Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Buttons and Such

A parent inquired if we had any field trips left this year and as I was about to respond I figured everyone could benefit knowing the answer...which prompted me to go ahead and write out EVERYTHING important that needs to be on your calendar for the rest of the school year. Go ahead and get your calendar and pen out right goes:

May 1 - early dismissal at 12:30

May 2 - career project due

May 5 - junk mail due
- PYP team visits Mark Twain

May 9 - white field day shirt due
- Bash pool party at YMCA

May 11- Mother's Day

May 13 -1st/3rd grade Cinco de Mayo program at 7:00
- wear white shirt/jeans, bring bowl, mixing spoon, and optional apron if you have one!

May 14/15 - substitute, I will be at MD Anderson
May 15 - VIPS luncheon

May 16 - Field Day

May 20 - watch play at Pershing, will leave at 9:00

May 21 - "trash less" picnic at McGovern Park

May 23 - Bash movie date

May 26 - no school, Memorial Day

May 27 - 1st grade award day at 8:30

May 28 - 1st grade party at Karl Young Park 8:30-11:30

May 29 - last day of school early dismissal 12:30
optional requests:
- I need buttons for a secret project in our future. Look around the house and see if you have any to contribute. FYI...the buttons in the photo belong to Ms. Jackson!
- picture money or return picture packet
- school supplies order/money for next year

I know your lives are just as crazy as mine with school AND sports, church, family, scouts, etc. Next week will be our last week for homework! We will continue to have geography until the very end!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Quickie Newsletter

Today you should have received your school photos in the red folder. If you are interested in buying any fill out the form and send back with money inside the provided envelope. If not, please return all photos to me ASAP.

Orders for school supplies are being taken at this time. I highly advise you to purchase supplies at school. The cost for the 2nd grade package is $36. They are are of high quality and will be less expensive than buying them on your own. Speaking as a mom, it is nice to return in the fall not having to worry about buying supplies and as a teacher, it's great for all the students to have the exactly the same kind of supplies and it can be organized/labeled before school even starts! Convinced?

There will be an early dismissal on Thursday, May 1st at 12:30. The faculty will be getting ready for a visit with the IB authorization team next week.

The kids seem excited about the end of planner project on careers. I can't wait to hear their presentations on Friday. Everyone also has reported that the junk mail has started to stack up! Remember to keep collecting until Saturday and to bring your full bag on Monday! We will be weighing (yes, you read that right) all the junk mail that comes in next week to see how much paper is being wasted. We will also figure out how many trees have been sacrificed for all the unnecessary mail!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Class Party

This is what I know:

Our 1st grade end of the year party will be on

Wednesday, May 28th at Karl Young Park from 8:30-11:30.

Each child needs to bring $3.00 for pizza lunch

Our class will be responsible for bringing drinks, cookies, chips, water, ice, ice chests and Popsicles for their own class.

We also have been assigned to bring HULA HOOPS for everyone in 1st grade to use!

*** I will have a sign-up sheet posted outside the classroom. Does anyone want to volunteer to make it? :-)

Sign of Life

Today we came back from the weekend to find that our Sweet Basil had sprouted! There was much celebration and everyone wants to have the job as class gardener. During the day our plants will live outdoors in the courtyard outside our classroom. The class gardener and class litter patrol go outside several times during the day to lovingly spritz the basil and pick up trash along the way. I bet all the children do the same at home, right?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Career Project

Funny how being a teacher is viewed so differently by kids. I was given both of these portraits this week (I assume both are supposed to be me!) by a boy and a girl...

Happy Spring...there will be no homework packet next week! I will be sending home a small project instead. If you are lucky enough to check the blog over the weekend, you will have the advantage of 2 more days over the weekend! Here goes:

Career Project
Summative Assessment
Due: May 2, 2008

1. Choose a career. Be specific. (i.e. What kind of doctor?, What kind of teacher, What kind of scientist?)

2. Find your facts by looking on the Internet, reading a book, or by giving an interview.
3. Decorate you poster according to the career you chose. You will have a large white piece…use all space wisely!
4. Write down at least 5 solid facts about your chosen career in complete sentences. I will be looking for sentences that make sense, are capitalized/punctuated and written neatly with no spelling errors. (Hint: If you are a visual learner, look at the finished projects across the hall from our room for an idea of what I am expecting.)
5. Practice reading/telling about your career. We will have all poster presentations on May 2nd and a question & answer session afterwards.
6. Have fun!

*** Also, to begin our new planner on ecology, every 1st grader (and 1st grade teacher!) will be given a bag on Monday to collect all "junk mail" received at your house for 1 week (Monday-Saturday). The following Monday the bag will need to come back to school with all your collected "junk mail" (go ahead and tear in half/shred credit card applications). I'm sure the results will be shocking...


Today we built our community buildings in shifts as we end our current planner "Working 9 to 5." Funny thing...the children led the activity in a totally different direction than I was planning! On their own, they internalized what the central theme was...people with different jobs work together to organize a community. So in the end, the kids paired up in their own groups and did their own thing very peacefully...not making the neat little communities I had envisioned. We had a visitor in the room during much of their work time and our class was complemented on how well the kids worked together, they respected each others ideas and felt a wonderful sense of community. Well done, guys!

