Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wrapping Up The Year 2012

**Sock Snowmen**
The Mall-ard's were very busy the last week of school. We saw a play, made ornaments, and had our annual holiday breakfast followed by crafts. Then we went to the Media Center to await a visit from "Auntie Claus" (Santa's sister). Every year Mrs. Phillips, our principal, dresses up as "Auntie Claus", reads us a book and gives treats out to all the children in the school. As she leaves she wishes all of her "young darlings a safe and happy holiday season." As the children ran out of school on Friday afternoon, each was so excited knowing that Santa would be visiting them very soon.

Looking over the pictures from the week and seeing the joy and innocence of our six year olds, we can't help but think of our fellow first graders,  teachers, and principal  from Sandy Hook Elementary and the tragedy that their families and community are enduring. There are no words that express the sympathy that we feel for each precious life that was taken.

The Mall-ard's wish all of our first graders and families a very happy Christmas and New Year. Please give  them a BIG HUG from both of us!!
Nov/December Happenings 2012 on PhotoPeach

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hannukah - Chanukah Presentation

Every year we look forward to our former student (J) and his father come to our class and teach the children about Hannukah. They bring in books, games and artifacts to help the students understand the story behind "The Festival of Lights". (J)  told the story ...over 2000 years ago, the Jews in Judea rebelled against their Syrian ruler because he insisted that all Jewish people must worship Greek Gods. After three hard years of fighting, the Jews defeated the ruler and to celebrate, they restored the Temple and rededicated it to their God. As part of the celebrations they lit an oil lamp which should have been kept burning all the time, even though they could only find enough oil to keep it burning for one night. But a miracle occurred, and the oil lamp stayed lit for eight days, which was the time it took to make new oil for the lamp. This  was the Miracle of the Oil. Thank you to the Morris family for sharing your traditions with our class...Happy Hannukah!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Time to Decorate the Tree

Today was the day when all of the classes in school bring down a string of homemade ornaments with each child's picture on them and we decorate the Christmas tree in the lobby. It is one of the fabulous traditions that make our school so special. As you can see, everyone loves to see their picture on the tree!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nouns -- Parts of Speech for 1st Grade

This week students were introduced to the term "noun" and what it means as a part of speech. They were invited to draw a person, place or thing to put on our "Noun Town" chart. This beginning lesson  is the first step in helping children learn what a sentence actually contains. Knowing the parts of speech will also aid in punctuation, writing and speaking.
The Common Core Standard in Language CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1  Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Our next stop in "Noun Town" will be learning more about common, proper, and possessive nouns, in particular. But for now, we're just be driving by and enjoying the scenery!!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Field Trip - Diamond D Ranch

We went on our first field trip of the year to Diamond D Ranch. The children loved seeing the animals and learning about them. They went on a nature walk, fed cattle, fish, and goats, and had fun in a bounce house and spin ride. It was a great day to be in first grade!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Planting Veggies in the Garden

 On Friday, we visited our own Chets Creek garden in back of the school. Students from every grade level learn about gardening, plant seeds, check on their growth and get to pick them when ready. We planted lettuce and it will take about 45 days to grow.  We are lucky to have a great parent volunteer, Dr. Zenk, who tends the garden and teaches then children how to care for the plants.
 Students had fun digging for sweet potatoes.
 It was like finding a treasure when they found a sweet potato.
Another one was found and put into the basket!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kevin Henkes Puppets & Celebration

It is going to be sad to say goodbye to all of the Kevin Henkes characters we learned about during our author study: Owen who took his blanket everywhere; Sheila Rae who was very brave; Wendell who learned how to make a friend; and of course Lilly  who is everyone's favorite. This week students brought in the puppets they made for homework. Each child retold his/her favorite story using these puppets as props. On Friday, we celebrated by going from room to room for center activities. They made purple purses and artistic ties. They ate cheesy snacks and played Kevin Henkes bingo. It was wonderful way to cap off a great author study!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fractions in First Grade - Common Core Standard

