Friday, February 27, 2009

busy builders

Today we built cities, towns and neighborhoods! It's great how they were all different! It was interesting to see the kids work as a team...I only gave each group 20 minutes!

Go Texan Day

The trail riders arrived without a hitch. We got to see them up close...the horses sure were sweaty!

wheels and axles

If your child visits with Mrs. Norris on Fridays...ask about the wheels and axles when they made their wheel barrows. It looked like a lot of fun!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Go Texan Day

rodeo art created in Mrs. Cowan's art class

Friday is free dress day...perfect for Go Texan Day. We may even get a peak at the trailriders that pass by on Stella Link!

Risk-Taker in action

ER showed up in class today with this fabulous abstract piece of artwork created with a friend. She calls this piece of work "Old Rusty." She told us she she was both a risk-taker and a thinker when she made this project. Everyone agreed. Very cool.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


We've been talking a lot about place value. To help us be better prepared for 2 and 3 digit addition and subtraction, I will provide tons of experiences with place-value concepts for ones, tens and hundreds. By this time of the year we can name/identify numbers up to 100 and are learning to find their representation using base-10 blocks. We are also learning to exchange cubes (ones) for longs (tens) in order to represent numbers by using the fewest number of base-10 blocks...this will help us with regrouping later on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Map Homework

To begin our new planner on “Where we are in Time and Place,” we will be construct a map for homework this week! I know we could all use a bit of a break from our usual homework routine and since we had such a positive response to our family project constructing our circuses during our art ya go!

Our central idea for this planner is pictures and symbols help people make sense of the world around them. Last week I introduced direction, the compass rose, and map keys.

First, decide if you want to draw (and color) a map of your bedroom, house, street, block, or neighborhood. I will need to also see a compass rose and a map key describing what is on your map. You may use any size paper or poster board for this project.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. Have fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

BASH project #2

Here's my contribution to the bash this year...let the bidding war begin!! FYI...those are their real signatures that I lifted from their journals on Friday! :-) I imagine the bidding will start at $75...that was the total amount I turned in for supply cost. I hate that there is only one winner...

Friday, February 20, 2009

Daily Geography

To help us with our inquiries into the new planner, we will be adding a new geography component to our daily routine in our classroom for a few minutes each day. They colored USA and world maps which they will keep in their green geography folders. Each day they will be given 2 questions to ponder. We will have discussions about each question each day and use the maps to answer the questions if needed. They will have the option of taking home the geography folder on Thursday evening to go over the questions at home for homework because on Friday we will have a geography quiz on the exact same questions. Geography is a lot of fun and the kids really do get a better sense of where they are in this great big world! We will continue this routine for the rest of the year...not just this planner.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

BASH project #1

Here's a sneak peak at Oliver's project for the Bash! I hear it is framed in a nice black wooden frame. Don't you think it looks great with the PYP attitudes? Nice touch. Stay tuned for Bash project #2...we are still working on it in class! You won't be disappointed! Also, Oliver will be selling individual photos of the children.

Map Key

Today we learned that a map key has symbols which help us find places on a map. We used our new knowledge to build "bird's eye view" maps of our classroom. We used our shape templates and made key maps showing what each shape represented in our classroom!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Quarter hour

Telling time is SO tricky! Today we added telling time to the quarter hour to our telling time belts. It's hard to understand that a quarter in money is worth 25 cents but when telling time a quarter means 15 minutes. Click here for a million fun games online that will help with this new skill!

compass rose

Today we learned about the compass rose. The children really enjoy being the first to find the compass rose in our new planner books, atlases, and maps. Compass roses are everywhere!

Promotion Standards

As many of you noticed, another copy of the Promotion Standards went home in the red folders this week. Sorry to be such a hound about it! Please sign and return the slip in the back acknowledging that you've read and understand the state requirements needed to go on to 2nd grade. This is a needed component to your child's permanent folder that I am required to submit.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


To reinforce the concept of measuring in inches, we measured our height. Our class ranged from 45-53 inches! We constructed a graph and recorded our results

safety program

Safe Kids Are Taught Early

Today we had the privilege of having someone from the Laura Recovery Center come to our school and teach the kids about some of the lures a person might use to take them from a safe place to another location where they could be harmed.

To better enforce what they learned, please talk to your child about the program. Here are some sample questions:

  • What is the puppy lure?
  • Could money be used to keep a secret?
  • What is the emergency lure?
  • Why shouldn't your name be on the outside of your backpack, hat, or shirt?
  • What does SKY mean? (scream, kick, yell)
  • If you were in a store and someone grabbed you and tried to take you, what would you do?
  • When would you run, yell and tell?
  • Before you ever go with someone, what should you do?
  • What did you like best about the program?

The program ended with the presenter showing photographs of real children that are missing. He explained where each was taken (riding their bike, walking to a neighbor's house, etc.) and how long they have been gone. The kids were very receptive to the presentation for an hour! I sincerely believe that if any of our kids were presented with a situation that we think we are never ready for... they would have the skills to escape and save their lives.

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Planner

Today we started our new planner, "Where We Are in Time and Place." The central idea is this: Pictures and symbols help people make sense of the world around them. We will inquire into the use of pictures and symbols, the way maps explain characteristics of a place and how and why maps change.

