Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

We did all kinds of things today to keep BUSY...all had Halloween on the brain! PP even shared his pet hermit crab that ghoulish! :-) Be careful and have fun tonight.

Author's Chair

I love it when the kids come to school with their original writing to share! I encourage writing at home...we love to hear their stories!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Glyphs

These are no ordinary pumpkins. If you look closely...they are all different! For starters, the green ones are boys and the orange ones are girls. The characteristics tell your preference on what kind of Halloween treat you like, if you like happy or scary jack-o-lanterns, if you like pumpkin pie, have you tried pumpkin seeds, etc. Later, we wrote down our preferences in sentences. Look for them in next weeks Tuesday folder!

"Five Fat Pumpkins"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What a sight to behold!

We finally finished our masterpieces inspired by Starry Night today. Last year this took one afternoon...this year it took three. This class likes perfection...each one unique in its own way.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

All aboard the roller coaster!

Doesn't it seem like we always have something going on? I hate to tell you that this next month seems to be crammed with dates to remember! Get your calendars out and make note of the following:

Nov. 2 - Daylight Savings time (we get an extra hour of sleep!)
Nov. 4 - Voting day...we will have our own election in class!
Nov. 5 - early dismissal/report card day
Nov. 7 - There will be a substitute. I am in leadership training. Bingo Night!
Nov. 10 - Picture retake day!
Nov.11 - help stuff red folders 8:00-8:30
Nov. 12/13 - We will have another substitute. I will be out for medical reasons.
Nov. 13 - Reading Champions money envelope due.
Nov. 19 - MFA field trip, student led conferences after school
Nov. 20 - Math/Science night

Nov 25 - stuff red folders 1 more time!
Nov 26-30 - Thanksgiving Break

Today we saw a short video about HISD's Reading Champions reading program. We learned a little bit about the March of Dimes and their mission to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. I shared with them the story that I was born premature, weighed almost 2 lbs and could fit in my mom's hand. Since we keep reading logs in 1st grade I know that keeping track of your child's reading for a few weeks will be easy! I told the kids that simple picture books can be counted and if your child reads chapter books exclusively to keep track of the minutes instead. Choose one method or the other. More information can be found in your red Tuesday folder. I KNOW we can all be medal winners!

You will also find a yellow field trip slip in the red Tuesday folder. We will be going to the Museum of fine Arts on Wednesday, November 19! The cost will be free to students but the bus will cost $6. Parents will have to pay at the door but no charge for the bus. Volunteers are welcome and siblings. Children are to bring a sack lunch and disposable drink. This is a fun day!

Pumpkin Patch

The pumpkin on the bottom right corner looks like it was Star Wars inspired. it?
Don't you love that no 2 pumpkins are alike? I always tell them, "If it would be boring!" I gave each child the same sized pieces of paper with only the instructions...make a pumpkin with a stem and face. The pumpkin on the bottom right corner looks like it was Star Wars inspired. SK... is it?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What a mess!

We had 7 of these going in the class room all at the same time...everyone painting wildly! Don't send your children in their (or yours for that matter) favorite shirts this week! This week will be messier than the norm...

Starry Night

Today we read, Camille and the Sunflowers to introduce our new artist...Vincent Van Gogh! It was a great book that exposed us to some of his more famous pieces of art and also eluded to how many people did not appreciate Van Gogh until much later. Much to my one knew that he cut off his ear (they usually blurt it out at some point during this book) and I was certainly not going to get into it! We started painting our own "Starry Night" pictures but will have to finish tomorrow. We love how his paintings are mostly blues, yellows and greens...and mixing them to make the colors more interesting! I only captured parts of their work because this project is still a work in progress!

Spooky Spaghetti

It was great seeing everyone...I think I saw almost everyone! Thank you to all of you that manned the Bungee Run. It looked like quite a workout...probably a surprise to most of you! I know I took a lot of photos...but unfortunately, the camera was set on "video" by mistake! Sorry guys. If you have any good shots, send them my way!

