Reminders and Updates!

Fall is here! The weather is crisp and the air smells like leaves and pumpkins! Speaking of pumpkins….

Yum

Yum

I can’t get enough pumpkin flavored things! This Sunday after church, we went to a local donut shop and I ordered that delicious looking treat! Yum! I could eat so many pumpkin flavored donuts, muffins, and cookies this time of year!

Reminder

This Thursday at 6:00 PM is Curriculum Night! It’s a night for parents to come to school and see everything your child is doing in class. You might have already come for another child in a different grade- PLEASE STILL COME TO OURS! It’s such a great way to support your child and see the classroom they are in every day. It’s important for you to hear about all the things we are doing so you can help your child at home. It’s only an hour and goes by very quickly! I look forward to seeing you all there!

Math Update

We FINALLY finished our unit on counting to 120! (But just like I told the kids- that doesn’t mean we forget about it!) πŸ˜‰

We took the post-test last Friday- parents, you’ll see the pre and post tests come home stapled together- and the kids have really learned a lot about counting and numbers. Check out how much better they all did on the post tests compared to the pre tests!

Today we started our new units- Measurement! We are only focusing on non-standard measuring, that means, we’re only using objects like cubes, paperclips, and other things to measure. We are not using rulers to measure. We are also focusing on comparing lengths, talking about which one is longer or shorter.

We started the unit today by comparing lengths of objects in our desks.

In order!

In order!

We started with just 2 objects and talked about which one was longer and which one was shorter. After doing this with different things, we moved on to 3 objects. We put them in order from shortest to longest.

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

The kids really like working with objects as they learn and it was a great visual way to move the objects around as we learned. Together we created a visual reminder on the board to help us…

Lengths

Lengths

The length of something is how long it is. This is very confusing to students because the length of something can be short or long. Practice these vocabulary words at home by having your child put things in order, from longest to shortest AND shortest to longest.

Cuddles Update

I just wanted to take a quick minute to say THANK YOU to everyone who has taken home our class pet, Cuddles, for the weekend so far. Cuddles has come back with lots of great stories and memories to tell! (In case you’re wondering, Cuddles is our pet Raccoon. She goes home on the weekends with a lucky student and that student writes about their time with her. On Mondays, the student and Cuddles share what they did over the weekend).

Here is a student sharing what she did with Cuddles this weekend:

 

Cuddles!

Cuddles!

The kids favorite part is asking questions. Do you see all those hands!? πŸ™‚

The best question today was, “Do you think Cuddles likes lollipops?” The student’s response was, “Totally!” πŸ™‚

Have a great day and see you parents on THURSDAY NIGHT!

 

 

 

The Sink/Float Experiment- The Results Show!

Does anyone else watch Dancing with the Stars? As I wrote the title for this post, I couldn’t help but say it in my head like the announcer of that show. I never miss an episode and (although he won’t admit it) I’ve gotten my fiance slightly into it as well. πŸ™‚

Speaking of my fiance, I can’t help but share this picture!

 

Engagement pics!

Engagement pics!

Awww! A few weeks ago we got our engagement pictures taken in a nearby forest preserve. I think they turned out so cute! This is one of my favorite ones. We used pictures from our engagement session for our Save the Date cards, which we just got in the mail. πŸ™‚

It’s making our wedding feel very real! (P.S. When I showed the kids my “All About Me” poster, I told them I was getting married. The best question was, “If you get married to a boy, do you have to like him and hold his hand and stuff?” Well, it seems to be better if you kinda like him!) πŸ™‚

On a totally unrelated- but adorable- note, Β last week was my birthday and we got together with my sisters and brother-in-laws for a dinner. It was great seeing everyone- especially this little guy:

Lucas!

Lucas!

(I haven’t posted a Lucas picture in a while- it was time!) Little man is eyeing up my birthday cake and thinking, “Moooooooom, if you’d just like me try some, I think I’d like it!” πŸ˜‰

Science Experiment

On Friday, we put our “floating” inventions to the test! The kids had been working hard on using their knowledge of things that float, applying that knowledge to a new situation, and building something that floats.

The kids could work alone, with a partner, or a team. After a few days of working- and last minute details- we were ready to do our experiment!

Ready to test!

Ready to test!

The kids each came up and explained what they had made and what they used to make it. Then, they put it in our water bin and we observed!

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

It floats!

Team work!

Team work!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much they loved this. The kids were so excited for each other and themselves as they came up to test their boats.

