Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Ready, Set, Go!

We are on day 7 and getting busy working!! Pics are below... Check it out!

We are spending the first month reviewing the basics. The students created personal dictionaries. I copied the alphabet and had them cut out each of the letters and paste them in to a blank notebook. They will use this to write their words of the week, as well as words that we brainstorm each day for the letter of the day. The kids did a fantastic job!

During the first few days we read the story, Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon. After reading the students determined (without my prompting) what the author's message could have been. One of the big ones was that we should be proud of who we are. So, we created these cute sunflowers. On each petal, the children wrote words describing themselves such as beautiful, caring, thoughtful, etc... It was great to see them really think about what they like about themselves. What a confidence booster!

On the second day of school, I went around and asked all the kids to tell me about something they like or like to do. I typed up their answers in sentence form. I cut up the sentences and then gave each student someone else's sentence. That person was responsible for arranging the sentence in order, as well as drawing a picture of their friend doing what their sentence said. We made a class book called "Things We Like". The children love it!

To go along with this, I decided to have a Special Person of the Day each day. We brainstormed a list of interview questions that we could ask him/her. After the interview, the students went back to their desk and drew a picture and wrote a sentence of the Special Person based on what they learned from the interview. I wrote jot notes during the interview for the students to refer to. They did a fantastic job. We made a class book about our Special Person today and he was able to take it home to read and share with his family. 

In Social Studies we are learning and review what a family is. We created a class family tree, which turned out beautifully! Thanks to my student teacher, Mr. Lockett for the awesome display! Perfect for Meet the Teacher night, which is tomorrow night!
My family!
Last week we read a lot of stories and took part in many activities that related to appropriate behaviour in school. Here is a centre that I created. The children put the monsters under the correct heading: Good Behaviour or Poor Behaviour!

Another centre that the children can visit and put the poems in the correct order.

Listening Centre
Math Centre - students can explore in any way. 
That's it, that's all... More to come.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Beginnings!

Hi all! It has been awhile since I have posted. Thought I'd share some pics of my class. This year I'm teaching grades 1&2!!! I have 8 grade 1s and 12 grade 2s! I'm looking forward to a great year! Right now I'm immersing myself in the grade 2 curriculum so I know what I'm doing before the craziness of the teaching life begins! I can't wait!!

So, here are some shots of my room so far. I need to make a few changes, which will hopefully be done tomorrow, while I have my own kiddies with me!

Student desks, information board, calendar, etc....
Behaviour tracking board
This will be where I keep student work. A bin for each duo tang. Labels coming!
This year I decided to do something different for birthdays. I made in advance birthday bags for each child. They will receive it on their birthday! Fun!
I used to give each child a block of plasticine in a little bin with a lid to keep in their desk. They would take it out at various times to strengthen their fine motor skills, make letters or words, and sometimes just to play during a few extra minutes or transition times. Because I am heavy on the grade 2 side this year, I have decided to make it a centre. So this is my plasticine centre. Children choose a block of plasticine from the bin. They can make a letter, a word, or their name. Fun!
This is the front of my class. Word wall, character ed wall, and my No David! posters, all ready to go!.
No David! Peacemaker/Peacebreaker posters for the first week. This will focus on appropriate behaviour in the class and school, and tie into classroom rules.
My agenda board.
Note Totes all ready to go home. Newsletter, Homework folder and agenda included in the large Ziploc bag!
Calendar area will be used independently by students. The lesson will be completed on the SmartBoard and then the Star of the Day will complete the calendar area with a friend.
Library near carpet. Curtains used on shelves to cover things not being used. Centre storage on shelves. To the left - where the magnetic letters are. This is a magnetic letter centre. The children will be encouraged to make the words listed on the chalkboard wall.
Chart stand ready to chart how we go home each day! 
View from my door. Something needed over by the curtain. I'm thinking some hanging lanterns or something. 
Another view from the door. Hanging numbers indicate centres.
Welcome board. Bins of word games need to be moved.
Another desk space area with computer. This may need to be moved so my computer is closer to my SmartBoard. Again, another area that needs some spunkiness added!
My desk space - some decorative stuff is needed here. SmartBoard too!
My door! Welcome!
Hallway hooks and bins for belongings!
That's it, that's all for now. Good luck to all my teacher friends! This will be a great year! Feel free to use what I post and share your ideas too!

- Amanda

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Tid Bits

Since it has been quite awhile since I posted, I thought I would give a quick summary of the fun things we are doing in our class.

