Sunday, March 18, 2012

Bloomin' in First Grade

Back in the fall, my students planted 50 tulip bulbs, for a Journey North project.  Throughout the last part of the year, we checked the temperature and added mulch.  We got our first sprout at the end of January.  Our very mild winter forced several flowers to wake up early. 
Can You Dig It
Spreading Mulch on a Cold Day

Then the snow came.  I tried to prepare the students for the disappointment that might come.  Then we noticed more sprouts and at least one bud.  Finally, this week, our first tulip opened up.  Then there were so many tulips that we had a hard time counting them.  The students wanted to stop and count them every time we passed them.  We did stop to measure the leaves.  They got their chance to count them when a substitute took over for our 1/2 day workshop.  They used yarn to group the plants in tens.  They counted 37 plants.  I think about twelve had actually bloomed by then. 
Wake Little Tulip
Our First Tulip

The students are so proud of their hard work.  The teachers keep telling them what a great job they did.  All I did was take pictures and video.  The students really did do the digging and planting, because I don't like worms.  So much for my garden themeRight?  Our next gardening project will be to plant some vegetables and flowers in one of the school's garden plots.

Which One Did You Plant?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Catch the Reading Bug!

Our Reading Association is awesome!  For the past several years, we have presented a county-wide, community reading conference.  It's a day when families can participate in make-and-take literacy activities, take pictures with book characters, enjoy author/illustrator presentations, and buy books from the Book Fair.

In the past, the Reading Association members have set up activity tables. In the last 3 or 4 years, schools have set up tables.  Since I'm the building representative and book club chair, I thought it would be great to get the student, book club members involved with the conference.  Last year our theme was Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  We used scrapbook paper, recycled cereal boxes and such, and recycled printing paper to make diaries/journals.

This year, our theme was The World of Eric Carle.  The book club members' first experience with Eric Carle artwork was with making door prizes for our Valentine Dance.  They were reluctant about tackling the job.  As members started finishing their masterpieces, they became more confident.  For the conference, we helped children make bookmarks from the left-over recycled materials from last year's activity.  I painted the paper in advance.  The guest illustrator was impressed with the artwork too.  How cool is that?
Door Prizes for Valentine Dance

Satisfied Participant (actually a book club member's brother)

This year, the band, Big Bang Boom was the entertainment.  I didn't get to take pictures of the band, because most of the helpers disappeared around the time they performed. LOL!  I don't blame them. Other guests were Geronimo Stilton, Pig (If You Give a Pig a Pancake), Clifford, and Wild Thing.  There were also activity tables for the characters.  Other activity tables featured Fancy Nancy, Olivia, and Skippy John Jones. There were so many tables that I can't remember them all.
If You Give a Pig a Hug?....
Businesses, school PTA's/PTO's, and individuals donated money to make the conference possible. The conference gets better and better each year.  It is so good to see so many families at this free event.

Friday, March 2, 2012

I Speak For the Trees

This week has been full of Seuss.  We were able to integrate writing, math, social studies, and science with Dr. Seuss books. 
Dr. Seuss Math

Some of my most reluctant students showed off their writing skills with their versions of some Dr. Seuss stories.  A favorite was There's Wocket in My Pocket.  Thanks to Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants, my students were able to imagine a pocket creature that rhymes with pocket.  Students also wrote about their favorite Dr. Seuss books.  Our Thing One and Thing Two Glyphs were too cute.  It was my fault that they glued the hair on wrong, but they are still too cute.  Kimberly Edgerton's directions for the Dr. Seuss glyph were clear, but I failed to make a sample before the students did the activity. The students learned that a glyph is a display of collected information in the form of a picture instead of a graph.

We used One Fish! Two Fish! Red Fish! Blue Fish! to graph Gold Fish Crackers and to do nonstandard measurement.  We also used Oh, the Places You'll Go! for nonstandard measurement.  Marlana at Li'l Country Kindergarten provided a 100 chart picture of The Cat in the Hat.
Using toy cars to measure our paths

During our discussions, we made connections with modes of transportation when we read Oh, the Places You'll Go!  After watching a Sneetches video, students made a text-to-text and text-to-world connection with Freedom on the Menu and the civil rights movement.  I usually save The Lorax for Earth Day, but since I was The Lorax, and the movie started today, I just had to read it.  Thing One was quick to make a connection about how we need to take care of the Earth by planting trees and stop being wasteful.  I shared that the reason I choose to dress up as The Lorax is because my birthday is on Earth Day.
I Speak for the Trees
There was so much to do, that we weren't able to finish our Oobleck.  The students who were able to make Oobleck today, also had to mix colors to make the color green.  That was not intended to be part of the lesson, but the students were able to witness some problem-solving in action. I might as well get a big bottle of green food coloring so we can finish this project and be ready for St. Patrick's Day.

The whole school celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday by dressing up and decorating bulletin boards.  Teachers switched classes and read a Dr. Seuss book. I enjoyed visiting kindergarten, because I was able to see who might be in my room next year.