Friday, January 25, 2013

Penguin Party!

This week we wrapped up our Penguin Unit.  I love being able to spend three weeks on one unit. My students become such masters when it comes to their knowledge on penguins. I hear them using their penguin vocabulary all throughout the is awesome! 

My students did 'A Blizzard of Sight Words' during centers. They loved searching around the room for the snowflakes...that is the only snow they have ever seen down here in South Florida ;)  We also worked on what numbers come next and our beginning and ending sounds.  Some of my students are still having some difficulty hearing those ending sounds, so this was the perfect practice for them! 
Today, our last day of the unit, we had a ‘Penguin Party!’ My students still had to do their four morning centers. But, today they were all penguin related (they got to skip reading groups). Our four centers were:
1. It’s Feeding Time! Where students had to ‘feed’ the penguins the fish to spell their sight words correctly.
2. Fishy Word Blends, working on sh, th, and ch. 
3. Poetry: I’m A Little Penguin (from Deedee Wills January Poems Pack). We have been singing this poem all week. My students’ have loved it! Today they glued it into their poetry notebooks and illustrated it.
4. Brrr! Before and After, where students’ chose an ABC card and wrote the letter that came before and after the letter they chose.
When we were finished, we made this DELICIOUS penguin! I think I ate 5 Oreos today. Just a little tip if you want to try these penguins in class...use double stuffed Oreos. They twist apart so much easier!!
Then we participated in some Penguin Relay Races! The kids had a blast with this! What was really cracking me up was listening to them calling each other daddy and mommy. When they would pass the 'egg' to the next person, they would say, "Give the egg to Daddy Drew!" It was too funny!
To finish off our Penguin Party day, we watched Happy Feet. Watching a movie after you just spent three weeks teaching about the subject, is great! My students were saying, 'look at that penguin tobogganing!' and 'look at the penguin rookery!' They were even pointing out the different kids of penguins. They got to see penguin regurgitate, the mom's take the journey to the sea in search for food, etc. It was awesome!! 
We had so much fun!!
You can find the above activities in my Penguin Unit and my Reading in a Winter Wonderland Unit :)
On Monday we are going to begin our three week unit on bears! I am going to be using my new Bear Unit...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Penguin Fun!

Sometimes in the morning when that very first bell rings and it is time to let my students into the classroom, I am thinking, 'Really? It is already 7:55?!' But, how sweet is it when you open the door and all the children have huge smiles on their faces, they are excited for school, and they are all bearing hugs! This morning I received the sweetest little gift. One of my girls made me my very own lunch bag! I fell in love with this! I put my mac & cheese and diet coke inside right away! Is there anyway I can laminate this and save it for daily use ;)

We are currently in our second week of learning about penguins! The children have already gained SO much knowledge, it's incredible! To hear them using the words regurgitate, tobogganing, fledglings, etc in their daily vocabulary is awesome!

We have been working very hard on reading/quickly recognizing our numbers 11-20 in ten frames. The students' played Penguin Party at one of their centers. If the students were able to read the number, ten-frame, or number word, then they could keep their card. When they were finished playing, they had to record some of the numbers that they knew. A couple of my students are still working with a number line to write their numbers correctly.

We are also working on addition. In the morning we discussed penguin enemies, so for centers they worked on Sneaky Seal Addition! They had to complete the addition sentence before the seal attacked! ;)

My students are becoming experts now on writing their CVC words
They are also ALL reading their color words and number words independently. In this center, students had to follow the directions to color the penguins in correctly.
We are continuing our penguin unit throughout next week--we decided to extend it because we are having too much fun!! Next Friday we are going to wrap up our unit with a Penguin Party!! We will be having penguin egg races, making a yummy penguin cooking activity, watching a penguin movie, and lots more! I am excited!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Technology in the Classroom