After reviewing the life cycle of a butterfly, our beautiful class butterflies emerged from their chrysalis'! We were very excited to release the lovely creatures, so we all took a little walk into the school field and held a butterfly releasing party. It was such a gorgeous day, so it was perfect!

Here, Ms. Rachel and I are releasing the creatures into nature.

Fly butterfly, fly!
Unfortunately, I was ill on Friday with a crazy eye infection, so I was unable to attend the field trip to a conservation site. I heard it was fabulous and the children had a great time learning about pond and insect life! Here is a shot from last year's field trip. A monarch butterfly was captured and put into this magnifying container, and later released. What a gorgeous creature!

Before my last student teacher left, she did a mini poetry unit focusing specifically on acrostic poems. The children loved it and had a lot of practice. This is the bulletin board that she made. She later filled it with the student's personalized acrostic poems.

Grass Heads:
As part of our Energy and Living Things unit, the students planted grass seeds. We made grass heads. Here they are all grown up! Super cute.

 Character Education:
Our school board is really focusing on character education. This is our character education wheel, with specific character traits that we are to teach and model in our everyday life. This month, I am focusing on cooperation, fairness, and acceptance.

Some of the books that I have read are below:

It's Mine by Leo Lionni

Friendship Goals:
The children have really responded to the lessons, and been able to point out the author's message/main idea in the texts. As part of one of the lessons, I challenged each student to choose one "friendship goal"; something that they felt they should focus on when working and/or playing with others. They all wrote their goal on a post it and then stuck it on the chart paper that I labelled, "Our Friendship Goals." Some of the goals listed were:
- I want to share more with others;
- I am going to include everyone during recess;
- I am going to fill buckets instead of dipping into them.

It has been a great month! June is on it's way! The school year has just flown by!

Until next time,

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Living Things and Mothers!

Living Things
We have now begun our study of living things! We are growing butterflies in our class which is very exciting! The children are thrilled! Take a peek at the larvae.

 Soon the chrysalis' will form and our beautiful butterflies will emerge! The students created each stage of the life cycle and learned that the butterfly cycle is called "complete metamorphosis"! They are enjoying watching the changes each day. Take a look at our class bulletin board!

Life Cycle of a Butterfly bulletin board
 The students also completed their flip book with pictures of each stage and a description of the stages under the flip! Fun!

Student flip book
The Lorax
We recently read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. We had a great deal of discussion surrounding the main idea and author's message. After our discussion, we created truffula idea trees! The students were given a leaf. They wrote their idea on their leaf, and based their writing on:

- what they love about nature;

- how to solve the Lorax problems;


- how to keep our environment clean and safe. They came up with some great ideas. Here is our display.

Whenever the students think of something new, they grab a leaf and we add it to the trees. 

Lorax 'stash! LOL!
Mother's Day
Mother's Day is quickly approaching. Today we made some sweet cards. We brainstormed words that describe our Mom, and then got to work. Take a peek.

We are working on gifts for Mom. I shared some pictures of artwork by Barbara Reid. We looked at various books where plasticine is used to create scenes. The students took those ideas and created their own plasticine picture inside of CD case, for Mom. They turned out great!

The gifts are wrapped and ready to go!

Happy (early) Mother's Day!

~ Amanda

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Farewell, Welcome and Other Tidbits!

Ms. Huot
Unfortunately (for us), Ms. Huot has completed her grade 1 student teaching placement and is now off to bigger and better days ahead! What a great addition she was to our class. So many great ideas were brought into the student's learning environment. We will miss her! 

We had a great party for Ms. Huot on Thursday afternoon. The student each drew her a picture and wrote a sentence telling what they loved most about her and/or the activities that she taught/planned for them. The book was adorable (forgot to take a pic!) I also got creative and made this adorable terra cotta planter. I simply painted the planter, modge podged it, and then glued (glue gun) one box of crayons onto it. I slapped on another layer of modge podge to seal it and voila! So cute!

Ms. Rachel (my EA partner) and I included lots of school supplies including crayons, pencil crayons, pencils, paper pad, a whistle (her whistle was terrible! LOL!), and a gift card to Chapters!

