Friday, February 24, 2012

This Week's Highlights

Hello First Grade Families

Highlights From Our Week:

Skill Reinforcing Games- coin knowledge and skills, prediction, number patterns, addition, making words from letters rolled, writing stories together.

Avery and Risa's Sea Mammal presentation:

Friday we were lucky to have Avery and Risa come to visit and give us a presentation about sea mammals.  Risa even called a trainer and were able to talk with her and a sea lion named Jim Fin!  The students were facinated by the models of a sea lion and dolphin skull.  They had lots of great questions and we learned a lot.  I will include some facts here, but I am sure your child will tell you more!

Mammal features: (we summarized this ourselves first!) are warm blooded, feed their babies their own milk, have live births and hair or fur.

The National Marine Mammal Organization practices husbandry, which is caring for the animals and examining their health.  They do research and care for sea lions and dolphins and work closely with the Navy.

Sea Lions:
Can swim up to 1,000 feet deep.
Can stay under water up ti 5 minutes to fish before taking a breath.
Males: 1,000 lbs and 7'
Females 220lbs 6'
Have external ears
Can sit up leaning on their flippers
Have approximately the same amount of teeth as us.
Pups born in June/July

Internal ears
Make a grunting sound
lay on the ground and wiggle, instead of up on their flippers.

Moms swim fast and their babies, who cannot swim fast, get caught up in their stream to keep up.
Killer whales are actually dolphins
Can chose when to take a breath or not, instead of feeling like they ran out of breath and have to breath.
Have 88-112 teeth
The shape of their head (melon) is what allows them to use echo-location to sense things at 100 feet away.
Dolphins are born flukes first.

After watching the video of the trainer working with hand signals with Jim Fin, Silas said, "My dog would never do all that!".  The students were very impressed with how this sea lion responded to the hand signals.

Ammending the soil in our planters:

We used the worm casting, peat moss and micro-organisms to add to the soild we have and make it rich and ready for our plants next week.  The students were practicing lots of teamwork and communication to make sure all the jobs were done thoroughly.

Enjoy your weekend.  Remember, next Tuesday we are off to see the Chinese Theater!

Love, Jennifer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Here Comes Our Sensory Garden!

Hello First Grade Families!

It is a short week, but has been one full of exciting new things.

This week Christine brought in a load of dirt and the students worked hard as a team with the 3rd graders and Kindergarteners to get it into our existing planters.  Our first phase of the plant drive went well.  Thank you to all you families who sponsored a plant!  The outside area is already looking so beautiful.  The students have been interested in the array of leaf textures and shapes as well as how many forms a flower and it's petals can take.  We plan to use these plants in many ways to foster our wonder and interest in the natural word.

The next phase for the project is to get the other planters and arbors built.  Carrie, Joey's mum, has written a grant proposal and we are looking for community donations to fund the lumber and other needs.  If you know anyone who can help, please send them to me!  It has been so amazing to see the families in our class so involved in the school.  Thank you so much for your help.  I also wanted to send a special thank you to Karri, Keith and Jo who helped to procure the plants needed for the plant drive and to Jo and Bridget for building our glorious arbor.  So special!

I will  write more about this week's work soon.  Thank you to all you generous and helpful families!

Love, Jennifer

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Enjoy Your Long Presidents' Weekend!

Hello Families!

So much to tell you.  These kids are on a roll with ideas and excitement.  Please check your email this week if you haven't.  We are getting the beautification project going for our yard and there is info about next week's plant drive on Tuesday and Wednesday.

***Check the end of this blog entry if you'd like to do some homework together this long weekend!

This week we journaled after looking at many video snippets inspired by the song we are singing this month.  The song is performed by Credence Clearwater Revival and is called Down on the Corner.  This mentions many instruments that the students were curious about: a harp that is blown, a kalamazoo, a kazoo and a washboard.  The students watched the videos below and discussed how the sound comes out of each of these instruments.

It is always interesting to notice how all the topics we are involved in overlap.  The discussions lead us to think about our "how things work" diagrams and many students were interested in making their own diagrams explaining how the sound is made by the way a certain instrument is used.  Great ideas!

I hope you enjoy watching these videos together:

The students have also been working on finishing up their animals for the arctic and snowy tree wall.  This work has been about observing these animals' features closely and also taking more tries to get the best effect.  The students are showing great skill in giving clear and specific feedback.  This means flexibility and the desire to make your work your best.  These images show how these skills are coming together!

Spelling words keep coming in!  There are some students who have a new spelling word each day!  I have been encouraging students to chose a word to practice at home with you and then to share it with the class when they feel they have it memorized.  Please ask your child what word they are thinking about and also how they feel they best memorize new things.  Many students wanted to take this long weekend to learn some new words- I can't wait to hear them all next Tuesday.  Here is a little glimpse of this process.  The word wall and word file has been a great resource for students as they write, too.

Also, here is a glimpse into some of the math we've been exploring- grouping.  I hope your child will explain the photo in more detail, and maybe they can show you how they worked out my gift bags for friends.  What other real life math problems have come up for you lately?

***Homework possibilities for this weekend:

Look up a gut base- how is this instrument played?  How will you share this with your friends on Tuesday?
Look up a United States president (past or present) and write a little info to share with the class about that person.
Draw your own "how things work" diagram.  What do you use to make the reader know what is happening in the image?
Chose some spelling words to memorize.

Thank you, as always, for sharing your fabulous children with me!  Enjoy the long weekend together. Love, Jennifer

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Beautiful Day in the Garden!

Hello Families!

Happy Friday!  I hope you have a lovely weekend planned.  I am excited about the possibility of Saturday in, listening to the sound of rain, hopefully.  I wanted to share some of the photos from our field trip (click on them to make them larger!).  The students were very excited on the trip.  Something that the photos cannot convey to you is the intense smells that we were surrounded by, being in the garden on such a beautiful and hot day.

There were many exhibits on different topics, garden design, compost, ground cover, smell and texture, water conservation, and even a Jurassic garden.   It seemed that the students were really proud to be able to read many of the signs and exhibit explanations- they are such readers!  I hope your child will be able to tell you lots about the experience through these photos.

Thank you so much to Carrie, our field trip coordinator, for making the trip possible.  And thank you to all you families for sending in the money so that we could charter the bus.  I really appreciate the connection and respect that the parent chaperons modeled.  Thank you to Jo, Holly, Carrie, Naomi and Amy for making the day a safe and special one!

Have a weekend full of love and happiness!  Love, Jennifer