Wednesday, November 3, 2010

student-led conferences

Notes went home about student-led conferences. Be sure to sign up for a conference time! The sign-in sheet is posted outside the classroom. If you are unable to do so yourself, shoot me an email with your preference and I would be glad to sign up for you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reading Champions

You are already filling out a reading log would be a worthwhile cause to fill this out, too! Reading lists are due November 30th. Medals will come probably in December or January! Have fun!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Henry Matisse

This picture does not do their work justice. You will just have to come see it for yourself! To follow-up on the Matisse art a la carte lesson on positive and negative space, I thought it would be fun to make these lovely pots of black and white flowers. They are located on the big bulletin board between the 1st grade and kindergarten hallways.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fall muffins

Thank you Mrs. Hanks for baking yummy pumpkin muffins today! They went along great with our pumpkin study today!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

reading groups

Reading groups are plugging along daily. The kids are doing awesome and can see growth in everyone. !Today we used our "witch fingers" to help us track the words when reading...glad I snitched a few from our class party last year!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picasso self-portraits

FYI...If you are at school you will not be able to hear the YouTube based music!
The students created a self-portrait 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.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

High Roller

Always a new game...gotta keep them actively participating. Today we played, High Roller. I can see such a difference in their ability to add numbers at a quicker pace already!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spooky Spaghetti

Please forgive me if I didn't see you at Spooky Spaghetti! There were so many people...and your costumes were very tricky! It looks like everyone had a spooktacular time! I'll be looking for you on Halloween...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

garden planting

Today we paired up with Mrs. Musters' 3rd grade class and planted kale, fennel and beans in the new garden. The plan is to take turns daily to water the garden and write in our garden logs along the way. Ask your child if they have watered yet!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

National Symbols

Today was as good a day as any to make flags and introduce US national symbols...Statue of Liberty, US flag, bald eagle and the Liberty Bell. The whole lesson about the number of red and white stripes, stars, etc. went over their heads a was evident when we got 22 DIFFERENT looking flags! Some got it. They're cute...all in their own way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

quotation marks

Today we played around with macaroni to create our own quotes. I'm starting to see quotation marks in their journal writing! :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010


Chemo on Fridays makes a yucky feeling teacher on Mondays. Bear with me...we can do it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Christopher Columbus

Today we finally got around to finishing the lesson on Christopher Columbus that we started on Monday. I swear we just don't seem to have enough time during our busy days! We read a couple of books and a short video on telling the facts. It turned into a discussion whether Christopher Columbus deserved credit for discovering America or not...since Native Americans were already there when he landed. Something to think about.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gourds Galore!

During reading groups rotations, the children had 2 days to observe the different properties of a collection of gourds. I think their favorite was using the balance to see how many blocks heavy they were!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

sticker sentences

I think fun stickers would make almost anyone want to write...don't you think?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Parts of a Whole

Today during reading group rotation, we played a new Envision game called "Parts of a Whole" to introduce subtraction.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Rolling for 50

Today we played "rolling for 50." It is a game to better familiarize ourselves with the 100's chart and how to move around the board. It was very much like the game, Chutes and Ladders! We learned that if you go forward 10 or backward will end up directly above or below your starting number! I think playing "Give Your Dog a Bone" (link is on the very bottom of this blog...scroll down) online during reading group rotation helped us to play this game with better ease!

class party

Hi Parents! Just a quick reminder that our class party is this Wednesday, October 13th from 5:30-7:30 outside at the Mark Twain Pavilion. We are having a pot-luck style dinner. This is a GREAT way to meet all your child’s classmates and their families. Think about something yummy to share...there is a sign-up sheet outside the classroom. Thank you to all those that have signed up already for fruit salad, appetizers, dessert and drinks. We still need more volunteers to sign up to bring a main or side dish to share. If you do not go by the classroom in the morning, please let me know what you would like to bring, and I can sign you up! Thanks and I look forward to meeting you all!

Matthew's Dream

Today we read Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni. After being inspired by Matthew's Dream, we listened to classical music and painted our own "dreams." When I get a chance...I will display them in the hallway. We will write about them, too!

