Thursday, January 28, 2010

Science Mystery Beads?!

Science was a hit this week! We took a look at some mystery beads in our science lab and used lab sheets to record our data. The beads looked like regular white beads when we were inside the classroom.

To our surprise, the beads changed color once we walked outside!! Our class determined (after testing different factors such as wind, heat, and moisture) that these mystery beads changed color because of the UV rays in the sun! Our discussion then led to different ways the sun can help the earth and how to protect our bodies from the harmful UV rays. Our friends had some wonderful questions, connections, and just plain fun!

So many friends are wondering where they can get some of these UV Beads... Check out the link below :)

Starry, Starry Family Night

Throughout our study of the Solar System, we have been learning some pretty amazing things about the stars and planets. This year, first grade has been shooting for the stars and incorporated unforgettable learning activities for the students. On Tuesday night, we celebrated our Starry, Starry Family Night with a dinner, some space snacks, and a movie under the stars!

We were so fortunate to have Mr. Ted and Miss Letty (who are real Astronomers!!) come to our school and share their knowledge and give us a front row view of the moon through a giant telescope! Our class made a book for Mr. Ted and Miss Letty thanking them for a family night we will never forget! :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


During Math Workshop, we have been looking at shapes and determining whether a shape was a polygon or nonpolygon. We learned that two-dimensional shapes are split into those two major groups. All simple closed shapes with straight sides are polygons. Simple shapes are shapes with sides that don't cross each other. The students also encountered closed shapes that are not polygons. These shapes have all or some curved sides, such as a circle, ovals, or semicircles.

The students looked at different shapes and sorted them either by the number of sides or angles a shape had, or the type of sides. Have your child look at these pictures and tell you if they are polygons or nonpolygons.

Test Taking Strageies

As our students begin to read and comprehend at higher levels, it is important to test their comprehension in a formal way. We begin to give the students written comprehension test. However, because 1st graders have never taken a written test before, they are not sure how to best find the answers. In January we incorporate in our homework a reading passage the students will read nightly. During the week in the classroom we are teaching the students strategies to help them answer questions about the passage. The first strategy is very simply learning how to bubble in the answer. Next we teach them to read all the answers. (RATA). They might see the answer as the first choice but they still need to read all the choices.

Next the students need to prove their answers. Not all questions can be found in the story, but for right now the questions with the "stars" next to them should be proven. That means the students will look back in the passage and find the answer. Once they find the answer they will highlight it with a marker. Next they will write the question numbers next to where they highlighted.

Finally the students learn that some answers are "BAM". Right there word for word like your choice from the question. While other questions you might have to think about to decide what the best answer should be by reading the details from the story.

For this month of January, these are the strategies we are working on. Stay tuned for February's strategies.

Fieldtrip to MOSH

We kicked off our study of planets by going on a fieldtrip to the MOSH to see the planetarium. We had a fabulous trip. We began the morning by touring the MOSH. We saw an interesting exhibit about human bodies, we saw fish, we saw dinosaur bones, as well as live animals like owls. When we went into the planetarium were amazing by the shape of the room. The students had fun looking at the round ceiling. The instructor was so informative. He explained how Earth is rotating at a speed around 1000 miles per hour. However, we don't feel this movement. He said it is like riding in a school bus. As we travel down the road we don't feel like we are going 60mph because we are sitting on the bus. However, we are traveling in the bus that is going 60mph, so we must be going the same speed. The Earth is spinning fast but because we are on the planet we don't feel it.

During the show we saw what the night sky looks like, and learned about some of the constellations. We learned so many new things about space. It was a great way to begin our study on planets.

Nonfiction Text

When we returned from the Winter Break, we began a unit on Nonfiction Text. This type of writing makes the students look at nonfiction books differently and as a result their report writing changes. During Reader's Workshop we shared nonfiction books with the class. Each day we focused on another convention that could be found. Together as a class we made a large Convention Notebook and the students made their own book during book clubs. The conventions we learned about are: Table of Contents, photographs, captions, drawings, labels, close ups, cutaways, maps , charts, types of print and glossary.

The students used this new knowledge about nonfiction text to write reports on the Solar System. The students used a Table of Contents to help the reader find a certain planet. They included captions and labels about their pictures they illustrated. Many students also used different types of print to emphasize the name of each planet. The new conventions they learned about deepened their writing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


You might be wondering where we have been or what has been happening in our classroom. We must apologize for the temporary leave of absence from our blog. We have been quite busy and alot has happened in our classroom as one year ended and a new year has begun. We promise to take the next few days to catch you up on the latest. Happy Reading!