Monday, January 31, 2011

I <3 My iPad

I love my iPad!

My husband loves technology. Fortunately, for me, this means we have some great gadgets that I usually feel too intimidated to try. Honestly, it took me a while to like my iPod.

But, the iPad, that is different. I love this device! I can read, play games, search the net, and blog.

Recently, I began taking it in for my kiddos to use. My special education students really like it. The added benefit is that I have learned a lot about their learning by monitoring them while they play.

Here are my top 3 favorite apps.

Super Why
It has alphabet recognition, rhyming, cloze sentences, and handwriting.

Pocket Chart Math
This games has students recognize numbers and count.

Jack and the Beanstalk
A fun interactive read aloud book.

The possibilities are endless!

What are some other apps or suggestions? I really want to know. I am thinking about writing a grant on Donors Choose for one in our classroom.
Your help would be appreciated.

Happy Teaching and Learning!



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dissecting Sentences

Our class has been working on becoming better writers. I use many of the ideas from this book to help me teach writing.
Teaching Beginning Writing: Lesson Plans to Support Five Developmental Writing Stages

The one phrase I use most frequently is:
Every sentence needs
Somebody doing something.

It is basic and straightforward.  In kindergarten, we learn to make many sentences by using this rule. Well, now that we have graduated to first grade, I like to have my students expand their writing. 

To launch our lesson, we worked in pairs to look for what good sentences need.  We looked at only one sentence; most often, the first sentence in the book.   We began with who, then, looked for what, and so forth.  After each one, we shared aloud our findings.  Here are samples of what the student work looked like. 


This sentence led to a great discussion of other ways to say at nighttime.

 We talked about how sometimes the author uses the illustrations to tell us the setting.


 I loved how any text at all reading levels could be used.

Stay tuned.  I hope to post this week student examples of students creating a super sentence. 

Happy Teaching and Learning!


P.S.  Are you wondering where the graphics came from?  They are from here .

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gung Hay Fat Choy

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale
Happy Chinese New Year!  I don't know why, but the thought of Chinese New Year always leads me to planning lessons involving food!  I plan on having us celebrate the new year with a food.  I will bring in my wok and make a stir fry for the kids as our late afternoon snack.  I love to see the kids try to eat with chopsticks.  I usually go to Panda Express and ask for some. 

Here are some other books that we will read.  I love to look at this holiday as a time to celebrate Asian authors or books which have Asian characters.  I may not have time to read each one but the class will have access to all of these books during their independent reading time or buddy reading time.  I love how these books can lend themselves well to making connections. 

My First Chinese New Year Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year LTF: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin) Dim Sum for Everyone! Chinese New Year (Rookie Read-About Holidays)


Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year (Reading Rainbow Books) Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China Cat and Rat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac (An Owlet Book) Two of Everything


Cleversticks Sam and the Lucky Money Grandfather Tang's Story (Dragonfly Books) Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes

Chinese New Year is about representing good fortune.  Here are some simple suggestions:
  • On Chinese New Year Eve have your students clean the classroom; to get rid of all the old from the previous year. 
  • Encourage your students to wear red for luck and fortune.
  • Create a banner with red (for happiness) and gold (for fortune) welcoming the new year.
  • Buy some fresh flowers (for a prosperous year) and oranges (for good health and long life) to display.
Gung Hay Fat Choy! 

Happy Learning and Teaching!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Bringing Sorting to Life

Today, we had fun sorting!  As I was planning for math this week on sorting and patterns, I noticed how boring the textbook delivered these concepts to children.   There were no hands on lessons!  I decided to bring life to the concepts!  :)

I brought in two very large storage containers filled with my son's toys.  After giving the class a few minutes to explore the objects, I asked them to think about how they would sort the items.   The class worked in two very large groups.  Within those groups, some children worked together in pairs while others worked alone. 


Here are objects sorted by color:


Here are objects sorted by type:



After we finished sorting, we had a Gallery Walk to share our work.  The kids really enjoyed this lesson.  To help clean up our sorting, we ended the lesson by sorting by size as we returned the objects back into their containers. 

We, then, talked about how we use sorting in the classroom and other places.  Next up, patterns!

Happy Teaching and Learning!




Sunday, January 23, 2011

Word Work

Take a look at what my students are doing during the Word Work portion of Daily 5.  These  multi-level games and manipulatives will be accessible all trimester long.  Very few changes will occur.  As a busy mom and teacher, I just have found it easier for me to change these less often.  During the Word Study portion of our day, we will focus on the key standards we are learning for the week.  These centers are used to review skills or to reinforce skills we will learn this trimester.


 Students match the sight word.  This a good game for my lower level students.
 Again, most of my kiddos don't need this game, but a few do.
 The kids love these Word Family houses; especially the crossword puzzles.
 This game covers lots of skills.
 To help alleviate arguments, I write the directions and limit games to 2 to 3 people.  Less talk, too! 
I update this game by adding seasonal notepads.  Kids write their list of words onto the notepads.
 Homemade playdoh makes this center a BIG hit in our classroom!
 We love beads! 
 There are currently 3 different types of Bingo games; 2 word family games and this one.
 I put the rhyming sheets into page protectors and instantly turned this into a functional game for my students. 
 This set contains 3 more games that will be applicable our final trimester.

Wondering where I found this games? Most came from Lakeshore, Oriental Trading or Really Good Stuff

Happy Teaching and Learning!