Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

We hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving break. Our class sounds like they are going to eat some yummy food! We hope this brings a smile to your face :)

Untitled from Michelle Ellis on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Literary Pumpkin Festival

Book Clubs

We have added Book Clubs to our Reader's Workshop. Everyday students participate in their own small Book Club. As a club, each group gave themselves a nickname to establish their own identity. Book Clubs are a great way to get students talking about books and learning about different story elements. Over the past two weeks we have been studying the characters, settings, problems and solutions in our stories. The students have also worked on using "Accountable Talk" in their book discussions. This will get students talking about books in a deep and meaningful way. Talk to your child about it! In the video below you will see some of the students from our room as well as from Ms. Thomson's class during their Book Club.

Untitled from Michelle Ellis on Vimeo.

In the "Hot Seat" with Tough Borris

During our mini-lesson, we read the story Tough Borris by Mem Fox. After reading the story Ms. Tracy picked two different students to play the part of Tough Borris. The other students were able to ask this character questions. Some of the questions were: " Do you ever cry?" "Why do you wear earings?", "Why are you scary". The students enjoyed this activity.
When reading stories with your child have them pick a favorite character to act out. This is an easy and fun to check if your child understood a character from the story.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rockin Our Number Sense

Math Choice Time is an important component to our Math Workshop. After learning a few new math games, the students have the opportunity to choose which game they want to play during Choice Time. Our Standards-Based Bulletin Board this month, shows our community what Math Choice Time looks like in our classroom. Previously we introduced the games of On/Off, Counters in a Cup, Roll and Record Addition,

Roll and Record Subtraction, and Double Compare. All the games focus on building number sense. In the game On/Off and Counters in a Cup the students play with 10 chips.

This helps the students learn the different combination of ten. In both games of Roll and Record, the students play the game with two dice. They are working on number combinations of 12. The real focus that we were looking for is "How do the students count the dots?". Do they simply count each dot on each dice? Do they count on by placing the larger number in their head and counting up? Do they know the combinations without counting. Choice Time also allows us to conduct informal assessments as we observe the students playing each game. Many of these games can be played at home, if you are interested in having a copy of the game sheets and directions, just let us know.

Disco Pumpkin

Today, we finished making our class pumpkin for the Literary Pumpkin Festival. The festival is a celebration of fall and literary characters that we have here at Chets Creek every October. This year we decided to continue our disco theme. Each student had the opportunity to glue mirror tiles onto our pumpkin. They also made a dancing body to attach to their picture. The pictures we used are from the beginning of the year when the students had their disco wig on. When you look at the display it looks like the students are dancing under the lights of the disco ball. If you have time, please make plans to come into our front foyer at school. You will be amazed at the creativity of each class.

Where the First Graders Went on a Field Trip

On Friday we took our first field trip this year. We loaded the bus and made our way to the movie theatre where we saw the movie Where the Wild Things Are. The Chets Creek first graders had the entire movie theatre to ourselves. We had an upclose seat to watch the main character of the movie Max, sail off on his private boat to where the wild things are. When Max arrived he and the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws. This fictional story looked as if the characters from the storybook jumped right off of the pages and onto the movie screen. After watching this imaginative tale we were more than ready to visit Sunshine Park where we would eat lunch and enjoy playing with each other. The weather was perfect, although it was just a little hot for October, atleast the skys were blue. We had a great day together!!

Wild Things Fieldtrip from Michelle Ellis on Vimeo.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Open House

Untitled from Michelle Ellis on Vimeo.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Using Strategies To Read

Reading is a complex process and, because of this, no single strategy works best all of the time. In Kindergarten the boys and girls learned strategies that provide a balance between reading strategies, self-monitoring, and cross-checking behaviors. This year in first grade we have been reviewing the reading strategies and taking them a little deeper using harder text. Here is a list of some of the strategies your child should be familiar with.
1.Look at the Pictures - readers make predictions about words based on clues gained from the picture.
2.Point to the Words - young readers to be sure that they are saying the same number of words that are on the page. This is not a strategy they will as they become more proficient readers.
3.Does it Make Sense? Good readers need to make sure that what they have read is logical and sensible.
4.Get Your Mouth Ready - readers need to get their mouth ready for the beginning sound(s) when they are stuck on unknown words.
5.Reread- children reread to use knowledge of oral language and to check meaning.
6. Chunk it - readers break unknown words apart and look for parts that they do know.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Every Day Counts Calendar Math

