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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 16- It finally happened!!

I have never been so happy to see clouds in my life! No, it didn't rain, but that's OK. My students didn't care about the lack of rain, they were too excited. Today... the first day since school started 3 weeks ago... WE GOT TO CHANGE OUR WEATHER CARD! You read that right! Today we finally got to change the weather from sunny to... cloudy!
I wish you could have been here to see the looks of joy on the kids' faces. And then... they realized that the entire board gets changed tomorrow for the beginning of September. Well, Hallelujah! Something to look forward to! Actually, it is pretty cool. We are going to add a special segment to our calendar time. Shhh, it's a surprise! The kids will find out about it tomorrow.

So, aside from us getting to change our calendar card, what else was happening in General Delk's Army? Quite a bit actually.

In Reading we used If You Gave a Mouse a Cookie to work on our questioning skills.
 For the sake of the lesson, the students turned themselves into whiny 2 year olds so they could practice asking one question: Why?
We read through the book once, many of the kids had already heard it from kindergarten, then we flipped to the back and read it backwards; all while asking the question "Why?" The entire lesson was a chorus of children asking "Why?" in their most whiny voice, then having to answer their questions with a "Because" statement. Today we were focusing on questions words and sequencing, but we will visit this book again later in the year to extend our understanding to Cause and Effect situations.

Here is the chart of Why questions we created by going  backwards in the book. The Because statements were verbal, I didn't have room to write them down.

Skipping ahead to writing, this week we are working on Organization. We are doing 6 Traits Writing this year. The first trait was Ideas, where we came up with a list of different topics that interest the kids and they are confident in writing about. This week we combined their Ideas and added Organization: being able to put their thoughts in order.
We started by looking at our schedule. I pointed out that our day has a certain order we follow, we follow recipes, directions to go somewhere, there are LOT of things that need order!
Today we taught someone how to do an activity most people take for granted; putting on chap stick.

It sounds easy, right? Not so much. The lesson went like this: I told my students that I found this tube thing in my child's backpack at home and didn't know what it was. I thought that since my students were so smart, maybe they could help me figure it out.

My students, being oh so helpful, agreed to walk me though the process. One child told me that all I had to do was put it on my lips and it would make me beautiful! Oh happy day! As a mother of 3, I need something that is just that fast and easy! So, I put it on my lips.

Ummm... not so pretty. Then the kids realized that it's more than just "putting it on". We then walked step-by-step how to out on chap stick. Unfortunately I didn't have my video camera out for the lesson. Believe me it was great! We came up with 8 steps for putting on chap stick. Here's me finally getting it right. Kind of.
Once the kids realized that easy things take more than one step, we took it to the next level. Baking. As a class we charted the process of making a PB&J sandwich. It's harder than you might think! I told the kids that I was in charge of packing my son's lunch tomorrow and I needed to know how to make the sandwich and pack it up properly. They were very thorough.

Once we made our extensive list, we shrunk it to 8 simple steps, rewrote it, and illustrated it.

They got to start working before we started to pack up. Their homework is to finish it at home and walk a parent through the steps of making a wonderful PB&J.

Thanks for all your help, Soldiers!

Our Daily Brain

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 15- It was fun while it lasted

It seems only fitting that after a wonderful day yesterday that we come back down to earth today. I guess we decided to have a typical "Monday" today instead of yesterday.

In reading we used a fictional text to practice our questioning skills. I chose The Frog Prince Continued because it is one of my favorite books to read aloud. It has great characters and the kids can see that stories don't always end with Happily Ever After.
After reading, I introduced the 5 Finger Retell strategy. I was pleased to see that many  of my kids were already familiar with it. 
In the 5 Finger Retell, the thumb represents "Who". I tell my kids to remember the Where is Thumb-kin song. Thumb-kin is a character- so we look at characters for our thumb!
Pointer finger- we use our pointer to show someone where to go. So, the pointer finger represents "where"; the story's setting.
Middle finger- the kids went crazy over this finger. I explained that, yes, this was not a good finger to show off to others. The middle finger represents the "Problem" in the story- because it would be a problem if a student was showing it off!
Ring finger- the ring finger is a special finger. It gets to be decorated and decorations make people happy! So, the ring finger represents the "Solution"; how the problem gets solved.
Pinkie finger- that's the "End"! There are no more fingers, so the pinkie tells the end of the story.