After going through many of the pictures that I have taken since January, I started to get really emotional. My students are almost finished grade 1, and I have a phenomenal teaching partner who is leaving! AH! I wondered what I could do to make this experience even more memorable for Ms. Huot.... So, I made her a Shutterfly scrapbook. It turned out so beautifully! It's basically a scrapbook that you make online, order, and it's shipped to your doorstep. Unfortunately, I created it too late and it wasn't in my hands on Ms. Huot's last day, but we were able to view it online. I also got motivated to try one of the programs on my computer that I had yet to mastered - iDVD. Well, the movie turned out really well, and the children really enjoyed seeing themselves on the screen, accompanied by familiar tunes! Ms. Huot also prepared such a lovely parting gift for all of the students in the class. She is so thoughtful. It was a great afternoon! We look forward to having Ms. Huot visit us again before the school year is over.
Melanie, our college (Child and Youth Worker) student, also had her last day on Friday. It was a sad day in grade 1 last week! Here is Miss Rachel, Melanie and I. Special thanks to Melanie for her help in our class. She was instrumental in preparing many of the materials that are used on a daily basis.

We welcome Ms. Brown to our class! She was with us in October and is working as a student teacher again for another two weeks. We look forward to learning with her!

Money Math
The children have been learning all about Canadian money! They are being challenged to master the coin names and their values, as well as be able to add coins up to 0.20 cents. In order to facilitate this learning, Ms. Huot opened up her store on her last day, Thursday. She gave each student a collection of coins adding up to 0.25 cents. They were able to purchase as much as they wanted to with the coins given. Here is Ms. Huot promoting one of her favourite products.. Smarties!

Look at that face!

Yum! Kids were very excited!

Real food!
**Of course, the children were instructed to bring the treats home, and to ask their parents/guardians for permission to eat before partaking in the delicious treats! I hope that's what happened! :0

Another fun activity that I was super excited about is Feed the Pigs - Counting Coins! I found the idea online, but altered it a bit. First, I tried to find 10 little plastic piggy banks but was unable to find any at a reasonable price. So I decided to make my own! One of my colleagues has a baby, and she offered me some of her baby jars! I also found these cute little pig pins at Dollarama, added some pipe cleaner to the back of the jar, and voila! I love my glue gun - it works wonders! I used a larger jar that I already had to make the Money Bank... Students were required to choose a card from the pig stack, and fill each of the numbered jars (depending on the pig card) according to the coins on the card. They LOVED this!

We have been busy writing on a daily basis. One of my favourite books is The Best Part of Me. It is written by a group of students from various grades, and was put together by their teacher. The book basically consists of pictures of student's favourite parts (hands, eyes, ears, hands, etc...) In the book the children explain why they chose that particular part. It is adorable.

I have read this book to my students for the past four years. Each year we make a book of our own. Here is our book from this year.

Compound Cook!
To go along with our cooking theme (synonym chefs), I found this cute idea that I thought I would try with the students. I created a compound cook! Compound words are just like a recipe. You add a bunch of ingredients and when mixed, you get something new! It's the same with a compound word.

You can't really see the chart but it says,

"Recipe for Compound Words
a pinch of one word
a dash of another word
Add two separate words together. Mix well to combine. Say new word and enjoy!"

We made some cute compound flowers, and did some fun pancake compound word activities. The children are practicing this through centres daily, and I'm trying to come up with another fun activity that the children will enjoy! Maybe food - maybe pan+cakes= pancakes! We shall see! Hmmm....

Earth Day
We are a little late with our Earth Day activity, but here it is. I wanted to link this activity to our Energy unit, as well as our school's Rights Respecting Schools initiative. One of the rights of a child is "Every child has the right to a clean and safe environment." We read several books related to caring for our earth and why it's important. We decided that in order to have a clean and safe environment, we have to take care of our planet. So the children made a promise to the earth. I was very impressed with the students' responses, and plan to highlight their awesome work on a bulletin board next week during Education Week. We also created a large earth, hand prints and all, as well as flip books that the children completed independently. They had a lot of great information to share.

On a personal note, my son turned 7 today! I can't believe how quickly time has flown by! He was thrilled with his Angry Bird Uno cards, plush toy, and board game. My husband also thought it was necessary to get him a set of golf clubs! He was very excited that he would be spending time golfing with Daddy this summer! Look at him - all grown up! 

My daughter was quite sad that she wasn't getting all the attention today, but I reassured her that her special day would be in just 7 days, and that her joint party would be on Saturday at the bowling alley!!!! She seemed fine after hearing that, along with the treats she received after dinner!
What a pose! 
A joint birthday party on the weekend... what was I thinking? LOL!
Nighty Night!
~ Amanda