Saturday, April 30, 2011

We Won the Purple Cow!

Each month each class puts up a new standards-based bulletin board that reflects the work that is being done in that classroom. The boards are suppose to be a window into the instruction in the classroom and really try to reflect what we are learning during the month. And each month a primary and intermediate board are selected as the BEST boards of the month. The award is called the Purple Cow Award because teachers are encouraged to be a purple cow in a brown cow world and of course, it goes with our farm theme. Our board in March featured our work around our Kevin Henkes author study and featured so many of our students. We are so proud to have so much student work on our board.

Many of the children have their photographs on the board that were taken when they were dressed up as one of the mouse characters. All of the children have a pair of Lilly's movie star glasses in the border and the top border features their drawing of their favorite Kevin Henkes character. Owen ended up being their favorite character!Those are Connor's amazing clay puppets coming out of Lilly's purple purse at the top of the board!
Jesse's small moment narrative story is featured. It is a story about Wendell finding the roller coaster at Busch Gardens.

Dede's compares herself to Kevin Henkes' Chrysanthemum using a graphic organizer.A graphic organizer worked on as a pair describes the beginning, middle and end of a Kevin Henkes story and then Dazha took that a step farther and used the same graphic organizer while reading a book from her independent reading bin.

Jacob's work in Readers' Theatre is described on how he worked so hard on his fluency!Nevin's response to literature is a retelling of Kevin Henkes' Chrysanthemum and is the culminating piece.

We are just so proud of the children's work and love that their work is being recognized! And all we could say was, "WOW!"

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Celebration

Could the day have been any more packed? We started the morning with our 3rd Nine Weeks Awards Ceremony highlighted by Jardale and Taylor being named this nine weeks "Soaring Eagles." Then it was Easter themed centers - using watercolors to paint large egg shapes, making yellow construction paper chicks, coloring eggs, and making a little nest with chowmein noodles and icing, jelly bean eggs and little peeps for snack.

We followed this with a little jelly bean work on family facts before inviting those students who met their Readers-to Leaders goal, which was 85 books read so far this year at home, to a picnic lunch and watching the Principal "kiss a pig!" The children were treated to the event with included popsicles under the school's front porch. Then it was back to the room to get ready for our Easter Egg Hunt and Dazha's birthday cupcakes. We ended the day with an Easter Bunny movie and PE! Looks like we all will need a 4-day Easter break to recouperate! Hoppy Easter!

Jack's Beanstalk

Last week we dissected a lima bean to see what was inside. First we removed the thin covering on the outside and split the bean in half. Then we discovered that there is a tiny plant growing inside the bean (an embryo). We learned that the two sides of the bean seed are the food for the embryo. We decided to plant some lima beans and see if they would grown. Each child wet a paper towel and put the damp paper towel and seed inside a Ziplock bag. Some children decided to leave the bean so you could see it and others wrapped the seed with the towel. We hung them in the window so they could get sun (we decided they need sun and water to get started). We have been letting them soak in the sun and water all week. We have been watching as the bean seeds change a little each day. On Friday Johanna's was the first to sprout!

Can't wait to see what they look like when we get back after the long weekend!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Celery is a stem

We have been identifying the parts of a plant, so to help the children understand what the stem does, we put celery, which we decided is a stem, into colored water. We put two large celery pieces in water with red food coloring. Then we sliced another celery stalk and put half of it in red water and half in blue water. What do you think happened?
We let the celery sit overnight and then when we observed them again, they had changed. Ask your child what happened.
We learned that the stem is like a straw and moves the water from the roots to the leaves so they can make food!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book of the Month

Each month our principal chooses a special book for the month. She uses it to teach the faculty a specific strategy and then each teacher is expected to read the book and use the strategy in her own teaching. Each classroom is gifted a copy of the book! As a result we have a wonderful collection of books to share with students each year. During March, as a new March Madness tradition, Mrs. Phillips came to each classroom and read one of the previous books-of-the-month to the children. She read our class the delightful Apple Batter. The kids loved it! They loved having Mrs. Phillips in their class. They loved hearing her read the book. They loved hearing about the book-of-the-month tradition at chets Creek. As a result of that visit, the students and teachers prepared this special little message for Mrs. Phillips.

