Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Reading Blog Hop

 I have a few new reads and several re-reads (Daily 5, Literacy Workstations, CAFE) on my lists.  Here's where I am starting:

Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
I've tried to read Proust & the Squid during the school year, but it requires too much re-reading on my end.  I'm excited about having the time to read it slowly so I can take it all in.
Object Lessons
I am judging this book by its cover.  It screams "you'll love me!"  We'll find out!

Math Work Stations

The Castle in the Classroom

Report Card Comments

If you have not tried Teachers' Report Assistant, you should.  It is a great resources for comment writing.  All you have to do is download the FREE program, create your own comment bank (I've saved a different bank for each quarter), and then start clicking away.  It even uses symbols in place of names and pronouns so that all you have to do is type in the name once and check whether it is a boy or girl.  Comments are easy to individualize.  My comment bank tabs are usually: intro, reading, language, math, social skills, recommendations/closing.  I have about 10 comments per tab to choose from.  Of course I always have a few students that don't fit with what I have in my bank, so I just write new comments for them and add them to my existing bank.  Here is the link:  Teachers' Report Assistant .

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Giraffe Art

I saw this project on Mrs. Brouwer's Art Blog and had to give it a try.  
love . love . love

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ice Cream Art

Ice Cream Unit fans need to check out this awesome art project by

Monday, May 16, 2011

Versa Tiles?

I am considering purchasing a set of Versa Tiles for my class.  Anyone out there have them?  Like?  Dislike?  Opinions please!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ice Cream Sundaes

My class earned an ice cream party so I turned it into a fun writing activity.   And that fun writing activity turned into a huge editing/descriptive writing lesson.  They had to list their ingredients (maximum of 6) and then write out the recipe.  But it wasn't that simple.  Another student was going to be reading their recipe and creating the ice cream sundae for them.  I modeled writing my own recipe and the kids wrote theirs.  Then I called the kids up in pairs, they swapped recipes, and the sundae building began!

I made picture cards of the ingredients available to them.

I printed off a recipe card for each child:


Reading another student's writing. . ."Hmmm. . .THAT's why
she's always talking about perfect printing."

the joys of spraying whipped cream from a can

and a cherry on top

Only one child forgot to add ice cream to his recipe. . .fortunately he thought it was funny and knew there was an easy fix.

My Curious Gardeners

I introduce our plant unit with the book The Curious Garden by Peter Brown.  

The kids are immediately hooked and transformed into curious gardeners themselves.  Here is a bit of what we do during our plant study:

We run several plant experiments and record observations, facts & vocabulary in science journals.

We begin with the quick and easy experiment of putting freshly cut stems of white flowers in colored water.  We go through the entire scientific method.  The kids record their questions and hypothesis in their science journals, recording observations for several days.  A few students always write "When we put the flower in colored water it will die."  As luck would have it, one of them did shrivel up within two days so that added a whole other element to our experiment.

The cups are our mammoth sunflower seeds we planted this week.  We will plant them outside and harvest them in the fall.  The baggies hanging on the line are another experiment.  We are wondering whether roots ALWAYS grow down.  It is a ziplok with a wet paper towel and a lima bean inside.  As the stem and roots grow we will rotate the bag 180 degrees every few days and record observations in science journals.

We also do a lot of gardening in our school's outdoor classroom.  All of the seedlings we've grown in the classroom will be transplanted into gardening boxes (photos to come). We fill one gardening box with pumpkin and gourd seedlings as a gift to next year's first graders to use in the fall.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pattern Block Plants

This quick project is an annual favorite.  After learning about plants and identifying plant parts, I give each child a photo of a plant.  Their job is to use paper pattern block pieces to recreate an image of their plant, then label the flower, stem, leaves, and roots.  Beautiful!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

You Can Count on Monsters

This book is AWESOME!  Anyone above first grade NEEDS this in their collection.  It is full of picture puzzles.   Each prime number is represented by a monster and either a monster or group of monsters is used to represent the numbers 1-100.  Excellent visual representations for factor trees.  Now I need to figure out the best way to use it with my littles.  If anyone out there is using it with their 6 and 7 year olds, please share what you're doing!