relief since the last unit–coins–was so difficult. Almost every student made an A. Yay munchkins!

In social studies we began talking about needs and wants. We compared a students and the lists of things that they wanted to buy. The things that were on everybody’s list (food, shelter, clothing) were needs and the things that were different (a puppy, video games, sa golden rocketship) were wants. Good thing that not EVERYONE put an iPad, otherwise my little demo would have had a fatal flaw!

In science we began talking about the seasons. For spring, we examined seeds planted and put into the refrigerator and seeds that were planted and put in the sun. We agreed that plants should be in a warm sunny place for proper growth. For summer, we made different colored sleeves for thermometers and then set them outside. We discovered that, in summer, you should wear white to stay cool and not black, which makes you hottest

Friday: Academic Competition. My kids all got ribbons. 3 placed in finals and 2 got qualifier (participation) ribbons. So proud of my munchkins.

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22 Down, 15 To Go

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I’m a little late posting to my blog today because both Jack and I were in the cleaning spirit this morning, and you should never pass up an opportunity to clean with the cleaning spirit.  So Jack and I cleaned (in our jammies) for about two hours today.  Now the layer of grime covering everything is not as thick and we no longer feel ashamed to have people walk through our front door.

But enough of that: on to my week at school.  This week was really good! One of my students had a total behavior breakthrough this week. So we’ve been coloring in lots of happy faces and writing happy notes home etc. I love that part of teaching!

In language arts, we have continued to explore text features and are deep into writing our research book. The kids love writing these books and every chance they get, ask me if they can write. I know. I’m a teaching genius. 😉

In math, we finished up coins, to everyone’s satisfaction and promptly began learning about fractions. The kids seem to be getting it pretty easily and are making only the typical mistakes, that can be addressed with repeated practice. For instance, they will mix up the denominator with the left over pieces and say 2 out of 1 crayons are blue instead of 2 out of 3 crayons are blue.   Or they will flip/flop the numerator and denominator and say 3 out of 2 crayons is blue.

In social studies, we learned about patriotic symbols, anthems, mottos, pledges etc. The kids really enjoyed listening to our national anthem and even recognized it when the fourth and fifth graders sang it for “Muffins with Moms” (which you will hear more about later in the post). Yesterday the kids were told to write about something that was important to Americans. Here are some excerpts:

Fairness is important to Americans because everyone gets the same amount of french fries. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t be fair.

Obviously he is already learning the function of the FDA.

The green lady is important to Americans because she is freedom and she means liberty

She went on to talk about how the flag was still there in the rockets and we are the house of the brave.

In science, we learned about the different types of weather: temperature, cloud cover, precipitation and wind.  The kids held tissues into the wind to measure the speed and direction of the wind, took thermometers outside to see whether it was warmer in the shade or in the sun, showed the different types of clouds using cotton balls and construction paper and ran around in the rain on Friday (that was not officially part of my lesson plan, though.)

So, I know you’re all on tenterhooks about what “Muffins with Moms” is.  On Wednesday, all the elementary moms came to the school and listened to the munchkins sing songs.  Pre-K, Kinder, and 1st grade sang, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” 2nd and 3rd sang “This Land is Your Land” and, as I mentioned earlier, 4th and 5th grade sang the “Star Spangled Banner.” Then we all trooped back to the classroom and enjoyed muffins together.  Last Friday, while we were making invitations, the kids asked me if I was bringing my mom to Muffins with Mom. I kind of laughed and then thought, “Why not?” So my momma came and won over all the children.  They asked her if she could stay for the rest of the day.

Now they want to know if I’m going to bring my dad for “Donuts with Dads” next month.

21 Down, 16 To Go

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This week had some down sides and some up sides, but overall it was a good week.  I found out that I have a lot of teacher friends who love me and support me as well as a great administration.   Some of my munchkins also made some big behavior breakthroughs. Yay munchkins!

In language arts, we began our fourth book–a research book–about a topic of their choice.  Students chose from some non-fiction “I-Can-Read” books and then I printed out information from the internet about that topic. Some of the topics include: eagles, volcanoes, chocolate, Death Valley Desert, mammals, games around the world and Martin Luther King Jr.  I’m super excited to see how these turn out!

In math, we’re learning about counting coins. *Heavy Sigh* It’s going about as well as I expected–very badly for about half of my kids and very well for the other half. Oh well. I told them that they needed to learn how to skip count, but they didn’t believe me.

In social studies, we did very little because we were spending all our social studies time practicing counting coins. But, we did begin our patriotic unit by talking about American values. They mentioned things like fairness, honesty, and bald eagles (“they were almost extinct, but then they got saved!”)

In science, we began our unit on weather. We’ve been tracking the weather on our very own weather graphs and have begun to learn about weather tools. Students worked in partners to measure the temperature with a “real thermometer” and compared the temperature in the sun to the temperature in the shade. Then we learned about wind. We took tissues outside and watched to see whether the wind was blowing and which way.

20 Down 17 To Go

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I pulled patience from a place where I didn’t know I had this week.  There were so many little things that could have compounded into a frustrated, angry first grade teacher.  But, I kept it together. And I kept it together very well, I might add. This is the short version: there is someone at my school who is very strict and does not like to make allowances for differences in teachers. Thankfully, many teachers and administrators came to my aid.  I had to deal with a kindergartener who had a rage and the kindergarten teacher was unavailable. If you’ve seen a rage, you know how taxing it can be. The students are all ready for spring break, so they are sometimes unhappy and complainy. Oh well, I made it.

In language arts, we have begun practicing for the ITBS, our standardized test.  The kids really need to just practice taking exams where they can’t ask me questions or ask me to repeat things over and over, in addition to how to answer a multiple choice test.  They’re constantly improving, but sometimes they get frustrated. We also learned about the three sounds of y: y as in yellow, e as in candy, and i as in spy. We are also examining non-fiction text features and learning about the information that we can get from them.

In math, we finished up comparing numbers and have begun money. This is not going to be fun. Again, some people understand counting dimes, nickels and pennies in sequence (10, 20, 30, 35, 40, 41, 42, 43), but some of the kids start counting by tens (or fives or ones) and continue counting all the coins that way, regardless of value. Half my kids will be finished with their work before I finish the lesson and half will not finish it in the whole math period.

In social studies, we’ve been learning about cardinal directions. Students were given a treasure map that would lead to a purple clip somewhere outside. The team that found the clip first would receive a prize. These six and seven-year-olds were like bloodhounds, tracing and retracing their steps, laughing and having fun, until finally, a student found the clip. Suddenly, this was “the most boring thing ever!” and “totally unfair!” I told them that I was sorry they didn’t like the game, and that I would plan a worksheet next time. 🙂

In science, we talked about conservation and the four Rs: reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle. Students sorted items into trash and not trash, showed what items could be reused, and which ones had to be recycled, sorted recyclables into paper, plastic, glass, and metal, and thought of multiple uses for objects that could be repurposed. The munchkins did great and learned a lot!