One of my blogging bff's, Katie from the Queen of the First Grade Jungle, is having a Technology Link Up Party over on her blog! I love reading how other teachers incorporate technology into their classroom (even though I get totally jealous at what they have access to!) 
But, before I show you my technology, I need to show you another picture of my beautiful niece!! 
I mean how precious is she? 
Alright, back to what this post is supposed to be about ;) In my classroom I have 2 desktops, 2 laptops, and I recently received an iPad! 
In the morning I have 4 rotations. One rotation is always to me for reading and another rotation is always computers. Our school has an account on IStation, so this is what my students have to work on during centers.
IStation is a wonderful reading program. It assesses the students frequently and based on how well they do, it assigns them different work. This is wonderful! Not only does it save me time from having to assign different students different things, but they are able to feel successful on the computer. 
I usually have 5 students at a time going to the computer center. This leaves one student out. That's where the iPad comes in handy! They rotate using the iPad. I have found some great apps. All the ones I am currently using are free. Below you can one of my students working on letter tracing with LetterSchool. 
Some other apps I have:
- Sight Words by Little Speller. I have the free version so it isn't so 'fun' looking to the kids at first. But what is super cool is you can add in your sight word list and your own voice/images....then they love it!
-8 Planets where they can earn ribbons and test their knowledge of the planets. My students will be experts by the time I do my space unit!
-All of the Elf on the Shelf apps! They are free and not really educational...but super fun! (Great to use as a reward)
-Did you know students can also watch PBS kids, Disney, and Nickelodeon shows for free on the iPad? Yep, I caught one of my students watching a Disney show. He knew how to go to the app store and download it by himself! I now use it as a fun friday reward :)
I also have a listening center. Not all students go to this center everyday. But, I try to have each student go at least once a week. Here is one of my little ones listening to his absolute favorite, Pete the Cat.
Lastly, I have a projector in my class. We love using the projector to view our Let's Find Out magazines online and play the free games that they have. We also have enjoyed watching this wonderful LIVE Penguin Webcam!! We even saw a macaroni penguin! The kids went wild! :) I searched around and looked through a bunch of live webcams...and this is by far my favorite one! The penguins come close to the camera, there are a bunch of different kinds of penguins to see, and you can even watch the 'scientist' as I say to the kids, come out and feed the penguins quite often! Love them! 

Click above to go to the webcam :)
Hopefully you made it through this post will head over to Katie's blog to read more about how technology is being used in the classroom from other wonderful bloggers! I would love to hear how you use technology as well!! Any advice on good apps?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Back to School Again...with Penguins!

Before I even begin to tell you what we have been learning at school, I have some exciting news to share!
I am a first time Aunt! I am so in love already. She is absolutely perfect and precious and innocent...I could go on and on. What a blessing!
In other news...we did begin our penguin unit at school! Check it out on my blog HERE! This was supposed to be a two week unit, but we decided to change it to a three week unit. I absolutely love teaching nonfiction units because it is amazing to see the knowledge that children gain and watch them become so interested in a topic.
On Monday we completed the 'K' and 'W' in our KWL. They actually surprised me (like always) with the amount of previous knowledge they had on penguins. When I write the information that they already know, I write everything they say. We will revisit the 'K' and cross out misconceptions or fix them to be true. As you can see below, we also already learned a lot of new information on penguins as well!
On Tuesday, I introduced their 'Word Splash' words for the penguin unit. I call children up to 'splash' the word on.
I read them the words, but I don't tell them the meaning. As we read our nonfiction books, the students have to listen for their words. If they hear one, they give me a thumbs up. Then, we will go over the definition. After we go over it, I move the word over to the left hand side.
On Wednesday, I stayed home to meet my amazing niece. So, on Thursday, we labeled our penguin.
I call one student up at a time to label the penguin...for some reason my kids really enjoy this activity!
During writing, we began our nonfiction 'All About Penguins' book (Common Core W.K.2)
The children really did an awesome job writing down some penguin facts on their first page. (Some students do use the KWL for guidance)

They also did their second page on what penguins eat. 
I am having a blast with the penguin unit so far! I will share some of our centers and other activities soon! I did have a mini 'teachable moment' today. We were reading one of our penguin books and it was discussing how penguins can tell each other apart by the sound that they make. My students didn't believe me! They thought there were way too many penguins huddled together for them to know the difference. So, I had all of my students close their eyes. I told them that if I tap them on the head, they have to say 'hello'. We did it one time and I had the students open their eyes. I asked them if they knew who said 'hello' and of course they guessed right away! We did it a couple more times and they guessed correctly each time! They couldn't believe it! It was super cute!
You can find the activities mentioned above, in my penguin unit on TPT.
I am linking up with Denise over at Sunny Days! She is showing off some other great winter ideas :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Graphics and/or fonts copyright Dianne J. Hook
I just love the saying above...Bring it on 2013!! 

I hope everyone has a wonderful, happy, and blessed year! I am looking forward to seeing what 2013 has in store for me!

I spent my morning prepping my new Penguin Unit.  I go back to school on Monday and will be starting this as soon as I go back! Here is a little peak of some of our activities ...

We have been practicing and practicing addition and subtraction...

I am also going to have the children hunt around the room for these penguin cards. They will count the penguins and count the fish to create an addition sentence...

Lots of letter activities!! In this one they will match the letter with the beginning sound picture

They are continuing to work on beginning and ending sounds. 

and much, much, more! We have a jam packed 2 weeks of Penguins! I really wish I could stretch the unit out to be a little longer! But, we are starting a 2 week Bear Unit when we are finished :)

All of the above activities can be found in my new Penguin Unit on TPT

And to start off the New Year right, everything in my store is 20% off today! 

Don't forget to grab one of my newly revised freebies while you are on TPT! You can find the Winter CVC Fun! game in my store or by clicking on the image below...