Tuesday, December 18, 2012

J.S.G's Tech Corner - ipad Demo

Welcome to a new series, J.S.G's Tech Corner.

Today J. is going to demo one of the new McDole ipads. These devices were purchased with students in mind. They will soon be bursting with apps that enrich our academic day. 

I added a password to this video so that it is not viewable on the site I used to convert the video. The password is: school

Here are J.'s thoughts:

JSG's IPad Review from Whimsical Perspective on Vimeo.

After J. finished filming and the not-so-tech-savvy teacher finally figured out how to load it to the computer, we showed it to the class.

Look forward to hearing more about these new devises after Winter Break. Our class will start using them frequently.

In addition, I have extended the invitation to all of the students to participate in our class blog. I asked them to think of their strengths and how to use them to help inform others of academic happenings within our school day. I encouraged them to think outside the box. Anything could be possible. Please discuss this with your child and let me know if any ideas come out of your discussions.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Season of Giving

Has your child talked about the gifts under our (sad, sad) classroom tree?

They sure are talking about them here!

Underneath our (sad, sad) classroom tree are 23 wrapped packages. Can you guess what is in them?

That is right! Books!

Each day a couple of students get to pick a package to open for our classroom library. If you would like to donate a new, wrapped book to our classroom library, please send it in with your child. We will place it under the tree.
If you are wondering if there is anything else our class is in need of, check out our new "Wish List" section at the top of the blog.

Also, look for an important Holiday announcement to come home today.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Writing with Dr. Walther

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving Break. I am really enjoying the pictures that have been sent in. 

More on that later.

Now, a photo journey through our time with Dr. Walther:

It all started with a meeting in the LRC. The students were introduced to Dr. Walther. She talked with them about thinking and reading as writers. Then she read them a story. They stopped periodically to discuss text features. They learned about "footprints" (an ellipse) that lead you to the next page. The students also learned about gathering what they enjoy from other authors and incorporating it into their own stories.
 Then they moved to the tables and began to write their own books. The visiting teachers were able to observe and discuss with the students.
 When writing time concluded, the students gathered at the carpet with Dr. Walther. Each student was able to give a brief idea of what they were writing about. They will all be shared in our classroom this week. We are still working. :)
 She concluded the lesson with a gallery showing of their favorite illustration.

Oh, by the way... they did all of this with 25 teachers watching, whispering and writing. I can't express how proud I am.
We are having a wonderful year.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

From the Gym to the Classroom

Our class is learning how to juggle. We love to juggle. Mr. Drendel is teaching us how to become great jugglers.
We hope to show you how we juggle.
We have been practicing a lot.

Here are the steps you will use to learn how to juggle.

1. First, take the green scarf and grab it with your fingers. Then, pinch the pink scarf using your thumb and pointer finger.

 2. Next, move your arm in a small circle, inside your body.
 3. Now, let go of the pinched scarf.

4.  Then, you let go of the scarf that you have gripped.

5. Finally...keep going!

Mr. Drendel has been working hard at showing the students how to follow directions. So we have turned it into a "How-To" story.

But before we could write... we had to practice. :)

*This post was written by our 1st grade class. We talked about steps in directions, "how-to's" and transitions words. :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A New Game: Find'ems

Looking for a fun learning game at home?

Look no more! Find'ems is coming home in the backpacks today!

Here is the prep:
1. Cut out all of the letter cards.
2. Cut out the 1st Grade Focus Flash Cards
3. Prepare a clean table top

How to play:
1. Spread the letter cards onto the table top.
2. Flip them all over so that you can not see the letters.

3. Then have everyone place their hands on their heads.
4. One person grabs a Focus Flash Card and reads the word.
5. Then say "go" and everyone frantically starts to flip over the letters until they find what they need to make the word.
6. The first person with the word spelled correctly will stop the game by saying the word out loud.
7. This person gets a point and the games continues in this way.

I hope you have a chance to play this game. Please send pictures of the kids playing. I would love to make a home-to-school connection.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Words, Words and More Words

There are a lot of words to learn in first grade. It can be tricky to keep it all in order. Here is your guide to all of our words.

1. First Grade Focus Words - The Kaneland School District has adopted a list of 23 words that your child need to be able to read and write by the end of 1st grade. I will be assessing students randomly throughout the year. Please see Konnect for a list of these words. We refer to them as our Blue Sight Words because they are blue on our word wall.

2. Word Wall Words - This is a board in our room that we use to help us categorize tricky words. We begin our year with our 23 focus words on the board. Then we add other tricky sight words and words pulled from their writing.  These are not words that I expect your child to be spelling independently at home. However, they should be spelling them correctly in class because they are clearly visible on the board. They should be able to read all of these words correctly without hesitation. These words come home weekly on flashcards.

3. Dolch Words - This is a research based list of words that we use to help the student gain exposure to many different sight words. They can practice these during read to self and should be practicing them at home. I will test them once a week to see if they move on to the next list. I hope that all students pass all lists by the end of the year. They do not have to spell these words, just read them.

Hope that helps! :)