Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oreo Moons+Halloween Unit

Whew-So, I guess not posting in a week means that I have a lot to post about now?  School has  been crazy busy-I am sure you all feel the same way! This week, I decided to try out a few new things!  First of all, I decided that with my group this year, I needed to do MUCH MORE informal assessment to make sure that they were with me and listening!  I decided to try using questions and having the students respond with hand signals.  I like it!  I can immediately tell who gets it, and who is sleeping with their eyes open!  I am also continuing to use the whole brain teaching strategy of TEACH-OK.  It is a wonderful way of giving the lower students reinforcement, and the higher students a chance to explain their thinking! 

*By the way-does anyone else feel like they have to put on a circus act somedays?*  Luckily though, while my job is a challenge, my kids are sweetie pies this year, and I love being around them!

On to another topic:  Moon OREOS!  I took this activity from the home grown leaners blog.  It was so much fun and the kids ate it up-literally:)  The activity asked for the kids to carve the phases of the moon into the creme of the oreo.  They were definitely into it, and were using words like "waxing", "waning", "gibbous", and "crescent".  Woo Hoo!

You can totally see the phases of the moon in this kids!  He did a good job scraping!!

Had to post this-please notice the boy in the middle.  I mean, I am so happy that he was that excited about learning!
In my last post, I included the moon journal that we will be using.  It is a free download, so go get it HERE.

OK ALMOST DONE!  I have made a Halloween Writing Unit that I am selling on TPT.  It will be a week long writing unit, and will teach kids how to write a descriptive narrative.  It is super fun, and I can't wait to use it!  And-best of all, it is only $3.50!  Check is out here-Halloween Writing Unit

Have a FABULOUS week!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moon Journals

This week, we are going to start studying the moon!  I have found so many cute resources while perusing blogs, including this FREE OREO moon lesson, that I totally plan on using.  I found it at Homegrown Learners.  I love using food to teach!!  Yum!!

After two years of suffering through moon journals, I have decided it is time for a change!  I was not providing my kids with enough structure and information to do the moon journal, and actually learn from it.  It turned into a waste of time, because I didn't help them organize their drawings.  Blechh.  I am sad for the two groups of students that have already left me with a less than perfect moon journal experience, but I am hoping this year to step up the game a little!  I made this moon journal template that you can download for FREE! 

My Moon Journal

Saturday, September 17, 2011

M&M Math

On Friday, we had a yummy math lesson, plus some addition, comparing numbers, and graphing!  The kids loved it, and it was a great change of pace from our usual math lesson.  I definitely love using lessons that require them to think about more than one math topic!  Here are a few pics of us in action!

Here is the worksheet to go along with the activity:)  It is super basic, and not as cutesy as I would like, but it did the job!  The M&Ms were enough of a distraction to keep the kids interested!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thank you Donors Choose!!

Thanks to Donors Choose, our class has received a brand new set of listening center books!!  Hooray!!  I am so excited about this, and so are my kids!!  If you don't know about Donor's Choose, please go check out their website.  It is a fabulous resource for teachers, and has helped me so much in my classroom already!  Here are some pictures of my kids with their new books:

Some of the kids with one of the new book sets:)

All of the students are holding one of the 8 new book sets from our Donors!

And again.....just can't get enough of these sweet faces!!

We wrote friendly letters to thank our generous donators!
Also, right now, Sonic is holding it's annual Limeades for Learning competition.  I am sure most of you already know, but in case you didn't.....Sonic will fund the projects that receive the most votes on the Limeades for Learning website.  Please take a second to check it out and vote!  My project is aimed at getting a NOOK color for my classroom:)  Here is the link to my project:

Mrs. Newman's "Bringing Words to Life with a NOOK Color" Project

If that link doesn't take you there, type in "Bringing Words to Life with a NOOK Color", and my project will appear.  It is TOTALLY FREE to vote!!  And hey, even if you aren't hyped about my project, vote for someone's!!  It is a great cause and all votes are appreciated!!

Happy Monday All!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Whole Brain Teaching

Here we go!  We are about 3 weeks into the new school year, and I have quickly realized (again) that the learning strategies that make work really well with one class will not work at all with another.  Rats!  If only our job were that easy!  This year, I am a really energetic, busy group of kids.  Completely opposite from my quiet group last year!  These little learners LOVE to talk.  All the time.  All day.  Every day.  So, it's time to change how I am teaching!  They aren't going to take in the information like my kids last year, so I don't need to give them information that way.

Introducing:  Whole Brain Teaching.  I have used elements of whole brain teaching in my classroom management since last year, but I have not used the instructional elements to their full potential.  I am most specifically focusing on the strategy of "Teach OK", where I teach the kids a concept, then they teach each other the concept.  It incorporates so many levels of thinking!  Here is an example of one way I have used the Teach OK strategy:

Me:  Class!
Students:  Yes!
Me:  Gestures! (Students lift their hands to imitate my movements like a mirror image)  Today we are going to learn to order numbers, putting them in order from least to greatest, or greatest to least, by stacking them.  (Throughout this statement, I move my hands to show meaning of the words.  Small for least, then spread my arms for greatest, and for stacking I may pretend to make a stack with my hands.)
Students:  (Imitate teachers hand movements.)
Teacher:  XXTeach!
Students:  XX OK!  (Students turn to their pre assigned partners and re-teach the concept to them, by using gestures that they just learned.) 
Teacher:  Classity Class!
Students:  Yessity Yes!
Teacher:  (Begins next lesson)

Since this is a little confusing, take a look that this 1st grade teacher using some of the whole brain teaching concepts:

All things whole brain teaching can be seen/found on Chris Biffle's website.  Registration is free, so check it out!

Whole Brain Teaching

Here are a few pictures of my students using the Teach OK strategy to determine different ways to make the same amount of money:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Science in Action!! (and a baby shower!!)

Hooray for making it through the first couple of weeks of school!  These poor kids have had a rocky start with the hurricane coming through!  Today, we did our first science experiment of the year.  The kids were examining light by shining flashlights on the floor, ceiling, and mirrors.  They learned that light is either reflected or absorbed.  Fun, huh?!  They loved it, and a few of them came up with the word "reflection" before I even got around to it!  Here are a few pics of us in action:

Also, as a non-school related side note, we had a baby shower today at school!  Hooray!  I love showers!  So, I decided to get a little crafty in coming up with the gift.  This candy themed basket is loaded with burp cloths, washcloths, mittens, socks, and a gift card:)

Here is the view of the whole sweet treat basket:)

Cupcakes and Candy!

I added this note so that she would know what she had!

It was such a blast to make this!!  I have to give a shout out to the blog where I got the idea:  Cute as a Fox Creations!  I mean, WOW!!  The ideas on the blog are amazing, and totally step by step!!  Happy Rest of the week everyone!!