Friday, October 8, 2010

garden dedication

Today was the garden dedication. We had lovely weather! To kick off the event, every child in each class wrote their wish for the garden and they were all buried together to eventually become part of the garden. Very memorable!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


In art ancillary the children learned about Piet Mondrian. They explored straight lines, primary colors, rectangles, squares and grids.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


This week and last week we have been going to LDC for the first time with Mrs. Diaz. It's been hard to complete our reading group rotations AND go to LDC but we've done pretty well! The children usually listen to a story, have a class discussion, work on a writing project, go to various centers and participate in writer's theater every single day of LDC! This week we've been writing on our peace poems.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

rolling for 50

Today we played "rolling for 50." It is a game to better familiarize ourselves with the 100's chart and how to move around the board. It was very much like the game, Chutes and Ladders! We learned that if you go forward 10 or backward will end up directly above or below your starting number! I think playing "Give Your Dog a Bone" (link is on the very bottom of this blog...scroll down) online during reading group rotation helped us to play this game with better ease!

Friday, October 1, 2010

breaking news...

I'm sure you heard the news...we finally finished The Trumpet of the Swan and watched the movie today. The kids loved it! Be sure to ask your child how the movie was different from the book.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Today we broke out the watercolors for the first time! Today we mixed primary colors together to make secondary colors...hence this week's bonus spelling words! It seemed like magic to them! 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!

watercolor 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!

Monday, September 27, 2010

jars needed

Is there a baby in your house that eats baby food from a jar? If so, we could use 5 more jars to complete our class set! We use them for painting in class and don’t quite have enough!

Friday, September 24, 2010

double facts

Today we learned about double know, 3+3= 6. The kids had a great time showing me what they learned!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

International Day of Peace

Today is the International Day of Peace. Mrs. Blakeslee's 5th grade GT students initiated their wall of peace outside her library classroom. They invited all students to add something to her wall. We shared what peace means to us and our wishes for the world...

Monday, September 20, 2010

nouns/verb sentences

The children chose 6 animals to write simple noun/verb sentences to describe each picture. All spelling, spacing, punctuation, capitalization and sentence ideas were done independently. They showed they learned a lot!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

silly sentences

The kids LOVE to find mistakes! I write sentences using sight words we've studied, words using recent spelling rules and words that can be easily sounded out. I like to also include spacing problems and lack or misuse punctuation/capitalization. Try this at home...they think it's a game!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

addition sticker stories

Today we were introduced to addition story problems. To make it fun we used stickers to tell our stories. Come check them out outside our classroom!

TPRI testing

I am about three fourths the way finished with our beginning of year TPRI (Texas Primary Reading Inventory) testing. It is long and tedious...and all done on the handy Palm Pilot! It's come to my attention that some did not realize what I was doing during the testing. One of my students asked me this week what kind of games I had on my phone and a parent thought I was "multi-tasking" while testing the children!!! I promise I am not Facebooking or playing Scrabble during class...certainly not while I test the children! :-)

domino addition

Kudos to this reading group. They had superior addition skills AND worked cooperatively to get the entire job done...what a winning combination!


During reading rotations I sometimes have a "fun" job for no other reason but to have fun. I was especially pleased to catch this group working together as a team with one shared goal in mind!

number collections

Job well done!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Open House

Our "Manner Gardens" have been watch them grow!
I look forward to seeing everyone tonight at Open House. Meet in the cafeteria at 6:00PM for Mr. Baker to introduce the teachers. We will continue the evening in our classroom! Also, Mrs. Norris (GT) and our ancillary teachers will be meeting at 5:30PM in thier classrooms if you would like to get any information about their programs, too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pennies for Peace

For the past few weeks we've been talking a lot about kindness. We've discussed how we can be kind at home, school, in our community, etc. I told them today about a way we could show kindness halfway across the world! To go along with our current planner, 1st graders will be raising money to help build schools and provide community-based education for children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will be collecting pennies using a non-profit program called Pennies for Peace through the Central Asia Institute (CAI). Our hope is that this will be a memorable “feel good” experience and will broaden our cultural awareness by making a positive impact on a global scale…one penny at a time! Today we read a new book that was recently published, Listen to the Wind (ask your child about the significance of this title) that beautifully explained what the program is all about. We also watched a short video (I encourage you to watch this with your child) that gave the children a glimpse into another culture very different from their own. The kids are VERY excited and seemed to have grasped the idea that even 6 year-olds CAN make a difference! Spread the word, be creative and start collecting…make it a family project!

