Tuesday, August 26, 2008

High Flyin' Aussie Flag

We are back from an unexpected and not welcomed Tropical Storm Fay. School was in session only two days the first week of school. The good news is that we are back, in one piece, and thankfully, will never see that storm again!!
On Monday, we visited the letter "F" in our "Australia ABCs" book. The topic was the flag of Australia. The children learned that 'Australia's flag shows Britain's flag in the upper left hand corner. The large star on the flag stands for the six states and two territories of Australia. The small stars stand for the Southern Cross, a group of stars you can see when you are south of the equator.' Students noticed similarities (colors and stars) and differences (no stripes and blue) with the United States' flag. We also talked about the Aborigine's flag - whose colors are black representing the people, yellow for the sun, and red for the earth.
In the morning, we had an outline of the flag at each student's table to color. We wanted the children to be familiar with the look of the flag before attempting to make one in the afternoon with construction paper. Well, we couldn't be more pleased with the results. The students had a wonderful time in the afternoon cutting, assembling and gluing their Australian flags together. Afterwards, a student asked, "Can we make the Aboriginal flag too?" Of course, we'll give it a burl (try it, have a go)- now that we have some professional flag makers in the house!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Australian ABCs - A Great Place to Start

Our Aussie adventure is being driven by a book called, "Australia ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of Australia", by Sarah Heiman. On the first day of school, we jumped ahead to the "B" for Boomerang. The children learned about the history of the boomerang and had the opportunity to design one and take it home. Yesterday, the second day, we visited the letter "A" for Aborigine. Aborigines are Australia's indigenous people. Recent government statistics counted approximately 400,000 aboriginal people, or about 2% of Australia's total population. The hallmark of Aborignal culture is 'oneness with nature.' Their paintings usually consist of paint using earthly colors.
Students were shown samples of Aboriginal art and then created their own paintings. These paintings will be displayed year round in our hallway. They will be backed with a clip to hold student's writings and drawings throughout the year. We also plan to make an "Australian Word Wall" that will include the words from the Australia ABCs book for students to easily reference when needed.
Another important part of our day was when we discussed the "Class Promise". Students were asked for their thoughts as to "good ideas" that will help the class run smoothly. Their suggestions, such as "not running" or "not hurt others feelings," and "share with friends" are some of their ideas. Our class promise will be posted in front of the room and read everyday. Afterwards, students decorated a blank face to their likeness and we will post these faces around the promise chart.
Other happenings on our second day of school included a school wide fire drill and tornado drill; all went smoothly. Another chapter of "Junie B- First Grader" was read and because of the rain, we had free-centers inside. This included white boards, pattern blocks, cubes, drawing and free play. The second day was not second rate in our class...it was a beaut (fantastic)!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Aussie Adventure- First Day of First Grade

"G'day" from Mrs. Dillard and Mrs. Mallon. Today was the first day of First Grade! Students were greeted in the lobby by the music of a steel drum. There was a lot of excitement in the room when friends saw each other after a few months of summer vacation. Familiar faces made the transition much easier going from Kindergarten to First Grade and seeing their "last year teachers" made for a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Parents seemed as happy as the children, dropping them off and happily waving good bye.
Students unpacked their shiny new backpacks and placed supplies and completed forms on the counter. After the morning announcements, they were called to the floor by their new table names: Kangaroos, Wombats, Crocodiles, Koalas, Platypus, and Kookaburras. (The signs over their tables were ordered directly from Australia.) Mrs. Dillard and I shared our new theme, "180 Days Around the World" and our particular country, Australia. The children were quick to add what they already know about the animals of Australia and which animals are their favorites. Children were asked to introduce themselves and tell us something about them. Because we have meshed two classes together, this was a great "getting to know you" activity. Our assembly was at 10:00 and we know that the first day of school always holds a special surprise. It was at this assembly that we heard a great presentation from Bruce, a man who traveled two years on his bike with his wife around the world. He had a fantastic slide presentation that had the children's 100% attention. To read more about his trip check out the following blog http://chetchatter.blogspot.com. This is a student blog from our class!!
When we came back from the presentation, we made kangaroos and before we knew it, it was lunch time.
When students returned from lunch, Mrs. Dillard read the first chapter from Junie B. Jones (First Grader). We had fire drill practice, recess outside, and then had a nice refreshing ice pop. On our return, we read about boomerangs and each child had one to decorate.
Before we knew it, the day was over -- the first day of First Grade is a memory -- and a happy one, at that!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Mall-ards Are Coming!!!

The pencils are sharpened, the tables are cleaned, and the cubbies are ready for the brand new backpacks. It is the start of a new school year. The kindergarten students of June are now big August First Graders. They will be looping with us for another exciting year of learning, growing and making new friends. Did I say "us"? Yes, I did! The wonderful news is that Mrs. Dillard and I have joined classes and will be co-teaching this year. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to share our knowledge and give the best that we have to offer to our students. We have decided to mesh our name to "The Mall-ards" so that we now have one identity.
Our school's theme this year is "180 Days Around the World." First Grade's country/continent is Australia. Our classroom is decorated in an "Outback" theme with the some of unique animals native to that awesome country. We can't wait to share what we learn about the "The Land Down Under." We would be delighted to hear from an Australian elementary class that would like to correspond with us. If a teacher is interested, you can get in touch with us via the comment section of the blog.
This blog post will be updated next week with the first day of school pictures, happenings, and adventures. Get ready ...the Mall-ards are coming, the Mall-ards are coming...

Kindergarten Pow Wow 2019

Our tribe this year was the Inuit. Our students learned about the Inuit culture which included their food, housing and shelter. They sang ...