Spanish Translation

Monday, December 10, 2012

Flat Gingy's Weekend Adventure

This weekend Flat Gingy was busy.  He visited Grandma, went to the play Madeline's Christmas at Stages Theatre in Hopkins, Frosted cookies, celebrated baby Jesus' birthday at church group, made blankets for children in need, played outside in the snow, watched football, and played games with our Elf on the Shelf. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Flat Gingy Adventures

Today we made the gingerbread man's brother/sister (Gingy).  For the next week your first grader will be taking your Gingy on adventure.  Please return your adventure record (the WS) and your flat Gingy by Thursday, Dec. 13th.  We will be sharing the adventures our flat Gingy's go on.  I have included a photo of the assignment here for a reference.  Please let me know if you have questions.

Adventure Record-

Here is a picture of my son taking his Flat Gingy for a ride in the car.  They are enjoying a bowl of popcorn before heading in to wait for his sister's piano lesson.  Stay tuned, I will add pictures of the other adventures he takes this weekend.  Thanks TW for this fun idea! :)

Text to Text Connections

This week we also compared the stories: Oliver Button is A Sissy and Amazing Grace.  We made a venn diagram listing what the main characters from each had done in the story and what they had in common.  We also talked about how connecting two texts helps us to better understand a new story.  Take a peek at our learning and our anchor charts.

Text to Self Connections with Oliver Button

This week we read Oliver Button is A Sissy and recorded our connections to the story.  After recording our connections, we decided which connections were meaningful and helped us understand the story better.  We labeled these with H (helped us) and D (did not help us).  Take a peek at our learning.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Turkey Predictions

Today we read the book Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler.  This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books to read.  It was not long after starting the book that it became one of our first graders favs too. We read the whole book about this turkey trying to save his brother from getting eaten for Thanksgiving until the last page, then I had them predict what they thought Runt was going to do to save his family from getting eaten for a Christmas dinner.  Some of their predictions are below.  As it turns out the family dresses up like snowmen to disguise themselves when people come to the turkey farm looking for a plump turkey.  It was very fun to share their predictions and see how they related to the book's ending. 

                                                      by Sydney                                by Alex

Retelling-- Using The Great Turkey Race

On Monday we reviewed our skill of Retelling.  Most of our first grade friends have the reading strategy goal of being able to retell a story starting at the beginning and telling some details in the middle and finally being able to tell what happened at the end.  I have also been encouraging them to use the characters names and include the setting when it is possible.  After reading The Great Turkey Race by Steve Metzger, we worked together as a class to retell the story and added a cute craftivity to go along with it.  Take a peek..

**Thanks First Grade Parade for the Idea

Monday, November 19, 2012

Scoot Pad and RAZ Kids Arrive in Room 4

This week we added 2 great programs that are available for your child to do at school and at home on a computer or IPad.  I have posted the notes for you to view here incase you need to reference back to the instructions on how to access Scoot Pad and RAZ Kids.  Thanks again for all of your support as we add these to our school day.  

Scoot Pad Directions:    
1. click on sign in
2. type in your child's user name/password
3. click on generate practice
4. click ok 
5. launch practice
6. do practice and push close when you finish the session
7. log out when you are done

We learned about an awesome new internet tool today called ScootPad.  ScootPad is a website that lets students practice Reading and Math curriculum standards 24 hours a day.  It can be accessed from home or from school.  It also is an app that can be loaded on an IPad.  We will be using it during our literacy/math block throughout the week. I sent home a parent letter today explaining how to access your child's account to see how they are doing.  As they take practice assignments they earn coins which can be spent to redeem classroom rewards.  If your student forgot their password, here is a reminder:

All User Names: their school gmail account log in
All Passwords: 1111
Your students used the site this morning and several have been on this afternoon (yay!)  I will monitor the site frequently and check reports occasionally.  There is also a "class wall" where students can talk/text back and forth.  We talked about things that are appropriate to say in this space and the students know that if they chose to say inappropriate things their "talking" privilege will be taken away.  This is a great way to practice and teach proper internet use and safety.  If you have any questions about how ScootPad works, why we're using it or how to monitor your child's progress please let me know! 

