For center time this morning the children had an amazing science lesson about DNA. Jen Leila’s mom taught a very child friendly and detailed lesson about DNA. She began the lesson by explaining what is science and biology. Then she explained in very child friendly words – what DNA actually is… She also read them a great book all about DNA. Then came the fun part the hands-on scientific experiment – “Strawberry DNA Extraction.” The learners were so excited when they saw the stringy DNA!
This morning Stella (a current 6th grader at CLC) came to teach the children all about the Life Cycle of a chicken. She presented several poster boards filled with fun facts about chickens. She also explained the life cycle of a chicken. To conclude her presentation, she shared her real live chicken named “Sugar” with the class. Sugar is one of the chicks that hatched in our classroom two years ago when we learned about the life cylce of a chicken. It was a fun and exciting morning!
I hope everyone is having a wonderful break. Just a quick note to share what we have been up to the past few Katie Days.
In math we have been focusing on subtraction. We learned a variety of strategies (using fingers, using counting tools, counting backwards, using number lines, thinking about fact families, counting up, etc…) We used these strategies in a number of activities, including bowling with dominoes and marbles and recording our results (If you start with 10 pins and 4 knock down the equation would be 10-4=6.) We also played a variety of subtraction games, like Free the Animals, a fun subtraction game that touches on probability and brought up interesting questions: if you are subtracting two 1-6 dice from each other will one number come up more often than the other? How is this different than adding two 1-6 dice? We also created our own word problems around the subjects of losing teeth and taking gumballs out of a machine.
In art we spent two Fridays on Claude Monet. We learned a lot about the Impressionists and made two artworks in his style: a painting of the Japanese Bridge in his garden in Giverny and a watercolor painting of waterlilies.
Please enjoy these photos of the above activities as well as images of the second graders sharing their instructional text stories with the first graders and our Australian aboriginal hand prints.
This afternoon we had a special visitor during our language arts time slot. Emma who was in my class for K-1/2 (now she is in 6th grade) came and taught the first graders about sign language. Emma’s PLP project is about sign language and she had asked me if she could teach our first graders a short lesson on her topic. This afternoon the first graders had guided reading, phonics, and sign language. Enjoy the photos!
I wish you all a wonderful spring break. I am really looking forward to spending time with my family and having some quiet days at home later next week. Tomorrow, I am flying to Boston with Nolan and my sister. Nolan will be racing in his third Boston Marathon on Monday and I am really looking forward to supporting him and watching him run. I am also looking forward to spending a few days in Boston with my sister after the race.
I look forward to seeing all of your precious children on Monday April 27!
This morning we had center time with our wonderful parent volunteers. The kinders had cooking and writers workshop-opinion writing. The good news is we have now offically finished our unit of study on opinion writing. The first graders finished their final writing piece about their favorite pet on Tuesday and the kinders completed their stories today. The first graders had math tiles and cooking for center time. For cooking time today the children made delicious matzo brei. Jenny did a wonderful job teaching the children all about matzo brei and then they all enjoyed eating their delicous snack/creation.
We had a special time in the garden on Monday morning. We haven’t been in the garden for the past several weeks due to field trips and and our unit of study lessons. The children were very happy to be back in the garden again. For the next three weeks (minus spring break ) our garden lessons will be about creating and writing our self-portrait seed stories. For our first activity we read a wonderul book about how seeds travel and eventually grow into a plant, or tree. Then we went to the garden, so they could decide what type of seed they wanted to be – I told them it could be an “imaginary seed or a real seed”. Some of their ideas were:
After our garden lesson Ron came to celebrate Ginger’s 11th birthday. He also connected with each learner about their ideas, and wishes for their class play character. It was so precious to hear them share what they want to be in the class play. Ron listened very attentively to all of their thoughts and hopes for the class play. He took detailed notes and he plans to use their ideas as he somehow creates and writes the 2015 Class Play.
On Wednesday the learners presented the Five Senses Fair for the second graders. It was so special to have our previous first graders, who are now second graders return to room 10 to learn about their five senses from our current K/1 classroom. Our children were so excited and eager to share their knowledge about their Five Senses. It was such an incredible learning experience for the children. Our children had the opportunity to really learn how to work together as a group. It wasn’t always easy, but by Wednesday morning they were ready, and they each taught their lesson with excitement and grace. Thank you for your support with this project!
Enjoy the photos!