Mostly floating

Mostly floating

Now you might be wondering…. how did that water turn blue?

Team!

Team!

Notice the lovely blue marker they used to decorate their boat?

It floats!

It floats!

When they put it in the water, it floated! And…. also turned the water blue! Which actually was kinda cool and gave our water a fun color!

Floats!

Floats!

Student after student tested their boat in front of the class, and the boats kept floating and floating!

Partners

Partners

 

Since we had done a few experiments ourselves, most kids (wisely) chose materials they knew floated- like tin foil, sticks, and paper.

This is great because they used what they already knew to make something else!

Sticks help it float

Sticks help it float

All in all, it was a great unit and a fun wrap-up. It was also a great way to introduce science vocabulary, like prediction, experiment, and observation.

I hope you had a great weekend and are ready for school tomorrow! See you bright and early!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sink or Float: A unit of fun!

While we are spending lots of time practicing and working on our Daily 5 skills, reading, and writing, we’re also spending lots of time observing and experimenting!

Science is quickly becoming the kids favorite time of the day (I heard a kid say to his neighbor today, “Man, I LOVE science!”) πŸ™‚

(Speaking of cute things my kids say, I got perhaps the best compliment from one of my first graders the other day. She came up to me, looked right into my eyes, and sincerely said, “Ms. Tasch, you look prettier than my dog when she is wearing a t-shirt.” Oh my goodness! I laughed and hugged her and said, “Wow! That is quite a compliment!”)

Back to science, we kicked off the year with a unit of sinking and floating. I thought this would be the perfect way to start because it’s hands-on (so the kids will be engaged), it’s fun (they love seeing the objects being put into the water), and it introduces many science words we will use all year (like observation, prediction, experiment, and results).

Sinking and Floating Experiments

The unit started last week when we started to talk about things we’ve seen that float and things we’ve seen that have sunk.

Then, we looked at some objects and talked about if we thought they would sink or float when we put them in water.

Objects

Objects

We learned the word prediction and made predictions as a class on if these would sink or float.

The next part was their favorite part- experiment! In order to see the results- we needed to test! So out came a big plastic bin and it was filled with water. Some lucky students got to come up and put the object in the water.

Testing

Testing

Putting it in the water

Putting it in the water

It floats!

It floats!

As the students put the objects in the water, we recorded the results together on our information sheet.

The results

The results

 

After, we made some observations on all of the objects.

All of them!

All of them!

The class worked in groups to talk about what they saw, what floated, what sank, and why they think all of this happened.

Over the next few days, we continued to do this experiment with different objects. Because of the students observations, they began to make connections between objects. For example, because we knew a pencil floated, that helped us when we tested other objects made of wood. Their observations and experiments helped them make their predictions on new objects!

Making objects sink and float

Then, we started to do some different experiments. Like, can we make an object float and sink?

Floating

Floating

When we put this clear jar (with a lid) in the water, it floated! I asked the students to think of a way to make the jar sink. One student said, put water in the jar and put the lid back on. So, we tried that!

Halfway

Halfway

We discovered that when we did that, the jar half floated/half sunk.

Another student suggested taking the lid off and pushing it under the water. So, we tried that too!

Sunk!

Sunk!

And look at that! Sunk! We compared our observations, and through discussions, realized that the air inside the jar was helping it float. Even when we put water in the jar with the lid, there was still a tiny bit of air at the top. That was helping it float! With no lid, water could completely fill the jar and that made it sink!

Building something that floats

Finally, we ended our unit this week by creating our own inventions! The kids were given a challenge: use the given objects and work in groups to create something that will float when put in water. As a further bonus, they were told their object would be timed to see how long it floats and the team with the longest time wins!

For two days, the kids worked in small teams of their choosing. They used these materials….

materials

materials

(and also wooden Popsicle sticks and straws) to build something that floats.

They got RIGHT to work!

Planning

Planning

Working

Working

Gluing

Folding

Assembling

Assembling

I love watching the kids work like this. They are so focused and are learning by “doing”. I didn’t give them any hints or directions- just told them to build something that floats.

As I walked around the groups, I could see lots of great ideas! Most of the objects started to look like boats, which is a great connection and starting point.

Working like a team

Working like a team

I spent some of my time walking around the groups and observing their work. But mostly, I positioned myself at the materials tables and stayed out of their way. When kids would come up and say, “Can you do this for me?”, I’d help them solve the problem they were having without actually doing any work. Sometimes when kids get stuck, they automatically want someone to do it for them. But by saying to them, “Let’s think of a way to solve that problem”, they are almost always capable of doing it themselves.

