Saturday, 27 December 2008


We were tagged recently by Mrs. T to create a Wordle. Our Wordle is a collection of the words that have most recently been used on this blog. We love that family and fun show up the largest because that is exactly what this blog is about!

Here is how to create your own Wordle Meme:
1. Create a Wordle from your blog's RSS feed.
2. Blog it and describe your reaction. Any surprises?
3. Tag others to do the same.
4. Be sure to link back here and to where you were first tagged.
5. Create different Wordle clouds of your blog's RSS over a period of time. Do it once a month for the next year to capture the spirit of the times.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Holiday Break Ideas!

Decorate you own virtual gingerbread man for the holidays at this fun sight.

Another fun sight is Elf Yourself. You'll just need head shots (photos) of your family or friends to make a videos that will have your family laughing!
Track Santa on Christmas Eve or play some of the fun games on the Kids countdown page.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Holiday FUN!

Our last days before the holiday were filled with all of the fun and exciting activites that provide snapshots and memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy some of the memories below!

We would each like to say a very special thank you to the class for your very generous holiday gifts. It'll be a shopping bonanza! We did call Santa right before we left school to let him know that all the TDs should be on the "VERY GOOD" list! He wasn't one bit surprised
Until next year,
Mrs.Daniels, Mrs. Timmons, Mrs. Ruark and Mrs. T

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Holiday Homework

Make sure to ask your child to sing the sight words below to the tune of Jingle Bells! Great practice for saying the words!

To the tune of Jingle Bells











Monday, 15 December 2008

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Daniels!

We celebrated Mrs. Daniels birthday today with a cookie cake and our handmade cards. Wishing you the best... and many more!

Friday, 12 December 2008


Our December Book-of-the-Month is When Santa Turned Green. It's a wonderful story for children about global warming. The message is that each child can do their part in making a difference. Mrs. Phillips challenged each class to do their part by coming up with "green ideas." Visit their web site to see what other children are doing around the world.

Among other things, our class decided to plant a tree to replace many of the trees that are being lost. The children carried the oak tree outside and all helped to dig a hole.

They covered the hole, pruned and watered the tree.

Finally, each child was given a chance to mash all the dirt with their fingers to make sure the water absorbed into the ground!
Below they made their pledge to do their part.

Leave a comment and let us know what are you and your child are doing to make a greener world?

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Sometimes You Have To Get Dirty

You may have noticed Tracy Ruark, who has been in our classroom for several weeks now. She is spending time with us and we are expecting she will be taking over when Mrs. Timmons goes on maternity leave. From this except, you will realize what a treat our students are in for!

Mrs. Ruark... I have to admit that my first lesson in front of Randi Timmons and Cathy Daniels was a bit nerve racking. But after admitting I took a couple of soil classes in college Cathy announced to the class that Mrs. Ruark has a degree in soils (my actual degrees are in Geography/Environmental Conservation and International Relations/Soviet Studies). It was then immediately determined that I should teach a lesson to the class on soils. I thought to myself, “Oh boy, I’m in big trouble!”

The night before my lesson I was really concerned about engaging the children. I prepared a number of different things only to place them on the chopping block. My husband’s advice was to see science as an action like a verb instead of a noun. I was aware of the 5 E model that is used to teach Science at Chets Creek and I was determined to, at the very least, create an exciting hook so the kids would be jazzed about science.

Finally, after hours of surfing on the Internet with my pug snoring at my feet, it came to me…just be myself animated and nutty, kind of like a cross between Bill Nye and Deb Rossignol. So I did just that. I let my mind roam back to my childhood and remembered a Sunday morning when I was about seven or eight and I was walking the top rail above the pig pen dressed in my finest clothes on my uncle’s farm in Iowa. Gravity did the rest. Needless to say, I was fully engaged with the soil, and other things.

So I decided to reenact the event and cover myself in mud from head to toe. And that is exactly what I did. I burst into the classroom and shouted excitedly, “Guys, I really need your help. Mrs. Phillips has asked me to go out and find different kind of soil that would be good for growing plants. I have been digging in the dirt around Chet’s Creek and have been unsuccessful. The job is just too big! I need help! So, I need you to help me look.”

The kids immediately blurted out, “What happened to you?” I knew they were hooked! What followed was an amazing dirt digging, soil gathering, slide making extravaganza. After coming inside we explored the slides under the doc-cam and the kids made wonderful observations about dirt (actually humus, clay and sand). The children stayed engaged for the whole lesson. I knew then, at least in some small way, that I had contributed to the building of new schema within our students. It feels pretty good to go with your gut and have it work out. I owe a huge thanks to Kathy and Randi for letting me be me, an animated and nutty dirt doctor.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday was a day of thanksgiving. We started with watching the kindergarten Pow Wow and then enjoyed a morning of Thanksgiving centers. Finally we welcomed our families for a Thanksgiving feast. What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


This week we celebrated with an Awards Ceremony in our classroom. We were so excited that so many parents were able to attend. We began the morning by showing our parents the "All About Me" reports that we have just finished! Then it was onto the awards. Enjoy the memories below (thanks to Tiffany's mom for the pictures!)

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Our Playground

What do you remember about your days in elementary school? The playground, of course! Enjoy these memories caught by Tiffany's mom!

