Monday, November 30, 2015

Snow Day in SoCal

Ok. Not really - but we can dream, right? My students have been busy writing about catching snowflakes on their tongues. We're focusing on using excellent descriptive words to convey a feeling. Writing is still in process but the Art Part? Done!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Collaborative Writing

We are winding up our Native American study with a little lesson in staying On Topic. When we try to really narrow our focus - well - the struggle is REAL, y'all! So we located off topic sentences in writing and now we are working together, using our own research, to create a paragraph that intentionally includes one off topic sentence. Then, I'll be making copies of all these papers and will distribute them so we can work to find our friend's off topic sentence! When we write our final research paper I know I won't have any off topic sentences! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What's the Code?

Are you doing an hour of Code? My kids are using and are LOVING learning about coding! They worked collaboratively to construct and solve problems and were masters by the end!

Math and Art

The students had so much fun using what they know about shapes and geometry to complete these drawings:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

gobble, gobble, Thinking Maps, gobble gobble

Have I mentioned lately how much I love Thinking Maps? 
Check out this adorable Brace Map to make a turkey puppet...

Not Teaching Related...

But seriously...
Run to Costco! 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


We just finished our Two Schools, One Book book, Jack.  My students loved it! We did our final Read, Sketch and Write today and then we followed it up with a quick Thinking Map about Jack. 

Using the Bubble Map we really got to see how Jack's character changes throughout the book. After all, can't we all be kind and a little unkind, too?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Thinking about Math Thinking

I LOVE journals. I use them across content and find them so handy at conferences. Assessing them is easy too - I just take a table group's bin home and assess one group at a time. 

I especially love our math journals. Our math journals are such an important time of our math block. My students really enjoy brainstorming and collaborating about ways to explain their math thinking. At first, the journals were heavily scaffolded for my students - but keeping the routine and the set up similar throughout the year  helped to foster their independence. Now they are masters at explaining their math thinking!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thinking Maps

I love when the opportunity to use Thinking Maps pops up organically in my class. They really do help my students organize their thinking and they refer back to them so often as they write and discuss content!

Do the Impossible!

Veterans Day

Veterans Day. What a great opportunity to teach our students about service - in many forms - and to practice kindness and gratitude for the generosity of spirit and bravery demonstrated by so many before us. 

It's also a time for me to remember my dad, not only as a loving, giving, amazing example of paternal selflessness and caring - but as a brave veteran. 

My dad is a fine example of finding your passion early and finding a career to match that passion. When he was a young boy he built model airplanes and was fascinated by flight. He carried that through the service as a Navy pilot and then after as an aerospace engineer - a real life rocket scientist. And he never stopped building those model airplanes - they just became more elaborate.

As an adult, I was fortunate to get to fly with him during a sightseeing flight I'd gotten him for his birthday. He took the controls after decades away from a plane and you could see that passion - and his skill - was still as strong as ever.

My dad was the smartest person I knew - with the biggest heart and the best sense of humor.  And on this Veterans Day I will be thinking of him. His bravery, his wit, and his love of flight - knowing he's flying all around us on the wings built by the memories he created within our family.

In my classroom, we will honor veterans this week and we will collaborate about service - in many forms. I will also be attempting to instill in my students a desire to search for their passion. To not stop until they find it. To hone it. To create a life from it. I KNOW it can be done. And - thanks to veterans - we live in a country where all that is possible.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Pilgrims and Native Americans

In our Reader's and Writer's Workshop we are researching and writing about the lives of Pilgrim and Native American children. As part of that study (and to get another grade for listening skills and following directions) we did a little 'directed draw' from First Grade Blue Skies! 

The students did great! Actually, they did SO great - we just kept going! They drew a Pilgrim boy, Pilgrim girl, Native American boy, Native American girl and a turkey! We'll finish these babies up next week - just in time for them to take them home to decorate for Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Gobble, Gobble!

I truly LOVE fall, y'all!

And, as much as I LOVE fall, I really don't like worksheets. So today I was able to give my kiddos a creative experience as they proved math knowledge.

I gave each student a different number in standard form. 

Then, they needed to demonstrate understanding of expanded form, word form, base ten blocks and then create an addition problem using two two digit numbers (not ending in zero) where the sum is their given, standard form number.

Once their math was complete it was their ticket to go grab their turkey parts.

Check out our adorable turkeys!