So, using the 5 Finger Retell, and our question words, we retold the story and charted it.

Skipping straight to science- we worked on plants again. We started by reading The Tiny Seed as a class on the carpet. Seed is one of our vocabulary words for this chapter. After we read the book we discussed the different things that a seed might turn into. From there we went to our seats to do a vocabulary preview.

 I made a fabulous power point to introduce our science vocabulary for this chapter. Some of the vocabulary words are parts of the pant, which we updated today. 

I wish I could download the power point to this site, but I have no idea how it would be done. I can give you the vocabulary words:
Cone- the part of the pine tree where seeds grow
Flower- the part of the plant that makes the seeds
Leaves- parts of the plant that make food for the plant
Life Cycle- the order of changes that happen in the lifetime of a living thing. 
*My students know that all living things do 4 things in their lives: 1. Grow 2. Change 3. Reproduce 4. Die 
It sounds simplistic, but the kids can understand it!
Roots- parts of the plant that take in water form the ground
Seed- the part of the plant that has a new plant inside it
Seedling- a young plant
Spines- sharp points on a cactus
Stem- part of the plant that connects the roots to the other plants

* Home connection- make flash cards with the vocabulary words! I "quiz" the kids over the terms every day before we start the new lesson. The more they know, the more tickets they can earn!
Also, have the kids go outside and see how many examples of the vocabulary words they can find.

I'm thinking a nature walk might be necessary tomorrow or Thursday to see if we can collect any vocabulary words.

Our Daily Brain

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 14- the video

Here is the video of us magically being turned into flowers! Enjoy!

Day 14- "I had fun at school today."

Once again we started the week on a high note. The week is fresh; new poems, new stories, new activities. It might be the chocolate I just ate, but I love Mondays.

Today we started with a new poem. It's called "5 Little Apples". It's like the poem "5 Green and Speckled Frogs" or "5 Little Monkeys"- it's a poem that starts at 5 and slowly goes down to 1. We worked on fluency as well as recognizing number words.

After we introduced the poem, we looked at "I Saw It" and watched the video of Mr. Evans reading A Color of His Own. I had a few students tell me that they already heard Mr. Evans reading it to them over the weekend! Yea!

In reading we are still working on using ABC books. We have moved past using them as informational texts and have started using them as ways to begin questioning. We didn't use a story today, we used a picture that Common Core Curriculum (what Hamilton County has adopted) wanted us to use to start our brains thinking about questions. The picture is called Children's Games by Pieter Brueghel.

We started by making a list of question words that we know. That took a while. The kids are so used to asking questions that they don't even realize it! I would prompt them by saying things like,
"How would you ask me when we go to lunch?" 
And a student would reply, "When are we going to lunch?"
"OK, what was the first word you just said?"
"That's right! When is a question word that is asking about time!"

We went through a few more prompts until we had a good collection of question words. From there, I had the students put on their thinking faces and look at the picture while thinking of questions they would like to ask about it- using question words from the chart. Here are our questions.

For the word "Can" a student was wanting to ask one of the characters in the painting if he could flip.
For "Where" I had the kids take a quick poll of who thought it was set in the country and who thought it was in the city. One student replied that, "It has to be the country because no one in the city would dress that way." That comment prompted our "When" discussion, and we decided that the picture had to be made in the past.

The best discussion came from asking "Who" was in the painting. When I let the kids have a closer look, they saw that the characters in the painting looked more like adults than children. That confused the kids a little and prompted the "Why" question of why adults would be playing with children's toys. The same student raised her hand and said, "If they're in the country, maybe there's nothing else to do." What a brilliant mind. :)

To extend our lesson, we made a list of games that children like to play now.

I then told my students to choose an activity from the board and illustrate someone, or a group of someones, doing that activity. The end result will be all of their activities together in one picture for a modern version of the painting. I'll let you know how it turns out.

In math our lesson was on ordering three numbers. We used our number cards and practiced putting numbers in order from least to greatest, then from greatest to least. * This would be an easy activity to do with a pack of cards at home. Choose 3 cards, not face cards, and practice putting them in order.

