Monday, December 22, 2008

Holidays Around the World

This week we also learned about holidays around the world. The kids enjoyed reading about Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Holi, Kwanzaa, and New Years. We shared a book called Holidays Around the World and then discussed what we felt was important to know about each holiday. After we highlighted our important information, the kids completed a worksheet about some of them. Here are a couple pieces of work that show highlights of the different holidays.

Writing through the week

This week we worked on some functional writing. The students were able to choose whatever he/she wanted to write a "how to" on. They came up with some great ideas. Here are some samples of their work. Don't to forget to click the work to see it better.

Highlights of our week...

We had a busy week with lots of traditions. Here are some pictures from our class party, book exchange, opening presents, individual pictures, and Cookies with Auntie Claus.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Holiday Wreath Auction

IF you haven't been in to see our holiday auction item from our class - Tuesday is the last day. This year the kids decorated a small tree with ornaments they hand painted. Mrs. VanAlstyne made a great tree skirt and the kids all were able to stamp it. It looks great! The auction is coming to an end and we hope that you will come in and bid on it. The money goes directly back into our class!

Holiday Lunch

Thank you to all our families who donated food and were able to join us for our holiday lunch. It is so nice to see all the families together and enjoy some time together. The kids were very excited. We hope that you had a great time.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Giving Tree

This year BJ's has agreed to help us with our annual Giving Tree. If our school is able to collect 1,000 cans, BJ's will donate $1,000 to our school. What a great deal. Let your child choose something he/she really enjoys eating and donate that item. If every child just brings in one can then we would reach our goal. Let's do our part - one can would be good but two would be great!

What are we thankful for?

Each year I love talk to the kids about what they are thankful for. Their answers always amaze me. Today Mrs. VanAlstyne read another book about being thankful for all we have. Then they returned to their seats to write what they are thankful for. You can find their paper in the planner. Here are a couple of quick highlights:
- my family
- my teachers
- my dog
- the seasons
- my toys
- my mom
- my friends
- plants and trees
- sisters
- my pets
- my school
- the earth
- the whole world
- sunshine

We hope everyone has a safe and joyful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Recycle Celebration

On Friday we continued our kickoff for our new recycling program. We were treated to bags from Sam's Club that we can use for our regular shopping. We recycled our water bottles in our great new recycling bin. We drew pictures of what we can do to recycle ourselves. And we heard a great story about recycling. This is going to be a great program for us this year which we hope to continue each year after. What a great way for our first graders to contribute to the conservation of our planet. Please help us by doing your part - use your new Sam's Club bag wherever you may go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Extra Expedition 11/20

Soil...what is that stuff? This week we began learning about soil in class. Your child's expedition is to bring in a small sample of the soil around their home. It doesn't have to be much. We can't wait to see how different or alike the soil around our area is.

Happy Homeworking!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BJ's Night

This year BJ's became a business partner to Chets Creek. On Friday night, they will have a Chets Creek night. Our own recorder band will be playing and they will be selling hot dog specials (hot dog, chips, and soda). The cost is $3.00 and all the proceeds will be given directly back to our school. They are even donating the food to sell. So join us this Friday at BJ's on Atlantic and Kernan. Check the memo for specific details regarding time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And the Award Goes To...

Thank you to all our parents who were able to join us this morning for our awards ceremony. We are very proud of all the students in our class. They continue to work hard and try their best daily. Thank you for sharing your child with us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Recycle to Save our Planet

Paper or plastic? Cloth please. That is what our kids learned on Friday morning when we gathered with the rest of the first grade to kick off a project to recycle in our classrooms. Each class got their own large recycling bin that is divided into two sides. One side is for plastic and on the other side is for paper. Mrs. Alvarado got them pumped up to do their part to save our planet from unnecessary waste taking up space in our landfills and harming our precious sea animals! Ask your child what she taught them about the dangers of plastic grocery bags, how they can harm sea animals, and how they end up in our oceans.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Aussie Adventure # 8

This week our adventure took us to Melbourne. There is so much to learn about these fascinating cities across Australia. Here are some of the top ten highlights:
1. It was established in 1835 by free settlers.
2. it is the second most populated city.
3. Some common animals are the Rock Pigeion and the Red Fox.
4. It was host to the 1956 summer Olympics.
5. It is located on the mouth of the Yarra River.
6. They are building a desalinization plant there.
7. Football and Cricket are the most popular sports in Melbourne.
8. It is Australia's busiest seaport.
9. It is the state capital of Victoria.
10. The Shrine of Rememberance is an important cultural landmark.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