RAZ Kids
This year our first graders will be using the online library as part of our literacy program.  Students will access “good-fit” books on their IPads or computer at school.  Raz-Kids is available for you at home or at the public library.
RAZ-Kids supports reading by providing students with hundreds of “good-fit” books to listen to and read independently.  They can also record themselves reading and take comprehension checks to see if they are checking for understanding.
Here is how to access the website from any computer connected to the Internet or IPad connected to WIFI.
For computer access: 
  1. Go to from your internet browser and click on Log in.
  2. Type in the teacher username: csauber and click GO
  3. Find your child’s name and click on it.  Each child has a password that is made up of two different icons.  This is listed on the attached sheet.  Please keep this in a safe place to refer back to it throughout the year and during the summer.
  4. The books will appear on their personal assignment page. Please have your child listen to the story be read to them, read the story to themselves, and take the quiz at the end.  I will be able to check in with each student’s progress daily and provide immediate feedback.
For IPad Assess:
  1. Download the Raz-Kids app(Learning A to Z) and Rover (both are free).  Rover takes the place of Adobe Flashdrive.
  2. Follow the above directions using Rover Browser.
Feel Free to call, if you have any questions.
Happy Reading!!!

As you are supporting your child with these programs, please allow them to do as much of the answering the questions themselves as possible.  This allows that computer and your child's teachers to make the right session choices for your child's academic needs.  Thanks again for making this a successful learning opportunity for your child.
--Carrie and Jen

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Making Connections with Ira Sleeps Over

After we read the book Ira Sleeps Over  by Benard Waber, we came up with connections that first graders had to the story.    Our chart below shows their connections on the post-its.  On the second day of the lesson we looked closer at their connections and decided if the connections were meaningful. (If the connection help us understand the story better, it is meaningful.)

Cat in the Hat--Here we come!!!

Our fall learning trip was to the Children's Museum to see Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.  The kids LOVED the show!  Their highlight was getting to shake hands with the actors/actresses after the show ended.  After we got back the kids worked in pairs to retell the play in sequence and listed the characters we saw in the play.  Take a peek at our thinking chart.  Thanks again volunteers L and B.  We were glad you were able to join us.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Our First Schema Lesson/Text to Self Connections

I am trying a new form of involving parents in our lessons at school. Please send a note/email if you have any feedback. Thanks again for all of your support each day!

This past week we learned what schema (prior knowledge) is and how it can help us understand a text better.  An example of us using our schema is when we make meaningful connections to a book we are reading.  Take a peek at the lesson to reinforce this concept at home as you are reading with your first grader. (This is my first time having a first grader video a lesson for me.  I think she did a great job.  Thanks R!!!)  Take a peek at our live lesson from last Wednesday.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Party Fun

We spent Friday morning in costumes enjoying "Boo Mix", playing games and decorating pumpkins.  A special thanks to all of the parents that helped make our party a success.  
Take a look at our Fall Fun.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Launching Read to Someone

Today we practiced our first Read to Someone behaviors.  We should sit EEKK (Elbow, Elbow, Knee, Knee), both friends are holding the book, read quietly, follow the reader with your eyes, reader's finger and voice match, and be able to tell the "WHO" and "WHAT" after each page or two.  Take a peek below..

Today we also observed our friends practicing Read to Someone.  We talked about what behaviors we saw them doing that made them successful at Read to Someone.  Way to go G and D!!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Learning about Lines in Art

One of our art lessons created from our district's former elementary art teachers was a hit this week!  Students watched a power point that defined and gave examples of lines used in art.  They were able to see and discuss samples of some paintings done by professional artists.  Students were able to pick out several different rectangle and square shaped cardboard pieces.  They added details to transform the cardboard pieces into city buildings.  First graders were able to create a city scape with their buildings, roads and a horizon.  They had so much fun creating their buildings and talking about the different shapes an sizes they were using.  I'm very proud of my great artists!

Our First Science Experiment

We talked about the scientific process.  I wanted the students to use the process to gain full understanding of it.  The scientific process is listed below (in bold).