Each afternoon, we spend 10 minutes learning a variety of math skills through the calendar. We talk about the days of the week and when they fall for this month. For example, September 9th is on a Wednesday. Each number card also has a different picture so we explore patterns. We count how many days we have been in school. Today was day 12. We represent that number using the Tens Frame and with sticky notes that follow a pattern. We also explore the number 12. The number 12 means we have one bundle of 10's and 2 ones. We also use the number 12 to help us count minutes on the clock. Using the 100's chart we practice counting by different numbers like 5's and 10's. The last portion is picking two numbers and writing a word problem to match those numbers. It can either be an addition or subtraction problem. The students make up the problem and write an equation to match. It is a lot of math in a little bit of time. It is a very powerful part of our day. Have your child look at the picture above and teach you about each part.

Friday, August 28, 2009

1st Week of School

We had a VERY busy week establishing the rituals and routines in our first grade classroom. The students were pros at remembering some of the routines from the past and quickly learning some new routines. We are so proud of everything we accomplished in our first week of school. Take a look at us in action. Roll your cursor over each picture, for the ritual and routine.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Meet Our Class- "Funky Town"

Have your child tell you the names of each person :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School 2009/10

Wow! What a great day we had. It all started this morning when Mrs. Phillips had music playing in the front hall. The music really helped set the mood of the day. We were so happy to see all of the happy faces in our room.

We saw familiar faces as well as new ones.

Also mid morning we went to the dining room to see a great band that played music from different genres. We had fun dancing and singing.

At the end of the day we had a man playing the steel drums as the students left.
This is going to be a great year.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Night Before School Starts

Well, tomorrow is the first day of school. We are so excited about the upcoming year. That also means it has been one year since we started this blog. It blows our mind to think that over 9,000 times people have logged on to read our blog. We hope to continue sharing about our class with you. As you read in the next few weeks, you will notice we have about 10 new students in our room this year and we are now in First Grade. We are looking forward to getting to know them. Please check back tomorrow to see pictures of our class.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Last Call for Letters

Hi Everyone! We hope you are enjoying your last two weeks of summer vacation. We have been busy planning and setting up our classroom. We can't wait for you to see the changes. Be prepared to get Funky in First Grade! We have received a few letters from you over the summer. It's not too late for you to write. Drop us a letter this week and let us know what you have been doing this summer. Also try to think of something new you would like to learn about this year so we can included it in our plans for the year. See you soon!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer Reading

What have you been reading this summer? On the side of this blog is a book shelf where we have put a few of our favorite books we have read this summer. We would like for you to tell us your favorite book you have read so far this summer. Please leave us a comment and we will add it to the shelf.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Play Day

Monday, June 22, 2009

Disco Music

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer break so far. We are relaxing and starting to plan for next year. We found out that our theme for next year will be Disco for 1st grade. Each grade level is a different genre of music. So as you are out and about keep an eye out for disco decorations. Don't forget to send us a letter or post card this summer. We already received one from Amy in Japan and Ashley in PA. Be safe! We love and miss you guys.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hello from Canada

We are happy to welcome another student from Regina University in Canada. She has sent us a video to get to know her better.

Hey Tammee - We were wondering if your kids are out of school for the year? Will you and your family be going on any vacations this summer?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Welcome Canadian Friends

We are lucky to have two students from the University of Regina following our blog again. We are glad to share our ideas. They are Christina and Cassie. We recently found out that the city they live in has fewer people than our school. Wow! We hope they will go back in our blog by clicking the word video to see the movie we made earlier in the year.

It is a crazy time of year for us. The year is quickly coming to a close. We are mostly completing our writing folders, doing last minute running records, reviewing our math standards and learning new games we will see again in 1st grade. On Monday we have our last awards ceremony and field day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week

Wow! What a great week we had last week. It all started last Monday when students brought in beautiful flowers enough to fill 5 vases. Our room smelled wonderful and it added such a brightness to everything. The next day, the students brought in "Promises" of things they were going to try to do. Wednesday came and the students brought in books from their homes or new books for our classroom. It was funny learning why each student chose their book. Thursday it was fun to receive gift cards and pamper items. We will have fun and smell good at the same time. It all ended on Monday, when we had a pizza party. We also received a photo book filled with different pictures of events we had this year. It will be something we will always cherish. Thank you to everyone who made us feel special.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How Many Could I Have?

