Friday, April 26, 2013

Earth Day, Probability, and Kandinsky...Oh, My!

Hello everyone! We started off the week with one of my favourite celebrations: Earth Day! We kept our lights off and made lots of promises to help the Earth throughout the day. 
This little writing craftivity was inspired by Cara over at The First Grade Parade. I fell in love with the handprint idea and had my kiddies "lend a helping hand" to Mother Nature on Monday.
(click the pick for the FREE download of the above writing paper as well as an Earth Day opinion writing activity!)

We ended up dedicating this whole week to the Earth and kept our classroom lights off for the was actually quite calming so that might become a new "healthy habit" of ours!

Moving right along to math...We finished up our quick 2D & 3D Shapes unit with position and direction words. Here's the anchor chart I whipped up (the smiley faces really helped my emergent readers become more confident with these words)

...And the Poultry Party continues! 
We spent a period this week with our precious soon-to-be-hatching eggs; observing, recording, drawing, labelling, reading, and discussing. I pulled out a bunch of resources for the kiddies to simply explore and they went to town.
...there's my "inquiry" for the week (that totally counts. Right, Mrs. Montgomery? haha)

As a mini review/introduction to our oh-so-short Probability unit (that we began and finished all this week!) we graphed our opinions of pet chickens. I was quite surprised by how many kiddies did NOT want a pet chicken (although, I'll admit I may have mentioned something about "stinky chicken poop" prior to popping the question!)
After graphing our answers as a whole group, we completed this worksheet to reinforce our knowledge:
(Graphing labels and worksheet included in my Holy Hens! Pack)
(images in this post do not reflect the updates)

We wrapped up our speedy probability unit on Friday with 3 math centres...
#1: my crazy chickens took turns surveying their group and graphing the results (who would have thought that the simplest centre would be the biggest hit?! They were ALL.ABOUT. that giant graph)
#2: next, the kiddies got to create their very own die and use their creation to build a graph:
#3: finally, a make-your-own spinner activity! Similar to the dice, the kids made a spinner and graphed their results:
It was exciting to see how much they loved these three simple centres. 
Here is a closer look at activity #2 and #3:

Now for my favourite subject...ART! I have such a creative bunch and I LOVE that they love to do art. This week, our art period focused all around Kandinsky. I was inspired by a particular piece that I saw floating around Pinterest, "Concentric Circles"...
Like most people, I concededly thought, "I could do that!"...well, more like, "my Grade Ones could do that!" we did!
They couldn't get enough of the fact that they could paint something that looked just like a famous piece of artwork...also that Kandinsky closely "looks just like" our Parish Priest (HA! They crack me's so true though)

Here are some of their final masterpieces:
Amazing, right??!! They also painted "Kandinsky circles" on paper plates. My plan is to make a Kandinsky tree to brighten up our hallway like the one I found on Pinterest:
I can't wait! ...More pictures to come when I finally have ours up!

Anyways, it's Friday and I could not be happier that the warm weather is FINALLY here in NWO. I cannot wait to spend my entire weekend outside in something other than goose-down. So in celebration, here is an opinion writing FREEBIE for you all :) 
(Click the pic for the above--and two other--topics for when your class is focused on Opinion Writing)

Have a happy weekend :) Enjoy the warm weather!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Holy Hens!!!

I always tell my kiddies that we're a bunch of crazy chickens here in grade one, so we were totally in our element this week when our very own batch of eggs were delivered! Over the next three weeks, we will learn all about chickens and watch our 42 precious chicks hatch. I cannot wait...they're gonna be so fluffy I'm gonna die!!!!
hahaha LOVE animated movies!

ANYWAYS, a lovely farmer visited all of the grade ones and taught us all about chickens and how chicks hatch in an incubator. The kids each got the opportunity to put an egg in the incubator:
We did a little recap activity after the presentation to reinforce the chicken lifecycle:
(The above activity is included in my Holy Hens pack available HERE)

Word Work Centre this week reviewed digraphs. The kiddies had to look at both pictures and words to determine the missing digraphs (ch, wh, th, ph, sh). I also added an "I'm done, now what?" crossword activity:
(Both activities also from my Holy Hens! pack)

Next up, we kept the poultry party (HA! I just thought of that one) going at Art Centre with a "dress the chicken" activity. Back in October my kiddies enjoyed the Disguising a Turkey activity so much that I thought I'd "reuse" the idea:
Above we have a lovely pirate chicken and "Willie's pet chicken from Duck Dynasty."
And here is a trendy surfer CHICKen (check out those flip flops) and a fairy chicken (lovin' the up-do).

During our writing block, we continued our learning of Opinion Writing by writing one fact and one opinion about....wait for it...chickens! And since it was "Fun Friday, " I made a craftivity out of it:
(This craftivity is also included in the updated version of Holy Hens!)

