Tuesday, January 22, 2013

...and the grass keeps growing...

So today was the big reveal.  We have been watching our grass grow on the windowsill for a week or so.  It's gotten quite high.  The children have decided that the grass in the clear container has grown taller because it was able to get more sunlight.

Today we uncovered the grass that we had hidden under a box in the bathroom.  The grass received no light.  Most of the children predicted that the grass would not grow or if it did, it would grow poorly.  Much to our surprise, when we uncovered the box, we noticed that the grass had indeed grown, but it was YELLOW!  Pretty cool, huh?

The children decided that the sun caused the grass to be green so now they have the yellow grass in the window to see if the addition of sunlight will turn it green.  What do you think?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Hibernation Station

Congratulations to the stars of the bulletin board!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Planting Grass

Today in Science we planted grass.  Actually we are planting grass to try an experiment  to answer the question - do plants need light to grow?  We planted some grass seeds that we placed in the window sill and then other plants that we placed in the bathroom under the counter under a box - no light.  The children were warned not to peek at the plants under the boxes when they use the bathroom!  Who thinks at least one will peek?!!  The first thing we did was make predictions.

Next, each trapezoid table threesome planted two containers of grass.  Nothing more fun than playing with dirt at school!

We'll be checking the plants and recording the progress.  Make sure to ask your child about it! Do plants need light?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Contraction Surgery

This week we started studying contractions, so... today we each put on our sterile gloves, got our scalpel (scissors) and did a little contraction surgery.  We cut out the letters that we didn't need and patched them up with band-aids!  The doctor's in the house!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Cricket Invasion!

As we started our new Science Unit, Needs of Living Things, we decided to add a box of crickets to our classroom environment.  We started with a small habitat and added soil, sticks, water soaked into a cotton ball and pieces of apple and lettuce. Crickets need fruit and veggies too!  When it came time to add the crickets to their new home, one of the crickets hopped right in and out again.  As Mrs. Ruark turned to catch the hyperactive cricket, she laid the open box of crickets down on the floor and.... well, you can probably guess the rest!  Make sure you ask your child about the runaway crickets!  LOL!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Diagnostic Time!

As we begin to close out the second nine weeks - the midterm -  we are checking each child's progress so far in first grade.  We once again do our county Math Diagnostic.  We gave the assessment at the beginning of the year, are repeating the assessment now, and will give it once more at the end of the year.  This helps us figure out exactly what the children have learned and helps us set up small groups to make sure that no skills fall through the cracks!

We are also giving each child a DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment).  Although our new Superintendent has said that teachers do not have to give DRAs because they are so time consuming, it gives a reading teacher of young children so much information that is not as easily available from other assessments.  You can not only find out a child's reading level but you can listen for fluency and watch for strategies that the child is or is not yet using to help decode words and comprehend the text.  Each child will have a new DRA reading level in the next two weeks. 

Children have also been given a list of the first semesters 120 high frequency words that they have been asked to recognize and spell each week.  These words can often not be decoded using phonics rules but just have to be memorized. These are words that they see regularly in their reading and use often in their writing, so we want them to learn to recognize them easily and spell them correctly before they develop the habit of spelling them incorrectly.  We have been practicing the words in class with partners and will begin giving this midterm assessment next week.  Any child that can spell at least 80% of the words correctly will receive the "Super Speller Award" at the next Awards Ceremony!

This is an important time of year - the halfway point - so we have to make sure that each and every child is on course for meeting the first grade standards!  It is also the time that we celebrate all that the children have learned!  Woo hoo!