Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mr. Twit and Adjectives

A few weeks ago, we read a book called The Twits by Roald Dahl. We were quite intrigued about how wonderfully disgusting Mr. Twit was. During a lesson about adding descriptive words, adjectives, to our writing, we used Mr. Twit as our descriptive group writing piece. First, we discussed what an adjective was and brainstormed examples. I provided them with sentences starters such as "My teacher is ______" or "A pirate is __________." Then we shifted our focus to Mr. Twit.

As a class, we brainstormed adjectives that would describe Mr. Twit. In addition, they had to provide "proof" of the adjective. For example, if a student said that Mr. Twit was scary then they had to provide "proof" that he was scary.
Here is an example of the worksheet we used. If the word 'hairy' was given to describe Mr. Twit then the student or a helper provided proof such as: His face is covered with hair. My students had to provide support for their adjective choices. It isn't enough to say that something is awesome. HOW is it awesome? WHY is it awesome? We need more information and that makes our writing more interesting. When we finished with the worksheet, I read the adjectives and proofs. It made a great description of Mr. Twit. "Mr. Twit is dirty. He has food in his beard. Mr. Twit is also ugly. He has hair sticking out of his ear. He is scary. His teeth stick out and his eyes look mean." We will use this "adjectives and proof" strategy in our next descriptive writing piece. You will have to stay tuned and find out what we will be writing about.

Kindness Counts - Helping Hands

Each week we have a "Kindness Counts" task. This week we are focusing on being helpers and saying, "Thank you" when someone helps us. To reinforce the "helping hands" concept, our "Doodle Table" is a patchwork of colorful helping hands. Each student can add a "hand" or more whenever they finish their work. The outline of their hand must overlap or touch the outline of another hand. Then they can color or decorate the hand outlines. Our goal is to have a colorful table of overlapping "helping hands". Helping each other is important and our table serves as a reminder.

Wonderful Weather

We have started a new Science unit - WEATHER! To start our unit, we brainstormed different weather conditions and listed them on a poster.
These words will be used each day in their weather journals. For one week, they will be keeping track of the weather. When they consider the weather, they have to think about how the air feels and how the sky looks. These details are added to their weather diary.

I let them personalize their weather diaries by decorating the covers.
On each page, they write the date and at least three "weather" words from our poster. After writing about the day's weather condition, they draw a picture of what it looks like. When the weather diaries are complete, we are going to use the information to create a graph.
We are also learning about tools that help determine the different weather conditions. My students made a wind gauge that will also be used to plot the wind conditions for a week or so. They will keep track of this information in their "Wind Journals". They will be weather experts.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thank You Notes

It has been a busy week filled with assessments as we have Parent / Teacher conferences next week. Our writing focused on friendly letters. This week my students wrote a "Thank You" letter to someone in the school. They really enjoyed delivering their letters. We reviewed the parts of the letter - I made a giant poster. We also brainstormed a list of people who help us at school. They were amazed at how many helpful people work at our school. Our whiteboard was full of names.

We are patiently waiting to see if President Obama will reply to our letters from last week. We have had great practice with our friendly letter writing. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Presidents Day

February 22nd is Presidents Day or Washington's Birthday. Therefore, as we worked on friendly letters in our writing this week, we decided to write letters to President Obama. We discussed the parts of a friendly letter and then started writing. On the first day of writing, my students had to write down at least five questions for the President. Some questions included: "Do you have a hamster?", "Are you rich?", and "How old are you?" 
This student asked, "Did you know that your wife was on iCarly?" :) 
This student wanted to know what the President's rules  were. :)
During the second day of writing, they had to write five "telling" sentences. They could tell the President about themselves. Then on the last day the questions and "telling' sentences were combined to make the body of the letter. We used special writing paper for the final copies. 
I love  how this student wanted to let the President know that he was the shortest kid in his class. :)
When the letters were done, my students looked at a photo of President Obama on the document camera and drew him. Then they painted it with watercolors. The paintings turned out fantastic and I am sure the President will appreciate them. 
I love the ears on this painting. 
I think four years in office are taking its toll on President Obama. He has a few more wrinkles and gray hair in this painting. :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

We Are 100 Days Smarter!

