April 2011 | Peace, Love, and First Grade


We have spent the last couple of weeks learning all about weather. We started our journey by going outside and observing the sky. Perfect day for it! The storm clouds were rolling in. You can tell by the pics, there was no sun and a lot of wind! We could see and hear the flagpole whipping in the wind!

We took our journals outside and recorded our observations. We also predicted what the weather would be like later that day.

"I think it is going to rain later on. Do you think?"

Deep in thought. Our weather unit has truly engaged the kiddos!

We sat on the sidewalk under the awning because the wind was so fierce!

"I can feel the air touching my face."

"I can feel the wind."

During our Weather unit, we learned about Clouds, the Water Cycle, Rain, and Rainbows. We also learned about some crazy weather days, like when it actually rained frogs! The kids loved that one!

One of our favorite activities was making a rainbow. We used a dish of water, a flashlight, a mirror, and a white piece of paper. 

We filled a dish about 3/4 full of water. Then, we placed a mirror at an angle in one end of the dish. Next, we held a piece of white paper in the air at the other end of the dish. Finally, we shone a flashlight into the dish where the water met the mirror. A rainbow appeared on the paper.
It's a little hard to see the rainbow on the paper, but it was there.

The students realized there was an even better rainbow (sometimes two) on the ceiling, so we put the paper away and made rainbows on the ceiling!
These first grade smarties were fascinated! We learned that a rainbow appears when the sun shines through a raindrop! Fun to know!

Very appropriately, the last day of our Weather unit looked a little like this:

We spent a large part of our day in tornado "drill" mode!!

We entertained ourselves as best we could!

Regardless of the weather, first graders smile for the camera!
Our sweet music teacher (AKA Maria Von Trapp) led us in song! Who can resist a sing-along?

Hanging out in the hall gets a little long, but our kiddos were troopers!

By the end of the day, these babies were worn out...Thankfully, it was Friday!

You have to love springtime in the South...


We just finished a fun unit on American Symbols. One of the symbols we learned about was the Statue of Liberty. We learned Lady Liberty was a gift from France AND when we received her, she was copper! Why, then, is she green now? We experimented to find out.

First, we made predictions! How great are these?

Then, we found some copper pennies. (They have to be made of copper, minted before 1980.) We soaked them in salt and vinegar for 48 hours. (They don't really have to soak that long. It just makes it more fun to watch the vinegar.) We observed the vinegar slowly turn blue.

Here are the pennies right after they were put in the salt and vinegar mixture.

Vinegar slowly turning blue...

Bird's-eye shot...

We took the pennies out of the mixture and let them air-dry on a paper towel. As the pennies dried, they changed color. Once they were dry, we transferred them to a paper plate.

The kids thought the turquoise pennies were pretty cool! They WERE pretty cool...

Close up shot of the pennies.

We found out the mixture of salty water and oxygen in the air caused the pennies AND the Statue of Liberty to change colors. This is called Oxidation!

Now you know!


Here are a few more of our favorite things to do in the classroom.

6) Highlighter Tape

Boy, do we love some highlighter tape!
We highlight just about everything!

This song is from the first week of school. We located sight words. Don't those self-portraits make you smile? We sing this song to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell."

We highlighted nouns and quotation marks from The Cat in the Hat. Highlighting quotation marks is a great visual to show children where dialogue begins and ends.

We started highlighting exclamation points, too. The kids love reading excerpts from their favorite stories!

More high frequency words from Green Eggs and Ham. Those "would, could, should" words are tricky!

More sight word highlighting! This song makes us happy!

7) Alvin

This is Alvin. He was named the first week of school (in a top-secret vote). He tracks our school days. He should move each day but sometimes enjoys a number so much he sticks around, then tromps on...We love Alvin!

8) Math Tubs
We started Math Tubs in January, and they are hits! We spend 30 minutes each day practicing the skills we have learned this year. Our tubs cover Money, Place Value, Operations, Problem Solving, AND a Mystery skill. Check out these hard-working kiddos!

A little Place Value work.

Putting numbers in order by skip counting.

When the task at hand is complete, there is time for a number card game.

These first graders loved working with attribute blocks. They made attribute trains using size, shape, and color. To add a block to a train, a child could change only one attribute.

A few examples. This one was started with
a large, thin, blue, triangle.

We showed we used thick blocks by outlining in black crayon.

Working with money stamps. Fun AND messy!

Three lefties at one table! Ordering numbers.

These guys are playing an addition game.

Have a happy week!