Working

Working

Does that mess frighten you? Same here. It is hard as a very organized person and teacher to see the tears of paper, rips of tin foil, and plastic bags all around the room. But, they were all so focused and so on task- you just gotta breathe and let them do what they do πŸ˜‰

They are learning and that’s what matters!

This is such a great way to end the unit because they are applying everything they’ve learned to a new situation. They know the things that sink and the things that float. They are using that to build something new. This involves teamwork and problem-solving skills.

CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR AN UPDATE ON OUR EXPERIMENT! Tomorrow is the day we’re finally going to test our “boats” and see which ones float!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily 5- Putting it all Together!

You’ve already heard a lot about how Daily 5 works in our classroom. We’ve been spending time each day learning about the 5 different parts (read to self, read to someone, work on writing, word work, and listening to reading) and building up our stamina in each element.

On Friday, we began practicing how Daily 5 will work in our classroom from now on. Our Daily 5 time is broken into 2 parts.

First, everyone does Read to Self for 20 minutes. This is such an important part of our day! The kids get 20 solid minutes to practice their stamina, reading fluency, and get to enjoy reading! What am I doing during this time? Working with a guided reading group! I pull a group of 4-6 students and together we will read and work on different reading strategies. I met with each group once a week.

After 20 minutes, I ring the bell which signals clean-up. We gather on the carpet and reflect on how we think we did during Read to Self. We also talk a few minutes to share what we read about that day.

The second part of Daily 5 is our choice time. The students get to pick what they want to do for the next 20 minute rotation. The get to pick from one of the 5 parts: either read to self, read to someone, writing, word work, or listening.

Because we’ve spent the last 4 weeks building our stamina in each component, they already know how to do each choice. They know what materials to use, where they can sit, and how they should be acting.

The students pick the choice they want to make for the day, go get their materials, and get started right away. Because they make their own choice, they are all working on different things at the same time.

Here are some pictures of it coming all together…

Here are some friends who chose to do Read to Someone:

Read to Someone

Read to Someone

Here are friends who chose to do writing:

Writing!

Writing!

Writing away

Writing away

There were also friends who chose to do Word Work:

Working with letters

Working with letters

Play-doh letter practice

Play-doh letter practice

And friends who chose to do Read to Self again in the classroom library:

Reading and rocking

Reading and rocking

There were also friends who did Listening to Reading:

Listening to books on MP3 players

Listening to books on MP3 players

As you can see, each child is individually focused on their choice for the day. They do their choice for 20 minutes. I mark off what they did that day and the next day during this time, they have to make a different choice. So, if someone picked listening to reading on Monday, on Tuesday they would not be able to pick that choice again. (What am I doing during this choice time? I am working with a flexible group– a group of students who need additional practice or more of a challenge on a certain reading skill. These groups are called flexible because they change each day and cover different topics)

By the end of the week, each child has done all of the Daily 5 parts. It’s such a great part of our day and a time for everyone to practice these important reading skills! The kids love this time of day because being able to pick their choice gives them ownership and focus. They are always working hard and doing their best!

That’s Daily 5 in our classroom! We do it each and every day!

Why?

Well, be sure to ask your child that at home- I know they’ll be able to tell you! πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Our Class Pet…. Cuddles!

Scratch….scratch….sniff….sniff…… do you hear that? What could it be?

Delivery!

Delivery!

It’s our new class pet!

Last Friday, we had a delivery…

IMG_2060

What’s inside?

so we sat in a circle and put the box in the middle. The kids were SO EXCITED to see what was inside the box. I told them that inside was our new class pet for the year.

What could it be?

What could it be?

Their faces lit up and the squeals started! What could it be? What was inside?

We went around the circle and everyone guessed what animal could be inside the box. There were many different ideas: a puppy, a rabbit, a squirrel, and a guinea pig were among the favorites.

It's a .....

It’s a …..

Then the moment came for the box to open….. all the kids started creeping up….. looking into the box….. and saw……

Look!

Look!

A raccoon! Awwww how cute is that little face?!

(I wish I could have gotten a picture of the kids as the box was opened and they saw the pet for the first time- but as you might imagine, it was a little crazy at the moment) πŸ˜‰

We passed around our new friend and took turns gently petting it.

Being gentle

Being gentle

As we passed around our new friend, we talked about if our new pet was a boy or a girl (we voted and it’s a girl). We also talked about how even though our pet wasn’t “real”, we would treat it like it was! One kid said, “We can pretend that she moves when we aren’t looking right? Like she really is real!” Of course!