To help us with these inquiries, we will be adding a new geography component to our daily routine in our classroom for a few minutes each day. We colored USA and world maps today which we will keep in our geography folders. Each day they will be given 2 questions to ponder. We will have discussions about each question each day and use the maps to answer the questions if needed. The will have the option of taking home the geography folder on Thursday to go over the questions at home for homework because on Friday we will have a geography quiz on the exact same questions.

Geography is a lot of fun and the kids really do get a better sense of where they are in this great big world!

If you had $100

Today in writing, I had the children write about if they had $100. They were eager to tell their greatest wish! Some were excited about new treasures and many were heartfelt wishes for those less fortunate. Ask your child what they wrote...

Friday, February 13, 2009

non-standard unit of measure

Today we measured items in our room with cutouts of a standard foot and our own feet to facilitate understanding the need for standard units.


Be on the lookout for your child's valentine...check backpacks!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!

Imagine my surprise when I innocently opened an envelope with my name on it (expecting it to be a note about lice!) and found that my very generous and loving school parents sponsored Bash tickets for me and my husband! Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

don't forget...

As we continue to build upon our friendships, we are preparing for Valentine’s Day! We will be having a simple valentine exchange within our classroom at the end of the day. If you want your child to participate in the card exchange, please send valentines for everyone in the class. Each classmate’s name should be clearly printed on the front of each envelope. On the back of each card have your child write his/her name, telling who sent the card. Please do not send an unopened box of valentines. (I swear this has happened almost every year!) We cannot have a party but if you wish to bring a special valentine snack…let me know.

100's day

Although we didn’t have fun rotations like kindergarten last year, we still had a fabulous time! We used our 100’s chart knowledge to figure out what is less than and greater than half of one hundred. Remember how long it took us to fill out a hundreds chart at the beginning of the school year? Not anymore…thanks to all of our hard work and our favorite game, Give the Dog a Bone! We brainstormed all kinds of crazy things about 100 things and made structures out of 100 Kapla blocks. We ended our day by making a hundreds day necklace in 10 groups of 10. I overheard ER say aloud, “I NEED to eat this…have mercy on my soul!” Wow…what control! I told the kids to wait to end of the day to start munching! We will continue the 100 's day fun tomorrow!


The central idea in our current planner on matter is based on when matter changes, it affects the world around us. We spent the last 5 weeks inquiring into the properties of solids/liquids/gases, their changes and how they impact the world around us.

It's cool when I overhear (I swear I'm not eavesdropping!) the children talking about classroom subject matter on their own time! During recess today I heard one little girl tell another very excitedly, "Hey, look at the ground. It's all cracked up and dry. It's a solid. Yesterday it rained and the water made it into mud...which is a liquid!"

Job done. They get it. Well done, guys! :-)

*** Just because the matter planner is over doesn't mean we will stop thinking about ch-ch-changes in matter around us! For the next few Fridays we will
have fun making peppermint bark, butter, bread and ice cream (who had time before Christmas?). Honestly, I couldn't think of a better way to end this fun planner!

guest readers

Thank you to Sam's mom for coming in the last few weeks to read! I swear we just don't have enough time in the day to do all we want to learn! She has helped by reading biographies of important people in our history...MLK, Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson, Harriet Tubman, JFK. ..just to name a few! Our class really has a wonderful curiosity in our history and are eager to learn more! If you want to feed our interest and have a calling to read to our class let us know! We read at 2:30pm.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reading Champions

Our Reading Champions medals from The March of Dimes arrived...don't they look proud?

Science Lab

I peeked in on the kids during their science ancillary today and they were having a blast exploring through Mrs. Daniel's hands-on "free exploration" stuff!

information webs

We write information webs to learn about new topics... lately, famous people. Today we created information webs about ourselves which we later use to write our own autobiographies! They kids were especially pleased to see a information web on friendship posted outside a 5th grade G/T class...totally validated what we do in class!

Lice News...

Today the Texas Lice Squad came to visit our class and personally checked every child in the class. Notes went home stating whether your child tested positive or not. 6 tested positive today. As you know this has been a reoccurring problem in our class this year and it is getting extremely frustrating. I also sent home a note explaining the "facts of lice" and the name/number of a professional that could assist you if you should need it. It seems that the over-the-counter treatments are ineffective and the TLS could be a great resource for treatment and/or they can check your child's head for $10 to identify whether the lice is still there or not. Please don't hesitate to contact me or Mrs. Dauber if you have any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

George Washington

Tonight at dinner, ask your child what he/she remembers about George Washington...and his mother!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Because of Winn Dixie

Recently, we started a new teacher of my favorite kid books, Because of Winn Dixie. It's about a 10-year-old girl, abandoned by her mother when she was three, moves to a small town in Florida with her father, a preacher. While there, she adopts a stray dog whom she names after the local supermarket where he was found. With her goofy pooch by her side, she meets an eclectic group of townspeople and rekindles an almost lost relationship with her father. The kids really enjoy the storyline and I plan on showing the movie when we are done!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Making Play-Do

The kids had a great time mixing liquid and solids together to make something!