3 Cups of Tea

A couple of summers ago (the only time I can actually find time to read!) a friend suggested I read 3 Cups of Tea. What a wonderfully inspirational book! I knew immediately that Pennies for Peace would be a great program to implement in my classroom and a nice addition to our current PYP planner. After meeting with my team, it was decided that all 1st grade classrooms would participate also! It was a wonderfully successful addition to our program and many of the children wanted to share the idea with their older siblings and their classes, with grandparents, neighbors, etc...1st grade raised a little over $600!!! We've been talking about how kindness can be was apparent they really wanted to spread their hope to everyone they knew! The kids today loved hearing the story and learning all about Greg Mortenson's mission to promote peace one school at a penny at a time. I think they could see how it could be possible for children working together to make a difference for children halfway around the world! Last year one of my students impulsively yelled out, "I'm SO doing this!" The others unanimously agreed. This year's class is no different...

Friday, September 10, 2010

3rd week update

As we continue our 1st planner, “What the World Needs Now” we are learning how to problem solve conflicts that come up over the course of our day and why good attitudes are essential to getting along with others and being a good friend. We are especially enjoying a series of books called “Help Me Be Good.” For whatever reason our class is obsessed with them…luckily there are at least a couple of dozen in the series!

We have a great class…unusually even in the girl/boy ratio! We are focusing on LISTENING to each other and responding to directions the first time they are given. I’ve seen a huge improvement in this area for many of our kiddo’s.

I am proud to say we started our Guided Reading/job rotations the first week of school so our daily routine is very established as we finish our 3rd week! I have 6 reading groups and I seem to be changing them a little bit each day according to each child’s needs! Our first grade reading goal is that each child leave in May at a level 16-18 or higher and a fluency level of 60wpm. I feel that this is private information and I will not tell the children what level they are on (although some children may know to look, and figure it out by my private records, book labels, etc.) I will let you know from time to time what level/fluency rate your child is on. My goal is individual progression, no matter where they are on the spectrum. Learning to read is a developmental process and differs from child to child.

I subscribed to a weekly Scholastic News magazine for each child. They do a great job supplementing to our social studies, science and current events currently in our world. They are a lot of fun and the kids really enjoy reading them. It would be hugely helpful and appreciated by me if you could contribute $5.00 to help me cover the cost. Thank you for those that already contributed.

It’s that time again! Keep a look out for and start saving General Mills Box Tops. At the end of the year we collect them and our school gets money for equipment and supplies! Our collection jar is in our reading corner in the classroom. We are about halfway through our chapter book, Trumpet of the Swan. I want to show the movie after we finish the book! The kids are really enjoying the story and really do want me to read more than a chapter each day…unfortunately, we just don’t have that kind of time!

Thank you for your continued support!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Kindness Quilt

As we begin our new planner, “What the World Needs Now” we are learning how to problem solve conflicts that come up over the course of our day and why good attitudes are essential to getting along with others. Check out our “Kindness Quilt” that will be displayed on the gigantic bulletin board between the 1st grade and kindergarten hallways. As each class adds their piece, it keeps growing and growing...just like the quilt in the book, The Kindness Quilt! Go check it out!

Monday, September 6, 2010

reading groups

I've finished testing the students for their current fluency levels. I use these as a baseline to better help me form my weekly reading groups. Be forewarned...they change OFTEN!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Math is Everywhere!

Great job! The kids reported having a great time with this family project!

Friday, September 3, 2010


I know it's only been 2 weeks...but I have already seen growth in their writing! We have been working so hard on learning about what makes a sentence. We've learned that sentences start with a capital letter and end with a period (we'll learn about other options soon!). We've learned how to space and have even touched upon what makes a noun. We've been diligently working on handwriting...many showed up writing in all capitals. I've seen progress.

job rotations

The children have 5 assigned daily "jobs" to complete during our reading group rotation. Many of these follow objectives covered recently in class and are used to reinforce the given concept.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Prince tales

Just a heads up...apparently this class LOVES to visit with our good friend, Prince. I've seen a fair amount of tattles, a few stories, a secret or two and a few questions about life!

our favorites

We wrapped up our week by recording our favorite foods, favorite colors, favorite things and how many people we live with onto our very own houses. I think everyone did a great job following directions!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Goldn Rule

We read a book that the kids LOVED...Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler! A quote from the book that we really enjoyed was "a slice of nice makes a mile of smile."