Loving our new pet!

Loving our new pet!

Let me tell you- the kids were loving this! They were so gentle with her and loved being able to pet her! Then it was time to vote on a name for our new little friend. I took suggestions and wrote them on the board. Next, we voted. The winner was….

Drum roll....

Drum roll….

Cuddles! Jasmine and Girly were a close second place, but Cuddles was the name voted on! So, now we have a class pet named Cuddles.

You might be wondering why we got a class pet. Well, we got this new friend to help us with our writing skills!

Ta-da!

Ta-da!

You see, each Friday someone will get to take Cuddles home with them. They will take Cuddles and her journal. All weekend, they will take Cuddles with them wherever they go- to the park, playing in their room, over to their Grandma’s house, etc. Then, they will write about what they did with Cuddles in the journal. On Monday, they bring Cuddles and the journal back to school and share with the class about their weekend.

It’s a REALLY motivating way to get kids excited about writing. All of them were SO THRILLED when they heard they get to take her home on a weekend. Of course, we had to talk about the fact that they will each get a turn, but they will have to be patient! Only one student gets her a weekend!

Her journal rules

Her journal rules

The front of the journal gives some rules on how to take good care of Cuddles. It also reminds the students to write about what they did with her. Here’s a look at the entry I did last weekend when I took Cuddles home with me….

Cuddles!

Cuddles!

I took Cuddles to the park and we ate pizza! πŸ™‚

I read this to the students on Monday and they giggled and smiled through the whole thing! They loved seeing Cuddles again and were already asking when they’d get to take her home! (And they are telling me the cutest things, like, “I have a stuffed alligator doll on my bed that is very soft…. I think Cuddles will like it very much.” How adorable is that?

On Friday, I will randomly select a student to take her home. They will take care of her, write about it, and share it on the next Monday. We will repeat this process each Friday.

I hope you are looking forward to Cuddles visiting your home- she can’t wait to see yours! Take care of her and remember to bring her back to school!

Have a great day!

 

 

Daily 5: Read to Someone

We are Daily 5 champions! We are doing such a great job working on reading and writing each day, building our stamina in each area. Here are our current numbers (drum roll please……drrrrrrrrrrr……..) We are currently Reading to Self for 15 minutes! We are Working on Writing for 10 minutes! We are Reading to Someone for 4 minutes! Please, please, hold your applause πŸ™‚

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- the reason we can do all of this is because of the daily practice and stamina building. Adding one minute each day helps us practice the skills and focus. Each day it gets easier and easier to read and write.

This week we dove into Read to Someone, the next part of Β Daily 5.

Read to Someone

Reading to Someone is an important skill. It helps students become better readers, gives them a chance to practice their fluency (how smoothly they read), and helps them practice listening skills. When their partner is reading, it’s their job to listen. Then, it’s their job to read and their partners job to listen.

You might be asking yourself, “But what about the kids who can’t read? How do they do Read to Someone?”

Let me tell ya! We’ve been practicing- since Day 1 of school- the 3 different ways to read a book. The kids review these 3 ways each day. The different ways to read are reading the words, reading the pictures, and retelling the story. So, while kids are Reading to Someone and they can’t read the words of their book, they are “reading” or describing the pictures that they see. As you listen to them, you hear a lot of “I see….”, which is great! The kids are reading the pictures to each other!

I-Chart

I-Chart

The first thing we do is create an I-Chart, which is what the students should be doing, looking like, and sounding like for Read to Someone. We start with the purpose- Why are we Reading to Someone? TO BECOME BETTER READERS! πŸ™‚

Then, the students tell me what to write for our student rules. You will notice many are similar to other rules we have to Read to Self and Work on Writing. This is a good thing! We are learning that Daily 5 is a time to stay in 1 spot, work or read the whole time, and build our stamina!

Then, we have students come to the front to show us the “right” way and the “wrong” way to do Read to Someone. It’s so important for the students to model these behaviors because the kids learn so well from each other. It also gives them a great visual on what they are suppose to be doing. Here are two girls showing us how we SHOULD NOT do Read to Someone….

The wrong model

The wrong model

You can see they aren’t sitting EEKK (elbow elbow knee knee), they both have a book, and they’re not reading. (The kids love acting out the wrong models and love watching each other. It’s such a giggle-y time!)

Then, they fix themselves and model the correct behavior for us…

All better!

All better!