We did lots of fun activities to celebrate our 100th day of school.
We played "Roll to 100" and "100 Tally Marks" during math time. We also made "We are 100 days smarter" hats out of paper plates.
At snack time, we made trail mix. Each student brought in 100 things to add to it - edible things. :) I am always amazed at how perfectly it turns out.
We did a few writing activities. One writing activity was "I wish I had 100..." Another writing activity asked to them reflected on their favorite thing about the first 100 days of school. A lot of my students wrote READING as one of their favorite things. As a teacher, that makes me happy. :)

My students also made portraits of themselves depicting them at the age of 100. One student said, "When I am 100 I will still ride my bike even though I will have wrinkles." Not sure how wrinkles affect bike riding. :)

A Puppet Show

This week we had a puppet show, also known as Reader's Theater. It was a big hit. My students loved performing. They asked to practice each day. They loved having parts to read and puppets. We invited their Book Buddies and parents to watch. What a great way to work on fluency and speaking for an audience.

The olders did a puppet show called A Birthday Surprise. In addition, the youngers performed a puppet show called Always Room For More. It was great because it tied in wonderfully with our "Kindness Counts".

We will be performing more puppets shows in the future. My students loved it!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lost Tooth

This week for our writing assignment, we worked on personal narratives. My students wrote about the first time they lost a tooth. If they couldn't remember when that happened then they wrote about their most memorable time when they lost a tooth. If they didn't lose a tooth yet, then they wrote about how they hope it happens.

We talked about important details to add to the writing. Important details included when it happened, how it happened, how did it feel, and a few others. After they wrote a rough draft, I conferenced with each student to see if they wanted to add more details and to see if they missed any end marks, spacing, or capitals. I also had them read it to me so they could hear it out-loud and to see if it made sense.

After they finished their final copy, they painted a picture of their toothless grin. The paintings turned out FANTASTIC! Why is there always a painting or picture with their writing? Well, I feel that it is important to have a method of displaying or publishing their writing. We have discussed how paintings, photographs, and illustrations tend to draw us into reading a book, just as their paintings draw people into reading about the lost tooth experience. Below are a few of the lost tooth writings.
 (I love the spelling of "mucey" in this writing.)
 (GREAT "sound spelling" happening in this writing!)
 (I love the last detail: "It fell out without wiggling it.")
 (This student's mom made a tooth pillow for his tooth.)
(This student had not lost a tooth yet. This is how he wants it to happen.)

I was delighted with all the great details in their writing. They did great with their "sound spelling" as well as their conventions. The Tooth Fairy has collected a lot of teeth just from my classroom. :)

Our "WHo WHo" Owls

This week, we explored the /wh/ sound and words. In an effort to have some common /wh/ words on display, we made "WHo WHo owls". First, my students made their owls. We used hearts for the feathers because it is the month of love - February.
Then, we brainstormed a list of /wh/ words. After brainstorming, I assigned a /wh/ word to each student. Then they painted the word on the back of their owl. I hung the owls from the ceiling so they can see the /wh/ words.

Some of the words were 'what', 'when', 'who', and 'where'. It is helpful for them to have exposure to these commonly used words. "Who, who, who, who. who..."

Math Scrolls

Yes, we have math in our classroom. :) I just post "highlights" from our week on my blog. I do want to share a math favorite of my students. They love working on their MATH SCROLLS. The math scrolls were easy to make. We used some graph paper and empty paper towel rolls. They start with the number "1" and continue to add numbers to their scroll. The goal is to see how long they can get their scroll. The longer the scroll, the greater the numbers become. We figured out that getting to the number "1000" on the scroll is about as tall as a first grader. :)
They can work on their scrolls whenever they finish their classwork. I check on their progress to make sure the numbers are correct. I also point out and discuss any patterns that they might see and that might be helpful as they write bigger numbers.
We decided that at the end of the year to line up all the scrolls to see how long the scrolls are all together. We will probably have to do this outside as I am predicting that they might be the length of the entire school. I will be sure to post a photo. :)