Friday, January 30, 2009

Gung Hay Fat Choy

This week we celebrated Chinese New Year in our classroom by watching a family on get ready for their new year, watching a lion dance performed by another class, making our own Chinese lanterns and dragon puppets, reading stories from China and learning to count to 10 in Chinese. The Year of the Ox will be prosperous for us!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where do gases come from?

Today we did a lovely experiment using vinegar and baking soda to show one way a gas can be formed. We know that gases are formed many different ways and that we often cannot see them. They were amazed to see the baggie "blow up" with gas when the vinegar and baking soda were mixed together! Try it at home...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Melting Ice

We've been learning all about the 3 states of matter and more recently...changes in matter. Yesterday we froze water into ice cubes to illustrate a liquid (water) turning into a solid (ice) form. Today we did the opposite and observed our solid melt down to a liquid!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Martin's Big Words

This is one of my favorite video's from I show it every year and the kids always love it. It's only 8 it again with your kids!

pattern block problem solving

We love to play with pattern blocks...and today our purpose was to figure out 4 different ways to build the same shape. I t was interesting to see the different combinations!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Be on the lookout for your child's letter to the President! They are in need of a stamp. I thought it would be more meaningful and memorable if your child mailed it himself/herself! We can't wait for our responses...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Fun

I hope today was a memorable day for your children and that they can look back and remember it fondly years from now! I still remember the mock election and the excitement preceding the inauguration when I was in 6th grade and President Carter was elected...don't remember the election in 2nd grade at all! We saw a lot of the televised coverage today (with muted commercials) which resulted in a lot of shared knowledge and amazing conversations.

Out with the old, in with the new!

Today we watched the inauguration on TV and ate our lunches in the classroom. As soon as President Obama was sworn in we ceremoniously took down our picture on the wall of President Bush and replaced it with a temporary picture from our Scholastic News. Hopefully, with all the letters we wrote to the president this morning...we will get a better one soon!

Letters to the President

Today we wrote heartfelt letters to President Obama. Some expressed concerns. Others had questions. Here are some of their words taken from their letters:

I hope you make the world a better place. - MM
I hope you can help our environment. - AA
I want a picture of you doing a slam dunk. - SK
I know you will be the best president ever! - KH
I hope you can help the poor. - EG
I want to meet you someday. - MA
Is there an arcade in the White House? - EL
I want to meet your daughters. - BB
I hope you can stop the war. - EB
What does it feel like to be president? - ML
I want to meet Malia and Sasha. - JM
Sasha is 7 just like me! - ER
I hope you will be the best president I ever knew! - RH
I hope you are going to be a great president like my mom is going to be a great godmother! - PP
I hope you take care of your family. - HM
How does it feel to be the 1st black president? - NK
I hope you can lower taxes. - OB
I hope you can make a difference in the world. - RS
I want you to help our poor. - QO
I hope you bring us peace. - RL
I hope your family enjoys the White House. - SS
I am going to Washington DC for vacation. - DC

Stanford Testing

Since we are Stanford testing this week and next homework allowed!!

Here is the schedule of test subjects:

Wednesday - listening, spelling
Thursday - math problem solving
Friday - math procedures, comprehension
Monday - word reading, sentence reading, word study skills
Tuesday - language. environment

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Within our day, if work is all complete, kids group together for self-interest projects. They love to do this, I never know what they will come up with and they ALWAYS like to share!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Report Cards are here!

Check will find our 2nd report card. Please sign and return.

Stanford is coming!

Today we took a "practice" form of the Stanford test. I can assure you...we are not teaching the test! Today's practice was used to introduce the format of the test as well as the rules. I told the children every 1st grade student in the state of Texas takes the exact same test and every 1st grade teacher has to read the exact same instructions. I reminded them (and they found out) how important it is to listen...because many times I cannot repeat what I've said. A few were shocked to find they had to do the test on their own...not with a friend! The test booklets are in their backpacks today if you want to take a look at the format.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lice Update...

