Friday, June 7, 2013

A Walk on the Wild Side!

Our new theme for 2013-14!

Summer activities

If you're wondering what to do with your child over the summer, take a look at these wonderful activities!

The Last Day

We finished our last half day with a little Musical Chairs!  It's always hard to let go of a class after two years.  You have watched them come in as babies.  You have watched them learn to be big kids!  You have watched them learn to read!  You know their likes and dislikes.  You know what makes them mad and sad.  You know what they worry about.  You know what makes them happy.  You know their mom and dad (and way too much about their business!) and their brothers and sisters.  In most cases you've met grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins.  You know about their dreams.  You have prayed for them on a daily basis...  It's hard to let go of those relationships.  Some of them you will follow for years and a few of them you will never see again.  You just have to hope that your time together has had as much impact on them as it has on you.  Good luck little ones.  May your journey be filled with love.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shaving cream clean!

What a day!  But... the tables are clean!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Principal's Summer Challenge

Your child has worked hard at reading this year.  According to research (from Reading is Fundamental), students who do not read over the summer can lose as much as 22% of their reading level!  That would mean two months of school down the drain!  You can prevent this summer reading loss by encouraging your child to read over the summer.

At our last Readers-to-Leaders celebration, Mrs. Phillips challenged the children to read 100 books this summer (for children reading chapter books, this means a chapter counts as a book). They received a pamphlet (went home today) with 100 stars. Children that return the competed chart will earn a special treat from the Principal when we get back to school in the fall.  So... copy the chart below if you can't find the one we sent home and put the chart on your frig so you can encourage your child to reach the goal!

The Art of the Last Week

Sidewalk chalk and water colors!

Native Florida Plants

Mrs. Shannon, a 5th grade Science teacher, has planted a garden of native Florida plants outside, beside our 5th grade "condos." Today we walked the path and talked about those plants that are common to our state such as lemon, limes, oranges, nectarines, sunflowers... We talked about why these plants grow so well in Florida.  What a wonderful gift to our children.


2nd Grade Tour

It's such a big deal for first graders to move on to 2nd grade because it means they go upstairs! Today we traveled up the stairs to Mrs. Langford and Ms. Harkin's 2nd grade classroom. The teachers did a little mini-lesson of calendar Math and had individual children talk about different parts of their day. Next each 2nd grader took a 1st grader and gave him a tour of his desk and answered questions. The second graders did such a nice job of talking to the first graders!  The class came back together to talk about 2nd grade behavior.

The 1st graders really liked the fact that they would have a desk of their own! Having been a tables for two years, this is a very big deal!  They were concerned, however, about not having a bathroom in the classroom and how and when they would be excused. The students explained about their system for using the bathroom.  We think the students will feel much more secure on their first day of second grade.  Thank you Mrs. Langford and Ms. Harkins!

Kona Ice Keeping It Cool

One of our amazing room mom's, Jackie Weaver, was very gracious in donating a Kona Icy to every child in our classroom. She called the company and had them bring their icy truck out to the school and allowed each student to pick their very own flavor. From strawberry kiwi to very cherry the kids slurped up every last drop! Thank you Jackie we really appreciated the cool drink on a hot day.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Play Doh

What is it about play doh that is so engaging?  I'm not sure, but on this day the children were full of imagination and creativity.  They loved this activity!


So, my new favorite tradition in the last week of first grade is to hang balloons from the ceiling.  In each balloon we put an activity such as playing Bingo, blowing bubbles, playing with play doh, eating popsicles, wearing no shoes and socks in class, lunch under the pavilion, movie and popcorn, cleaning the tables with shaving cream, etc.  Each morning a table gets to choose a balloon and then they have to decide how to pop it.  They have used a pencil, a fork, and scissors to stab the balloon.  They have slammed the balloon between the pages of a book and stomped on it.  They have smushed the balloon between two white boards!  The fun is watching them try to come up with a new way.  Tomorrow, I think we'll see if they can pop the balloon with no hands! 


We had our first annual Ruark-Timmons/Barnhart-Daniels kickball game this morning. My husband, who is a PE teacher, was laughing this morning on the way to school when I told him what we were going to do... and I have to admit he was right!  Most of our children had never played kickball before and a few didn't come prepared (LOL! - see left) but what we didn't know in rules, we made up in FUN! Lots of the kids complained about the heat and wanted to quit after they had their turn kicking so it was a great lesson on how members of a team support each other!  We also did a lot of laughing together!  I'm not really sure who won the game but we declared ourselves the winner at fun!  Special awards for Great Sportsmanship went to Cameron, Hailey and Cohen!

We finished the day with cool, refreshing popsicles!

Monday, June 3, 2013


A real testament to a class being able to do group work are projects that require the children to work together. Such was the project this morning.  The students started by naming and planning a city. The class brainstormed buildings they would need in a city and then each table chose a name and then decided on and drew the specific buildings that they would need in their city.
Next the children used geoblocks to build their city.
The finished products were delightful.  The children had built museums with water fountains, roads, theatres, Chets Creek, Infinity gymnastics, skyscrapers, restaurants, airports...  Each city was as unique as the builders themselves.  Below are some of the projects.  Each group shared their project with the class and then walked around all the other projects.  Finally the children voted for their favorite city - lots of awesome choices!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Final Awards Day

We had our final Awards Day Friday.  We are so thankful that so many parents were able to join us. We gave the usual awards, of course, but were also thrilled to announce that Asher and Abena had Perfect Attendance for the entire year!  We also had many students who received the Superintendent's Award for reading their 25 books for Readers-to-Leaders every single nine weeks - beginning the lifelong habit of reading every day!  We will be celebrating the students who met the goal the last nine weeks on Wednesday when the children will be guests at a food festival, choosing from cotton candy, a pickle, popcorn or a pretzel.  The children also received a wordle of the words that their peers had used to describe them.  The children used words from handsome to smart to chatterbox and trickster to describe their friends.  It's always amazing to see how the children describe each other and it is such a nice memento of their family of first grade friends.  We were also thrilled to announce that the last nine week's Soaring Eagles were Blake, Porter and Asher - three amazing young men who have added such character to our classroom this year!   We closed the Awards with a video of pictures and music that Mrs. Ruark assembled, capturing the best moments of the year.  The ceremony ended as the 1st graders closed their eyes to remember their year and the parents sneaked in with silly string and confetti to welcome them as new 2nd graders! It's just hard to believe that this is our last Awards Ceremony as a first grade family... but we still have a week of FUN left!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What does the sun do to our skin?

Our last Science lab had to do with what the sun does to our skin.  Each child was given ten white beads to string on a pipe cleaner and turn into a bracelet.   
The students were told that the sun's UV rays would penetrate the beads.  Depending on how much of the sun's rays were absorbed, the beads would turn colors - the more rays, the darker the color.  The children were so amazed as the beads turned bright colors in the bright sun.
Next we put some beads in clear bags and covered the outside of each bag with a different SPF sunscreen - from a 4 to a 60

The students made predictions and discovered that the sunscreen did block the sun's rays.  The higher the sunscreen the lighter the beads.  We hope that the kids will bug you all summer about remembering the suncreeen!