There is a back story to this video, of course. During her visit and discussion with the children, Mrs. Phillips asked them about other books of the month. One of the books that she mentioned and questioned them about was the January, 2011 Book-of-the-month Butterflies in my Stomach and other School Hazards. This is a book of idioms. I have to admit that when she read the book with the faculty, I thought it was cute, but as we worked with the idioms, I thought the concept was a little high for first graders. I didn't think they would really get idioms and probably weren't sophisticated enough to use them in their writing. So... (listen for the BIG mistake!) I just never got around to reading that book to the children! Out of the mouth of babes and much to my embarrassment - when she asked the children about that book, they very honestly told her that we hadn't read it! OUCH! Of all the teachers in this school, you would think, after all these years I would know better! And, of course, I have since found out from my colleagues who did what they were suppose to do, that it was one of the books that their students have enjoyed the most! Always being one to just "fess up" to my shortcomings (of which there are many!), I just admitted that I hadn't particularly liked the book and hadn't read it to the class! However, I did decide that it would NEVER happen again. In our class (raising my right hand) we WILL read the book-of-the-month EVERY SINGLE month. And I have to admit that I LOVED this month's book, Sophie's Masterpiece. I think the kids liked it too! Lesson learned!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spirt Week at the Creek!

This week, before settling into the serious and quiet FCAT testing week, we enjoyed Spirit Week at Chets Creek. On Monday we dressed for our theme - farmers, of course. On Tuesday we wore mismatched clothes. On Wednesday it was wacky hair and socks. On Thursday we dug into our closets and searched out an old Chets Creek tee-shirt, and on Friday it was "rock star" day. We finished the day with a parade of the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders dressed as our star idols. They enjoyed a pep rally that included skits by the intermediate teachers. It was a fun, fun, fun week!

Don't tell anyone... but some of us will be glad to usher in the quieter, "no movement in the building" week, as our intermediate friends are testing. While it's a week with very few resources, it's a week of extra instructional time - Science labs, here we come!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Planting an avocado seed

We have begun our unit of planting and one of the things that we planted was a avocado seed. Because we assumed that many of the children might not be familiar with avocado, we peeled the black avocado and gave each student a small piece of the green fruit to taste. Then we gave each child a small bit of guacamole, made from the avocado, on a cracker to try. From Jeffrey's enthusiasm over eating the fruit often at home to Soma telling us all about how his mom uses avocado in making fresh sushi to Nevin holding her nose and closing her eyes to give it a try, the students very much enjoyed the experience and making prediction about what will happen to the seed. This is what they had to say:

Jacob - It tasted really good.

Dazha - The avocado tasted nasty but I liked the guacamole.

Chance - It was good!

Connor - They were both good.

Joe - Delicious!!

Gabriel - I like guacamole but didn't like the avocado. It tasted b-a-a-a-a-d.

Vincent - I didn't taste it! The guacamole looked gross.

Nicole - HORRIBLE!!

Sean - It tasted bad.

Alaina - Dis-gusting!

Soma - GOOD!

Parker - I didn't like it. They were both bad, bad, bad.

Natali - I liked the guacamole but not the avocado. It was gross.

Nick - They both tasted really, really nasty.

Claudia - The guacamole was good. The avocado tasted nasty.

Shaun - I think I kinda liked the guac but the avocado was despicable.

Dede - Horrible.

Jeff - Both were really good. I eat them at home. You take the avocado and cut it in half. Then you take out the seed. Add salt and eat it with a spoon. It's really good.

Autumn - The avocado wasn't really good. I had never tried it before.

Michael - The avocado was gross. I had never tried guacamole but I liked it on the cracker. My mom should start buying me some.

Nevin - I liked the guacamole. The avocado was squishy. I didn't like it. It didn't have a flavor.

Angelina - I hated both of them.

Taylor - The avocado was terrible. The guacamole was awesome.

Catherine - It tasted horrible.

Jesse - I hated the avocado but the guacamole was good.

Brendy - I didn't like them.

Tanner - I like the avocado because it almost tasted like eggs. The guacamole was alright.