Monday, April 30, 2012

Catch up on the Countdown!

It has been one C-R-A-Z-Y week!  What happened to me trying to post everyday???  This past week I had a graduate project due, I am teaching an enrichment class after school, our spring concert was Thursday night (which was fabulous - BTW) and my son's jr. prom was this weekend.  Whew!  I think the craziness is over but I begin a new class this week that already has tons of reading.... I'm not whining (ok, maybe just a little).  Here was a little bit (actually A LOT) of our days last week:

Last Friday was BUBBLE day!  I bought all my students their own bottle of bubbles.  We read this adorable book about a baby that gets trapped in a bubble and floats around town with everyone trying to catch him.

What a great writing prompt... What would you do if you were trapped in a bubble?  I don't have any pictures of their creativeness but I do have a picture of all of our bubble fun!  It was such a beautiful day!

We had a few large bubble wands that the kids took turns with making HUGE bubbles.  Not necessarily big enough to trap a first grader but pretty big! :)

I couldn't resist this picture.  This little guy is being bombarded with bunches of bubbles!!! 

Monday we planned a ton of Earth Day activities. We read tons of books and talked about what we can do to protect the Earth.  One of the activities was from Fun 2B in First.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of how they turned out, but let's just say Super Cute! As a culminating project, my students planted marigolds. I bought all my kids little clay pots at the Dollar Tree and they decorated them with paint pens.  Again, (do you see a theme here?) I didn't get pictures of us planting them but I do have a picture of their finished product.  We will be watering them and watching them grow for the next several weeks.  They will get to take them home around Mother's Day.

Tuesday was EXTRA RECESS!  Tuesday was supposed to be a different activity... but last minute my principal wanted our first grade team to attend a workshop about transitioning to the Common Core Standards.  So I moved Friday's activity to Tuesday since it could be done with my sub.  Since I wasn't there, I didn't get any pictures... but I'm sure they had an awesome time!

Wednesday was Picnic in the Classroom!  My kids were so excited.  What is so exciting about eating your school lunch in the classroom?  Let's just say we didn't eat much but enjoyed each other's company.  To set off our Picnic Theme we read the book Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg.  It is one of my FAVORITE books.

What is so great about this book, is that is it written from the ants perspective so the wall is a mountain, the grass is the forest, coffee is referred to as a hot brown boiling lake.  I love having the kids tell me what the ants are actually describing.  The pictures help them with the clues.  I wanted this to turn into a writing activity but we just didn't have time.  I may revisit this book later this week and have them write as if they are an ant and describe what is happening from an ant's point of view.  We will see what happens... and I will update my post if I do.  Here is a little sneak into our classroom picnic:

Yes!  We had bananas for lunch!  Hello?  Is Orange calling?


The reason why we didn't get to our writing activity is because our Ant Book inspired an edible project.  Have you ever made edible ant hills before???  They are delicious and fun to make!  Here's how:

Start with clear cups and 2 snack packs of chocolate pudding.  Spoon it into the bottom of the cup.  This is the dirt!

Next, smash up a whole graham cracker.  You could use graham cracker crumbs, but I found the kids like to do their own smooshing (is that a word?)  

Place the crumbs on top of the pudding in a heap if possible.  This is your ant hill.  WAIT - we are not done!  You can't have an ant hill without ants, so...

Add some chocolate chips and you've now created an edible ant hill!  

Here are a few pictures of our work in action!

Let's just say I never knew how hard it was to open a pudding cup!

We even had some teamwork going on!

Yummy!!  It was delicious!

Thursday was BEACH DAY!  Yep!  We wore beach attire (sunglasses and all), had a bit of a luau theme in  our classroom and brought our beach towels ready to soak up the sun!  We began by sharing our experiences of the beach... very few have ever been to the beach or have seen the ocean so it was fun listening to what they knew first hand.  Then we read a few books about the beach and the ocean.  I love the book Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

We also read some non-fiction picture books about the beach and other sea creatures.  After reading and talking about all of the things we could see at the beach, my kiddos created their own ocean scenes.  I gave them light blue construction paper and they made an underwater ocean scene - some included the beach and wrote about "What I see at the sea..."  A great way to sneak in a little homophone review.   But guess what?  I didn't get any snapshots of their pictures or their writing.  I did however, manage to snap some pictures of us reading on the beach... well, at least we tried to pretend.  There wasn't much sand between our toes, but we definitely soaked in some sun!

Buddy Reading outside is even better!

From soaking up all those rays, we had to have a cool beach drink.  So I picked up some cups, little umbrellas and some Hawaiian Punch to cool us down when we came back inside.  


We have finally made it to FRIDAY!  It was Donut Day!  You would have thought we were going to Disneyland!  I never realized how much kids like love donuts!  I'm sure everyone can guess what book we read to celebrate donut day.... If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff.  

So my activity today was ... If you give a first grader a donut...!  Here are some pictures of  "the best day ever" as many of them told me. 

If you made it to the end of this post... WOW!  I just have to say thanks.  I will try to post a little bit at a time as we go forward this week.  I am going to PBS training on Thursday and Friday (I hate being out of the classroom during these last few weeks).  But I'm very excited that our school is initiating this School Wide Behavior Initiative next year.  We are also in the middle of our assessments this week. Busy, busy!  I know you are too.  I just want to say thank you to everyone who comments and I love to hear what you have to say!  13 more days left! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Countdown Begins...

I can't believe we only have 22 days of school left!  Well, as of Tuesday.  Every year I do an activity that I call Balloon Pop Countdown.  Depending on the number of students I have - determines how many balloons I fill and what number I begin counting down the days.  This year I have 22 students so we began this week.  I hung 22 balloons from the ceiling filled with slips of paper that have some sort of special activity on it.

The kids are SO excited to see all the balloons in our room... but the best part is each student gets to POP a balloon to help us count down our last days of school.  At the end of each day, I pick a stick and that student gets to pop our next balloon to tell us what tomorrow has in store for us.  Here is a close up of one of our balloons.  See the slip of paper inside?

So what did day 22 have in store for us?  It was BUBBLE GUM DAY!  I bought a HUGE tub of bubble gum - enough for the kids to have 4 pieces that we spread throughout the day.  It wasn't just about chewing gum but there was much more in store.  First, we read about how bubble gum was invented.  Here is the book we read:

Then we read the book "Lester Fizz, Bubble Gum Artist" by Ruth Spiro.
This book is about a boy who grows up in a family of artists.  Lester doesn't seem to be good at anything.  Members of his family can paint, collect, make sculptures... but Lester is good at blowing bubbles.  He finds out that he can blow amazing art bubbles the shapes of things like the Mona Lisa, the Statue of Liberty or a portrait of his whole family!  This book is not only adorable but it uses a lot of alliteration that you can touch on throughout the book.  After reading this story, students had to think about what would they make if they could blow a magnificent art bubble?  Just look at what they came up with:

I took a picture of each student like they were blowing a bubble and then they used pink construction paper to design their bubble after writing about it!  I thought they turned out super cute!

If you would like a copy of our writing paper, please grab your copy here:

We have a bunch of days planned with lots of fun activities.  I will be posting them (hopefully) every day or every other day as I get pictures uploaded.  My students look forward to what tomorrow has in store and the activities help to "curb" the last day blues.  

I would also like to add that Charity Preston over at The Organized Classroom Blog has encouraged bloggers to take the 5 Star Blogger Challenge!  Are you up to the challenge?  Go check it out! 

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