Lice Power Point

Nurse Felder forwarded this video to all the teachers. Take a look if you are interested. The count is now 4. I suspect the girls lice is still part of the vicious cycle of lice we had before the holidays.

WOW...they are growing up!

Since coming back from the winter break...I've seen a great transformation in the class. This happens every year but I am amazed every time! The kids come back from the break well rested (I don't know how...because I know how busy it usually is!), ready to work, more mature, reading well, writing a ton, working independently, staying on task, checking their work, better problem solvers...I could go on and on! Way to go, guys!

Bash Basket

If you haven't heard the news...the theme for this year's bash is Totally 80's (hits kinda close to home, doesn't it? :-) Each grade level is responsible for collecting items for a themed basket. Our assigned basket is a Libby Lu's an easy one! For those of you without girls...dress-up stuff. We are looking for nail polish, dress-up clothes, make-up, shoes, purses, fairy wings, wigs, Hannah Montana, High School Musical , etc. The collection basket is in our room next to the big silver trash can. Thanks in advance for your support!

Box Tops for Education

It is almost that time of the year again! I know we all have this stuff in our house!!! Boxtops for Education are due on Friday, February 20. Last year we earned over $1200 with this easy fundraiser. The class with the most boxtops wins a pizza party. If one parent in each class would volunteer to count box tops and put them in groups (in a baggie or with a rubber band) of 50, that would make the process much easier. Eileen will have a boxtop counting party with snacks on that morning in the cafeteria at 8:30 am. If anyone has an hour or two to help her get them counted, it would be greatly appreciated. Send Eileen Singleton an email or give her a call...she's in the school directory.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Just a few notes...

Our schedule is kind of weird this week...with kindergarten testing and LDC. Because we are having to make-up LDC during recess, we are having recess at the end of the day this week. I actually love it!

We've started our new planner on "Matter." More on that later!

FYI... A boy in the class was found to have lice over the weekend. We believe it came from a non-Mark Twain student. He was treated over the weekend and is under his mother's VERY watchful eyes! It wouldn't hurt to take a look guy's hair this evening!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thank You

You guys spoil me! It is appreciated. Please know I don't expect all the treats you give me. Sometimes I feel guilty! Thank you for the Target gift card for Christmas. I haven't spent it yet...I am waiting to use it later for something I don't even know about yet! Also, thank you for the birthday gram today...what a surprise!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

latest news...

The students have informed me that I forgot to put a reading log in my homework packet. My mistake. I told the kids they didn't have to read BUT I hoped they would! Of course, some automatically said out loud, "Arg, I didn't have to read. I read for nothing!" I of course, told them it would make my heart sing to know they read and didn't have to! I also told them the long term goal here is to love reading...and to do it for fun...even when they are grown-ups!

attention extended day students - Please be aware that the new semester paperwork is due FRIDAY.

Mr. Risner was our substitute yesterday. He's been around Mark Twain for years but I never had the privilege of having him substitute my class. He talked VERY favorably about our class and the kids seemed to like him, too. I was very proud of the kids for behaving and making good choices...even when I wasn't looking! Isn't that our goal for our kids?

Today we started telling time on the half hour and learning a new math procedure called "frames and arrows." Be on the lookout for it. Ask your kids to explain it to you!

Tomorrow I will be starting a new teacher read aloud, Because of Winn Dixie.

That's all I can think of for now. Enjoy this glorious day...we stayed at recess for 10 extra minutes!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Crayons & Resolutions

We had a GREAT day! Everyone came to school ready to work with a fresh attitude to do their best! We talked about our New Year's Resolutions. Be sure to ask your child what they prepared to tell them yours! Unfortunately, the 1st grade team has a PYP day tomorrow to plan our next planner and go over how we can make the art planner even better next year. I'm sorry there will be a substitute so soon after school begins! Sigh.