 This month our bulletin board features fractions for the first time in First Grade. The Common Core Standard for Geometry - Reason with Shapes and Their Attributes was addressed.
       1.G.3. Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using     the    words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares.
These lessons taught the children how to divide their "pizza" in half and make 'half of" it one topping and the other half another topping. Students labeled each side with 1/2 noting that each side had equal shares. They also designed "rugs". These rugs used two halves - triangles or rectangles - to make half of the square also understanding that these decomposed into smaller equal shares. We are "dividing and conquering" the common core anyone?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

October 31st is Here!!

There have been a lot of celebrations going on in our classroom as of late. We had the Literary Character Parade, The Fifties Party (for the 50th day of school), and now it is the day that we love as much as the kids do, Halloween!  They came in all excited in the morning telling each other what they were going to be for this Trick or Treat night. After the initial buzz, we were able to keep them focused for Reading, Writing and Math. However, in the afternoon, they played a pumpkin game, drew the above art project, and then, because it was "Cooking Wednesday" we made our traditional "Witchy Poo Brew". First we labelled all of the ingredients and then one by one everything went into the pot. Afterward it made a delicious snack mix for all to enjoy! Thank you to James and Brody for the ingredients. See below for the recipe:

  1.  Butterfly wings - Fritos
  2. Owl's eyes -M&Ms
  3. Witches toenails - Bugels
  4. Ghoul Stomachs - Mini marshmallows
  5. Worms - Gummy worms
  6. Lizard blood - Red hots
  7. Cob webs- Triscuits
  8. Chicken toe nails - candy corn
  9. Bugs - Chocolate chip morsels
  10. Bones - Pretzel sticks

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Surprise Guest Reader!

We had a surprise guest reader this week and it was Mrs. Alvarado (Shalyn's mom). During her resource time, she read the children two books, "The Cow That Laid an Egg" by Andy Cutbill and "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" by Carol McCloud. The first book was about an insecure cow who wished she had a special talent. The children found out what that talent was by the end of the book! The second book was more serious. This book told how each of us carry an invisible bucket and with everyday kindness, respect and generosity toward one another, we can fill each others buckets. That make us all feel good inside.Thank you to Mrs. Alvarado for filling our buckets with your time and great life lessons for our class.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

50th Day of School - 50's Style

Looking way too cute for the 50th day of school!!
Perfect doll for the 50th day!

Ready for a day of fun!

Enjoying an ice cream float.
Looking so 50ish!

All the trimmings for a rootbeer or coke float!
Happy memories in first grade!

:Looks like they like this 50ish treat!!

Capping off a great day!

Can we do this again?

Happy 50th Day from Mrs. Dillard and Mrs. Mallon!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Literary Character Parade & Festivities 2012

Thursday was a very exciting day for our first graders. We started the day with the Literary Parade around the first floor of the school. When we came back to the classroom the morning was spent making crafts. These included: finger pens, owls in a tree, bat hats, and pasta skeletons. At 6:00 at night the children returned to school in their costumes to trick or treat and teachers gave out candy at their classroom doors. Afterwards, they went outside to the school carnival. Our booth was the Lollipop Tree - a picture is included in the slideshow below. It was a great day to be a student at Chets Creek!!

Literary Costumes and Crafts on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Diners, Drive Ins and Dives Completed Pumpkins

Our pumpkins are completed and what a hit they are. Our inspiration was the book "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: An All-American Road Trip...with Recipes." by the Food Network Channel's Guy Fieri. We chose this book for a few reasons: Our school theme this year is  "Recipe for Success"; our class name "The Mall-ard Diner"; and the children's excitement when we talked about the book and how many of them watched the show!!  We knew then that it had to be that book for our pumpkin display.  Kind of gets us in the mood for a big juicy about you?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Diners, Drive Ins, and Pumpkins