This week we are working on word problems that have more than one answer. Today the students were given this problem to solve:
I have 5 crayons.
Some of them are red and some of them are blue.
How many of each could I have?

A few students right away wrote down the answer 10, thinking they had both 5 red crayons and 5 blue crayons. Some of the students looked a little blank in the face. While others started drawing 5 crayons, coloring some of the them red and some blue. It was fasinating to see their stratgies. It was also amazing the different recording strategies they used to show their answers.

Give your child a similar problem at home to see how they solve the problem. Encourage them to find more than one answer. With the help of their classmate Bryce, the class also discover how to tell when they have found all the combinations. Look under one heading either the red crayons or the blue crayons. Check to see if you have used each number. For the above problem, they looked to see if they used 1,2,3 and 4. We also talked about why the combination of 0 and 5 does not work in this problem. If your not sure why, it is because the problem states I have some of each color.

Teacher of the Year and Employee of the Year

Last week we had a celebration breakfast for Mrs. Cothern and Grandma Ellis. It was a fun morning with the teachers performing skits in honor of them. That night we also attended the Eddy Awards which is where they pick the Duval County Teacher of the Year. We had a great time having dinner with 20 other teachers from Chets and 300 teachers from the county.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

On/Off - In/Out - Toss the Chips Math Games

This past week we have been exploring number combinations. We have learned to play three new games. The first one is called On/Off. Each student will have a playing mat, 8 counters, and a paper to record the findings. The student will hold the 8 counters in their hand above the mat. They will open their hand and watch the counters fall to the mat. The student will next count how many land on the mat and how many fell off the mat. They will record their findings on the paper. As the students play the game, they should begin to notice the patterns they see. If they have counted 5 counters on the mat and 3 off, a few different times, they should be able to remember the number combinations without having to count all the counters the next time they get 5 on and 3 off.

The next game is called Counters in a Cup. Again the students start with 8 counters, 1 cup and a paper to record their findings. This time the students are playing with a partner. One student hides their eyes, while the other student places some of the counters under the cup and leaves some of them out of the cup. When the student who has been hiding the counters is ready, the other student opens their eyes and trys to decide how many are in the cup and how many are out of the cup. Both students will record their findings then check their answers by looking under the cup. Again they are looking for number combinations and patterns.

The final game is called Toss the Chips. The students again get a set of counters that are are red on one side and yellow on the other side. They toss them onto a mat. They count how many landed red side up, and how many landed yellow side up. They record their findings on a sheet of paper.

We would like to encourage you to play these games with your child at home. To make counters at home all you need is dried beans, and paint. Paint only one side of the beans. You can also adjust the number of counters for your child. If they need more of a challenge work with 12 or higher. If your child is struggling you might just want to use 6 counters. You want your child to see the connections between each round. They are making combinations. As they learn them they should need to count each number less. For example: If they have 8 counters and they notice 4 are off, then they should realize they have 4 on without counting as they get to know all the combinations of 8.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Text to Text Connections in English and Japanese

During our Eric Carle author study, our class was reading the story Where Are You Going? To See My Friend! when we noticed that the book had both English and Japanese text. We told the class that we could not read in Japanese so we weren't sure of what the text said, but we thought it was the same story that Eric Carle wrote about. "A" raised her hand and said, "I can read that story to you.". We were very excited and we allowed her to read it to the class. After that encounter we soon discovered how fluent in both languages "A" could read. Our Standards-Based Bulletin board this month shows the amazing journey she has made to become literate in two languages. Below is a recording of her reading another story by Eric Carle and a similar story she found in Japanese. The story is Walter the Baker. She brought in her Japanese story the next day to share with the class because she said the stories were very similar.

I'm A Big Chicken When...

After reading the book Big Chicken by Leslie Helaski he students wrote about what they were afraid of. Below they have shared what they feel. We are looking forward to meeting Ms. Helakoski tomorrow when she visits our school.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Zoo Fieldtrip

Friday, April 10, 2009

Children's Hospital

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Eric Carle Celebration Day

We love learning about Eric Carle as an author. The students had so much fun reading a new book everyday. They soon began to compare his books, make noticing, write responses and try their own hand at writing like him. At the end of our study we had a celebration to honor his work. Some of the students dressed as their favorite character from one of his books. We also made art work, ate pancakes, played Eric Carle Bingo and played charades. It was a fun day!