Friday, January 27, 2012

He's back!

When I started back blogging again I decided that I would blog at least once a week to make up for being missing for months, but now he's back!
Yes, Mr. Frog is now located upstairs and downstairs to assist my little Sol in his next stage of development (which for boys can be quite tedious).  He's turning two in April, and I'm determined that by June (when #3 arrives), he'll have the potty thing down to a T.  However, he is 150% boy.  He does not sit down to do anything except for eat and take a bath so I've had to be very creative.  The good thing is that he has a big brother who has been there done that and wants to be helpful.  

We've been super busy at school, and I just finished almost 3 weeks of student assessments. . .so glad they're done. . .it's really hard for six and seven year olds to be quiet for long amounts of time so we have to test little by little by little.  I am grateful that we got a sub for a half day during our TPRI (Texas Primary Reading Inventory-for those of y'all who aren't Texans).  I also had to update each child's current reading level, fluency rate, comprehension, and retelling skills.  We had a few math benchmarks in there too. . .I'm glad the 100th day is this week so we can party!  I'm planning on dressing up like I'm 100 years old which should be really interesting since I'm also nearly five months pregnant.  I have wanted to post several pictures of my baby bump that are really cute, but they're stuck on Mr. Perry's iPhone.  I'm already particular about pictures when I'm not pregnant, but even more so now.  It only takes one person to say, "You look like you're about to pop!"  Even after you've heard "You look so amazing," what's still in your mind?  The other phrase.  I'll get some pics up here soon-it's almost time for my maternity shoot and to get some updated family pics too.

So here are a few of my favorite things that we've done over the last few weeks. . . 

This is the time of year when I start talking to my kiddos a lot about "getting ready for second grade."  I had the same talks with my kinders only it was "getting ready for first grade."  Over the last few weeks, we've been really focusing in on problem solving and making good choices.  As an extension activity we made a little book about making good choices all around the school.  They cracked me up!  

We also did a huge research project on animals in winter.  I LOVE research because most people think that primary learners can't really do it. I believe in "kid friendly" research, and I definitely believe that can do it if they're given the right tools.  The kids were divided into five groups:  brown bear, polar bear, hedgehog, porcupine, and snowy owl.  This project was a spin-off of our Jan Brett author study.  We worked on dictionary skills, using tree maps to record facts, using bubble maps to record adjectives, and drawing detailed realistic pictures.  We also made a few art projects to accompany the "research packet."  For the next four weeks we'll be researching various topics such as snow, penguins, famous African Americans, presidents, and dental health.  

Two of my favorite research books (if we were room 9-it would be even better)!

The students will get back into their groups to write a short report with facts about their animal, and they'll add a few details to add to the pictures/labels, but I think it will be a really cute mural once it's complete!  For this project we used Scholastic dictionaries, the National Geographic for Kids website, class discussion, and Discovery Education.

My class loved making "prepositional" snow-people!  We reviewed time-order/transition words as I read aloud the instructions for how to make a "snow person."  After I read each statement, the students had to identify the time-order word, and repeat the instructions to me.  They worked in their table groups to build their very own "snow person."

We finished up a math unit about "number patterns and observations."  This is our "odd/even" neighborhood.  Yes, the houses are missing doors (sometimes copy machines have issues-I know no on else has this problem-right?)!  There was a long line at the copier so I was in a bit of a hurry!

We made the even ones simple and made the odd ones look kind of strange!  This really cute idea is from Lindsey (The Teacher Wife).  She has all of the templates on her blog.

One more thing. . .I feel like I would have normally done this in September, but since I didn't-here's a peek into where I spend my school days!

I love this part of my room, and my students do too because I update it periodically with pictures and notes from Christian.  It gives them a peek at what my life is like outside of school!

A few of my favorite desk items. . . 

Love this note from one of my sweet, sweet girls!

The "book nook" is where students get books for their book boxes and take-home readers.  

The "think tank" has two purposes.  

1.  Thinking about vocabulary words and things we've learned.

2.  Thinking about your behavior and your choices.

 That's it for this post-have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A few updates. . .

So I have figured out that I am only able to blog/blogstalk during the wee hours of 2:30 and 5:00 a.m.  My school computer has been acting up when it comes to blogs, and of course from the moment I get home from school my attention, time, and energy are focused elsewhere!

Last week Sol insisted on wearing one of my vests.  Finally I decided to just let him wear it around the house!  Christian had on a gray one, but he was too busy flying through the air like a "superhero" to let me get a picture of him!

O.k. first things first.  So we had a fun little "reveal" party last weekend with family and friends.  I cut the cake first then we watched my 3D/4D sonogram dvd to check out our new addition.  
It's a BOY. . .and he wasn't one bit shy!  We're not sure about names yet, but we have a few in mind.  

If you haven't checked in at Kohl's in a while, they have a great new selection of books by.  
You can get more information here.

Last week we finished up our graphing unit, and I tried a few new things.  .  .
I dumped the m&m's into a baggie so that I could assess a few things without m&m's flying all over the room.  

I checked out sorting. . .

counting. . .

 and graphing. 

The students also had the chance to create their own pie graph. 

Here are a few pictures of some graphs/charts that the students worked on in small groups.  They surveyed the class, analyzed the information, and recorded it in the form of a bar graph, pie graph, or picture graph.

We read "Sam's Sandwich."  In this story Sam puts just about "everything" on a sandwich that he's making for his little sister.  Each student voted on their favorite kind of sandwich.

My class also worked really hard to write reports about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I was so proud of all of the information that they learned and how sensitive they were in response to the class discussion and literature.

brown egg

white egg

inside they look just the same. . .

I love this TLC project.  You can find the instructions here.  It's a link on Little Giraffe's.

Have you ever taught a topic so much that you dreamt about it?  Well, we studied "rocks" and "soil" for about four weeks!  The reason we stayed on the subject so long is because we teach science and social studies every day.  So instead of going back and forth between the two of them, we spend about 20-30 minutes on both of them every day.  One of my teammates used to be part of a land judging contest so she is very very very knowledgeable about topsoil, clay, sand, silt, pebbles, and just about anything else that has to do with rocks!  I tried to keep it interesting for my kiddos. . .here are a few of my favorite activities.
Every day we shook this tennis ball container with cookies in it to show the process of "weathering" and "erosion."  I didn't do a good job of taking pictures along the way, but little by little we could see the transformation from "rocks" to "soil."

We made some snowman "sand" art pictures and brainstormed the *many uses of rocks!

And of course. . .after studying rocks and soil for all that time we deserved a treat, so we made dirt cups!  The class enjoyed eating them while watching "Magic School Bus Rocks and Rolls."  I wish I had a magic school bus!

That's all for now. . .happy teaching!  
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