 Every year, our school celebrates the Fall season with a Pumpkin Decorating display for the front lobby. Every class submits a book with pumpkins that are decorated to represent the book that was used.  This year we are celebrating the "Mall-ard Diner" by using the book "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives: An All-American Road Trip...with Recipes!" by  the Food Network Channel's Guy Fieri.  The students decorated pumpkins to look like hamburgers. You can catch a glimpse of Mr. Fieri along the back of the table (not yet completed).  Thank you parents for working with the children on this very special assignment. We will have the pumpkins completed by Monday...stay tuned!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Grade Fractions - Common Core

 The Common Core Standards in Math for First Grade state that students should be able to "Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters, and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of." So this week was the start of children recognizing what a half means. Using  a paper plate to represent their pizza, students were invited to create a half and half pizza with the toppings of their choice. They drew a line down the center with the help of a straight edge and center dot and made some beautiful pepperoni, sausage, and green pepper pizza pies.
Students had the opportunity to share their work and explain how they knew that it was "half of" the pizza.

Today it was "Cookin' Wednesday" and children made their own real pizzas using English muffins, sauce and cheese. They ate half - then the other half. Some said it was the best pizza ever...who could argue with that!!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad-Jumpstart Read for the Record!

Today our class was counted in a world record number of students reading  "Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad" by Jacky Davis and David Soman. This book was about a play date that had a few bumps in the road when things didn't go according to the plan. "Jumpstart's Read for the Record is a call to action to Americans to recognize the importance of quality early education, especially for our most vulnerable children,” said Jumpstart’s president and CEO, Naila Bolus. “When children start behind, they tend to stay behind. The language and literacy skills instilled in preschool children by the Jumpstart program help set them on a successful path in both school and life.”  Jumpstart has raised more that $7 million for this cause together with the Pearson Foundation which has donated nearly one million books.

We are anxious to hear how many children around the world read "Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad" as we did today.  To learn more about this organization, you can visit

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Common Core Based Bulletin Board

This is our first official bulletin board of the year. With "Mixing in the 'Write' Ingredients", we thought it would be a good idea to showcase student's writing from the initial writing piece and compare it to being in school for a few weeks. The results were amazing. Mixed in were mini lessons of great beginnings, remembering details, and staying in the moment when telling a story (not saying they went to bed or went home at the end). Our writers are getting the "write" ingredients everyday to make each story better than the last one!! (And, yes, that is us at the table preparing the next menu item!) :)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Open House: A Self-Directed Tour

First Grade Open House was last Thursday. We thought it would be a good idea to have the children show their parents around the classroom. Outside the room, the children made a replica of themselves as chefs holding a recipe card that states what they like best about First Grade. 
They were handed the above "menu" and a highlighter. After each station was visited (the calendar, word wall, book bins, Common Core Standards board, etc.) they highlighted the menu and received a treat when they handed it in. They also played a math game with their parents at their seats after looking through their various journals and folders.
 Students loved showing their parents around the room. It was a relaxing and enjoyable Open House.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cooking Wednesday - A Popular Subject

 All day long we were reminded that today was "Cooking Wednesday."  Every other Wednesday we will be making a new menu item that students can also make at home. Today we made "Banana Roll Ups". It consisted of tortillas, cream cheese and bananas. The children spread the cream cheese on their tortilla, sliced up a banana, and rolled it up for a delicious healthy snack tha could also be a breakfast sandwich. They had lots of fun making and eating them. As we move through the school year, our recipes will get a little more involved. But for now, this was a winner. Thank you to the Hancock and Yoon families for the ingredients.
 Step One: Spread cream cheese on the tortilla.
 Carefully making sure that the cream cheese is spread evenly.
 Such concentration!!
Enjoying the fruits of their labor!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fire Safety with Fireman Chris