Throughout the week, we also ensured that we began used proper terminology when referring to the parts of a chicken. We labeled a hen to help us help me remember (I had to stop myself several times from calling the "wattle" a "hang-y thing")
("Label Miss Hen" worksheet available HERE)

In math, our 2D & 3D Geometry unit discusses positional and directional words, so one of my most favourite "oldie but goodie," Rosie's Walk, not only tied in with our math focus, but it also happened to work out perfectly for our chicken theme!
We read this adorable tale (I have never heard my kiddies howl with laughter more in my life! That book is always a hit) and made a list of all the positional and directional words. To reinforce our understanding of positional/directional words, we each made ourselves a Rosie, and "acted out" the story with our homemade hens.
(The kiddies line up for recess along this wall, so I threw together the basic story for them to retell as they wait for the bell to ring...gotta keep the learning going!)

Okay, I think that's enough poultry for one day! I'll leave you with the brilliant Mrs. Montgomery, holding a real emu egg (she's holding it so gracefully but that thing is flippin' HEAVY!)
Have a great weekend! :)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Contraction Surgery, Earth Day, & more!

On Monday, I told my kids that I asked my dad, "Dr. Nowak" to visit our class this week so that he could show us how to perform surgery. He couldn't get a flight on such short notice so instead, he lied down on the fax machine and faxed himself to 1E-B.

Introducing, Dr. Nowak:
It was pretty fun for me since most of them believed me, and now they think that when you fax something real it becomes a cartoon. HA! ...don't judge me, parents lie to their kids about Santa, the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy...there's plenty of time to learn the details of a fax machine later in life ;)

ANYWAYS, all week we talked about contractions and how two words can undergo surgery (performed by very skilled doctors) in order to become one brand spankin' new word! They LOVED being doctors and helping Dr. Nowak to "surgically remove a letter" and build contractions. 

Typically we wouldn't be talking about contractions in too much depth in only grade one, however I initially noticed some of my higher-level students randomly putting apostrophes in their writing. Slowly more and more students were adopting this new "trend" so I thought they would be interested in understanding what contractions really were and how to use them in their own writing...and oh my word, they ate. it. up. 

On Friday, I transfered Dr. Nowak and all of our successful surgeries to our classroom door so we can refer to the words for the rest of the year:

My Word Work centre activity for the week reinforced this new skill:
(The above contractions activity is available in my Spring Math & Literacy Pack)
By MATCHING contractions, it really helped the kiddies make sense of HOW two words become a contraction--noticing the similarities between the two words and their contraction (e.g. "do not" still begins the same as "don't" and "o" is replaced by the apostrophe, etc.)

Because we recently finished the topic of Inferring during our writing block, I set up my Art Centre as a visual representation of what we had learned:
The idea was that the kiddies cut out PART of a picture in a magazine, glue it onto their paper, and "infer" with their drawings as to what the rest of the image/scenery would look like (in a way that would make sense).

I was so impressed with what they all came up with. Here's a few to share:
A stylish little lady :P
(This particular child simply found a "cool pattern" in a magazine and used it as a skirt. So creative!)
Only in NWO would children not get in trouble for posting weapons in their pictures! #stilladjustingtonorthernlife 
(yes, when people hash-tag annoyingly long ideas it drives me mental but I felt left out :( HA!!)

Moving on...we are almost done our science unit--Materials, Objects, & Everyday Structures--so I had my kiddies put their knowledge to the test by building a garage for my toy giraffe, Gerald, and his car.

Their structures had to be strong, waterproof, and fit both the car and Gerald with enough room for Gerald to walk around his car. At the end of the week we tested each structure by pouring water on them and observing how they held up to the elements:

Now for the fun stuff!!! I LOVE Earth Day and art, so combining the two is totally my cup of tea (I love tea, too!!!!) more thing I love: The Lorax. ...My fiance gets so annoyed at me because all I ever want to watch on movie night are Disney and Pixar movies...never "good" movies. Whatever, Dr. Seuss is the bomb. 
ANYWAYS, we brainstormed all about why taking care of the Earth is so important. After adding their names to our little world,  the kiddies wrote one promise (on a cloud) to Mother Earth of how we will personally help her to stay clean and happy:
Quote reads: "No job is too big, no action too small, for the care of the Earth is a task for us all."
(e.g. I will help the Earth by: "not littering," "not picking flowers," and my personal FAV: "not crashing my four wheeler into trees." HAHA ...I would not be able to make that promise)
After watching a clip from The Lorax, we talked about how the Lorax loved and protected the Truffula trees, and why that was such an important job. Then we thought about our jobs as visitors on the Earth and choose a natural element that we wanted to speak for:
Oh. My. Word. I LOVE how all of these turned out, they did a fantastic job. (The "technical" focus of the activity was mixed-media expression so I put out a wide variety of materials that the kiddies could choose to use in their creations)
(To make the Lorax, I just free-hand drew him on construction paper. I printed and cut out the quote in chunks and had each student decorate one word so that it was a class effort. Turned out to be super cute!)
Click HERE to download the Dr. Seuss quote for FREE!
Have a happy weekend!! :)
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