Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Science Fair

Today we completed our class science Fair project, "The Great Boat Race." The concept was simple but fun! We hypothesized what shape boat could float the best. We tested our theory and came up with a conclusion. With that knowledge, the children were challenged to each build their own boats with a single piece of aluminum foil. We got a good dose of the Scientific Method and a good time was had by all! In cooperative groups they tested their creations by seeing how many unit cubes could float in their boat before sinking. The results were astounding...from 0 units to 171 units...way to go EG!!! FYI...all the science fair projects from all classes k-3 and all 4th and 5th graders will be on display tomorrow evening from 6:00-7:30pm.

weekly update

By popular vote, the children did not want to wear our usual white shirts for the field trip tomorrow to the Houston Arboretum. Instead, they voted to wear red! Thanks to Renea and Anne for volunteering the use of their rolling coolers.

Be sure to check backpacks for Tuesday folders. Not much in there...I was swamped with Science Fair (our class AND Maggie), testing and getting report card grades turned in! FYI...report cards go home tomorrow.

You will also see that the Stanford scores have arrived. I thought they were pretty good but they are down from last year. All schools in all subjects in all grade levels went down...something about the norms. A letter was supposed to go out, but didn't. You can direct your questions to the office. :-)

I put a 100's chart in the red folders for help with homework. They can be a very useful tool...we use them all the time!

I administered the "high frequency word" test Monday. It is part of our promotion standards and children must pass to go on to 2nd grade. I don't tell parents this in the beginning of the year (because it would freak them out!) but I don't teach the sight words. This concept is introduced in kindergarten and I feel a better way to learn them in 1st grade is within our day integrated in all subject areas. One year I taught summer school to a bunch of kids that didn't know their sight words. I drilled them every day until they knew them perfectly. I found out the hard way...they knew them by sight on flashcards but not within text in a book! :-(

Monday, March 30, 2009

art a la carte #5

Friday afternoon, Priscilla Kennedy and Sarah Baker explained the concept of the Still Life to our class. They discussed different examples through the ages and focused on the concepts of subject, medium, focal point, collage, overlap and abstract art. Some of the works they discussed are here. The following is fun site from the National Gallery of Art that allows one to graphically manipulate different still life paintings. This link provides puzzle pieces that when brought to the canvas will fit together to form still-life masterpieces. the children chose one of several examples of still life subjects that were provided (both classic and contemporary), sketched them out and then colored their masterpieces.
If you would like to continue the lesson at home...look through magazines to find pictures that represent them (or let them choose from a large variety of things already cut out). Look for pictures that describe who they are, describe their hobbies, favorite foods, games, animals, colors, clothes, music, etc. Cut out the images and arrange them on the paper to form a still-life collage of objects that reflect who they are or their personalities. Remind them to think about the emphasis of their collage. Try to keep in mind...What is a collage? What does overlap mean? What does this collage say about their personality? If they were going to paint a still life from real objects, what items would they choose and why?
They discussed Cezanne as he is considered to be the perhaps the greatest master of the Still Life Painting of any era. Coincidentally, CBS Sunday Morning featured a Cezanne exhibit opening in Philadelphia today. It sounds like these parents did an amazing job Friday. I know your kids enjoyed Friday afternoon as much as Priscilla and Sarah did!

Friday, March 27, 2009

class pictures

Class pictures are Monday. Please wear regular school uniform. Mrs. Morgan reported that y'all had a great day! I can't wait to hear all about art a la carte!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cookie's Week

Where in the World did Cookie go for Spring Break?
This kids were biting at the bit to share their Spring Break adventures they had with our dear friend, Cookie! It sounds like everyone had a fabulous break whether it was spent in town or far away. It looks like a lot of memorable family time was the result and now you have your memories forever!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Arboretum Field Trip

We are going on a field trip to the Houston Arboretum next Wednesday, April 1st. The cost is $11. Mrs. Stryker is in charge of this field trip and I will let you know as soon as I find out more information about chaperones. Look for a sign-up sheet outside our classroom. We will leave at 8:40 AM and expect to come back to school at 1:30


Be on the lookout in the red Tuesday Folders tomorrow for announcement assignments! Our class will be doing announcements all week this week! We will need 2 speakers and 2 flag holders each day. Thank you to ER, MM, HM and KH for their last-minute assignment today... they did an awesome job!