  Today our friend, Fireman Chris, stopped by to give the children a few lessons on fire safety.  He prepared a slideshow with pictures from real fires, diagrams of escape routes, and fire engines and other equipment. The children were taught the serious nature of a home fire. He reviewed the importance of getting out of the house if there is a fire, having a family meeting place, and making sure that all fire detectors are working properly.
 Fireman Chris showed the class how fast he has to put on his uniform because a fire doubles in size every minute. He taught students to stay low to the ground because smoke rises and to crawl along the floor. Also it is important to touch a door with the back of your hand to feel if it is hot (there are more nerve endings on the back). In this way, they can tell if the fire may be behind the door.
 The kids had a great time getting to see all of the fire equipment up close and learn about fire safety. Thanks Fireman Chris - the students really learned a lot today about what to do in case of a fire and had a lot of fun too!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Word Sorts in Skills Block

 Skills Block is about thirty minutes at the beginning of each day when we teach the nuts and bolts of the English Language. In this block of time,  students may be learning about punctuation, capital letters, vowels, blends, parts of speech, antonyms, synonyms, spelling patterns, and/or special sounds including various letter combinations. This is everything not taught explicitly in Reader's or Writer's Workshops. This unit of time was found necessary for children to understand some of the mechanics of reading and writing and in turn, supplement reading and writing activities. We usually have a "Word Sort" that goes with our focus of the week. This week was "wh" and  "th".  These activities come from the book Words Their Way which is a developmental spelling program. Students work on word sorts daily in order to improve their understanding of the written language.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Teaming Up with NFL PLAY 60

Our class ran a few laps around the field today and will be doing so every Friday this fall. The NFL PLAY 60 and United Way are back for Back to Football Friday. The campaign is to advance youth health and wellness as a national priority. They are encouraging fans of all ages to show their NFL team pride at work and at school in celebration of the start of the NFL season and to join their efforts to end childhood obesity.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cooking Wednesdays at the Diner

Today was our first "Cooking Wednesday".  We decided to make "Fruit Nachos". This was a recipe sent in by one of our mom's Kelly K. The children enjoyed cutting their apple or pear and arranging their toppings. It was a wonderful "first recipe" and a healthy one too!  Thank you to Price's mom and Roberto's mom for furnishing the ingredients this week.  If you would like to make this at home, see the "How To" video below.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Writing Small Moments: Personal Narratives in First Grade

Looping with a class has so many advantages. Having most of these children in Kindergarten, we already know what was taught, where we need to go, and how we plan to get there. Writing Small Moments (also known as Personal Narratives) is how we started Writer's Workshop this school year. Years ago, the prompt may have been to write "What I did on my summer vacation..."  Now we write about specifically what happened in the story you want to tell. It may be the super hot day at the beach when you got a sunburn or the day you caught a gecko in your house...not so much that you went to Disney World and had fun -- unless it was about a specific incident at Disney World. We teach the students to set the scene, let readers create pictures in their minds, have a great beginning and stay close to the moment when ending the story (not "I went home" or "I went to bed.")
The following story was written by Sofia. She couldn't wait to share this particular highlight of her summer with the class. This is a wonderful example of what we are looking for from our young writers.

 The time I RESCUED a Kitten


 One afternoon Andrew was playing video games and he looked out at the glass door and...he saw a KITTEN swimming in our grandparents pool! :(  So Andrew told me "Sofia there's a dog in the pool" so I told mom that there is a puppy in the pool and dad heard what I was saying and that made him come down stairs so we all went outside. That is not a puppy said dad It is...
 a KITTEN! Then dad said "Type up on the iPad emergency vet" and mom did. So then it said on the iPad rap it up in a washed cozy towel. Then we went to the VET. Then the Vet asked us questions.
so the Vet took the kitten and brought it in the room. So when we went back home and at night mom called the Vet and mom asked "Is the kitten alive?" and the vet said.....
 YES!!! Mom was excited. She told me the cat was alive and he was so CUTE!  THE END

Loved this story Sofia -- A Small Moment with such a happy ending!!

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 ...