What we learned about Sydney

Our last Aussie Adventure took us to Sydney, Australia. WOW...did the kids enjoy learning about this great city. Here are just a few things they learned:
1. It is the capital of New South Whales
2. Nicknamed the Harbour City
3. Home to the famous Opera House
4. Sydney held the 2001 Olympics
5. Founded in 1788.
6. It is a very multicultural city
7. Most popular sport is rugby
8. It is the 15th most expensive place in the world (Ahhh)
9. It has more people than any other city in Australia
10. Home to the Taronga Zoo

Extra Expedition 11/9

Last week we were reading a book called "The Lotus Seed". This is a beautiful story about a woman who cherishes her precious Lotus seeds from her childhood. The students had many questions about what a Lotus flower looked like and where they grew. Their extra expedition is to find out anything they can about a Lotus flower. They have until Wed. to bring in the information. We will be using this information when we continue our questioning strategy during Reader's Workshop. Happy Homeworking.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Non-Fiction Writing

Over the next couple weeks we will be completing Report Writing in Writer’s Workshop. During this time we will be learning about non-fiction conventions (glossary, captions, headings, etc.) and different types of non-fiction books such as question/answer books. One of our favorite authors of non-fiction is Gail Gibbons. We would love to have a variety of her books to teach from through this unit. If you are willing to purchase one or more of her titles, our boys and girls would really love it! We would appreciate any support you are able to provide. Her books can be purchased on-line from the major book stores and range in price from about $7.00 to $15.00. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And the winner is....

Today we had our class elections for President. was a really tough race. Both of our candidates showed up ready to win the voters. They had signs they wore and signs around the room.

Both even brought something extra for the voters (candy and cookies) along with a speech as to why the class should vote for them. Soon it was time to vote. First we began with our two candidates.

Then each student in the class was able to cast his/her secret ballot. After each vote, the student received an "I voted" sticker.

When the voting was done, the ballots were counted. Yes, it was a close race among friends. There was only one President but two girls who were still friends at the end of the day. Congratulations to our President and Vice President! We are proud of both of you.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Presidential Election

Tomorrow is not just a voting day for adults across the country. In our class, as I am sure in many others, we will be voting on our own class president. Of course the "class president" idea was inspired by our country's Presidential election as well as our October Book of the Month - Grace for President.

After hearing this book, our class decided we too would like to have a class president. It didn't even have to be a girl! So we held our own primary election to determine which two candidates would be running for office. During this time, we spent time learning about our government and past presidents that were important to American history. Tomorrow two of our students (Faith and Julia) will be trying to win votes after their week long campaign in class. Students will be able to listen to the final campaign speeches and cast their vote.

Good luck to everyone running for President! We will keep you updated from the polls.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Literary Teasers

Are you looking for something new to do with books and your child? Well I have found this really great site that makes learning about new books (or remembering the old ones) fun and exciting. You must take a look at Kidderlit. The site posts a new literary teaser each day. You can try to guess what book the quote comes from. If you can't figure it out and you want to know, just click on the Amazon button and it will take you right to the link for that book. They also have an adult literary teaser as well. Check it out on the side of our blog.

If you get an answer correct, post a comment and let us know what book it was.

Extra Expedition 10/30

Today we reviewed things that move back/forth or around. Your child needs to find one thing that moves back/forth and one thing that moves around. Tomorrow is the only day they are allowed to turn that in due to the end of the week. Your child can post the comment on the blog or turn it in on a piece of paper.
Happy Homeworking.

* Don't forget tomorrow is Friday - homework is due.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Extra Expeditions 10/27

Periodically we will tell the kids that they can do a bonus homework assignment. If it is completed, he/she will receive something special the next day. That may be a piece of candy, a sticker, extra job, etc. Some examples have been the sink/float and push/pull. We had a parent request that these fun expeditions be posted on the blog so here is our first official expedition.

* Tonight your child can tell you about what he/she learned in Social Studies. Have him/her choose and describe one of following. Answers can be on a piece of paper or by comment on the blog. All answers must be turned in by Wed. for credit.

- What is the role of the mayor?
- What is the role of the governor?
- What is the role of the president?
- Tell us something we learned about President Thomas Jefferson in class?
- Tell us something we learned about President Abraham Lincoln in class?
- Tell us something we learned about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in class?

Hope you enjoy our new Expeditions!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stone Soup

Today one of our UNF students gave a lesson from the book Stone Soup. How fun!! First she read the book and as she read she had the students add the ingredients. Everyone wanted a turn of course. Then she discussed all the important parts of a recipe and discussed the recipes that the students had sent in as well. She modeled how she could write her own recipe for Stone Soup and make it as fun as she wanted as long as it had all the important elements that a recipe has. The kids brainstormed things to put in their soups as a class. Then it was time for them to write. What funny things they came up with to put in their soups. Here are a couple samples of those great recipes. (click on the image to see it larger)

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's in the box? - Part 2

Ok, well Peter came to me this morning and said he told his mom what was in the box but wasn't sure how to post it. So here it is for those of you who have been waiting.

