Friday, September 6, 2013

Five for Friday

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.

1. My baby had his very first day of school. (tears) He is in a Tuesday/Thursday prek program; so he only goes to school on my teaching days. We still get to have our Mommy/Lukie time (that's what he calls it!) on Monday/Wednesday/Fridays while Logan is at school. I can't believe all my boys are in school now-no more babies at my house.

2. On Tuesday, my sub did the color mixing with playdoh science investigation with my first graders. We have been working on discovery skills/scientific method in first grade science. My firsties are loving it! My kids had so much they were still talking about it on Thursday when they came to class!

3. Speaking of the sub, one of my parents told me their son (4th grader) said the sub was good and nice and that he liked her, but she wasn't as fun and lively as Mrs. Shaw. That made my day! Although that was probably a little bit my fault. We rarely use the textbook in class, and if we do it's just a very small part of our time. They had their whole lesson from the textbook that day. Two hours of textbook lessons don't usually lend themselves to fun and lively. I'm sure my first graders probably think the sub is more fun than me because they got to use play doh with her! Ha!

4. On Thursday, my first graders investigated who runs faster-boys or girls. It was so hot and my babies had already had an hour and half of PE mostly outside earlier in the day, so we conducted our races in the hallway outside our classroom. I told them we had to be very quiet so we would not disturb the other classes. The kids were the absolute cutest doing their silent cheers! By the way in both classes, boys were faster. I will be updating my Science Learning Fun packet soon with this activity and a few other resources. You purchase it here and then you'll get the updates for free.

5. Also on Thursday, my fourth graders had a table competition working perimeter problems using this excellent resource I found on teachers pay teachers. It's called Perimeter and Area Task Cards with Interactive PDF slides. You can get it here. My students had so much fun! I saw a couple of them today when I went to pick Logan up from school, and they were asking if we could play it on Tuesday.

     I had the boys' pictures made for back to school a couple of weeks ago and I just love how they turned out! Here's one of my favorites. My very talented friend Meg of 3 Birds Photography took their pictures. You can check her blog out here.

Happy Friday, friends!!!

Science Safety

      We have started our year in first grade science learning about science safety. We read Science Safety Rules, and then introduced our own science safety rules. We practiced our rules by acting them out. For following directions, we played Mrs. Shaw says, and the students absolutely loved it. I also introduced our safety vocabulary words: safety, goggles, safety gloves, and lab apron.

      Then we read a science safety book I wrote about safety tools and safe practices. Then we drew a picture of ourself wearing safety goggles and a lab apron and holding a science tool. I had introduced a few tools so they could distinguish which tools actually help keep scientists safe from ones that measure or are used to collect information. We also discussed and wrote how goggles protect our eyes and why hand washing is important. We also drew a tool in our hand and wrote about our tool and what it is used for. 

     We also acted out the safety rules and talked about safe practices. Then we sorted situations as being safe or unsafe. Students talked with their partner and gave examples of things in science that were or unsafe. We took a safety quiz where students identified situations as safe or unsafe. 

     These activities are from my Science Learning Fun unit. You can purchase it here.

Monday, September 2, 2013

CUBES, Mathematicians, & Place Value, Oh My!

     On the first day of math class, we began by making our promise about how we would behave and treat each other. You can read about that in the previous post. Then we read The Boy Who Loved Math and talked about mathematicians. Then as a whole class, we created a tree map about mathematicians. I see two classes for math, so I wrote their answers on stickies with different color marker and stacked overlapping responses on top of each other. As we were discussing and creating our tree map, the students were guided to the fact that we are all mathematicians. Then students came up with a real life example of when they use their mathematician skills to share in their table groups.

     Then I introduced my students to the CUBES problem solving strategy. I modeled using it for them. Then as a class we worked through three review problems together. I gave each student a little card with the strategy steps on it, so they'll remember what steps to go through as they work homework. We made this anchor chart to leave up in our room as well. 

     We began working with place value of whole numbers through the 999,999,999. We also began working on comparing and ordering whole numbers as well. We created this anchor chart for our classroom. The anchor chart matched the notes the students were filling in. 

     Whew! I know that looks like a lot and it is. My 4th mathematics students only see me on Tuesdays and Thursdays for two hours each day. We take advantage of every second we have together.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Our Promise

     We always begin our year by talking about how we all want to be talked to and treated. We also spend time giving examples and nonexamples along with acting out both. What I do is a modified form of the social contract from Capturing Kids' Hearts.

     I teach first and fourth grade. First grade (most of them) doesn't really understand what a contract is, but they understand promises and keeping your word. So I switched to calling it Our Promise a couple of years ago. Usually all I have to do is point to where our promise is on the wall and remind them we said... and they usually correct their behavior. I call it "our promise" in 4th as well for consistency purposes. 

     I teach 1st Science and 4th Math. We make one chart for each grade. I write on sticky notes with a different color marker for each class. Then I go back later, remove the stickies, and write on the chart what we agreed upon. This year I titled my charts Our Science Promise and Our Math Promise. When I was in the traditional classroom, I just titled my chart Social Contract or Our Promise because I had the same students all day for every subject. 

     We have been in school for two and a half weeks, and I have students in all four classes reminding each other about our promise. It's a beautiful thing. 


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