Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Free Math!!

Here is my latest and greatest. Use what you want.  If you would like permission to edit these, I am not sure how to do that. The google doc is a pdf.   If you know how to make it editable, let me know!
Click on the picture to bring you to my google docs page!  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our Adventures at the Boston Children's Museum

To go or not to go, that was the question.  As of Wednesday, the meteorologist called for a snowy mix right during the morning commute.  Of course, we planned our field trip for the one day of Winter, so far, where snow was expected.  So a decision had to be made.  To go or not to go... Well, as a team we decided that if there was any sort of delay, we would reschedule the trip.  If there was no delay, we would venture to Boston no matter what.  Rewind to this morning at 8:00.  No delay!  Yes snow!  Driving to Shrewsbury from Westboro, it was evident the snow was way worse as we moved West.  As I arrived at school, I knew it was going to be a hectic morning.  After all was said and done, name tags were placed, groups were formed, and the bus was loaded, we were on our way.  The worst part of the trip was getting to the Mass Pike.  Once we hit that, we were in the clear.  The snow turned to rain and we were right on time!  The bus dropped us off and after a short walk in the rain to get there, we had arrived.  FEW!!

The reason we decided to take our one and only field trip to the Children's Museum was because they have an exhibit called "Balls and Tracks".  Fortunately for us, our Trimester 2 Science unit is Balance and Motion.  PERFECT FIT!!!  So, the package included a 1 hour hands on class that let us explore with tracks and balls.  The children were the engineers and they were given three challenges. For the first challenge,  they worked in groups to try and form a track that would make a marble go the fastest it can go.  Our second challenge was to make the ball roll the slowest possible.  The children talked about how in order to make things move, you need a force.  The children were asked, "When something goes up in the air, what force makes it come back down?"  Our new student, Svahbu, answered proudly, "Gravity"!  He was absolutely correct. They also learned that in order to make the marbles go up a hill, they need momentum.  So is the force that makes things go down and momentum is the force that helps things go up.  Our third challenge was to create a ramp that allowed the ball to go up a hill.  This took some figuring out, but the kids really rose to the occasion and had a great time creating these ramps.  Here are some pictures of each group working together to beat the challenge. 

After our workshop, the kids were aloud to spend about an hour and a half exploring the rest of the Museum.  Some of the favorite exhibits were; The Japan House, The Jungle Gym, The Art Studio, and the Bubble Room.  Over all, despite the rocky start with the weather, they had such a blast!  Here are some more pics from their explorations around the museum.

Thank you to all the parents who were able to come with us to the Museum.  I hope everyone had a great time.  I know the kids did.  When we got back to school, I had the kids show me one thing they learned at the Museum.  They could sketch, write me a letter, or explain with just words.  They could choose the way they wanted to show me their learning!  The field trip was a huge success. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Even First Graders Can Write Poetry..

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  Sorry I have been away for so long.  Now that I am back into the swing of things, I will be much better about posting!

As a district, Shrewsbury educators have been looking for some guidance with our writing curriculum.  In the past we had no "formal" writing program, so teachers spent their own money and time trying to find the perfect way to teach writing.  Last year, our district decided to start the Shrewsbury Writing Program.  A teacher was asked to volunteer from each grade (1-4) to meet and discuss writing by looking at state standards and always remembering to look at the vertical alignment.  Through many discussions and agreements, disagreements and adaptions, the Shrewsbury Writing Project has created guidelines and suggested lessons and materials by trimester.  What a relief!  So, the three genres of writing that First Grade is to focus on are Narrative
  Writing, Persuasive Writing, and Poetry.  I have always taught poetry, in that we read poems and discussed our mental images.  We would look for rhyming words and find sight words.  When I received this guide I was so excited to see that having the kids write their own poetry was going to be a focus.  How much fun is that.  Kids are so creative and it gives them a different writing outlet than just writing story after story after story.  So, in the past couple of months we have talked about acrostic poems, read poetry, even wrote our own name acrostics.  We also look at a metaphor winter poem and the kids got to insert lots of describing words about winter.  Today I decided I really wanted to see the kids creativity with free verse poems.  Regie Routman has written a wonderful book:

In the book, she features poems that actual first graders have written.  This was empowering for my kids because it showed them that they to could write their own poems.  Here are two examples from the book.

We talked about what type of words poets use and how they place their words.  We also talked about how poems need to show rhythm, but do not necessarily rhyme.  We talked about our Poetry Wheel that was created by the SWP.  Here is what it looks like.

We brainstormed "juicy" words, feeling words, and words we use when we talk about our senses.  Finally it was time for the children to give it a shot.  Everyone was very excited about this new challenge.  Well, to say that they did great is an understatement.  I am so impressed with their creativity, word choice, and structure.  Here are just a few that blew me away!

By Bennett
 I get scared when I
       see a mouse
    I like to eat cheese
cheese please!
  I'm as gray as dust
    I scram scram
    scram when I
          see a cat! YIKES!
Most people think I am
I give you the shivery shivers.
       those cat claws make me
          really really scared
I am a mouse  you might find me in your house!
 My Cat
by Jack
I am a cat
I like to lay down
on the couch
I run down
I run up 
I run everywhere
to catch a mouse!
scccraapp went 
my claws on 
the door!
I catch the 
mouse! I hide
under the table
I have dinner!

By Kamran


The Car in my Video Game
By Nicholas

My car is fast
my car is not good at the
it wins fast going straight
I still like it.

The Soccer Game
By Alexa

Soccer soccer
soccer it is so
much fun soccer
soccer soccer the
game has just begun!

a work in progress by: Cienna

I scratch! I catch: 
The toy bug on the wall!

This next poem was written by one of my students who uses the computer to do much of his writing.  He used an awesome website that has tons of poetry forms ready to use.  Check out this site, and take a look at his awesome poem!

By: Ian

The kids can't wait to write more poems.  I am so proud of them! Great job kiddos!