It was Gooder the turtle. He was banging the side of the box over and over. He is actually a teenager. He was not very happy in the box and wanted to get out. Once the trainer was holding him he continued to keep moving his legs as if he was walking so she decided to put him down and let him roam around while she talked. We all loved Gooder! We hope you have enjoyed the suspense of "What's in the box?".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why we loved Mosh~

The best thing about MOSH was...
Richa - I got to pet a corn snake
Jasani - we saw the history section and had fun at lunch
Katie - we pet a corn snake
Mikey - I liked when we went to the science section and shoot the marbles
Abigail - I liked petting Friendship
Cameron - I liked the show and seeing the turtle
Isaiah - when we played the gamed and shoot the balls
Mia - seeing the turtle and the snake
Peter - when I pressed the button the dinosaur roared
Payton - the animal show. I liked the turtle.
John - when we went to see the show. I liked petting the snake.
Hannah - I liked when we went to the games and saw the snake
Brandon L. - I liked playing the games
Zachary - I liked the Indian stuff. Remember when we did our Indian thing last year?
Lauren - I liked the bones we saw.
Dylan - when we saw the shark bones
Bridget - when I touched the snake
CJ - when I saw the snake
Alexis - When I touched the snake and I liked seeing the owl
Lisa - when we touched the snake and we watched a movie in the history section
Matthew - I went to shoot the balls and I went in the Indian thing. We went
into one of their homes.
Brandon R. - when I saw the whales - they're big!
Nakyya - When we were shooting balls and blowing bubbles
Riley - the games - spin the handle then push the red button and the metal rings
flew up in the air.
Julia - when we went upstairs to the games - blowing bubbles - I blew a huge one!
Marcie - The show about the habitats and petting the snake

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What is in the box?

This afternoon we were treated to a classroom presentation on habitats. During the beginning of the show, the students on the left side of the room kept hearing a thumpking sound. No one knew what it was. Everyone kept looking at this box to try and figure out what could be making the noise. The presenter asked us not to pay attention to it but that was kind of difficult. One of the other MOSH workers even came over and moved the box to the back of the room because the thumping was so loud. Ask your child - What was in the box? Anyone who posts their answer gets a special treat when they come to school!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Aussie Adventure #4 - Queensland

Queensland has so much to offer. It sounds like such an exciting place to live or visit. The kids were so excited to share what they had learned. Here are a couple quick facts:
1. There is a rainforest there.
2. The Great Barrier Reef is off the East coast.
3. It's the second largeest state.
4. The capital is Brisbane.
5. Also called the Sunshine State.
6. They grow bananas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Star is Born

For those of you who don't know Nakyya, you are missing out! She can make anyone smile. And her smile is one of the things that people love about her. Her smile, charm, and knowledge of our school provided the opportunity for her to be chosen as the tour guide for our district visitors yesterday. Nakyya came dressed in her adventurer outfit ready to WOW our visitors. She welcomed two people that were in Duval County to complete the county accredidation. She led them around the lobby, front office, art room, media center, and our standards board while providing them with a little bit of insight into the beauty of our school. They were very impressed with how well this young first grader showcased our school and the work around our school. We are so proud of you Nakyya!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Day of Mem Fox

On Friday we had our Mem Fox Celebration Day. What a day full of fun and excitement centered around Mem Fox and her work. The kids began with a Reader's Theatre of Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. Each student was able to perform in a group. The kids loved it and so did all our guests. Next we went back to our room and did fun activities. We made possum bag puppets - just like Hush from Possum Magic, made our aboriginie art, painted our clay boomerang pins, played vocabulary bingo with words from the unit, and pirate hats just like Tough Boris. It was so busy we barely made it through all our fun activities. Hopefully the kids loved celebrating Mem Fox and her home of Australia. I know they learned so much about her as a writer and enjoyed reading her stories over the last couple weeks. Now we are all better writer's too!

Our Own Todd's Odd Day

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What is scruffy?

This week one of our vocabulary words was "scruffy". In the story Tough Boris, Boris Von de Borch is scruffy. While having this discussion, we were giving examples of things that may be scruffy. One of those examples was my dog Maxie. I promised I would take a picture of Maxie in her scruffy stage - right before she needs a hair cut. Sometimes scruffy can be cute!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Story Problems

Over the last couple weeks we have been working on story problems in math. For first graders, this can be challenging. Believe it or not, it doesn't take long for them to learn multiple ways to solve a problem though. Here is one problem that was given to the class with four different ways to solve that problem. Students must show all their thinking with pictures and numbers. As they become better mathematicians through the year, they will also include words to describe their answers.

