Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fun Friday at Camp Raby

Last Friday, we went on a "hike" behind the school to observe animal habitats and types of plants.  To continue our camping theme, this past Friday we took a walk to the butterfly garden and observed types of insects we found there. (We used our "magic binoculars" and went back to class and wrote about our findings.)

We also had a picnic, where we found plenty of insects unintentionally...probably not the best idea I've ever had, but it was fun for a short while:)

For snack, we had "campfire" cookies and sat around the lantern reading camp stories for rest and digest time.

 We also did a sequencing activity on "how to make a S'more".

We've survived the transition to first grade well, made new friends, and had fun learning about each other.  We'll have one more week of "Camping" and I'll let you know this week what our theme for September might be!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Camping Out with Common Core

So I've been a little nervous about pulling the Common Core through my thematic units, but not having a specific pacing guide this year is actually a bit freeing.  This week we are working on story elements and writing about them.  We are also looking at nonfiction and tying it in with science, specifically focusing on the animals we would see if camping.  Here is a glance at some of our projects and literacy in action.

The "hiking legs" project was a Cara Carroll idea.  I read Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping aloud, and we talked about the word "literal",  and how the same phrases in language can be used to express different meanings. Students wrote about their favorite Amelia moments from the story underneath the boots.

This was a small group activity that I downloaded for free on TpT.  It is a camping board game that we used to practice Unit 1 Letterland words.  The game cards are tents and S'mores....way cute and made practicing those word cards a little more fun.
These two drawings are AMAZING...the directions were to identify the characters, setting, conflict, and solution through illustrations of the Harcourt story "The Hat."

This one was just for fun.  Students designed a tent on the very first day of school and described where they would like to camp. They are on display around the mirror in our classroom with the heading "Happy Campers".  We also did a survey on how many class members have actually gone camping.
Two more bulletin in the hall and one in the classroom.  This one says "Hiking to New Goals in AR." The little people above the board are students' representations of themselves.
Last week we also went on a hike on our trail through the woods.  The kiddos thought we were going on a real field trip...they were super excited, even when they realized we were just taking a walk. They made pretend binoculars, got out the field guides, and identified types of plants and trees on the trail, as well as looking out for animal habitats and bugs. (I can't believe I forgot my camera that day.) For literacy centers, we set up tents in the classroom using sheets and read Kevin Henkes' books in honor of the first week of school. Students learned how the mouse stories began and the process through which Henkes creates books.
     Students also made some super cute portfolios to look like sleeping bags, which will hold all of their "camping gear" (work) for parent night next week.  I'm not sure what September's theme is going to be, but it will be hard to leave the campsite.:)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Before and After

     This is my 19th year of teaching, and I can honestly say that I believe this was the best first week yet! My new firsties are responsible, smart, and eager to learn.  This was what my classroom looked like before....

and this is what it looked like AFTER my new kiddos arrived in their sparkling new shoes....

(The sticks and rocks in the middle made up our "campfire" and went along with our opening theme of CAMPING.) I just love their colorful little feet:)

     On the first day, we read The Kissing Hand and ate kissing hand cookies made by me the night before school started. I am always such a bundle of nerves the night before that first day, that I can't sleep.  So I make cookies...(and I eat chocolate...lots and lots of chocolate:)

I feel so fortunate to have such a sweet class this year, and supportive parents who turned in 100% of the paperwork and supplied us with lots of extra "stuff" for our class.  I'm excited about a great year and look forward to posting lots of photos here.