That’s better! You can see they are sitting EEKK, they have 1 book in the middle to read from, they are whispering, and they are reading!

After this model, the kids picked partners, grabbed their book bins, and found a place in the room to Read to Someone.

Reading!

Reading!

3 person reading!

3 person reading!

If you have a group of 3 children left-over, they can still do this in a small group!

Reading!

Reading!

Reading!

Reading!

Reading!

Reading!

You can see how all of the students are following the Read to Someone expectations. We read the first day for 3 minutes. Then, we cleaned up and reflected on how we did. We talked about what it should look like and how the room should sound during this time. Then, we practiced again for 3 minutes.

Reading!

Reading!

Reading!

Reading!

We are doing such a great job at our Daily 5 skills! These are skills we will practice ALL YEAR long and it’s important to learn them correctly in the beginning. Thanks for the support at home! Make sure to read each night and keep working on that stamina!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counting to 120!

Hello and happy Wednesday! Whenever we don’t have school on Mondays, the week seems to go by so fast. I can’t believe it’s already the middle of the week, but here we are!

Before I dive into all the fun things we’re doing in class, here are two things I’m loving right now:

1. How silly are our puppies? I found them hanging out in our bathroom one day (when it was very hot outside) while I was working on my grad paper. They are so cute and easily distract me from working.

Molly and Juneau

Molly and Juneau

2. Over the long weekend, my fiancΓ© and I were hard at work re-painting our deck. It needed to be redone and after looking around Menard’s, we decided to paint it 2 different colors. It was a lot of work- and took over 7 hours- but I think it turned out pretty good! What do you think?

Before and after

Before and after

Counting to 120

You’ve probably noticed many things in the homework packet about counting. That’s because our math unit for the next 4 weeks is all about counting up to 120. That means, we’re practicing reading all those numbers, writing all those numbers, and putting them all in the correct order. It also means we’re practicing starting at any number and counting on. The students are working on all of these skills!

We’re been doing many different things each day to practice these skills, but here are some of the highlights so far….

-Bat Card Counting:Β I found these cute bat cardsΒ on TpT that have the number written on them from 1-20. I liked them a lot because they had the number word and the numeral written. We used them in many different ways. The students held up certain numbers to practice identifying them. They also put them in order starting at different numbers, such as starting at 5 and putting them in order to 20.

We also worked in small groups to practice putting them in order starting at different numbers.

Putting the numbers in order!

Putting the numbers in order!

Which one comes next?

Which one comes next?

How cute are the cards?

How cute are the cards?

The kids were so happy they got to take those home! I hope you got the chance to use them again!

-Number Order Scoot Game: One of my favorite games to play in any subject is the “scoot” game. Basically it is any game where students do a task at a spot and when I say “Scoot!”, they move to the next spot and do the next task. I like it for 2 reasons. One, it gives them many different opportunities to practice a skill and two, it gets them moving! We do math at the end of the day, so sometimes we can be squirmy πŸ™‚

The scoot game helps us move, learn, and have fun!

For this game, I put 10 cards at each spot. The cards had numbers on them, either 1-10, 10-20, 20-30, 30-40, and so on up to 100. It was the students job to put those cards in the correct order when they were at that spot.

Working together!

Working together!

Team work!

Team work!

They had to figure out which number came first, what came next, and keep going until they finished!

Great job!

Great job!

Working together!

Working together!

This is a great skill for them to learn. It helped build on their number understanding and practice counting on from any given number.

Good job!

Good job!

-Fill in the missing numbers worksheet: Finally, the kids moved on to partner work. They got a worksheet that showed them a row of numbers- that started at a random number- and they had to fill in the numbers that would come next. Basically, the worksheet built on the skills they had just practiced in their small groups. The students worked in partners around the room to answer the questions.

Partners

Partners

Working in partners

Working in partners

Working with a partner is a skill the students are practicing too! We learned how to help each other and not just give someone the answer. We also learned how to work at the same pace and ask your partner if they need help.

What's the missing number?

What’s the missing number?

Getting the work done!

Getting the work done!

We’ll be working on this unit for the next couple of weeks. Please practice counting at home, starting at any number, all the way up to 120! The more you practice at home, they better they will do!

Thanks for checking in! If you haven’t already, sign up with your email address along the right hand side of the blog. That way, you’ll get emails when I post new things.

ALSO- Parents, if you haven’t paid the money yet for our class monthly magazine, homework folder, and PTO, please turn in the money as soon as you can! Thank you! πŸ™‚