Question:  Can a seed grow without real sunlight?

Hypothesis (prediction):  We had several students predict yes and several predict no.  We listed their names on our experiment sheet.

Test:  The students received pinto bean seeds to place in a container with some gravel and water.  We watered the bean seeds every other day.

Observations:  We recorded our data by drawing what we observed in our seed containers each day.

Conclusion:  After talking about our last observation, students agreed that the bean seeds sprouted and were growing!

Way to go first grade scientists!

CGI Math Stories

CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) is a time of our day when our first graders work on a math story (story problem) each day.  Students are read a math story, are given time to solve the story's problem, meet in small groups to share their strategies and have a "math wizard" come up and model their work to the entire class.  The goals for this time of our day are to use strategies to solve the stories, show the work that helped you solve the story, share and explain how you solved the story and learn from a variety of strategies by listening to classmates' explanations.  Here are some pictures to give you an idea of what CGI time looks like in our classroom right now.  Students will eventually be offered different levels of difficulty in these stories to help meet the students' academic abilities levels.  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Work on Writing

For the last 3 weeks we have been working on building our writing stamina during Daily Five-Work on Writing.  As a class our writing stamina is up to 5 minutes.  That means that all 21 first grade friends are writing for the entire 5 minutes.  Some other writing behaviors that one can observe from our amazing writers are: writing the whole time, get started right away, eyes in their notebook, underline words they do not know how to spell and move on, write about appropriate topics, write the date, use writing tools appropriately and draw a line to begin writing about another  topic.  Take a peek below at the pictures/videos of my friends practicing their writing stamina. When your child is practicing writing at home have them show you their writing behaviors.  Way to Go First Grade Friends!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fabulous First Grade Walkers

Our Walk-A-Thon was a great success today.  The first graders enjoyed the walk/run, DJ playing music, and a special apple snack.  Thanks again for all of the parents that helped make today a success!

 Way to Go Team Orange!

Word Work-Spelling Sorts

This week your child is bringing home their first spelling sort.  We have been practicing them throughout the week.  These sorts help first graders practice spelling patterns.  Each week your child will be given a new sort.  Please read the parent letter that came home on Friday for more details.  As our Daily Five time progresses your child will be practicing their sort each day along with their five sight words during our Word Work time.  Your child will be introduced to games on the ipads that will allow them to practice their sight words and spelling sorts.  They will also be introduced to pencil and paper games that allow additional practice in these areas. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pastel Patterns in First Grade

We have working on identifying and creating patterns in our class last week.  This was a fun way to see what  patterns my students could create.  We used oil pastel chalk to make our patterns stand out with color.  The top row shows 2 close up examples.  The collage below them is our wall of patterns in the hall outside of our classroom.  Way to go first grade pattern producers!

Strategy Games for Math Club

Strategy games are meant to help students practice their logical thinking skills.  Below you can find some of my students' favorites.  Brandon is playing Rush Hour on the iPad in the upper right corner.  It is puzzle game that increases in difficulty at each new level.  Kieran is trying to eliminate as many pegs as he can in the IQ Tester game (also found on the tables at Cracker Barrel).  Porter is working on his logical thinking skills by trying to find ways to get Slippy the penguin to his fish lunch.  There are many obstacles to cross in the game and more are added at each level.  Finally, the boys in the top left corner are playing Poison.  Using 13 cubes, students take turns choosing 1 or 2 cubes at a time.  The player to take the last cube loses the game.  They love it!

Square off is one of the most played games every year in my classes.  Students take turns connecting one dot  to another dot.  The player that connects the last dots of a square (closing the square) writes his/her initials in that square.  The player that has the most squares at the end of the game wins.

Fact Games for Math Club

Fact Games helps students practice their math facts (+ and -).  Some of the games are pictured below.  The group of three are playing Domino Top It (similar to War with dominoes).  Students need to add up the two sides of the domino they flipped over.  Brooke is practicing her facts while playing Math Chicken Number Scale.  A fact is displayed at the top and they have to find the answer to balance the bridge for the chicken to cross over.  The two boys in the bottom left are playing a game called It's Mine (also called Bump).  Players add up the total of two dice and try to cover the sums without getting "bumped" off by their opponent.  The last picture shows my first grade friend playing Math Monsters (a bingo game). 

