Saturday, April 27, 2013

Five For Friday (Sat edition AGAIN)

I'm actually on a mini weekend vacation now, but I just HAD to post because I actually made the effort to take pictures for Five for Friday so I wanted to make sure I posted it! Sometimes, writing a post on Friday is so so hard to do especially if you are coming home exhausted from the week. But after a fun day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with the boyfriend today, I'm ready to make my Five for Friday post! :)

1. Monday was Earth Day. I wanted to get our Earth Day bulletin board up BEFORE Earth Day so we had started on our writing and craft the previous week. Unfortunately, we didn't finish our stuff until Earth Day. But that just means I get to mention it in this week's Five for Friday! :)
More about this can be read in my previous post here.
2. For the last week, my class has been working really hard on a big writing project...creating a book that will be published into a hardcover bounded book! We finished everything and shipped it off to the publishing company on Tuesday. It's a very exciting moment for all of us. I consider it to be the big project that my classroom is known for and it definitely makes for a wonderful keepsake of first grade. The best part of it's FREE (to publish, you have to pay if you would like a copy of the book)!!! It's also a great way to build a class community and get everyone to work as a team! Below is a preview of two of the pages in our book: (Read more about this in a previous post).

3.  We're back to addition and subtraction after a month's break (we were studying geometry, patterns, and data and graphing)! Now it's time to get the kiddos ready for second grade math by introducing two-digit addition and subtraction! It's crazy to see how much the kids have learned this year.

4. In Science, we are learning about solids and liquids. We've investigated different types of solids and talked about some properties. This week, we talked about properties of liquids. The kids are really getting it!

5. Finally, the first grade circuit decided it would be fun to do a butterfly unit with the kiddos so we ordered dome painted lady caterpillars and they arrived on Friday! I haven't shown the kids yet. They are going to be in for quite a surprise next week! :)

That's it for this week! Hope everyone else had an exciting week! Next week we are going to hit our 30 day countdown. Can't believe it!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Help Save the Earth

Happy belated Earth Day! Sorry this post is so late. First, I forget to take a picture. Then, I forget my camera. After that, I get too lazy and forget to post. (Like my use of sequence words there?)

In celebration of Earth Day, we created coffee filter Earths! First they used blue and green markers to color the Earth on coffee filters, completely covering it with marker ink. (Make sure to have something underneath the coffee filter to catch all the ink that seeps through!)

After coloring our Earths, we created magic by spraying the coffee filters with water.

Once they dried (and they dry pretty quickly!), we glued the Earths along with our writing (prompt and paper provided by A Cupcake for the Teacher) on black paper. 

This made for an awesome bulletin board! :)
Can you guess what's wrong with this picture?
Hope everyone else had a wonderful Earth Day! :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

We're Publishing a Book!!

If you haven't heard of Studentreasures Publishing, I highly recommend you check it out! It's the perfect way to create an awesome first grade keepsake that will last forever. It also allows students to get an truly authentic experience the writing process. 

What exactly is it, you ask? It's a free publishing program that will take your class created book and publish it into a hardcover bounded book! They also publish individual student books which is probably better for upper grades. By the way, I am not getting paid by Studentreasures to say awesome things about them. Just thought I'd get that out of the way. :)

I discovered them last year during my first year of teaching. How? I don't quite remember. However, after getting a sample book (a book published by some other class), I decided to give it a try. There was some incentive for getting a book published before the end of November so I went ahead with it. I worked with my class to create a Thanksgiving-theme book, Turkeys in Disguise! It was hard work and as a first-timer both as a full-time teacher and with the program, my timing wasn't great. We ended up spending three full days straight working hard on creating our book. But it turned out awesome! Below is a video of the class reading their published book.

I was so proud of my class! I even bought a copy and mailed it to my 2nd grade Master Teacher (who taught me everything I know). (By the way, parents are given the opportunity to order copies for themselves.

Well, this year, I decided that I wanted to wait until we get closer to the end of first grade (after we have developed our writing a bit more) to work on our book. This year's class book's focus is on helping others. This time, I made sure to spread the work out. We spent a little more than a week working on our book by going through the entire writing process. I don't really have pictures of them working on the book besides them illustrating...I was too busy playing the role of editor!

This book was definitely a team and partner effort! The kids brainstormed situations in which someone or something needs help and asks the reader "What would you do?". Rather than posing questions only, I had the kids also answer the questions. So they worked as desk partners. One person wrote the question while the other person answers the question. The illustrations were when the real partner work came in. I told the students that they have to work together to make their illustrations make sense (each student had their own page so they draw their own illustration). They needed to discuss what the characters in their scenario looked and dressed like so that the pictures go together. Everyone did a wonderful job with that. The illustrations turned out great!

