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!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Chet on the go!

Hope you are stopping in with your child to enjoy the adventures of Chet, the Traveling Bear as he travels around the world. He just got back from a trip to Swaziland, Africa with third grade teacher, Ms. Young and it sounds like he had an awesome trip! TD Chet, our class bear, is on his way to Mrs. Banjer's class in Australia. It will take about 2 weeks for him to get there, but that's okay because our Aussie penfriends are on a two week break from school! I'm sure TD Chet will let us know as soon as he gets there! Make sure to stay tuned as he meets our new penfriends from Mem Fox country!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Open House

What an exciting night to invite our families to join us at school! We had a full house! We loved showing off what we have been learning! Thank you for coming and sharing the time with us!

Saturday, 20 September 2008


We are continuing our Author Study of Mem Fox. As we were reading Mem Fox's Possum Magic this week, we discovered many Australian foods that we were not familiar with such as lamingtons, Anzac biscuits and pavlova! So for our Fun Friday Treat we decided to have one of the delicious Australian delights... until we looked at the recipes, which were a little more complex than we had imagined! So... we decided we'd Americanize one of the deserts, Pavlova, which is really a meringue-type dessert with fresh fruit. Our version included a slice of white sponge cake, whipped cream topping with fresh strawberries and blueberries. We discovered that many of our children were eating blueberries for the first time! Some of the children loved them and Chloe even told us about going blueberry picking on a farm last year (we recalled the pattern book that she wrote about the experience), but other children DID NOT LIKE THEM AT ALL! Whether the children liked our version of pavlova or not, the point was to give them some background experience so if they ever come across that word again, they will have a mental image of what it is and what it tastes like and will even remember that it is an Australian dessert. This is the same process we go through with any new vocabulary word although we can't TASTE every new word that we learn! Make sure to ask your child how they enjoyed pavlova as our Fun Friday Treat!

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Does it MATTER?

Matter is anything that takes up space. Matter can be a solid, liquid, or gas. Today during Science Inquiry we explored gases. A gas takes up space and can change size and shape. Gas takes the size and shape of what holds it. You cannot see most gases such as air. Gas is inside balloons so we had a great time today using gas to change the shape of our balloons!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge

We have been reading many of Mem Fox's books in class. Today we read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Not only did Mrs. Timmons and Mrs. Daniels read the book to the class but then they helped the class sequence the events in the story. Your child would really enjoy hearing an oral rendition of this story at home. Make sure to check out this retelling of one of our favorite stories at After you have listened to the story with your child, make sure to ask him/her about the items that we sequenced (an egg, a shell, a medal, a puppet, a football). We have been learning to put "events" in our story, just like Mem Fox. See if your child can remember some of the other books we have read by our Aussie author!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Welcome Mem Fox!

We have began an author study of Mem Fox books. She is an author that lives in Australia! Isn't that cool? First grade is studying Australia as our continent for our theme of "Around the World in 180 Days" and now we have a chance to learn about Australia through an author that writes about her native land. We have learned lots of things about Mem including that her parents were missionaries and lived in Africa when she was little; that she lives in Adelaide, Australia near the Indian Ocean; that she is married and has one daughter, named Chloe (just like the Chloe in our classroom!); and that she uses the experiences in her life to write stories just like we do! If you would like to learn more about Mem Fox, you can go to her amazing website and learn all about her, her books and Australia. You can even listen to her read some of her books! make sure to ask your child about the books we have been reading and which is their favorite. Mem Fox' favorite is Koala Lou!

Writers' Workshop

For the first nine weeks we have been working on narrative writing. We are learning to use events from our own life as the inspiration for our stories. We have been using the pictures of our families and some of the things that we like that were sent in last week to help us think about the things that are important to us and that we know a lot about. Then we are trying to take a small moment and stretch it out. We can't wait to share with you some of the stories that the children are writing!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Science Workshop

This month we are learning about matter - solids, liquids and gases. Did you know that if you blow into a bag that you can catch a gas?

To learn more about matter, we made Jello. We worked out how many cups of water we would need for 4 boxes of Jello by using tally marks. We noted that the delicious smelling powder in the box was a solid but when we added hot water, it turned into a liquid. We even watched as the liquid escaped and turned into steam - a gas - when we used the element of hot water! Finally we put the Jello in the refrigerator to see what the element of cold would do to the liquid! We will take a look tomorrow and have the Jello for snack! Make sure to ask your child what a solid looks like, a liquid and a gas! It's a matter of form!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Meet TD Chet!

We had a surprise in our room today! TD Chet wrote us a letter. He is a stuffed bear from the Traveling Chet family. Some of his cousins live in other classrooms at Chets Creek. TD Chet loves to travel and he wants to travel with some of the families in our classroom. Today Ishaan said he would like to take TD Chet with him and his family to Vancouver and Seattle. Amre said he wanted to take him to the Sudan and Crawford volunteered to take him to Disney World over Christmas! If you would like to take TD Chet with your family, then let the teachers know. Your job will be to take some pictures and write about the adventures that TD and your child enjoy together. To keep up with the adventures of the Chet family, tune in often to Traveling Chet!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

The Class Promise and Book-in-a-bag

The TDs wrote a class promise this year that they read together every single day. It's always interesting to us what first graders think is important. We especially like that this year's class decided to include promising to flush the toilet and wash their hands! We have finally gotten into a routine and hope that the new hurricanes don't knock us off course again! Each child has selected books that are "just right" for them to practice reading in the classroom. This year we are using the nifty red Target bags on the back of our chairs to hold all of our "just right" leveled books. These are the same books that we will bring home to practice in our book-in-a-bag. You should have received a book in a plastic folder each night this week along with a book log and directions for the book-in-a-bag. Research tells us that children that read every night have the best chance of becoming readers. While your child should bring home a different book each night, it is okay if he brings home the same book for several nights in a row because repeated readings of the same book over and over build fluency which helps comprehension. It shouldn't happen often, but if your child happens to forget to bring home a book one night, just choose a book that you have at home for your child to read or that you can read to your child. Happy reading!