May 25 - 29

This week I began conducting the end of year phonemic awareness and writing assessments.  Over the next two weeks I will be continuing with the reading and math assessments.  I will try to send home the final report cards on June 15th.  Typically there are not parent-teacher conferences at the end of the year, but I'm happy to discuss your child's report card or any other questions/concerns you have.  Next week I will post a schedule of times during the last two weeks of school that I'll be available to meet with you.

In math we have continued to make and compare fractions using a variety of visuals.  We also practiced reading the minutes on an analog clock and determining the number of minutes between two times.  For the remainder of the year we will be doing a review of the many concepts addressed in the Everyday Math curriculum this year, focusing on explaining and trying out a variety of problem solving strategies.

In writing and reading we've been studying how authors can begin and end their stories.  Students noticed that authors often begin stories by introducing the characters or establishing when the story takes place.  They also noticed that stories often end with characters coming home or at night/bedtime.  We tried using some of these ideas in our stories.

We used the Smartboard a lot this week to play more online interactive math and literacy games.  I've linked the games we're using under Reading Resources and Math Resources in the sidebar of this blog.  I opened the Smartboard as an afternoon choice and I was impressed with how independent the students were with it!

On Friday our field trip to Taughannock Falls State Park with our Kids Discover the Trail partner class from Northeast Elementary School was cancelled due to the threat of rain.  We are in the process of rescheduling it for sometime in mid-June.  I will let you know when we confirm the new date!

Our music concert will be Thursday, June 4th at 10:15 in the Annex gym.  Everyone is invited to stay for lunch (10:45-11:15) in the classroom.  In addition to the songs Ms. Nelson has taught them, our class will be sharing a poem in English, French and Spanish that we've been learning this week.  I'll include a copy of the words to it with the homework so you can help your child practice at home.

Remember the Spring Fair is next Friday, June 5th!  Please email Connie, Karen or Serenity with how you can contribute by volunteering your time and/or donating a strawberry/lemon dessert item.

Here are a few fun shots from choice time this week:

The American Library Association has a list of notable books from 2009 for younger readers that can be a great resource to have with you when you go to the library or book store with your child.  I'm sending home a hard copy of this, too.  It can be tricky to find early chapter books that have content appropriate for 6 and 7 year olds, so feel free to consult our librarian or your local public library staff for assistance in picking out books.

May 18 - 22

On Monday we got to look in an ambulance and learn about how people can get to the hospital.  The paramedic showed how they monitor someone's heart and blood pressure, as well as how the stretcher works.  He also emphasized the importance of wearing a bike helmet and calling 911 to get help in an emergency.  The class made some beautiful thank you cards for all of the service people who have come to our school over the past two weeks.

In math we continued to study patterns on the 100 grid and compared fractions using a strip of paper divided into different numbers of equal parts.  Many students were confused that the bigger the denominator, the smaller the piece, but they could understand that you would get a smaller piece if you share an apple with ten people versus with two people.  We also studied fractions using cardboard pizzas with slices labeled in fractions.  We have also played some interactive money and fraction games using the Smartboard.

In reading we have been looking at words with "ai" that have the long a sound.  We made a new display to read when people are waiting to use the bathroom.  We listened to ourselves reading our poems on Voicethread and we have been practicing all of our reading strategies and studying synonyms, compound words, contractions and putting words in alphabetical order.

We had a big beautiful moth rest on our window screen for two days.  At choice time many students are showing their creativity in making clothing, masks, and even an obstacle course for caterpillars!  We have been going outside to enjoy the spring weather every few days instead of having choice time for the last 20 minutes of the day.  At recess and PE many children have been playing soccer.  I showed them a way to pick teams so no one felt left out by choosing cards labeled 1 or 2 from a bowl.  The emotions have been running high during these games and we have had several talks about respecting the people on both teams and calming down when you get frustrated.

Our new words of the week are: brother, he, night, them, quit

We wrote our words on the driveway outside.  It is very hot in our classroom in the afternoon!  Please dress your child in LAYERS so he/she is comfortable all day and you are welcome to pack SUNSCREEN for your child to put on before recess.

Next Friday (May 29) we will be going to Taughannock Falls State Park with our Kids Discover the Trail partner class from Northeast Elementary!   We will walk the trail to the falls, have a picnic (bag) lunch by the lake, and then play on the playground.  Any and all family members are welcome to join us.   There is some room on the bus, so let me know if you want to ride with us or meet us there.

No school on Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day)

Save the date for the first grade concert: 
Thursday June 4, 10:15-10:45 in the Annex gym.
You're welcome to stay and visit with your child 
during lunch in our room from 10:45-11:15.

May 11 - 15

This week students performed their Reader's Theater plays for the rest of the class! This was intended to practice fluency: reading smoothly and with emotions.  I tried to videotape each student but my little camera's battery couldn't keep up with all of them.  Ask your child to perform it at home with the finger puppets they made.

In math we worked on counting by 10s on a number grid (6, 16, 26, 36...) and then solving two-digit addition and subtraction problems by breaking up a number into tens and ones (56 + 23 is the same as 50 + 20 and 6+3).  We mainly practiced this strategy using a number grid (10x10 table with numbers 1-100).  We also worked on fractions by labeling and coloring in different shapes divided into parts.  Some students struggled with the difference between 1/6 vs 2/6, so I've been referring to fractions as "two sixths" and "two of six parts."

In writing we finished our "Who am I?" riddles which are displayed in the hall.   Next week we will begin writing instructions or directions.  This will help students think about putting their ideas into a specific sequence (what to do first, next, etc.) and including descriptive details.  I am really pushing students to develop sustained writing stamina for 15 minutes straight.  