There are other ways in which we worked as a team and had to make class decisions together. However, I kept going on, this post would never end! :)

We finally finished everything today and it has all been shipped off to Studentreasures. I'm can't wait to see our book when it returns to us!

Here's a quick preview:

Yep, I took these in the car! Realized that I forgot to take pictures before shipping them off! :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Giveaway! (Not Mine!)

Happy Earth Day!

I will be back tomorrow to post about our Earth Day activity since we aren't exactly done putting it together yet. :)

But for now...Fun in 1st Grade is having major giveaway in celebration of her blog turning one year old! Congratulations to her!
Click on the image above to enter the giveaway! 
Good luck to you all! :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Five for Friday

It's time for the weekly Five for Friday linky! Hooray!

1. In the midst of all the other things we have been doing, I somehow found some random time throughout the day for the kids to work on their coffee filter earths. Not everyone is done yet. But it will be done next week! Blog post about it to come once they are all done! Promise!

2. We're learning about data and graphs in Math so, of course, we need some fun activities like sorting and graphing bunny marshmallows!

3. One of our teachers went to Bali over the summer under a grant. While he was there, he studied the music culture and education there. Part of the grant, I think, is to bring the things you've learned back with you into the classroom. He ended up joining a gamelan group in SF and arranged for them to come to our school for an assembly. It was pretty awesome! The group introduced the different gamelan instruments, dances, and costumes to the students.

4. Our current ELA unit is on games. We read the poem "Mary Mack" this week. Played the game four different ways with partners. My teacher's edition wanted me to focus on visualizing with the students so I came up with the idea right in the middle of the lesson to create Mary Mack comics. They turned out pretty well for a very last minute lesson idea!

5. Our phonics lesson on Friday. First, I was just following my teacher's edition's instructions to write the word "goat" on the board and ask students to move along the spelling chain but either changing a vowel sound/spelling or beginning or ending sound/spelling. Then, as our chain started to get longer and longer (I actually had to erase and the move the words to the very left of the board to give more space), I decided to challenge the kids and see if we could somehow end up back at "goat". It took some work and I had to make the exception of my rule of no repeating words, but 30 minutes later, we did it! One of my parent volunteers walked into the room to grab her reading group and she was pretty amazed at what the kids had accomplished. The kids were SO proud of themselves. They actually asked me to take a picture of the board and email it to their parents! Now, that's a first! :)

This weekend is going to be spent hanging out with some students. I donated two sessions of a lunch and movie date with two lucky students to our school auction. Oddly enough, the winners chose the same weekend to get this done. So on Saturday, I will be having lunch and watching Oz, the Great and Powerful with two students. On Sunday, I will be having lunch and watching The Croods. It will be fun. I'm actually looking forward to it!

Okay, I guess that's actually six things. Oops. Don't forget to link up! :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Art Thursdays

One thing I really regret about blogging this school year is that I never really got to blogging about all the wonderful art projects we do. I have been so fortunate during my two years of teaching to get volunteers to come on a consistent basis and teach art to my class. Last year, one of my student's grandmother (a retired middle school art teacher) was our Art docent. This year, one of my student's parent, who has a degree in art of some sort, is my Art docent. I bet she had no idea what she had gotten herself into when she signed up to be the art docent!

I really want to appreciate her because she has come up with some pretty awesome art lessons for the kids! All I did was give her a list of the dates we were going to have Art (every other Thursdays) and the topic I wanted the lesson to focus on (lines, texture, shapes, perspective). She did everything else including create the lesson and prepare the materials. I'm pretty positive the students would not have such the authentic art experience they are having right now if I was teaching them Art instead. There's just something about having the time to really focus on one particular lesson every two weeks. Due to her own knowledge of Art, she has also introduced all the kids to so many different artists that I have never heard of. They really absorb it too! Today, during our Art lesson (which will be explained in a bit), one of the students asked her if the art they are doing was created by a specific artist. Evidence that they are learning! :)

Anyways, now that I'm FINALLY getting myself organized enough to blog about Art, I wanted to share today's Art lesson! Our focus has been on shapes for the last two lessons. The kids were introduced to the idea that shapes are building blocks and used different shapes to create different images. This lesson on shapes focused on using shapes to build patterns. Of course, that isn't interesting enough so my lovely Art Docent created potato stamps for the kids to make their patterns with!

Different kinds of patterns the kids could create. 

Isn't she just awesome??? We only have four more art lessons left (Is this school year really ending soon??). Hopefully, I will remember and keep myself organized enough to blog about them! :)