We have lots of fun in our room! We are excited to share our adventures with you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

CH, H Brothers, and Penguins

Over break, I was deathly sick- so this is unfortunately the first opportunity to be able to update you on what we did before break.  I must say, I am happy to be feeling all better and also to have my voice back!  My husband loved that voiceless period....me though- not so much. :)

Beware....this is kind of a long post.

We learned all about the sounds of wh, ph, ch, sh, and th through the H Brothers. Each brother has an "h" in their first name, but their "h" each connects with a different letter to make a new sound. The kiddos loved learning about the 5 brothers: Whit, Phil, Charley, Shane, and Theo.

Each time we learn about a new H Brother, we read a story that I wrote which emphasizes the phonics sounds.

For that week, we learned about Charley, who imagines that he is a conductor on a train and is always saying "Choo! Choo!" After we had learned about each brother, we do a tiered word hunt on that brother (tiered meaning that it is differentiated based on their level-there are 3 different levels of words.) I print out the leveled words on different colored paper and have students find what color/level words they are on.  They LOVE word hunts- it's a chance for them to get up, move around, say the word, write the word, learn the spelling, and remember the digraph. Below is a picture of the posters and some of the pages for word hunts. 

Also, for the sound of "ch" we did one of my favorite quick activities for phonics: students came up with words that have the phonics sound. For the "ch" sound, they came up with what they could Chew on for lunch. See what they came up with below.

Besides learning about the sound of ch and the H Brothers, we were learning a lot about Penguins. We also learned about Antarctica and a little about Australia through learning about two types of penguins: the Emperor Penguin (in Antarctica) and the Little Blue Penguin (in Australia.)
Students measured themselves to each penguin.  You'll also see that we wrote a general can, have, are as they pulled out facts about penguins.

Here's the I'm a Little Penguin Poem also in that picture, if you would like it...
(Click on the picture below to get it)
We loved learning about how Emperor Penguins can live in such a cold area by doing a blubber observation/experiment.

Through the experiment, they learned what blubber is, what it does, and that it is beneficial to animals.

In a sandwich bag was shortening and then inside that was another baggie so that they could stick their hand into the bag without getting shortening on it.   Then, they put their hand into very cold water and felt. (They discovered that their hand was not cold at all!)  The shortening was acting like the blubber for a penguin and is able to keep them warm (or at least warmer) in cold water or climates.
Here's the blubber page below...(click on the picture to get a copy)

   We read The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown (which is essentially about the special things about everyday objects- so special facts.)  We used that book as a template for our writing and, of course, applied it to a craft.
My awesome teammate, Mrs. Rojo, found the great writing concept and adapted it to penguins. I made the writing pages for us so that it could be the white area for the belly. (The craft without the writing is from Amy Lemons.)
We learned A LOT about penguins, so it was a great way to show what they learned, deepen the concepts of facts,  all while teaching a writing style that captures what a person thinks is truly special about a something.
As an introduction to maps, Antarctica, Australia, and to make a great connection: during this time, we also learned about about the world, the 7 continents, and the 5 oceans. Yes, you heard me right...there are five!
Continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia (which might soon be changed to be called the continent of Oceania, by the way), and Antarctica.
Oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern
*Scientists named the fifth, the Southern Ocean (near Antarctica), around the year 2000.  Can you name them all?

The continent song has been in my head since then, but those first graders can definitely name them (it took them a while to figure out that they just needed to sing the song to remember all of them- but they can do it!)

Which leads me to a question that one student asked me in class....
I thought that this was such a good question and used it as a teachable moment (and honestly, I truly love how their little minds work).  So, as a pre-assessment, I asked the question and wrote down their comments (then we talked about it after).
See the picture below. Too funny!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Scarecrows and Compound Words

This past week was full of lots fun about scarecrows and compound words. We read some scarecrow stories and then imagined what it would be like if a scarecrow really could come to life.  We wrote our own creative writing stories about a scarecrow coming to life in our room, focusing on great description. They showed not only great imagination, but used great description to explain what they imagined!  They were fantastic!
Since this week was about scarecrows, we also learned about compound words.  The kids were Compound Chefs (chef’s hat and all!)  We learned about how compound words are really two words mixed together that make one new word.  Chefs also mix things up and make something brand new.
And what do they do when they make a great dish?  Why they write it down of course and make a recipe.  Today we made our very own recipes of compound words. Each student made one big one, which went into make a class book…making a “Compound Cookbook”
Then after they did one big one, they made their very own compound cookbooks! Who knew compound words could be so much fun?
            Next, we made some compound cookies, which went perfectly on our very own Compound Chefs that we made.  Cookbooks went home with students and our chefs stayed in the class, reminding us that not only do we know what compounds are, but that we can become anything we want…including world famous chefs!

