Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Handwriting: Common Core Standard for 1st Grade


 One of the first Common Core Standards in Language for First Grade is for students to "demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking." This includes printing all upper and lowercase letters. In order to meet this standard, students have their handwriting booklets at their tables in the morning. Every day students learn to write two letters properly. We model the correct way the letters are formed and then give students time to practice. This ten minute exercise eases the children into their school day and reinforces the importance of legible penmanship.

You can visit the Common Core Standards at this blog. Do you see the tab on the right that says "Common Core"?  The standards are listed from K to 12th grade.  


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ice Cream Sundae with a Cherry on Top

Table points are always fun when you can earn a "Cherry on Top."  We have seven tables of students and it can get noisy and unfocused at times. But when you have the opportunity to earn a "Cherry on Top" things can not only get quieter but we find more students on task. When we see a table of children doing what they are supposed to be doing, whether it is reading, writing, or working on a project, they can earn "a cherry" on top of their ice cream sundae. The table with the most cherries at the end of the week will visit the treasure box. It is a great visual reminder and super way for team building in our class.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Class Promise

This week we worked on our class promise. After brainstorming ideas with the students on what they thought was important to help the class run smoothly, we came up a condensed version and charted the results. For example, if  a child said "It's not nice to hit someone" or "Don't talk mean to people", it was condensed to "I am responsible for my actions." The other promises are: "I do what is asked the first time.";  "I share with others."; and "I take care of school property."  The activity culminated with each child making a paper doll of themselves (with a chef's hat, of course) and we placed them around the promise. These few rules cover a lot of territory and are referred to throughout the day because we all want to be good school citizens.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Skills Block - Sight Word Games

As part of our Skills Block today, we reviewed about fifteen sight words (have, here, do, too). Then we had the children pair up and play a memory game sometimes called "Concentration". They shuffle the little cards with the sight words on them and then turn the cards over so no one can see the words. Then each player turns over two cards to try to find a match. If they find a match, the child says the word, puts the cards on the side and then it is the next person's turn. Reviewing words this way makes the learning fun...and that's exactly what we want.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Planting the Seeds for Success

Yesterday the children decorated their clay pots and today was the day to plant the basil seeds. From the time they came in this morning, the questions started: "Are we going to plant our seeds today?" "When are we planting our seeds?"  "I hope we get to plant today."  How could we not have time for such an important activity and one that so many of them were looking forward to?  So a bag of potting soil, clay pots, and basil seeds were all it took to put smiles on faces. We talked about how this herb is very good in spaghetti sauce and pizza. We also touched on the care of the plant --  watering and keeping the pot near a sunny window. We can't wait to hear about the progress of the seeds turning into plants.  It didn't take much to make their day today!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Recipe for a Successful Day Two

Today all of us wore our new "Recipe for Success" t-shirts that the PTA gave each child as a "Welcome Back to School" gift. Students are invited to wear the shirts on Friday's and for field trips. Other happenings: Today we worked on our "Class Promise". This is basically a set of rules that the children came up with to help make the class run smoothly. Book bins were distributed and each child picked out ten books to place in their bin. The children also decorated clay pots and will be planting basil tomorrow. We did manage to go outside for ten minutes and then the rain came. Maybe we will have better luck tomorrow!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Did you eat a bug today?

It was a great first day of First Grade. The children were so happy to see each other after a few short months and the new students looked very comfortable in their new class. We kicked off the day with an assembly. The principal likes the first day of school to be a fun one that the children will remember. We had a very special visitor, the author David George Gordon, who wrote "Eat-a-bug  Cookbook: 33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes, and their kin." They watched the chef cook up some spicy spiders and crunchy grasshoppers. There were lots of "ewwws" as he was sizzling up his treats. Afterwards, we read some books, went to lunch, and then had some team building exercises - one called "putting the tennis balls on chair legs." It was so much fun and we discovered a lot of problem-solvers with this exercise. Luckily the rain held off and the kids had some outside time. When they came back in, it was time for the first chapter of  "Junie B. Jones, First Grader at Last."  Next, they had their first cooking lesson and made "Dessert Pizza" -- a delicious sugar cookie decorated with icing, sprinkles and M&Ms. What a grand ending to a great day!!
Looking over the menu on PhotoPeach

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Diner is Open


Tomorrow is the first day of First Grade. We have been preparing The Mall-ard Diner for days to get ready for our previous Kindergarten students to come back to school. No doubt they will be excited with all the changes we have made to the class. The carpet is gone and we now have tile. The tables are all switched around and the decor looks great.  They will be very happy coming back to school and we can't wait to see everyone. We all know that "Nothing Can Be Finer Than To Be in Mall-ard's Diner."
Our "Welcome Back" bulletin board.
The start of our kitchen. We plan on having a lot more appliances for our Wednesday cooking classes.