First grade has been busy these past two weeks! With the nice weather last week we were able finally celebrate outdoor day! We had almost all of our learning outside that day and it was a great change of scenery for the kids. It coincided perfectly with our math unit all about measurement. The kids were able to apply their measurement learning directly to the real world through an outdoor measurement scavenger hunt. They had a blast and were able to apply their learning about standard and non-standard measurement to everything from the the playground to the circumference of a tree and a blade grass.
We also spent time preparing for our upcoming Mother’s Day celebration! As we head into our math unit all about fractions we spent time baking some muffins for our moms and learning about how important fractions are in the baking process.
Both of these real life examples of math at work gave the kids such insight into the “why” behind the math. They were engaged and having fun while they were learning and I can guarantee they won’t forget these lessons! What a great week!
First grade had a busy week! As Earth Day approached we spent the week learning about this wonderful place we live in and how we can be better stewards of the earth! We started the week with a visit from Smokey the Bear and the Bend fire department. They taught us all about fire safety and what we can do to help! We then had a visit from the Environmental center of Bend. The class spent time learning about recycling and composting. We even got to check out the worms that were part of the compost bins. Bringing local experts into the classroom is a great way to expose the kids to different teachers and individuals who have often time turned their passion into careers. What a fun learning week!
This week the first grade class visited the Bend Science Station. The kids had a blast and were able to add to their knowledge about electricity. The kids experienced the Van der Graaf Generator which creates static electricity. We discussed why and how certain objects with the same charge repel away from each other (including their own hair, paper, foam and mylar). I think the class will always remember Mrs. Leo’s rocker hair! We also created a human electron chain where each person passed along their electrons from the generator through a small shock when their hands met. The kids LOVED this as you can see on their faces below!
In class we have been working for the last few days on learning all about the workings of an electrical circuit. Today we finished our paper circuits which included, copper tape, a battery and a paper mounted LED light the students were charged with getting to light up! The class worked hard to make sure they had all the elements of a circuit and tried and tried again till they got their circuit to work. This kind of hands on learning makes the subject matter come alive and keeps the students very engaged. We will continue our learning about electricity this week and this learning will help propel the students to want to gain further knowledge and come up with theories to test and try in class about the power of electricity!
After finishing a large space mural, which will eventually be placed in our commons, the 1st Graders enjoyed creating circus themed line drawings, then finishing them off beautifully with watercolor paint. Moving on to Still Life paintings, these young artists will learn about famous artists such as Paul Cezanne, We will talk about observing the objects before them to create more realistic drawings which they will then paint.
Buen trabajo, Elementary Spanish! I am so proud of all my students this year. My greatest reward in teaching them is seeing their improvement in their conversational skills and written sentence constructions we have been working on since the beginning of the year. I am definitely witnessing it in the classroom. I know some parents have shared with me their enjoyment in having their kids help, by listening and speaking, in the Spanish-speaking countries your have recently vacationed in this past Spring Break. I expect that, and told them before they left, not to be shy. However, practicing their conversational skills with strangers is never as easy as doing it in the comfort and familiarity of our classroom at SPS. I can not begin to tell you how grateful I am for the loving atmosphere, enthusiasm, happiness and the great attitude your kids bring to class everyday. Their willingness to learn, participate, and practice with their peers always goes beyond my expectations.
I would like to witness with your own eyes the progress they have made. In the next few days you will be receiving an email from me inviting you to watch them “show off” how they are developing their gift of a second language. I know they can’t wait and I hope you can find the time to come to watch them. If you are not able to attend, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to meet with you during a time that is more convenient.
The end of the school year is quickly approaching. In the final two months, I will be gradually immersing your kids further in to the language. There will be a little confusion during the first couple of days, but I know by experience they will find it a lot of FUN. Let’s all remember that, at their age, FUN plus IMPROVEMENT is what should be about! Muchas gracias for sharing and trusting all your child to me.
Core virtues are an everyday part of life in first grade. Kindness is one that we focus on as we explore and learn about friendships and classroom dynamics. We were lucky enough to have local business owner Heather Nashelle, owner of Nashelle Jewelry, visit our classroom and share her message of kindness and the ripple effect with the class. She then shared her gift of jewelry making! They each chose one word that spoke to them and hand hammered it into their necklace. These pieces will help remind each student how their kindness can affect others. We believe that social emotional learning needs to be explicitly taught and modeling and teaching students how to treat others is a core part of the first grade classroom. The students had a blast and we appreciate the time Heather spent with our class!