In science we are moving on from categorizing living and nonliving things and are focusing on plants and their needs. Today we played a game called Science Questions for Tickets! I asked the students questions about the previous unit and their team got tickets for every right answer! It's amazing what kids will remember when a ticket is on the line.
After the game, we working on learning the parts of a flower. We started by making sure the students were familiar with the song Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.

After practicing, and wiggling, we turned ourselves into flowers. Our heads turned into the flower. Our arms turned into leaves, our legs into stems, and our toes into roots. Tomorrow we will focus on learning the jobs of each part, but for today just the parts were enough.

I will put the video of us as flowers in another post. :)
I know that by Friday our minds will be mush and we'll be ready for the weekend, but I'm glad that we seem to be having marvelous Mondays!

p.s. At the very end of the day, after I had taken the car riders to the cafeteria, one of my little soldiers looked at me and said, "Mrs. Delk, I had fun today." I gotta admit, that made me smile. :)

Our Daily Brain

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Celebrity Story Saturday 2

Today's celebrity is the ONE, the ONLY.... Mr. Evans!
This Clifton Hills' third year with Mr. Evans as its Principal. He jumped at the chance to be our Celebrity for today!

I told Mr. Evans that we had been using a poem in class as our fluency piece, and the poem was all about different colored animals. To follow in that theme, Mr. Evans read A Color Of His Own; a story about an animal that constantly changes color and doesn't have one of his own. Can you guess which animal that is?

Thank you Mr. Evans!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 13- It's Friday!!

On Fridays there is a collective sigh from both the students and the teachers; just one more day till freedom! Both groups know it's not a day for play, serious work gets done, but the weekend makes a week of work worth it all.

Today, after PE, we had a fire drill. I am happy to report that all of my soldiers were brave and well behaved. They followed commands (stay in line, no talking) and everyone earned tickets for a job well done.

When we got back in, we started testing for Fountas & Pinnell. Fountas & Pinnell is Hamilton County's new reading/ testing program.

Each student is tested on sight words, and from those words the teachers can start testing reading skills on the student's individual level. The only problem I'm finding is that the room has to be QUIET while each student is testing. Do you know how hard it is to have 17 six year-olds in one room and have them be quiet?OK, as hard as you're thinking it is... multiply it by 10. 

Here is what I had them working on:

 We reviewed Carnivore, herbivore and omnivore, and I gave them a writing prompt.(the pictures next to each type of eater is a set of teeth. Carnivores have sharp teeth, herbivores- flat, omnivores- both)
The students were to fill in the blanks and create a matching picture. When they got done, I had a stack of books on their tables for them to be looking at/ reading until testing was done for the day.
Over all, they weren't too terrible. Minimal talking, good focus and great art work. Here is a sample of the level of artists I have:
 On the back, this student wrote about another animal; the penguin.
A penguin is a carnivore and they eat fish. They are white and black. And they live in the ice. And they like to swim in the water. And they like to play. And they have a family. And sister. And brother and dad and mom. And they sleep in the water. I like the animals.

 This one had to be my personal favorite because the student thought to add the blood dripping from the lion's mouth. On the back, the student wrote:  
1. A lion is eating a zebra. He is eating the blood. 2. A deer is eating the plant. 3. A bear is eating a fish. 4. All the things are eating food.
I know you're impressed! (I did fix their spelling when I typed it, but look at how imaginative they are!) This shows me that they are paying attention and learning. I can't ask for nay more than that.

In math we worked more on greater than and less than. We used unifix cubes to show different numbers. I see us using a lot of manipulatives next week.

Our Daily Brain

I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to our 5th grade students! Ms. Corbett's class has been working on learning the different levels and branches of government and they shared their work in the hallway. Great job, 5th graders!!

p.s. Don't forget to check the blog tomorrow! There's a new celebrity just waiting to get to read to you!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 12- Say Cheese!

I never realized what photogenic students I have until today. The little models took direction so well!
Today we took pictures to go with our Guide to Clifton Hills. The kids were excited to be in the pictures and I think they are going to be surprised at how well it turns out. Here is just a sample...

 E: Everyday have your folder and homework.

 R: Be Responsible for your things.

