Monthly Archives: May 2012

35 Down, 3 To Go

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four-day-week! four-day-weekend! four-day-week!  This is going by so quickly! We got Friday off so that we could enjoy a nice, long, four-day-weekend. I’m so tired, but I’m excited to finish the race.

In language arts, we finished up our unit on making connections between the books that we read and the world at large. We are now working on a class research project.  We made a list of over thirty student-generated topics and the voted on which topic we would choose. Thankfully, the topic of “birds” won over “famous robbers” because I had no idea how to find first-grade-level books about Bonny & Clyde… We are also writing our last book–a summary of first grade. Hopefully, we will get finished by the end of next week and I can get them graded in time to make it in to the gradebook.

In math, we completed our topic on time.  Not too much to say about it except that all the kids did well on the test, but one student wrote down that it took about an hour (rather than about a minute) to pour a glass of milk. Time is relative when you’re waiting for milk, I guess.

In social studies, we learned about Thomas Edison and several of his many inventions. This unit is too hard for first graders, though. They have no idea what a telegraph is. Heck, they probably don’t know what a corded phone is. Oh well, as the curriculum guide goes, I go. Next year, though, I will make changes.

In science, we finally finished learning about life cycles.  Students had to draw a picture of an animal out of a cup and draw its life cycle including correct labeling. I have never seen confidence fall so far, so fast as when they unfolded their little slip of paper and realize that all their bravado about “I know everything about life cycles” was for naught.

 

 

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34 Down, 4 To Go

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I cannot believe I only have 4 weeks left in my first year teaching! Part of me wants it to come ASAP (Ok…most of me wants it to come ASAP). But, a part of me really wants a little more time with the students so that I can have enough time to give them all year-end-tests. HA! You thought I was going to say that part of me wants a little more time with them because I love them. That’s probably true, it’s just not what I’ve been thinking about.

In language arts, we’ve continued on our unit of making connections, by connecting a book to another book that they have read. Since these kids are only 6 and 7, I gave them some softballs: The Runaway Rice Cake (Can you guess what story that resembles?) and The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig (Not too hard to connect that to a well-known tale.  The kids did a fantastic job and wrote letters to the characters telling how their story resembled a story the student read.

In math, we finished up measurement and began learning about time, which should be a cake walk, since we already previewed time before our standardized test.  We’ve resorted to playing lots of time games to fill in for the time it usually takes them to get through their workmat.

In social studies, we’ve begun learning about technology and inventions by doing a study of Thomas Edison. The munchkins were supposed to tell me what it would be like if there were no electric lights. Here are some of the things they suggested.

We would have to use our cell phones to see at night

Teachers would only be able to use the computer projector, not the white board

You could only watch TV after it was dark, not read books

So, after we cleared up a few minor misconceptions, we talked about candles and gas lamps. And, we began talking about Thomas Edison himself. They all wanted to know: “why did he never give up?” A child asked if he had any children. Some asked how he got the idea for the electric light and more than one child wanted to know if he was strong. ??? No idea where that came from.

In science, we continued to learn about life cycles by studying the life cycle of a fish, a butterfly, and a chicken. Not much more than reading a life cycle book and drawing the life cycle or playing a game to compare that day’s life cycle to others that we have learned about. I promise it was fun though!

33 Down, 5 To Go

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This week was ca-raaaaaaa-zy!

  • Monday= normal
  • Tuesday = mostly normal, but we visited the 4th and 5th graders’ wax museum projects
  • Wednesday=normal
  • Thursday=field trip to Austin Nature Center & Zilker Park in partial rain, even though the forecast said it wasn’t going to rain until 3 p.m.
  • Friday=supposed to be Six Flags Day for the school (the upper school actually goes and the little ones get a play day), but it was cancelled due to the forecasted 100% chance of rain, so we had to come up with lesson plans on the fly, and it never actually rained.

So the weatherman and I are not on the best of terms this week….

So, Monday-Wednesday

In language arts, we learned about connecting to ourselves. The munchkins listened to stories and then wrote letters (our writing skill for the week) to the character and telling the character how his/her story connected to the student’s experience. They are a-DOR-able!

In math, we practiced measuring length (shorter, longer), weight (lighter, heavier), temperature (colder, warmer), and capacity (larger, smaller).  We also began measuring lengths with non-standard units (cubes, paper clips, etc.) The kids have a pretty good understanding of why we use standard units now, but they won’t actually learn about standard units until second grade. So the munchkins will have to be waiting in suspense for about 11 more months.

In social studies, we worked on our family interview project. The kiddos wrote questions to ask their parents about how their family makes choices. Then they created a book that recorded their research process and what they learned. Then we began reviewing economics.

In science, we learned about life cycles by studying the life cycle of a frog. Fortunately, no live frogs were used. We just read books, looked at power points, and did worksheets.

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Then, Thursday Kinder and 1st grade piled onto the buses and headed out to the Nature Center.  There isn’t too much to report: the kids saw animals, played in a dinosaur pit, examined bones using magnifying glasses, observed a pond, had a lunch on the bus and then played on the playground in Zilker Park (instead of riding the train that was CLOSED despite the fact that it was not currently RAINING and did not look like it would rain for QUITE SOME TIME)

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Friday, we just messed around and reviewed stuff because I didn’t have time to make creative lessons and the copier was broken.

But it was a good week, and I wish that there weren’t creepy people on the internet because I would LOVE to show you pictures of my lovely lovely little munchkins on their field trip.

Also, 21 more days!

32 Down…..er 6 To Go

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My heart is broken. Apparently, no one counts the last week of school because it’s final exams, splash day, and graduation. Well, guess what? I count that week. When I sat down to do planning today, I found out that there are actually 38 weeks in the school calendar. Again, my heart is broken.

In language arts, we explored the elements of poetry by practicing identifying sensory details and rhyme in poems that we read, and then practiced writing our own poems with sensory details. Most of the student-made poems sounded about like this:

A cat sat on a fat rat that was hit with a hat by a bat on a mat. It smelled stinky.

I can’t argue that the poem lacks rhyme or sensory details. I guess they’ll get better at creating actual poems in second grade. Hopefully.

In math, we began learning about measurement.  Measurement in first grade is mostly comparative: longer/shorter, smaller/larger, hotter/colder etc. However, one thing that we did this week that was really neat was learning about why we have standard units. The students got paperclips of different sizes and learned that non-standard units can lead to many misunderstandings.

In social studies, we talked about the choices that families made and prepared for a student/parent interview that was set to take place over the weekend. Students thought about a choice that their family made (i.e. when and where to go on vacation), thought about what they already know about the topic, and then devised four interview questions to ask their parents. It’s going to be great!

Finally, in science, we talked about resemblance.  We learned that baby animals and baby humans resemble their parents in color, body, and behavior.  Students wrote ways that they resembled their parents (same colored eyes, both tall, both twist their hair). We then did the same thing with animals.