Friday, October 24, 2008

SS volunteer sign-up

set-up 12:00 pm - Lang, Archer
4:00-5:00 pm -Archer, Partridge
5:00-6:00 pm - Sweeney, Baker
6:00-7:00 pm - Lang, Lang
7:00-8:00 pm - Barrall, Ogle
Clean up 8:00 pm - Partridge
I'm sure if you are dying to man The Bungee Run and you did not get around to signing up...I know your help would be greatly appreciated! Look for us on the playground field. If you are still around at closing time (which I know many of you will!) feel free to stick around and help close our booth down! I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there!

Art a la Carte #1

Today we had our first Art a la Carte lesson on Henri Matisse and his use of positive and negative space. Thank you Mrs. Partridge and Mrs. Ogle! We'll have to continue your lesson and learn more!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Picasso's Rose and Blue Periods

QO's rose period - "Love"

PP's blue period - "RIP Mom"
Today we learned that Picasso had 2 of many distinct times in his life that he painted very happy pictures in red/pink tones and very sad pictures in blue tones. We were inspired to watercolor some "blue" and "rose" pictures that make us happy and sad.

Help us not get sick!

We ran out of hand sanitizer. If you would like to help with this it would be much appreciated! Thanks!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Watercolored Names

For obvious reasons, I did not display the children's work for the world to here's mine! The children's names are much more creative...each had a different way of showcasing their own unique blend of colors and shapes. What better way to practice our watercolor skills and make a pretty sign all at the same time!

Thank You!

I find sweet notes (almost daily!) laying on my desk, in Prince's mouth, on my chair, in my lunch bag, in my box in the office and sometimes bravely delivered by hand. It is an honor to have your children in my class this year...I do love them!

Have you heard the news?

This week I raised the stakes for a sticker reward during journal time...their goal is now 2 pages! The kids can do it...easily. I am so proud of how much growth I've seen! I'm looking for sentences to start with a capital letter, a punctuation mark at the end of each sentence and spacing between each word. We've been working on handwriting and margins a lot so I'm seeing a lot of improvement in that department as well. Way to go, guys!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Girl Before a Mirror

Today we watched a short video on abstract artist Pablo Picasso's faces. The students created a collection of 3 faces using oil pastels emulating Picasso’s style. The main objective was to let our imagination run wild with the many possibilities. We looked at Picasso’s painting Girl Before a Mirror for inspiration.

Science Lab

Today in science lab the children had the opportunity to make telephones! They learned that when you talk into the cup, your voice vibrates the string. The vibrations travel through the string like how waves travel through water. When the vibrations reach the other end, they vibrate the bottom of the cup and turn back into sound waves which your friend can hear. How many of you remember making these when you were little? :-)

Is there a baby in the house?

Just a couple of things…

Is there a baby in your house that eats baby food from a jar? If so, we could use 6 jars! We use them for painting in class and don’t quite have enough!

Somehow the reading log did not make it into the homework packet yesterday. I had no idea until I had a pack of eager readers inquired about it first thing this morning! Since it was my mistake, I will not require the log to be finished this week but I know all of you are reading anyway, right? :-) I put a copy of the reading log in the Tuesday folders today. I told the kids they could earn an extra point for homework if it is completed.

If your child does not have a little pencil sharpener in their school box, I STRONGLY encourage buying one. The pencils are weird this year and for whatever reason my classroom sharpener does not like them!

Officially, we had 95% participation in PTO sign-up. I bet it really is 100% but because of all the mix-ups with the PTO website problems… that’s what it is. Thank you for participating and being so understanding. Look forward to getting your free school directory…you earned it!

Our art planner has started with a bang. Yesterday we learned a bit about Picasso. We found out that he created about 40 "Girl With a Ponytail" pieces of artwork! I challenged them to see if they could find 1 and bring a copy of the picture to class. They were especially interested to find out about the sculpture in New York that is as big as a house! The kids are loving it! I promise after the planner ends your child will have a wealth of artwork (and knowledge) to decorate your house!

Thank you to the Bogler’s for loaning us a digital camera until I can purchase a new one! You know I will put it to great use!
The school pictures are in! They are in Tuesday folders. You be the judge...

