Monday, October 24, 2011

Going Batty!

I am so excited!  Not only do I have a really good class this year, but this is the first year I've really tried to teach mostly seasonally/thematically.  We are having sooo much fun!  I just wish I had a camera so I could take more pictures for you guys (I do ask my teamies to borrow a camera every now and then, but I don't want to bother them all the time).  For the last couple of weeks, we've been learning about "spooky" animals - first spiders, then owls, and now bats. 
   Our main story that we are focusing on this week is Stellaluna.  We're doing lots of reading activities, but our main comprehension focus this week is on retelling/sequencing the events in the story.  In our small reading groups, we are reading:

Fantastic Bats (Science Vocabulary Readers)
 I really like these sight word readers from Scholastic for my lowest readers.  They have good information in a very easy to read, repetitive format. 

Since we've been learning about contractions, I made a "Batty Contractions" activity for our word work center.  I got a very simple bat shape from The Mailbox magazine, but you could use any simple bat shape (just make sure there is room to write on the wings and the body).  I wrote a contraction on the body, and the two words that make that contraction on the wings (one word on each wing).  I then cut the wings off each body and the kids had to match the wings to the right body.  I made this recording sheet for them to record their work:

Batty Contractions
I hope some of you can use this.  We're planning to do some fun math activities with bats later in the week!  Check back for some pics (I'll borrow a camera for these!).

Thursday, October 20, 2011

They're actually getting it!

You know how it is - you stand up there and teach all day, and sometimes the faces staring back at you are just blank.  Like you haven't been teaching addition for the last, oh I don't know...4 weeks, and this is something they have never heard of ("A plus sign???  What is that?").  But every now and then, there will be those days when, in their own little way, you realize...they get it!  Today was (thankfully) one of those days.

We've been learning about owls this week (much better than spiders which we studied last week), and I asked the kids to make an owl today.  Now, being the last day for us this week (we have a planning day tomorrow), and due to the fact that I am really tired, I gave them a simple owl shaped body and wings to cut out.  I showed them the body and wings and asked them what was missing.  Someone said "eyes", someone else said, "beak", and a few kids yelled out "the facial disc"!  What?!  Huh?!  Never expected that one in a million years.  To which I replied with a smile, "Yep, you're right!  What kind of facial disc can you put on your owl?"  No blank stares here, they very quickly replied, "a heart shaped or a round one".  YES!!! YOU GOT IT!

I would be wonderfully happy with this, but this was not the end of the blessings today.  We are working on addition in math (as we will be most of the year), and since this chapter that we are on is a particularly hard one, I decided to take a little mid-mid chapter assessment before the actual mid-chapter assessment.  There was one question that asked them to write an explanation.  The problem read, "Terry added 7+3 and got 11.  Explain why this answer is incorrect."  Now, I would be happy if they just wrote 7+3 is 10.  Okay, then I know you understand. Truthfully, I was a little worried, because we haven't really done a lot of writing to explain our math thinking this year.  We talk about it all the time, but just haven't gotten around to writing it down.  Anyway, here are some of the answers I got (spelling has been copied exactly as the child wrote it):
        "sevin plus three eackwls 10"
       "8+3 is 11.  His dus not mayk sins. It is wolg (wrong)"
       "You did it rog (wrong).  Beekuz 7+3 is not 11 it is 10"
       "Becuse he coutid one more on acsudent"
       "Becuz it ekqlz 10"
And my favorite: "Bekus akchly (actually) seven + three = 10"

They're actually getting it!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Creepy, Crawly Spiders

Ok guys, I have to admit it - I HATE SPIDERS!!!!  I mean really, really hate...even sitting here thinking about them makes my skin crawl.   Yuck! IS October, and Rebecca over a Teaching First (great name, huh?) DID make the cutest spider pack so...we did a spider mini-unit last week.  I used soooo much from Rebecca's spider pack (which I was lucky enough to win), I don't think this unit would have been half as much fun.  We did spider math, read spider books, wrote reports on spiders, and even made the cutest spider headbands.  Here's a pic of my sweet firsties wearing their spider hats (they had been wearing them all day, so they're a little droopy):

and, of course, they had to take a picture with their scary spider faces:

Aren't firsties just so funny?