Sunday, 16 November 2008


Last week students were introduced to the idea of recycling. Look for the new green recycling bin in our classroom. On one side we will be recycling plastic (like those "will be with us in a million years" plastic grocery bags), and on the other we will be recycing paper (imagine how much paper we can recycle in a school!) As first grade teacher, Haley Alvarado, talked about reasons why we need to recycle in a first grade assembly, children learned that plastic grocery bags that get into the ocean look a lot like jellyfish and often are eaten by mistake and choke some of our sea animal friends! Make sure to ask your child what they rememebr about the assembly. We would love to hear your comments about the recycling that you do at home or if and how your recycling first grader's habits change as we continue this project in the classroom. Go green!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!

It 's a spooky fun Halloween so we enjoyed the day by cutting into two pumpkins to see what was lurking inside! We left the seeds to dry out and will be counting them on Monday - "5, 10, 15..." Hmmm, "Witch" pumpkin had the most seeds?

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Pumpkins are Here!

As always the pumpkins this year are as cute as ever, but I think our Koala Lou (based on the Mem Fox book, Kolala Lou) and our little gourd on-lookers are just the cutest thing we've ever seen. Thanks to that creative powerful group of moms (Donna Powell, Jennifer Dodani, Mona Lamba, Gina Allmond) for being about the best moms in the whole wide world!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

TD Chet has arrived!

Hooray! TD Chets has arrived in Australia. He is spending time with Fiona Banjer's class at Park Lake School. He sent the class the following note and photos!

I finally arrived in Australia. It took me a couple of weeks to get there through the mail! I was glad to finally get out of that little brown box but it gave me lots of time to rest up for my adventure. I want you to see some of the sights and people I am meeting.
In the background you can see the school where I am visiting. If you click on the link you can go to the Park Lake School web page and read about the school. It's a really cool place! You can also click on this Gold Coast link to see the area in Australia where I am visiting.

These are some of the people I am meeting that work at the school. Don't they look nice? They are!
I got to play on the playground with the children from Mrs. Banjer's class. I had a great time. Maybe you can send them a picture of the playground at our school at Chets Creek where you have fun every day.
I know you have been reading Mem Fox books. by now, you've probably read lots of them and even tried some Australian foods while I have been gone. I just wanted you to know that I am reading Mem Fox books in Australia too! Which of Mem's books were your favorite?
The children I am visiting in Australia only have ten weeks before they get out for a six week Christmas holiday! Can you believe it? They get SIX weeks off! We only get two weeks. Maybe I'll stay here for a while! I can't wait to share with you some of my other adventures. would love to hear from each of you. You can leave me a comment and I'll check back often.
Your friend, TD Chet

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Push and Pull

Today’s Science lesson was about moving things by pushing and pulling. We learned that heavy things need a bigger push or pull to get them moving. We also learned that the Earth’s gravity pulls us down when we jump up. As hard as we tried gravity brought us down every time!

Monday, 13 October 2008

Reading Strategies

Students begin learning reading strategies early in kindergarten to help them attack unknown words and to help them understand that everything they read needs to make sense. They review these same 6-7 beginning strategies again in first grade. The strategies include:

  • Look at the pictures. Often looking at the pictures gives a child an idea of what the words are about and will give him the context to make a good guess at an unknown word.

  • Get your mouth ready. If a child is reading and he comes to an unknown word, he should begin by saying the sound of the first letter and sometimes, the word will just pop right out!

  • Does it make sense? Students always want to make sure that what they read makes sense. If it doesn't, they need to try another strategy.

  • Does it sound right? As the child reads, the words should sound right in the sentence. If not the child should try another strategy. For instance, "I is good" doesn't sound right so it must be "I am good," because that sounds right.

  • Do the letters look right? If a child makes a guess at an unknown word, he needs to go back and make sure that the letters in the word match the guess.

  • Reread. Any time the words don't make sense, the child needs to reread to clarify so that he understands what the words say.

These are strategies that parents can also reinforce at home when a child comes to a word that he doesn't know as he reads each night from his book-in-the-bag.

Today the children learned a new song to reinforce the strategies in class. The words are on the chart below with the strategies underlined. It's sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot."

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A Day to Remember!

What a Fun Friday as we brought our study of Mem Fox to a close. The students had been working all week to be ready to share their small group project. In between performances we listened to the real Mem Fox read her stories and played Mem Fox Bingo and even tasted lamington! What a wonderful day!

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Combinations of 10!

Math today is a lot different than the Math we had as kids, but the many manipulative activities built into our curriculum lay the foundation so that we can build many complex concepts in the days to come. This week students were given 10 M&Ms or colored marshmallows or goldfish. They were told that some were red and some were blue. How many could they have of each color? They were looking for combinations of 10. They were encouraged to show their work using pictures, numbers and words. They loved this activity, especially the part when they got to eat the M&M’s, marshmallows or the goldfish at the end. Isn’t this work that looks like fun?!!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Shoes for Grandpa!

Shoes for Grandpa is one of our favorite Mem Fox books. Today each child drew pictures to retell the story of the things that were bought for Jessie. Make sure to ask your child to retell the story! I wonder if anyone will buy Jessie a pair of jeans?

Thursday, 25 September 2008

We all scream for ice cream!

Today's Writers' Workshop lesson included building an ice cream sundae in the same way you build a narrative story. The scoops of ice cream represented the events in the story - the M&Ms represented the characters and the sprinkles were all the details! After the students watched as one student built his sundae while he told his story, the rest of the class were licking their lips! Then it was time for the students to prepare and eat an ice cream sundae of their own. Yum! Yum!