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

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! 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples!

Apples of our eyes!

This week was all about apples.  We have learned a lot about apples and further deepened our understanding of plants, fruit, and the seasons.

First off, students noticed that apples grew on our apple tree!  That little apple in the upper left was a stubborn one, it kept falling off the tree after school.  As you might know, I'm not the tallest teacher, so let's just say it might be staying up there for a while now.

Here are some of the “a-peeling” activities we did…
We graphed which color apple we like best and also filled in our own bar graphs based on the whole class. 

We learned about Fact and Opinions and what the differences are.  Then we analyzed, discussed, and sorted the statements about apples and whether they were fact or opinion.  You can get those from Rachelle by clicking Here!

We labeled the parts of an apple tree.  This was easy for them to do looking at our "apple" tree in our classroom and after reading several apple books. 
We also labeled the parts of an apple.  This is our class one we did.  If you keep scrolling down though, you will see their individual apple labeling.

We did a lot of sensory writing based on apples in our Writer's Notebooks- including sight, touch, and taste.  For taste, we tasted apples and then used taste words (adjectives) to describe them- I wrote them down in a make-shift circle/apple map as they said them.  I am not the best photographer, so some of the words got cropped out of the picture.  This activity led to great vocabulary (like bland and tangy) and also to some great writing on truly describing our apples.

We also made an apple diamonte poem (or cinquain) using all of the different ways to describe an apple from our lessons in our Writer's Notebook.  The poem went like this:

2 words that describe the flavor (taste)
3 words that describe what it looks like (sight)
2 words that describe how it feels (touch)
Another word for apple -most student came up with fruit or manzana (apple in spanish)
Here is one student's (this is the very front of their apple)
Then when you open it up on the inside, it shows their labeling of the apple that they made and a picture I took of them posing with the apple.

Here's a few more...
I love the very artistic pose he chose!

As you can tell, they really thought about their pose! Love it!

Here are just a few books we read...

After reading Amelia Bedelia's First Apple Pie, they did their own Apple Pie Graph that I made based on what we knew the students liked for their favorite apples. 
Here's a copy below in case you would like one. Click on the picture or the link below.  
Click here to get your own. 

We also found the perfect math for this week to reinforce parts to whole. Click Here to get Appleseed Math from Diane and Kelly at Made for First Grade.

It also happened to be short o week for spelling.  We remember it is like when you go to the doctor and they tell you to open real wide and say, "Aww!"  I happen to do that when I eat popcorn.  You know how you throw it up in the air and try to catch it in your mouth?  I always say, "Aww" before I catch it for some reason. If you see your child do it....I have no idea where they got the idea from! Anyways, this led to a quick lesson on short o. They came up with what else could be in the popcorn! They came up with some interesting ones...I would be a little scared to find a fox or a frog in my popcorn, but it sure would be memorable! 

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Martin

Monday, September 3, 2012

Reading and Predicting

For the past few weeks, we have been learning what makes a great reader.
So far my kids know that the best way to become a better reader is to READ, READ, and READ!
They also know that there are 3 ways to read a book...
1. To read the pictures
2. To read the words
3. To retell the story
Additionally, we know how to pick "Good Fit" books.  In class, we have also been working hard on our stamina during Reading to Self and working on our comprehension with Reading to Someone.

Well, we are starting to get into my most favorite part of reading; that's learning about the great characters that we try to be like when reading.  I use 4 characters to get my students really excited about reading and working on their reading strategies.  
There are 4 characters I teach about. The first one is...
Madam the Powerful Predictor (she uses her crystal ball to predict what will happen next in the book)...yes I have a crystal ball and use it to teach it. They LOVE it.  I get totally into and so do they. 
Madam uses words like "I think..." "I wonder" and "I predict". We also talked about how she uses her crystal ball, so she might even say "I see in the future..." or more like "I see what's going to happen on the next page!" 
I read That's Good! That's Bad! By David Catrow.  It's such a great book to teach prediction!
We stop after every page and make a prediction about what will happen next.  It's also a great book to reinforce that the pictures are another way to read the book (they give great clues as to what will happen next). We usually share our prediction with a neighbor, with the class, or during some of the pages, I have a student come up and look into the crystal ball to tell us what will happen next in the story.  They totally get prediction after this lesson!

Our follow-up lesson (tomorrow) is when we read Fortunately, Unfortunately by Remy Martin.  The two books are very similar to each other and really allow for great predictions throughout the story because the plot changes every page.  They both change from a great event- to a horrible event- and back to great again, and so on. 
For example: "Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane. Unfortunately, the motor exploded. Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane. Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute." It keeps them guessing, or shall I say, predicting!  

We stop the book halfway though and fill out a prediction page on it. I have posted the page below.  They write their prediction on the lines using the sentence frame and then draw their prediction in the crystal ball. Click on the picture below to get the prediction page!
I can't wait to share about the other 3 characters we learn about and use! Hang tight to find out what will be next! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Classroom Tour

Welcome to Mrs. Martin's Room!

The view when you walk in the room.
The wall was very dirty, so dirty that I must have cleaned it at least 15 times and it still looked like it had never been cleaned once.  Then I decided to give up on the cleaning and to instead cover it up.   I love it; It brings a natural and calming aspect to my room.  Thank goodness for my Hubby's help! I love that man!
This is where we hold the math supplies for Math Workshop. 
Students grab the tubs for their group when they are on that station. 
My new Math Workshop board.  I have 5 stations and 5 groups.  They are named after colleges: Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Cal/Berkeley, and Stanford. The stations are Teacher, Practice, Review, Game, and Other. To the right are Addition and Subtraction key words.  

*You can get the Addition and Subtraction Key Words Signs for free HERE!*

Our tree always looks so scary at the beginning of the year, but by the end of the year it is completely covered with leaves.  We add a leaf for each day of school.The students get so excited to come in and see where the new one has "grown.
Since I took these before Meet the Teacher, on the table I have my fill-out volunteer sheets, pens, my information magnet, and our specialty schedule. 
This is my levels board where we put information about each of the behavior levels. 
I use Discipline Without Stress Punishments or Rewards by Marvin Marshall.  I made some posters that I will display on this wall, along with the books we read for that level.  You can find the posters HERE.   There are also class books and handouts, if you are interested, that you can get HERE.

I made the banners from a great website I found on Pinterest.  You can print the banners for FREE.  Head to the blog, Ruffled, by Clicking HERE
I had a yellow clock and decided that I needed to do something different with it.  In the past, I have done a sun with it with cloud paper background. However, I wanted to display it functionally in even more ways- so I turned this yellow clock into a flower and labeled the parts. The tree also gets labeled when we get to our plan unit.  You probably can't tell from the picture, but the tree also has roots.

To the right of my Levels Wall is our class library.  Most of the books are in bins based on genre, reading level, or author. Another view of the same area is below. 

*You can get my poem for free by clicking HERE*

and you can get the "oFISHally in ____ Grade" for free from Mikaela Peterson by clicking HERE.
 If you would also like to check out her blog, you can find it here

The view from the other side of the room. On the door is our jobs.
The sign above says "Come 'hang out' with Mrs. Martin's Class!"
Flowers always add that home-feeling kind of touch.  
We use the planter boxes to plant vegetables and fruit during our plant unit though.  

Hope you enjoyed the tour!