Thanks to Cara Carroll for coming up with this great Compound Chef idea and to for Danielle Rojo for finding it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Catching Up

What a busy month!  We learned about Life Long Ago, America, the election, and American symbols, and realized that we are extremely thankful.

For our Life Long Ago unit, we learned about how things were different in the past.  As students came in Monday, their desks were transformed into covered wagons.  This was a special treat for them (I did it when I taught fifth grade too and surprisingly it is as equally as exciting for both ages.)  Oh, so many uses for pvp pipe and so easy to store! We learned all about how people traveled a long time ago to get from place to place using trains, covered wagons, horses, etc.  We also talked about the Pony Express and just how long it would take to get a letter from a family member that lived a few states away.
We made a covered wagon writing craft focusing on the topic sentence and then two details about it.  Here’s a few….

The White House is where the President lives and works.  It symbolizes leadership.  -Reese
The White House is where the President lives.  It symbolizes a dream. -Elijah
So cute! His dream is to be the President one day. 
The White House is where the President lives.  It symbolizes hard work.  -Kai
The White House is where the President eats and sleeps. It symbolizes freedom. -Aleena

Here’s the writing page I made for it (click on the picture below to get it.)
        We also learned about clothing, cooking, and daily life.  We made butter during a read aloud about Abe Lincoln’s upbringing. 
    Butter is surprisingly easy to make, here’s what we did:
In a large mason jar, we put in one pint of heavy whipping cream, added some salt, and shook like crazy.  Once one student couldn’t shake any more, they passed it to the next person.  It went around about 1½ times until we got this very thick, thick cream.  We placed it in the fridge and let it harden even more.  We of course had to discuss though that back in the “old days” it would have been a lot harder- they would have had to milk the cow, boil down salt water for the salt or trade for it, and of course they couldn’t pass it between 23 of them, so they would have been a lot more tired by churning it, and then since there was no electricity, they wouldn’t have had the refrigerator to put it in. We then discussed more on where food items came from back then and how you would get them (grow them, etc.)
         We also went to the Old School House in “Old Town” Sacramento where students learned what it was like at school a long, long, time ago. One kiddo said, bless his heart, “I never would have made it back then!”  Too Funny! They also had to stand up and bow or curtsy before they spoke, it was adorable. 
         We hit up the Railroad Museum while we were there and learned further about travel a long time ago, saw some great photos of “way back when” and got up close and in some really old trains.  Everyone's favorite was the moving sleep train we talked through.  What a great trip!  Surprisingly, after lunchtime and before the bus picked us up, we saw a pirate ship on the river.  I know! What great luck! (and yes...people were really dressed up as pirates...it was pretty awesome, if I say so myself.) The kids were so excited and what a great tie-in to travel a long time ago!  On our trip in Old Sacramento, we saw a ship, trains, a stagecoach, people riding horses (the police officers), and people taking a horse-drawn carriage (we also walked too).

Here's some great pioneer websites to learn more about pioneers:

      We also went to the pumpkin patch since I last posted and learned more about plants and animals.  With a tragic bus breakdown, we made it back!  You can view the pumpkin patch photos on the regular website- click on "Meet the Class"

We additionally learned about the election, America, and American Symbols. Here’s a quick look in pictures of just what we did with one of the symbols we studied and wrote on (the White House). 
Here's the writing page (click on the picture below)
and the White House Craft from BusyBeeKidsCrafts (click on the picture below to get it)

This week is Scarecrows and compound words and we are already having a lot of fun! I'll make sure to take some pictures!   Hope everyone enjoyed the break!