It's about comprehension!

Throughout our author study of Mem Fox we have been working on different ways to build our comprehension of her work and other literature. One of the favorite things we have done in our classroom has been our Reader's Theatre. Reader's Theatre is a great way to practice fluency, teach intonation, and build comprehension. Our first grader's have loved reading a script of Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. We have also learned how build comprehension though different graphic organizers. These have included story maps, story webs, character webs, and venn diagrams. Ask your child to tell you about the different comprehension strategies we discussed in class.

What is a student generated rubric?

In Writer's Workshop our goal is not only for us to assess student work but for student's to be able to assess their own work as well. One way that we are able to teach them to do this is through a student generated rubric. When we begin working on a genre of writing, students learn what is important to make that work meet the standard through the mini-lesson. The students are able to practice what is taught during the independent work period. Once they are starting to understand all the elements of that genre, we begin to put together a rubric as a class. It is important that this does not become a teacher rubric but one that the students create. The students decide how we will label the different levels of writing. In this instance, Matthew from our class reminded me that last year I told him we could do the one he wanted on our next rubric. Our next rubric was this year - and yes, Matthew made sure to let me know. So the class voted and they too liked his idea of labeling the different stages of writing as a baby, toddler, and big kid (I just looked for the clip art to go with it). Then the students decide what elements are important to make the writing "its best" such as including a beginning. The students decide what they feel are important in a beginning. From there we decide what should be included on each level. Then we go on to include other elements as we progress through that genre of writing. Through this whole stage, students are using their own words to describe the writing and the elements which they feel are necessary to be a "big kid" writer. Sometimes the students disagree on what something should be called or how it should be worded so we take a class vote to decide. It always amazes me that the children know exactly what makes good writing and set the expectation as high as I would if I were writing it myself. I am also "Wowed" by the language they choose as young writers.

We use this consistently in class to look at work from other students and decide where he/she falls on the rubric. Students use it to determine their own needs as a writer. We also use it when they are reading their work to a partner and helping each other to grow. Check out a piece of work later this week that showcases a piece of work that began as a "toddler" and has grown into a "big kid".

Apples...A Great Book For Fall

Looking for a great book to read as we begin Oct.? Here is a great non-fiction book by Gail Gibbons who is wonderful at writing non-fiction text.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sorry I haven"t posted yet...

As you know last week Ms. Harbour hurt her arm. Typing has not been easy left handed. I know you are all waiting for your voicethreads. I hope to be able to post all our great stuff soon!!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It was a Great Night!

Thank you to all the parents who joined us for Open House this evening. We really enjoyed getting to see with your child. We hope that the evening was informational and rewarding as you learned about their day and the work that takes place in our classroom.

Just a couple reminders:
* Send in any tabs for Ronald McDonald House. Also save all your ink cartridges, box tops, and cell phones.
* Don't forget to read with your child every night.
* Check out the blog frequently. You can set it up to automatically update you when a post is made. You can also set it on Google reader if you are following multiple blogs from school.
* If you would like to make a donation to fund our project - you can check it out on donors choose (The Eagles Want to Soar in Science). You can connect directly through our blog.
* Chet and Chelsea are ready to travel around the world. Chelsea is leaving to go to Canada this week. We can't wait to see what she does.
* Don't forget that beginning in Oct. you will be able to find out about the Book of the Month on our blog.
* If you are available to help in the classroom we would appreciate it. Especially on Monday's and Friday's.

Once again, thank you for giving us your time. I know the kids enjoyed showing you how smart they are. It is going to be a fabulous year!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aussie Adventure #1

Last week your task was to name three of the seven states or territories of Australia. Here are the answers to that question:
1. Western Australia
2. Northern Territory
3. Queensland
4. New South Whales
5. South Australia
6. Victoria
7. Tasmania

Chet & Chelsea

Met the newest additions to our class ~ Chet and Chelsea. These twins are our class bears (They are cousins to the other Chet Bears from our school). They love to travel around the world and are intersted in any destinations we have this year. Please let us know if you will be going somewhere and would be willing to take Chets or Chelsea with you. All you would need to do is e-mail or write down about your trip with Chet or Chelsea and take a few pictures if possible. We will put it on their blog for you at Traveling Chet. The kids will get to enjoy their adventures and learn from them all year. If you have any family members that live or travel in interesting destinations, Chet or Chelsea are welcome to travel to them for a visit.

Please let us know if you would be willing to take Chet or Chelsea on a travel with you! We are excited to see all the great places they can see.