For the last month or so, first grade has been working their way through our Carnival of the Animals unit. Camille Saint-Saëns composed this piece in 1886 with 14 humorous suites, designed to mimic the sounds of various animals. While he designed for this 25 minute work to be a joke, it is an excellent teaching tool for learning about a variety of musical basics like fast and slow (largo and presto), high and low, and various instruments. The students have been working their way through a listening journal that allows them to color each animal as we listen to the music from that suite. Additionally, we incorporate literacy and movement by reading a classic children’s book associated with each animal depicted and move like the animals. This is one of my favorite units to teach and your students have been a joy to work with.
Core Knowledge is focused on The Revolutionary War this month and we have learned a lot about what it might be like if you were a colonist at that time. The kids have enjoyed immersing themselves in stories about the causes and happenings of the war including the Boston tea party, taxation without representation and the ride of Paul Revere. To help the students understand why the colonist were so upset by the King’s unfair taxes we held a day of taxation in first grade. Mrs. Adams and myself were the kings and the class had to pay all the taxes that we imposed. Armed with coin purses full of coins the class was taxed at every turn. They had to pay to do everything and anything. It was fun to see the kids learn how to ration their money and how much they sided with the colonist at the end of the day. Having the idea of taxation brought to life this way make learning so much fun and created a memory that won’t soon be forgotten!
Taking writing beyond the pencil and paper and experiencing learning in a new way is the key to engaging kids in the classroom. We started off our new opinion writing unit with a taste test. The students had fun tasting three small sweet treats and choosing their favorite. We spent time brainstorming how we might help convince someone else of our opinion. We studied mentor texts such as the Mo Willems Pigeon series. We studied the types of language the authors used and worked to incorporate those strategies into our writing. It’s amazing how strong the kids opinions were and how many of them picked the strawberry over the candy! I am looking forward to continuing this unit all about their opinions and I can’t wait to showcase their work in April!
As part of the rich experiences offered in First Grade, one of the class favorites is our study of Ancient Greece. The study of cultures and views outside of our own are a great way to get students thinking about what else is out there, in this great big world. For two months, first graders have been learning the ways of the Ancient Greeks and what it might of been like to be alive during this time. We discussed and studied everything from Greek architecture to food, culture and art. The students recently celebrated with a festival to “show off” all their hard work! They became tours guides for parents and friends, while sharing hand made greek pottery and sandals, as well as greek artifacts that the students made themselves. It was amazing to watch how much each student learned and, by immersing themselves into the the Ancient Greek culture, it was such a meaningful and fun way to really take away the idea of a whole different way of living. I am so proud of all the work that these First Graders did!
Elementary PE has been staying active and learning new skills. Before winter break all elementary classes participated in a jump rope unit. Within the jump rope unit students practiced different types of jumps and learned about the benefits of jumping rope. We are currently in the middle of our basketball unit practicing dribbling, passing and shooting.
First Grade is buddied up with the 5th graders and our focus this month is on the core virtue of courage. We have had some great conversations about what courage is and how it plays into our everyday life. The kids worked on a Google Slides presentation with their buddies that explained what courage meant to them. They were encouraged to use images, stories and examples. This is a great activity to build relationships with their buddies while given some creative freedom to express their learning in their own way. We are almost finished and I will send them along to you as soon as they are all completed. The kids had a great time and it was amazing to see how they explained their views of what courage was!
In reading and writing we have been continuing our exploration of non-fiction. An important piece of learning is remembering to give kids an authentic audience from which they can gain feedback and knowledge. We do this in writing with partner work as well as guests and teachers. In reading, we spent time in the second grade classroom this week showing off our non-fiction expertise. The kids were tasked with sharing their reading and comprehension skills by teaching the second graders how to read non fiction. We practiced stopping to ask questions of our audience, as well as how to gain information that is not in the text by noticing and observing the pictures. The kids were so jazzed when we left and gained a new perspective for reading aloud. I loved hearing the rich conversations that were buzzing in the classroom.
Playing with clay and learning about Ancient Greece, gives our 1st grade artists an opportunity to create food vessels in the style of Greek Fish Plates. Creating the fish plates, involves not only learning a bit about Greek pottery and how to draw fish, but also how to handle the clay as an artist’s medium, how to “slip and score” so the clay attaches to itself, and the process of creating, waiting for the firing process, and then adding the glaze and firing the pieces again. This project connects art with their classroom unit, and the student’s love for working with clay makes it a favorite.