Quote for today: "Once you choose hope, anything’s possible." ~Christopher Reeve

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cookie's Week

Today we read a simple story titled, Cookie's Week. Just like Cookie, all of us will have an adventure over Spring Break whether we stay home or travel away from Houston. Write 1 sentence each day of the week accompanied with a picture telling what you did. Be sure to take at least 1 picture of Cookie on your adventure next week (kind of like Flat Stanley in kindergarten). You may bring real photos or email them to me. We will share our adventures on Wednesday. Have fun!


Today I divided up the class into 6 cooperative groups and gave each group 1 poster board and 8 pieces of colored paper and told them to build a map using only glue markers, scissors, paper and the poster board. It was great to see them communicating (and sometimes not!), risk-taking, thinking, having an open-mind and thinking about how to get the assignment done together peacefully. This was done in 30 minutes!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

treasure maps

This week we learned about grid maps and coordinates. Unexpectedly, a lot of the kids already knew about them from playing the boardgame, Battleship! To make it fun, we made treasure maps and wrote written directions to find our treasure.

Map of our Hearts

After reading My Map Book, we water colored our own beautiful Map of our hearts. Come check them out...they will make your heart melt!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

good news for HISD

It's great news when the President of the United States is so impressed with what HISD is doing that he praises us in a major speech. Apparently yesterday, President Barack Obama outlined his plans for education reform in a speech to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In his remarks, he commended HISD's use of a growth model to determine how much academic growth a student makes from year to year, to identify strengths and weaknesses so that our teachers can build on strengths and intervene early on to turn weaknesses into strengths. Cool.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Dice Roll sums

Today we played a "game" where the children roll a pair of dice (they will play anything involving dice!) and recorded the sum of the dice dots. We observed why which sums occur most often. Ask your child why there wasn't a one on the list of possible sums on the record sheet. I also noticed this game went MUCH FASTER for those that have been playing Math Magician to help with their math fact memorization...hint, hint.

Monday, March 9, 2009

map makers

We spent some time creatively building our own city maps today. It was interesting to see what types of stores, places, businesses everyone chose to add to their map!

last chance...

If you didn't make it to the Bash or never got around to the party tables...you have another chance to sign up! I am having a swim party at the YMCA on Friday, May 1st at 4:00pm for $25 (sorry, I forgot to tell y'all or the kids!) and Mr. Bogler is selling 8x10 black and white portraits of the children for $20. I believe the sign-ups will be in the front hallway every day this week before and after school. Of course, all proceeds go straight to Mark Twain!

Friday, March 6, 2009


I totally hope to see all of you at the Bash tonight!!


Ike is ALIVE and well! The kids are convinced he is dead. When I was out on Wednesday, he decided to molt...just means our dear little hermit crab is growing! I came back to find a "skin" in the cage and a leg that looked as if it had been dismembered. I took a picture for the non-believers...

Because of Winn Dixie

Although we have 2 chapters left and I anticipate finishing Because of Winn Dixie next week, we saw the movie today! If we had waited and watched it next Friday I would have been afraid some would miss it due to leaving for early Spring Break plans! It was a delightful movie and enjoyed by all!

woof, woof

" dog art" inspired by artist, George Rodrigue

new dictionaries

Have you heard the news? Ask your child about his/her new dictionary! Now that we know how to legibly write complete sentences that are correctly spaced, capitalized and punctuated to express our thoughts...they can now ask for words they cannot sound out correctly. It's fun to see what words they ask for. RH wanted to know how to spell microbiology !!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


The kids did great on their first geography quiz last week! From now on their green geography folders need to go home for review on Thursdays (unless otherwise I say different) but MUST come back on Fridays. All but one folder came back. We use these every single day.

map builders

During groups today the children had the opportunity to build a map of the classroom using Kapla blocks and attribute blocks. They chose to either make their own or work in cooperative groups. No one chose to work alone...what sweet kids! Of course, we loved how they all looked different!

measuring in inches

During our independent jobs and reading groups the kids were instructed to measure items in our classroom with rulers and parts of their body with a measuring tape. It was tempting not to measure in centimeters!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Me on the Map

Room house street city state country world... we all have our own place in the world!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

art a la carte # 4

EG's mom came to class today to teach us a little about emphasis and focus. The kids enjoyed her examples and creating their own art showing what they learned!

Monday, March 2, 2009


As we learn about our map of the sky ...the kids made their own constellations today!

we need glue!!!

Next time you find yourself at Target, Walgreens, grocery store, etc...please get a bottle of glue for your child. We are critically short of glue!!