January 25 - 29

We started this week off with a power outage! We were still able to start our day normally and went into the hall where we read books to a Kindergarten class and we talked a lot about what needs/doesn't need power. Later in the week we read a book about electricity.

In reading we have been talking about having mental images when we read, and how students may have different mental images because they have different schema or background knowledge. We also talked about how our mental images may change as we read because we get more information from the story and new ideas. Next month we will focus on retelling a story with a beginning, middle, and end. It can be hard for some first graders to distinguish between the main events to retell, versus every detail they can remember.

In writing we have been working on writing instructions for how to log on/off the computers in our computer lab so that other first graders who have never used the computers will know what to do. Having that audience in mind really helped students give more detailed steps. We have also begun to prepare for our school-wide writing day in mid February when we will share a piece of our writing with families and a buddy class!

In math we set aside some measurement activities and have been busy counting all the coins that families have sent in for the Haiti fundraiser. So far we have counted $37.75 and there are many more pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters more to go! Thank you for your generosity. We divided the pennies up into groups of ten to make the counting go faster. You can see many of them in the slideshow. Next week we will be using scales to compare weights and we will celebrate the 100th day of school on February 4th.

Here are some students working with Spanish/English puzzle vocabulary cards at a reading center:

January 18 - 22

Hear students reading this poem! (recorded independently during reading centers)

This week in reading we focused on looking at the end of words, especially finding endings like "s," "ing" and "ed." We practiced changing word wall words with these endings (play, plays, playing, played) and finding these word endings in poems and books. We also studied these word chunks: ug (rug, hug, bug), et (pet, jet, set), and ip (ship, lip, flip). We also did an assessment to see how many of the 100 first grade words students could read and write on their own.

We wrote directions for how to play a board game from the Strategies Lab and lists of what we noticed are on the coins at each table and our new name plates. We also received our new agendas for 2010 and wrote directions for what to do with them each morning when we come in the classroom.

In math we reviewed working with numbers 1-100 by making puzzles out of a 10x10 number grid, coloring in a number grid by 2s and 3s, and playing more than/less than number games. We also reviewed coin values and features, and worked on measuring length with nonstandard units (cubes, tiles, dominoes...).

When we went to the library students used laptops to access the Grolier online database. See hand-out sent home on Friday for student login information. Enjoy these pictures from the week!

Please remember there is no school on Monday, February 1. Thank you!

January 11 - 16

Happy New Year! We spent this week playing many word wall games and reviewing what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like when we read to ourselves. We also made snowpeople by reading and following specific directions (like drawing an odd/even number of snowflakes depending on if our first name has an odd/even number of letters in it).

In math we reviewed how to make 2D and 3D shapes using mini marshmallows and toothpicks. We reviewed the 100s grid by making puzzles out of a 100 grid copied onto cardstock, and we practiced counting by 2s and 5s, then looking for numbers that are 2 more or 2 less than a certain number. We also solved some story problems and practiced making a number sentence (equation) to represent our ideas.

In writing we finished mini books about pets that we had started before the winter break and we started learning about how to write instructions. We wrote directions for how to play a puzzle game from the Strategies Lab and we will continue to write more about other things we know how to do. We went to the computer lab and worked on typing comments for the pictures taken in late December.

On Friday we read two books about Martin Luther King Jr. and students wrote and drew about their dreams for the future. Here are some excerpts, edited for spelling: "I dreamed there were no more twisters." "I hope everybody will be friendly and be friends and they care about each other." "I wish no earthquakes." "I wish everybody was safe." "I wish everybody was nice." "I wish the city was clean."

We got a new fish this week and voted on what to name him. The winning name was Mike, which complements our other fish, Michael. Before putting him in his home I showed students how to change the water in the fishtank and how the filter works.

Next week we will complete the mid-year word wall reading and writing assessments and we will be focusing on looking at the end of a word when reading. We will also work on measuring length both with a ruler and with nonstandard units (hands, cubes, etc).

Digital Storytelling Class

This week during intersession I am working with first and second graders on making a version of the Three Little Pigs Story on the computer. To learn more and see their work please visit:

December 2009 Activities

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