In reading we reviewed how to pick a book that is not too hard, not too easy, but just right.  We said books that are too hard will make you feel frustrated, but that we know we will be able to read them sometime in the future.  We said books that are too easy are boring and that we like to be challenged.  We decided that a just right book will make you think about something (the characters, the vocabulary, the setting, the moral, the information, etc) and that when you read a book for the second or third time you might think about different parts of it.  We learned a general rule of thumb that if there are more than 5 words on a page that you can't figure out, the book is too hard.  We also talked about how you can't always tell how hard a book will be based on the size, thickness, or cover of a book.  

Our new words of the week are: boy, girl, made, pretty, teacher

Please remember to ema
il KarenSerenity, or Connie, about volunteering your time (30 min between 5:30-8:30) and/or donating some strawberry or lemon treats for the Spring Fair on June 5th!

May 4 - 8

This week we had a visit from the Ithaca Fire Department!  Thanks to Jill for organizing the experience for all first graders and kindergarteners.  Students got to learn about the gear that the firefighters wear and all the different tools on the fire engines.

In math we have been looking at number patterns on the 100s grid and reviewing making change with coins.  We have also been exploring place value by making the largest and smallest possible numbers with two, three, or four digits.  Coming up we will be studying fractions more and continuing to work with coin combinations.

In reading we have been working on reading fluency with short plays.  Students each got a play that they had to read several times, then make finger puppets for each character.  They will bring home a copy of their play to review over the weekend and then perform them in class early next week.  I will record the performances to post on here! We will do this again later in the month with different plays.

I brought in some pond water to move our tadpoles into a larger container so they will have more room to grow.  They currently have some teeny, tiny legs forming!  We also planted fast-growing brassica seeds that just sprouted.  We are charting their growth on a calendar and giving them plant food supplements in their water.

In writing we are making riddles about ourselves that will be posted in the hall.  Stop by to read them next time you're in the building and see if you can figure out who wrote each one!  We also picked a poem to make into a class poetry book, which students are recording themselves reading aloud on the latest Voicethread:

We are currently studying: kick, some, fun, play, animal.

SPRING FAIR - Friday, June 5th.
This year our class is in charge of the Lemon & Strawberry Shoppe.  This is a table where folks can get lemon & strawberry treats for a ticket.  We need 10 - 12 Volunteers for 1/2 or 1 hour shifts to cover the table.  Sign up times begin at 5:30 and end at 8:30.  We need folks to set up & clean up and during the fair to take tickets and give out treats.  If you went to last year's fair, you'll know that it can get pretty hectic so we'd really like to have 2 people on in a shift.  And of course we need lemon and strawberry treats!  We hope that all our families can supply at least 1 if not 2 desserts for this table..  things like lemon squares and strawberry shortcake or feel free to be imaginative!  If you could please let the Room Parents know what time you can volunteer & what you will bring, that would be very very helpful!!  You can let Karen,, or Serenity, or Connie,  know what you are making and when you can be available to volunteer.  THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROSITY :-)

April 27 - May 1

On Monday we had our final installment of Cindy's fossilization movement activities.  She led the class through recreating the process of an animal dying in a certain position, getting covered up, dissolving away, and leaving an imprint of the body shape in the sediments.  This was a great follow-up to the fossils students studied at the Museum of the Earth in March.
We used the SMARTboard to complete many activities this week, including: sorting pictures based on their beginning blends, solving story problems that involve making change and showing the change in different coin combinations.

We performed our skits about being a good friend on the playground (and how to get help if you need it) for the Maple Room on Friday.  We will perform them in the Sunflower Room and the Garden Room on Monday!

We used the ThinkBlocks to promote thinking about identities, relationships, systems and perspectives in dicussing what a seed needs, the parts of plant, various coin combinations, and in an analysis of our new read aloud book: Toys Go Out.  I am really excited about this approach to teaching critical thinking and I was impressed with how intuitively students used the ThinkBlocks to represent their ideas about what were the parts of a whole, their definitions of each part, how those parts were related, and how the parts can look different from various viewpoints.

This week in math we worked on dividing shapes and collections of items into various fractions, and how to write the fractions (one third = 1/3).  We also worked on function machines (in/out rules), particularly figuring out the "in" number when provided with the "out" number and the rule.  Many students benefited from using a number line to figure out these types of problems.  Finally, we worked on "name collection boxes" (different ways to make a number using addition and subtraction) with dollars/cents.  The Everyday Math website offers information that can help you support your child in completing the homework. Please let me know if you need additional explanations of any of the math problems.

 In reading and writing this week we studied contractions (e.g. don't = do + not) and looked for them in the books we are reading.  Some students are confused about when an apostrophe is used for a possessive (Ms. Provan's blog) vs. when it is used for a contraction (Ms. Provan's happy).  You can help your child look for contractions and think about what words would make sense in that context without the apostrophe.  We also experimented with shape poems, where the words are arranged in the shape of whatever they are describing, without actually naming the object/animal.  Students enjoyed guessing what their fellow poets had written about before they saw how the words were arranged on the page.  Look for copies of the latest poetry to come home next week.

We are watching our tadpoles and seed sprouts grow!  Check out the online resources for the science unit on new plants that we are studying.  We will also be studying endangered animals.

We are studying the following words: before, after, because, use, very.  Encourage your child to look for those words as they read and to use the latest word wall list when they are writing at home.
Check out the Art-Full Family Saturday at the Johnson Museum of Art (10:00 AM - 12:00 PM).  Free for Museum members/$5 per family for nonmembers. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

End of April