G: General Delk is the meanest teacher at Clifton Hills.

Would you believe that my students don't think I'm mean?! The nerve! I had to tell them to look scared to get this picture. I'll never understand my children. :)

Getting pictures took us all over the school. The only pictures we couldn't get were ones during specials. I didn't want us to interfere with the classes they were with. We'll get them tomorrow during our specials time.

Once we settled back down, we made a literary connection to our Guide, by reading Officer Buckle and Gloria.

It's about an Officer and his trusty side-kick Gloria the dog. They go around to different schools and give their safety speech, and in the end they come up with their best safety tip: Safety Tip #101: Always Stick With Your Buddy!

Officer Buckle and Gloria gave tips for their schools, and we are writing tips for ours! Now if we could only find a dog that can do back- flips.

In math today we started the next unit. It's about comparing numbers; recognizing greater than and less than. (>, <) Our math terms for this unit are More, Less Than, and Greater. We did the introduction to the lesson, did some sample problems, and learned how to play the game included in the unit. ( I sent the game board home- have fun!)
To introduce the unit I told my students about my "pet alligator" that I had brought with me to school. I explained that my pet alligator was not a carnivore, it is a Numbervore! All it eats is big numbers! (I put my hands together to look like an alligator mouth. The kids were impressed.) They had fun feeding the alligator some big numbers.
*Check out this fun video that shows more about greater and less than!

Interested in a little chant? Here you go!

Alligator, Alligator,
which one will you eat?
The biggest one, the greatest one,
It will be so sweet!

* More fun for home: playing a game of war with a deck of cards is a great way to teach the kids about greater than and less than. The person with the card that is worth more (is greater) wins!

From math to science. We reviewed living and nonliving things, what living things need to live, and what living things can do. Then we had a little fun. We combined science and art. Each team received pieces of white copy paper, 2 magazines, glue and scissors. Everyone was told to find living and nonliving things in the magazines and cut and paste them on their paper in the proper column.

You would not believe how well they worked together! They shared the magazines with no problems, no big messes with glue, and they managed to stay at a soft voice volume the whole time! I gave each team tickets in their baggies for their great work. (the tickets can turn into Cub Cash at the end of the week) Great job, Soldiers! After we worked, we discussed what they found and we made a fabulous chart.

I'm thinking a nature walk tomorrow might be in order to see and document all the living and nonliving things in our school environment. Here's hoping the weather cooperates!

I'll leave you with one more fun math chant:

Our Daily Brain

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 11- It's finished!! Well, the words are....

Our major accomplishment today was finishing our ABC informational text titled General Delk's Guide to Clifton Hills. My soldiers thought of 26 different tips and rules for CHES. Tomorrow we start taking pictures to match the words. When our book is done we will discuss differences between fiction and nonfiction books; and how we can tell the difference between the two.
Here are our tips and rules:

Poetry was up next. We read a new poem titled I Saw It, about different animals. It also had color words, which of course we picked out and created a chart for. The kids pointed our that there were two things listed in the poem: animals and colors. I praised them for being so smart to realize that. :)

We did add some color words that were not in the poem, and we did leave off the color 'white'. I'll make sure we add it tomorrow.

We had our first math  test today, and I think it went pretty well. In fact, they were EXCITED about it! They cheered when I told them it was time for math! I could tell that their hard work at school and at home really paid off. My goal is to have the tests graded and going home with them by Friday. After the test, the kids got to play the math game that was included in their math workbooks. I let them take it home today.

Now, my favorite part of the! We stared the year classifying animals, now we are talking about living and nonliving things.

You might be wondering why we didn't start with classifying living and nonliving at the beginning of the year, and my answer is this... the first grade teachers got together and realized that most of the ABC books we were using in reading revolved around animals. It was the best way we could figure to combine both subjects, and it was interesting to the students. Now that the students are in the groove of school, and ready to make more connections, we can build on some basic science foundations; animals are living things. Check out the chart we made today:

We found that living things are basically separated into 2 groups: plants and animals. We already know how animals are classified, so we should be able to move on to plants fairly easily. Tomorrow we are going to take what we know about living and nonliving things and turn it into a writing prompt. I'm excited to see what my students will write about!

Our Daily Brain