Have a great week!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hand With Flowers

Today we read Picasso and the Girl With the Ponytail to learn about Picasso and some of his 40,000 pieces of art! We water colored flowers after previewing his famous painting, Hand With Flowers.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Matthew's Dream

Today we read Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. After being inspired by Matthew's Dream, we painted our own "dreams." When I get a chance...I will display them in the hallway.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mixing Colors

Today we broke out the watercolors for the first time! We will be using these often and it is important to get the rules covered so that we can keep them looking great all year long! When we are done with them, they have a "sleepover" at the writing table to dry overnight so they don't get mixed together and all turn brown! Today we mixed primary colors together to make secondary colors. It seemed like magic to them!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Complimentary Colors

Today we talked about complimentary colors (colors opposite one another on the color wheel) and made some beautiful artwork at the same time!

Telling Time

We have been learning to tell time...only by the hour right now. As the year goes on we will add to our repertoire of telling time skills by telling time on the half hour, quarter hour, etc.

Christopher Columbus

Today was Christopher Columbus Day so we made the most of it by reading a book, watching a short video on and creating a simple picture. The kids were truly interested in his "accidental" discovery...these are the kinds of questions that pop up on the Stanford test! :-)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Color Wheel

We started our art planner, finally! We began by making color wheels and learning about primary and secondary colors.

tidbits of information

Thanks to all who have contributed to the animal food drive. It was a great way to end our planner on attitudes and how they make the world a better place to live. We'll continue to collect pennies until Thanksgiving. We’ve learned how to show kindness to each other and our planet. It was nice to culminate this planner by showing that we can also be kind to animals in need. The kids are really into this, and so am I. This is a component of PYP: student action. It is not enough to just have knowledge …we must put it into action to better the world. The children are naturals, they have such sweet ideas. We adults can learn from their examples! Friday will be the last day to bring in a contribution.
We started our new PYP planner…"How We Express Ourselves.” Our central idea is through art, people express how they think and feel. Today we read, The Art Box by Gail Gibbons. We learned about primary colors, secondary colors and made a color wheel. Tomorrow we will discuss complementary colors.
Recently, my fellow colleagues have voted for me to be a part of the Faculty Advisory Steering Council along with Mrs. Dauber. With that, I will be out all day Thursday meeting with Marvin Fairmen who will be doing the training and Tammie Daly will also be there. I'm sorry for the inconvenience...I HATE to be out of class so much!
In today's red folder you will find a consent form. Please sign and return ASAP. The children are being tested using the TPRI (the test I gave them last week!)...this will help improve the test for future use.
Here's some crummy camera got dropped today and does not work anymore. Our class blog may have some delays until I can purchase another one. Bare with's killing me, too! :-)

Attention: Millionaires

Students may wear their Millionaire Club tee shirts to school tomorrow... Wednesday, October 15 as part of the district wide acknowledgment of thier accomplishment this past summer!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Just a squiggle

It's neat to see how differently we each see a squiggle...

"It's a hermit crab." EG
"It's a design." KH
"It's a snake." NK
"It's a lollipop." AA
"It's a man." SK
"It's a snail." MA

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's a start...

We delayed our start of the art planner because we've had so many absent this week. Actually, it was kind of nice to catch up from our missed days due to Ike! Today I brought out my art books and checked out many from the library. I told the children we would be starting the new planner Monday and how much fun it was going to be! I also wanted them comfortable with the fact that art can be very unique because each artist has a different perspective, style and inspiration. No two pieces are alike! To illustrate this, I had each child draw a two were the same!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lost and Found

Now that it is cooler out it would be a great time to label your child's name (Sharpies work great!) in all their outer gear...sweatshirts, sweaters, lunch kits, etc. It's really hard to keep track of everyone's stuff if they are not labeled. I was not in the classroom due to an all day 1st grade PYP meeting today...and not everyone made it home with their new jackets! Are these yours?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Class Party

It was so nice to see everyone...a great time was had by all! Thank you to everyone for helping set up and clean afterwards. I'm sorry we still have 3 too sick to come. Rodrigo even managed to hand out his birthday cupcakes! :-)

Pet Food Drive

Ms. Jackson initiated a pet food drive for first graders to participate in. There is a note in the red folder explaining the program...I forgot to tell the children about it! I will do so on Friday. We are collecting pet foods of all kinds, used clean towels, small blankets, pet toys, treats and kitty litter. I will be putting a collection box outside our classroom on Friday. We will continue the drive until next Friday, October 17th. First graders are compassionate and caring! We thank you in advance for sharing!