Happy birthday Elizabeth. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dr. Padley's Visit

Nate's dad came to talk to us today about his experiences being an orthopedic surgeon. The kids were mesmerized. He shared with us the kinds of things he does to help his patients and told the students that many of his instruments/tools are like those that a lot of people have in their garages! Their eyes got very big when he produced an electric screwdriver, hammer, scissors and and even a power saw. Dr. Padley shared models of bones and Audrey experienced attaching a metal rod onto a femur for added strength! Dr. Padley also told us that preforming surgery is very much like playing video games. Matthew Q. volunteered to have a cast applied to his arm. That was cool. Then, it was time for cast removal...and the saw was plugged in! Ethan quietly thanked his lucky stars he declined to be the volunteer when asked and enjoyed watching the process unfold right before his eyes! Matthew was hesitant but bravely accepted the saw as the cast was taken off. I think we may have a few future orthopedic surgeons after today's show!

Newsflash: The Field Day date has been changed from May 9th to May 16th.

Please bring at least 1 shoebox sized box to school by this Friday. Many times Payless Shoe Source have shoe boxes for the asking...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Whole Foods

Today was our 1st grade PYP planning day for our last planner. Ms. Wisnieuski reported that our class did very well while I was gone...good news for 5 weeks left of school!

Did anyone recognize our "brown bags" at Whole Foods this week? First grade contributed to the brown bag project. Our final planner begins next week, and it's all about caring for our planet and its' resources. It's called "We've Got the Whole World in our Hands". Here's a heads up on a tiny project 1st grade will be doing together next week...we will be asking each 1st grader to collect all "junk mail" their family receives for 1 week and bring it to school. Judging by the amount I personally get at our house, I'm sure the project will be quite an eyeful and hopefully unforgettable. More details to come next week.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If Our Earth Could Talk

Today we read a book called, If a Tree Could Talk by Rozanne Lanczak Williams. It reminded us how we should protect earth and that human exploitation has damaged its resources. We wrote what we thought the trees, animals, rivers, and the earth would say if they could talk. Here are a few of their thoughts:

If a river could talk it would say, “Don’t throw garbage into me. I’m going to get sick.” – Alex

If a tree could talk it would say, Please don’t stab nails into me. It would hurt.” – Ben

If animals could talk they would say, Put your campfires out. Don’t burn my home.” – Sophie

We also used recycled cans from home to use as planters for our sweet basil. Hopefully we will have as much luck with our basil as we did with our lima beans a couple of months ago!

In science we learned where on our earth the natural resources needed to make a pencil come from. Did you know the wood comes from cedar trees in California? The graphite is mined in Mexico? The eraser comes from latex found in trees in South America? The aluminum from China?
During library, I challenged the kids to check out a fiction or non-fiction book about an animal of their choice. Ask your child which animal he/she picked out.

We ended our day watching a National Geographic movie called, Save the Panda...a heart whelming story of China's living treasure in its struggle for survival.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Earth Day

I thought today would be a great day to start our new classroom blog. My Schoolnotes account just never seemed to work for me. My hopes are that this will be a paperless way for you and your family to better stay informed about what is going on in our classroom...and maybe save a few trees along the way!

Thank you to all the parents for coming to the student-led conferences. The students enjoyed showing you their work, reflecting on their goals, and sharing the things they are doing in the classroom. I hope you find these conferences to be a way to connect with your child. It is wonderful for the students to gain confidence by sharing their classroom experiences with you, one-on-one. I hope that those that were unable to come will plan to come make it this is a requirement for students attending a PYP campus.

Field Day is coming up on May 9th. Our class team name will be The Monarchs. Our team color is YELLOW. I will need everyone to bring in a white t-shirt no later than May they need to be painted. The students are very excited about Field Day!

April 25th is "Free Dress Day."

May 13 is the Spring Music Program for 1st and 3rd grade. Remember that our class will be wearing white shirts (they can be school shirts)and any color pants/skirt. They need to bring a non-breakable bowl and spoon and if you have an apron...they can wear that, too.

We continue working on our planner, “Working 9 to 5”. The central idea is... people with different jobs work together to organize a community. We've been inquiring about different types of jobs, what goods and services do for us and how a community is dependent on jobs. A nice addition to our planner has been time spent with our Junior Achievement representative, Mr. Steininger. We've also enjoyed hearing all about professions within our classrooms' parents. If you are interested in sharing the "story" of your job there's still time...just let me know!

Our last planner will be "How We Share Our Planet," which will be a relevant way to end our year together. The central idea is...the environment is affected by human activities. We will inquire into what makes up the environment, what damages the environment, how we can improve the quality of our environment and the importance of protecting our environment.

I’ve been administering the last TPRI (Texas Reading Inventory) this week. This will be the last testing for 1st grade. I am testing reading frequency…which should be at least 60 wpm. (FYI…they should be reading at least 90 wpm by the end of 2nd grade). Be on the lookout for your child’s reading fluency results in the next week or so.

*** Which reminds me, please send a tin can from your recycle bin to school. We will reuse these in a fun project this week to celebrate Earth Day in our classroom!