This morning we had our final lesson for our unit of study on our Five Senses. This was the special “Disability Session” organized by DeeDee Clarke. DeeDee has been doing this session for the K/1 learners since her daughter Emily Clarke was in my kindergarten class. Emily is now a freshman in high school. It was an incredible experience for the children. The learners were divided into three groups and went to each station for 15 minutes. The three stations were:
1) Mobility (wheelchair, walker, crutches)
2) Being blind
3) Adapted equipment
I plan to have a follow-up lesson with the children on Monday about what it would feel like to really have a disability that lasted more than 5 minutes.
Here is a description of the stations the children experienced on today: (written by DeeDee)
1) Being in a wheelchair — Demonstrate to your group how to sit in a wheelchair, put on/take off the breaks and steer. Position half the kids in your group at one end and the other half across from them (about 30 feet). Have each student use their arms to push the wheelchair to the other group. Have them put on the breaks, stand up and let the next learner do the same back the other way. They can also experience what it is like to walk with a walker and crutches. Budget your time so that each learner will get a chance to use the wheelchair before the time is up.
2) Being blind — Talk to your group briefly about what it means to be blind. Show your group how a helper can assist a blind person to walk by holding the blind person under their arm and talking to them as they guide them safely. Pair up students. Blindfold one student and have the second student be his/her helper. Have the helper guide the blindfolded student around the courtyard to a target point. Help them switch blindfolds. Have them switch roles on the way back. Start the next pair. Budget your time so that each learner will get a chance to be the helper as well as the person who is blind. While the kids are waiting for their turn, there will be some books in Braille that they can look at and feel.
3) Adapted Equipment — Lead a short discussion on how sometimes people with a disability use special equipment to help them do things by themselves. First, show them a piece of equipment but don’t tell them what it is used for. Second, have them guess what it may be used for. Third, show them how it is used and then choose one learner to try to use it in front of the group. Adjust as time allows.
Button hook — a person with decreased us of one hand uses this to button his/her shirt
Reacher — someone in a wheelchair may use this to open a cabinet, get something down or put something up high
Sock Donner — someone who can’t bend at the waist from hip surgery or a back injury may use this to put on their sock
Key Holder — someone who can’t use their hands very well can use this key holder to make it easier to open locks
Long handled shoe horn — someone who can bend at the waist from hip surgery or a back injury may use this to help get their shoes on
Medicine holder — someone who can’t remember very well may use this to help them keep track of their medicines
Writers Workshop Unit of Study for the month of April and May: Informative/Expository Writing
During the month of April and May the learners will learn about non-fiction books. We will also read many types of informative texts. At the end of our unit each child will write/publish their own non-fiction / informative book during writers workshop.
Science Unit of Study – Life Cycles – April to June
During this unit learners will investigate the life cycle of humans, chickens, butterflies, and insects
What do we know, what do we wonder, and what do we want to learn about life cycles?
What is a cycle?
What is your life cycle? What is the life cycle of a human?
What is the life cycle of chickens?
What is the life cycle of an insect?
Readers Workshop Unit of Study: February to May – Readers pursue their interest in books and other text
Readers will study:
• Genre studies non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and fairy tales
• Individual author studies
• Character studies
• Learn how to infer within the text
Phonics Lessons from Pinnell and Fountas for April
These lessons are taught each afternoon during our first grade language arts time. The lessons are taught in a systematic order to support the children in reading and writing through-out the school year.
The topics that will be covered during April are: (although this a rough schedule depending on how the lessons go each week, sometimes we may need more/less time for a certain lesson)
– learning about contractions
– learning about adding “s” and “ing”
– recognizing common consonant digraphs
– consolidating knowledge about phonograms
– continuing to learning about compound words
Unit of Study in Math – April / May: Operations and Algebraic Thinking – First Grade
We will spend these last few months of school concentrating on learning how to solve problems involving addition and subtraction. This will include how to apply and use the correct properties and strategies for solving word problems. We will practice and review our math facts within 20. Finally we will learn how to work within addition and subtraction problems.
Unit of Study in Math – April / May: Operations and Algebraic Thinking – Kindergarten
We will spend these last few months of school concentrating on learning how to solve problems involving addition and subtraction. This will include learning how to add and subtract within 10 by using objects or drawings to represent the problem. We will also work on understanding the concept that addition is putting together and adding to, and that subtraction is taking apart and taking from. Lastly we will work on fluently adding and subtracting within 5.
During the month of April we will be learning how to understand the roots of our emotions. We will have several class discussions and mindfulness lessons on learning how to identify the feeling/feelings we are experiencing in our bodies.
The information below is from “The Way of Mindful Education” this is the book that I am using as my guide for our daily mindfulness lessons.
The learning objectives for understanding the roots of our emotions are:
– Learning to feel emotions directly in the body and letting them go
– Emotional regulation and letting go of difficult emotions
– Relaxation techniques and self-control