Class Party TONIGHT!!!

Amazingly, it looks like the rain totally cleared up! We should have great weather tonight. I am looking forward to seeing everyone at the class party tonight!

Marathon Kids

Last week information was sent home in the red folder about a new program that is being implemented at Mark Twain this year called Marathon Kids, which is a free running program offered in a number of districts throughout the state, including HISD. Students that elect to participate must run or walk 26.2 miles over the course of six months It is suggested that they run in 1/4 to 1/2 mile increments four to five days a week. Upon completion of the "marathon" they are awarded a t-shirt as well as a medal (if they attend the Final Mile Celebration). The students can complete their miles both at school and at home. I will often give them opportunities to run at school and will post laps each week on this blog to help you monitor your child's progress with this program.

Those not just may get them excited to do some running at recess or after school (and maybe they'll want to participate next year). When in class, everyone will run/walk laps regardless if they are participating in the program or not. There is a Kick Off Event Saturday, October 18th at 10:00am at Rice University Track/Field Stadium (it lasts about an hour) where all the participating schools in the district will run/walk their first 1/2 mile to a mile. Families are welcome!
This looks like a great program. Consider giving it a try!

Adding Dominoes

Today we used dominoes to help us with our additions facts up to 9. It was interesting to see how differently the children organized their facts...using all the same manipulatives!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Greater Than & Less Than

Do you remember learning about greater than and less than when you were little? In our class this year, we will use the "fish story" to help us remember which is which. It's the same as the alligator story, Pac Man story...basically, the mouth eats the bigger number!

Ms. Liz visited today

Ms. Liz comes on Monday each week to do crafts with the class for 45 minutes. I believe next week she will start to come on Thursdays instead. Today she made necklaces/bracelets and pencil toppers.

Friday, October 3, 2008


ER brought her pet mouse to school to share with the class. I am not a lover of mice but have to admit I like this one! Thanks for sharing!

week of October 6-10

*** Thank you to Anne Godinich for helping with journal and reading stories to the class this morning while I was able to attend a parent meeting! I appreciate everyone's support!

Monday - TPRI testing all week
- "How We Express Ourselves" planner begins

Tuesday - class party 5:30-7:00pm

Wednesday - PYP training...there will be a substitute

Thursday - Yom school

Let the games begin

I took the opportunity today to play some additional Envision Math math games Counting Safari and Which Number is Greater with the students while some attended Vanguard pullout with Mrs. Norris. I periodically send these same games (they are printed on colored newsprint) home with the students...many had never seen them before. Often they may seem too simple. Feel free to change the rules to make the game more challenging...I do!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I'm not sure what was going on that was different with Provine Studios (I think they took MY picture when I was in elementary school!). We usually have our photo's taken before lunch. That was not the case today. We took them AFTER spaghetti lunch and sweaty recess. The kids were called down to take photo's during computer...and Mr. Lowry was in charge. :-) If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your pictures...demand a retake!


Today we played an Everyday Math game called Top-It. There are many versions of the game but today's game involved which number was largest. In the future this game will be about greater than, less than, addition, subtraction, coins, telling time, etc. We used a regular deck of cards minus aces and face cards. Try it at home!

The Important Book

This week we read one of my favorite books, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown. Afterwards, we wrote about what makes each of us important and unique. Come by the 1st grade hallway...I'll try to get them up this afternoon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Detailed Work

Today the kids experimented with detailed designs in art ancillary class. Next week we will be starting our new art planner... "How We Express Ourselves Through Art." Be on the lookout for more details on this FUN planner!

odd vs. even

When learning about odd and even's best to start with manipulatives. We group them up into pairs (these are sometimes lovingly referred to as friends). If none are left over the number is even. If there is one left over then the number is odd (odd man out).