Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Break!

I am officially on Spring Break!  I told my students to be sure and read, read, read, read, read, and then...(and they all answer:  read some more!)  I hope they do, I can always tell when one of my kiddoes doesn't get his or her reading in.

So, what am I doing for Spring break?  Tomorrow, I hop on an airplane to visit my friend, Suzy, in San Diego.  We'll be painting her house, whale watching, going to Palm Springs, and just hanging out.  It'll be so great to get away, but even better to see a friend.

Thursday is getting stuff done around the house, and that evening my bell choir will be playing at church.  

Good Friday is the day I schedule to be as lazy as I want.  

Saturday is the day I get everything I put off done.

And Sunday I play bells at all three church services.  We are playing some really cool songs, and I can't wait!

When we go back to school on Monday, the kids will be so excited because it's the day we will plant our seeds!  I'm switching back and forth between water and plants for the next few weeks.  So I'll probably post a lot of science stuff, just because I think it's the most fun thing we're doing.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Water is Wonderful!

My students are loving our water unit.  I have a lot of English Language Learners, so we try to build as much vocabulary as possible while having fun learning.  Each student is writing a water book.
The first page we do is a web where we brainstorm for ways that students use water that is fun.  Here's a copy from one student's book.
Then the students pick their favorite idea to write more about on the next page.
Our next page is about how we use water for things we need.  Again, we brainstorm and make a web.
Then I had students choose 3 ways they need water.
Then we get to some of the experiments.  As I navigate this unit I use this wonderful book with great photographs.  It's called A Drop of Water by Walter Wick. 
The first pages of the book discuss how water droplets form in the shape of a sphere because the molecules like to cling together.  I have the students experience this to see how it makes a round shape by linking up arm in arm until everyone is linked and we look at the shape we're in.  It's a circle.  Then we do a couple of fun experiments with surface tension.

The first one explores how the water molecules like to cling together.  Each child gets a piece of waxed paper, a toothpick, and an eye dropper.  I place a cup with some water and food dye (just for fun) in the center of their tables and show them how to drop the water onto the waxed paper.  Then they use the toothpicks to drag water molecules apart and together.  Here are some pictures.

The best part of this activity is that my students are so engaged in exploring it's very quiet in the room!

The next surface tension experiment we do is to use our water droppers to see how many drops we can put on a penny before the surface tension breaks.  The students predict first, then try it.

Students write about both experiments and what they learned in their water books.

That's all we've done so far.  We will also be exploring the water cycle and buoyancy.  I'll get those posted as we go.

If you have any feedback for me on my lessons, or my blogging, I love constructive criticism, or just great ideas.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Conferences, Compassion and Planning Ahead

Conferences are over!  Well, okay, I still have 3 more next week, but they're mostly over.  They went well and I hope I gave each family ideas that will help their child learn and grow.

I'm fairly new to following blogs, but when I saw this post by Crystal from Kreative In Kinder, I had to respond.  My class adopted a first grade class in Salyersville.  We spent a little time talking about how it would feel if that happened to our school.  Would you want people to focus on the tornado, or on making you feel better?  We talked about how it's sad that stuff was ruined, but stuff can be replaced.  I was very proud of the kind and thoughtful words my students used, and the great, cheerful pictures.

So, I'm going to attempt to put up pictures for the first time!  Here we go...

(I am sorry about the tornado.  I hope that the builders build a new school.)

(I'm sorry your class got destroyed.  I hope you feel better.)

(Look on the back)  (The back is the picture below)

(I'm sorry about the tornado.  I hope you feel better soon.)

This one is a huge run-on sentence.  We're working on punctuation.  Really, we are.  "I'm sorry that your building got destroyed and I'm sorry that your classroom got destroyed.  I hope everything gets better in Kentucky and I hope you're all okay.  I hope the building is fixed and your classroom with it and I hope you buy new stuff for your classroom.  I hope everything is okay and I hope you feel happy and I hope you get better and I'm sorry."

So, I got my first pictures in! 

Today was spent cleaning out my classroom and running around getting supplies.  In April my class will be planting the Wisconsin Fast Plant.  I did this last year with the help of the Red Butte Garden here in Salt Lake.  This year, I'm on my own, so I hope it works as well as last year.  I bought soil, vermiculite and fertilizer.    I still have the rest of the supplies from last year.

The fun thing about this particular plant is its life cycle is about 40 days.  The students watch every part of the plant's life.  They plant the seeds, watch them germinate and sprout, measure them as they grow, and then when the flowers bloom they get to pollinate the flowers, then watch seed pods grow, and finally harvest the seeds from the seed pods to be used the following year.  It's such a great hands-on scientific activity and I'm excited to start it, and nervous that the plants won't grow!

Here's a picture from last year.

Well, I rambled on a bit today.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Off to a Slow Start

I like the idea of a blog, now I just need to remember to take the time to actually learn how to do this.

Contraction surgery was so much fun!  It built memories for my students and perhaps some of them may grow up to be real surgeons.

This week is parent/teacher conference week.  I dread this week every time it comes around.  It's good to meet with the parents and students and discuss their progress,  but it's so exhausting!  I have worked like crazy and now have confirmed appointments for 23 of my 24 students.  I'm hoping I can get that last parent to commit to coming.  It certainly might seem like a small and unimportant thing for many parents, but I can tell you it makes a difference.  So if you're a parent out there--even if your child is the top of the class, please meet with your teacher for conferences.  It's a wonderful chance to celebrate your child's strengths and perhaps make some goals to help him or her learn and grow.

Once I've recovered from conferences, we'll have one more week before spring break.  We're going to be working hard on our water unit in science.  I love teaching science with all of its hands on experiments.  We'll be doing surface tension experiments, and sink/float experiments.  We'll use a hotplate and ice to work through the water cycle.  It's so much fun exploring the world with young students because everything is new and exciting to them.  If you teach about water, I'd love to hear some of your ideas.

I'll see if I can figure out how to add the button for followers today.  Eventually, I'll figure this out and even get some pictures and things up.  Thanks for reading.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

And So It Begins

I'm going to try and start my very own teacher blog.  I'll start right now with how very excited I am to have found  If you haven't been there, yet, you are in for a great treat with all kinds of teacher boards for inspiration.  Let me know your e-mail address if you want an invitation to join.

My latest inspired lesson from pinterest is going to happen tomorrow and I can't wait!  We are doing contraction surgery!  The band aids, gloves, masks, and even a stethoscope are all ready to go.  The kids are excited to know that they will be surgeons tomorrow.

Hopefully, the page will grow and flourish.