Mixing Liquids

In Mrs. Franco's class the children experimented with mixing liquids...more specifically, heavy whipping cream and fat free milk! Milk contains many things but much of it is made up of water, proteins, and fats. When the "grease cutting" soap is added to the milk, the fat and protein chemical bonds are deteriorated and everything gets set loose. The children saw the fat and protein molecules explode in all directions. The molecules in the food coloring go all over as well, making it easy to see whats happening. Changes in surface tension also contribute the water molecules in the milk zinging around.

Dancing Raisins

Did you hear the news? Raisins dance! The kids dropped raisins in Sprite...expecting them to sink to the bottom. They did but them ended up riding back to the top! We found out all soft drinks have a special gas called carbon dioxide dissolved in them. As the gas comes out of the spaces between the molecules of liquid, it stuck to the raisins. There were lots of they lifted the raisins all the way to the surface. Once the bubbles break the raisins would sink again!

Math Magician

Yesterday we started our Math Magician program to help us increase our addition facts recall. It's a fun game and the kids like keeping track of their own progress! It's also a great way to help prepare for 2nd grade when fact recall is essential in do higher level computations more efficiently!

I gave everyone the opportunity to master their "+0" facts. We will have plenty of time in class to work on this. Once mastered, they can move up to "+1" and so on. A 100% must be achieved to go on to the next level. Basically each level gives you a minute to answer 20 problems with each level getting progressively more difficult. The kids feel such achievement when they attain a new level! Take a look at our math wall next to the calendar in the room to see your child's progress.

I also have the link at the bottom of this blog and you can practice at home! If your child gets a 100% at home, print the certificate (or write a note stating 100% was achieved) and bring it to school. I will not count it for our classroom work but it will serve as a "ticket" during journal to score a 100% at school! Let the games begin!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Today we made slime in the classroom. They weren't really sure if we were dealing with a liquid, solid or both! I heard someone say, "This looks like a solid but feels like a liquid!" Cornstarch has lots of particles. When the water was added they spread apart. Try it at home!

update: egg experiment #2

We left the egg in vinegar for 24 hours. Guess what? The shell turned soft! Can you see the wrinkle in the "shell?"

This is what happened: Eggs contain calcium carbonate...that's what makes them hard. Vinegar is an acid. When the egg and vinegar combine, a chemical reaction takes place and a gas (carbon dioxide) is released. We saw the bubbles to show this! This chemical reaction kept happening until all the carbon in the egg was used up. All the carbon floated out of the egg in those little bubbles!

Now we are going to leave the same egg out for another day without the vinegar to see what happens. Stay tuned!

The History of the USA

We saw a Young Audiences program this morning called The History of the USA. The show was both funny and informative...and long!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ice Fishing

Today the children went to Ms. Jackson's class for "ice fishing." They sprinkled salt onto an ice cube, the ice melted a little bit. A small pool of water formed on top of the ice and they dropped the end of a string on top. Then the pool of water froze back again, trapping the string. Cool!

Explanation: The molecules in a solid are close together and don't move. The molecules in a liquid are spread out and can move. When a solid gets warm enough, the molecules start to move and get farther apart. A solid turns into a liquid...this is called melting!

Ms. Jackson reported that our class did a fabulous job.Well done!


We were crazy busy today with our fun science rotation and guest reader that I forgot to send the red folders home...didn't even realize I forgot until almost 4:00 pm!!! We need longer days...

Science Rotation

This is gonna be fun!!! Every day for the rest of this week our class will participate in a Science Exchange with some of the other participating 1st grade classes. We will be using the tried and true Scientific Method AND having fun all at the same time. Be sure to ask your children each night at dinner what they did in the rotation today , tomorrow, and Friday. What a GREAT way to conclude our Ch-Ch-Changes planner! :-)

Socks needed!!!

Did you know that we use the Scientific Method in 1st grade? We will be using our knowledge we've been using in the current planner towards our class science fair project! Please bring 1 sock to school by the end of next week. We will be using the socks on February 16th. Please don't go out and buy a new sock...recycle a sock that can't find it's mate. You won't be getting these back!

Sugar Race

We added 2 types of sugars into water to be dissolved...granulated sugar and sugar cubes. We wondered which would dissolve first and why. Ask your child tonight which sugar won the race and why!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Egg Experiment

Today we put an egg in a cup of vinegar. We first talked about the properties of an egg...yummy, stinky, hard, white, edible, small, etc. Then we hypothesized what we thought would happen to the egg after staying in the vinegar for a whole day. We heard many different would explode, dissolve, melt, turn into goo/slime, fizz away, get harder and crack. I can tell you...none of these will happen. They will be surprised!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sneak Preview

Mr. Bogler came in today and photographed the children holding word cards showing our PYP attitudes for a project that will be auctioned at the Bash! Be on the lookout for something awesome...

What is a gas?

Here are the facts we know about gases:
  • You cannot see most gases.
  • Gases spread out to fill containers.
  • The "fizzy" in Coke and Sprite are a gas.
  • Oxygen is a gas we breathe.
  • Gas is a matter that has no shape at all.