Number Games in Math Club

Number games allows students to practice 1 to 1 correspondence, number identification, number sequence, number sense and comparing numbers.  Some number game ideas are pictured below.  In the top right corner my first grade friend is being timed to see if he can put numbers in order from least to greatest in less than 1 minute.  Below that, the girls are playing Highest Card (Traditionally called War).  The boys in the bottom corner are playing a game called Forward and Back.  It is similar to Candy Land as they move the game piece ahead and back depending on their dice roll.  Connor is playing Sam Phibian on the iPad.  The object is to help Sam the frog catch the correct number of insects of each kind for lunch.  

The game below, Shape Fill In, is a number game that encourages the students to use 1 to 1 counting and color in the number of sections on the star that corresponds with the number rolled on the die.  The person with the most filled in sections at the end is the winner.  This game and print out can be found on Shari Sloane's website,

Math Club Board for Math Centers

This is the picture of my Math Club board so far this year.  The 5 categories are Paper Practice, Number Games, Fact Games, Strategy Games and Math Tools.  I borrowed the categories and most of the games I use from The Sisters (  I put the students into groups based off of what learning targets they are working on.  I rotate the groups through the categories on a daily basis while meeting with one group or individuals.  The Post It notes with a "T" on them are my temporary start to giving students choice of technology games on the iPads for part of the time.  Each month new games are added and some are taken off the board throughout the year.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Race To Trace-Numeral Writing Game

This game is a great way for students to practice the correct formation of numbers.  I got this game from Shari Sloane's wonderful website at
This website is full of center and game ideas for literacy and math.  
In this game, partners take turns rolling a die.  The player that rolls a number traces that number.  Partners take turns until one partner has traced all 18 numbers (there are 3 rows of 1-6).  There is also a variation of this game called Race To Trace-Addition.  In that game, students roll two dice and add the numbers together (practicing writing numbers 1-12).

Math Club Gets Started

We are discovering all of the wonderful math tools we can use during math.  We have had a chance to explore with unifix cubes, button counters, dominoes, people counters, tens/ones cubes, animal counters, pattern blocks and attribute blocks (flat shapes).  We have had fun creating patterns and designs during our first week of Math Club.
Math Club is our block of math time when I do guided math with small groups and individuals.  While I am working with students, the other students are engaged in using math tools, playing number games, fact games,  paper practice activities and strategy games.  My math club game categories are borrowed from the well known literacy experts, The Sisters.  They have a marvelous structure to work on math standards that allow students to have fun playing games (and learn at the same time!!!).  I'll post a picture of my Math Club board in the next few days.

Here are some pictures of my first graders working with the math tools these past two weeks!

Enemy Pie Teaches about Friendship

We read Enemy Pie by Derek Munson.  The book is about a young boy who was teased by a neighbor boy, Jeremy Ross.  He puts Jeremy on his enemy list.  His dad tells him he knows how to get rid of enemies for good.....bake an enemy pie!  Read the story or ask your first grader what happens in the rest of the story. This story is a great way to see how friendships can be created.  

My first graders created a list of yummy ingredients and a list of disgusting ingredients they would put in an enemy pie.  They glued their list of ingredient choices along with writing how many of each ingredient they would use (What a great informal assessment on numeral formation and number order).  

Finally, they completed their enemy pie posters by using the many colors in our scrap box to make an illustration of their pies!  

Great job first grade artists!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daily Five Begins

We have started building our stamina for Read to Self.  We first started by talking about the three ways to read a book. 

Then we began our study talking about why people read (the orange stars) and then what it looks like when people read (in the student area).  After building our anchor chart we began practicing these reading behaviors.  

Take a peek at what Read to Self looks like in the classroom.  

A Look Back at The First Week

 We read the book First Day Jitters, then read a poem and looked for words that rhyme and enjoyed some Jitter Juice (Fruit Punch and Sprite) 

Sharing FACE homework and community building activities