Just to see how much they learned, I made up a short quiz on some of the things we discussed throughout the week.  Feel free to grab this quiz here:

Spiders Quiz

If you want to have some spider fun in your classroom, check out Rebecca's  Itsy Bitsy Spider pack on her blog.  Here's the link:  Teaching First Itsy Bitsy Spider Pack

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Holly Bloggy Christmas

Yeah, I know...some of you are saying, "Christmas!!! Already? Are you kidding?"  I am usually the first one yelling this when I walk into a store in September or October and see Christmas stuff.  I mean, can't they at least wait until November?  But this is different.
You see, Sarah of Kindergarten Korner and Caitlin at Ms. Preppy are having a blog friends gift exchange.  I'm still pretty new at the whole blogging thing, so this sounds like a fun way to get to know other bloggers out there (and to have fun picking that "perfect gift" for a fellow blogger).  All you have to do is visit one of their blogs to learn how to join. It's free to join and each person who participates will get a virtual stocking of teacher resources in addition to their gift from their secret blogging buddy!  Run over and join today (and I promise, this will be my last Christmas post until November)!   ;0)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sweet Measurement

We've been doing math stations in our room and the kids really enjoy it.  At first, they got a little, shall we task during stations.  After talking to them and discussing the good/bad choices they were making, they continued to play rather than work.  So, we took a week off of math stations.  This week, they returned to stations and the kids are very much back on task.  Fall is my favorite season, so I've been trying to incorporate lots of fall activities into my reading and math stations. Our math program teaches one concept at a time and then doesn't really address the concept again for the rest of the year, so I want to try to incorporate different concepts all through the year so the kids can practice and experience all of them repeatedly.  Next week, we will be doing some fun measurement activities with candy corn and candy pumpkins.  The kids will use a balance to measure different items using both candy corns and candy pumpkins.  This is really a chance for the kids to get some experience using a balance as we really don't get to measurement until the end of the year.  I created this recording sheet for the kids to show their work.  Just click below to download.  I hope it's something you can use!

Fall Candy Measurement

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

We Have a Winner!!!!!

OK, the moment you've all been waiting for...the winner is....

True Random Number Generator
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Lisa said...
I would love a Target Gift Certificate!! You can never go wrong with the Dollar Spot!

Congratulations, Lisa!!! I'll contact you soon!
 Thanks to everyone who entered and welcome to all of my new followers. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Spider packet

Hey everybody,
As I was blog stalking today, I found that my blogging friend Rebecca over at Teaching First (great name, huh?) was giving away a copy of her
Itsy Bitsy Spider packet for the first 10 people who would check it out and give it a shout out. Look at all that's included in this pack:
* Favorite Spider Books
* Five Little Spiders Subtraction Book
* Are Spiders Insects?
* Spider Facts
*Spider Web
*Insect Web
*Spider and Insect Venn Diagram
* The Important Thing About Spiders Poem
* Spider Writing Paper
* Class Book: The Very Busy Classroom
*Spider Poems
*Spider Web Game
*Pin the Spider on the Web Game
* Spider Hat
* Make a Spider Web
* Spider Graph
* Spider Tally and Number Cards
* Spider Addition
* Spider Subtraction
*Spider Journal Prompts
* Spider Sequencing
* Spider Report
* Spider Handwriting
* Spider Word Wall Vocabulary Cards

Are you kidding me???? I can't believe the creativity you guys have!!! I was going to do owls and bats in the weeks leading up to Halloween, but if I'm lucky enough to win this pack, spiders will definitely be part of our Halloween fun! Check out this pack here:

Itsy Bitsy Spider pack

And if you want to check out Rebecca's blog (she has some really great ideas!), you can find her here:

Teaching First