Tuesday, June 19, 2012

P.S. Technology is...Update


I thought you might enjoy our last "Technology is..." writing prompt. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear Families,

Thank you for your support during my first year at Rowe School.  You have made me feel welcome and at home since Day One. I feel that my efforts with your children have been well received and appreciated. 

I'd also like to thank all of our parents, grandparents, and community volunteers for your help and thoughtful communication. It really has been a team effort and our students have shown great growth in many areas as a result. 

Please be on the lookout as I hope to see many of you around town this summer!  And remember...

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you
Until we meet again!

Terry Lincoln

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sideways Poetry!

Ever since we received our two iPads from YEF,  I have been trying to find and learn to use apps that will help to fill our classroom blog with the sound of children's voices.  The Explain Everything app seems to do just that.  I'd like to thank Rowen's mom, Melina Roberts, for coming in for a few extra volunteer spots to record our first graders reading their favorite poems!

And, yes, the student work IS sideways!  I have tried everything I can think of to turn the pages around but the iPad seems to have a mind of its own and emails the images in the horizontal mode--no matter how many times I change the page set-up in Explain Everything!  Darcy Berry thinks it may have something to do with the page orientation before I clicked the word "done" prior to recording your children's voices.  Alas, there is no way to change the little video without losing the voice recordings.  Lesson learned!

The second group of student slides was so large that I was unable to drop it into the blog in the way that I did the first.  During our tech class, Cathy Wolinski helped me to export the video to my classroom YouTube channel.  Click on the words below and you should be able to enjoy the rest of the student written poetry.   

Please click here to view the new video of the first group of student poems.

Book Series by Level

It just dawned on me that now is the perfect time to share some leveled series your children might enjoy reading this summer.  Why now you might wonder?  Well, because I just sorted all of our leveled reading books and the names of the series are literally in my grasp!

Here goes:

Level I:   Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer (Golden Books)
               Dragon series by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic)
               Danny series by Mia Coulton (MaryRuth Books)
               I Can Read series by Syd Hoff (Harper Trophy)

Level J:  Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant (Trumpet Club)
               Mr. Putter and Tabby series by Cynthia Rylant (Scholastic)
               Poppleton series by Cynthia Rylant (Scholastic)
               Young Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler (Scholastic)

Level K:  Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (A Yearling Book)
                Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel (Harper Trophy)
                Little Polar Bear series by Hans de Beer (North-South Books)
                Level 2, I Can Read series by Crosby Bonsall (Harper Trophy)

Level L:  Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler (Scholastic)
                Horrible Harry series by Suzy Kline (Scholastic)
                Otto & Uncle Tooth series by Geoffrey Hayes (Random House)
                Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish (Harper Collins)
                Pinky and Rex series by James Howe (Scholastic)
                Arthur series by Marc Brown (Little, Brown and Company)
                George and Martha series by James Marshall (Houghton Mifflin Company)

Level M:  Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne (Random House)
                 Marvin Redpost series by Louis Sachar (Random House)
                 Kids of the Polk Street School series by Patricia Reilly Giff (A Yearling Book)
                 Bailey School Kids series by Debbie Dadey (Scholastic)
                 Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park (Scholastic)
                 Flat Stanley series by Jeff Brown (Scholastic)

4 Plays X 2 Shows

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crescent Beach Trip

I saw a lot of sunny faces at Crescent Beach today but I can't honestly report that the skies were as sunny as the one you see in this picture!  Please click on this photo to watch our slideshow from today's fun trip.

Thank you to all of the families who were able to help out on this whole-school trip.  I can't imagine what it would have been like to count 20 green shirts all by myself all day long!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Stinky Cheeseman Production

Did you hear that last week we went to YHS to watch the fabulous production of the Stinky Cheeseman?  Please check out our pictures of the amazing cast and set.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Horseshoe Crabs

Did you hear that Alyssa Lyon, a marine educator, came to visit Rowe School last Thursday? All first graders attended her horseshoe crab presentation and then met with her class-by-class for a chance to view and gently touch the horseshoe crabs she had on loan.  Needless to say, we learned amazing facts.  Please click on the following links AND watch our tiny slideshow for more details!



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Families,

The end of the school year is an emotional time in grade one. Primarily, it is a month of letting go. Little by little, we let go of our routines and along the way we sort of let go of each other. First grade is such a jam-packed year! Think of all the firsts your children have experienced!

I would like to ask for help as we enter into the last weeks of this school year. First of all, a good night's rest is as important as ever. You can even tell your children that I said they should get plenty of sleep between now and June 15th! Second, please talk openly about how difficult "endings" are. This is a rite of passage and they need to realize that it feels the same for most of us--they are not alone.

Last week, we began to work on a Reader's Theater unit and it is my hope that we will end the year with a BANG! You'll need to ask for daily details about our four plays. Last but not least, please let me know if you can help with play rehearsals and supervising prop building during the last three weeks of school. We will do as much in the room as possible and an extra pair of hands is always welcome!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Four Plays!

I'm sure you've heard about THE PLAYS! Listed below you will find some specifics that may help you to understand just what it is we are planning to do.

First of all, you need to know that our class will perform four plays with a total of nineteen speaking parts. One student will be our narrator.  Parts will be cast next week.

Please realize that the children:

Do NOT need to memorize their lines.

Do NOT need to make costumes at home.

Our TWO OFFICIAL PERFORMANCES will take place in our classroom on Wednesday, June 13th at 9:15 and at 12:45. Other classes might attend at these times.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

When You Have a Minute...

You might want to pop down the central hall at Rowe to read some of our poetry.  I can promise that you will be amazed at your children's very first efforts!

You may recall that my original plan was to hang (in the hallway) poetic words the children noticed.  Well, I quickly shifted to a Plan B that allowed us to follow the kids' lead because it didn't take long to realize that this particular class of first graders did not want to slowly begin to chart words.  They simply wanted to begin ASAP to write whole poems!  The best visual I can share is that it was like watching a line-up of racehorses at the gate.  All wanted to take off and begin to write.  And so we did.

Most have written and published at least seven poems.  Their very first poem, as well as, a favorite are hanging in the hall below their self portraits.  We'll probably cobble together an anthology for each student soon.  The reason I say probably is because I know that many will want to continue to write poetry and as it's not a unit I want to totally shut down, we may wait and pull the anthology together at a later date.

Are you wondering what's next in Writing Workshop?  Monday, we will begin to learn to write a nonfiction report.  At the same time, we will begin to edit for conventions.  Conventions is the last of the writing traits that we cover in first grade.  It includes editing for spacing, punctuation, spelling, and capitalization.  Our whole class report will be on Maine's state animal--the moose.  Please send in any books or images you have that might enrich our study.   


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Earnest First Grade Poets

Did you hear that the ENTIRE first grade class worked together in the library once a week for three weeks as a part of our April poetry unit?  It's true!  Initially, Ms. Honan helped us to kick off the unit by charting everything we told her we already knew about poetry.  Then we created a list of poets we enjoy and read a poem from Chicken Soup With Rice:  A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak.  At the end of our time together, we wrote a group poem titled Spring

The second week, Ms. Honan used her iPad to share more poetry with us.  It was fun to read the poem aloud as we viewed the words on the screen in the library.  There's nothing quite so heartwarming as starting the day by reading in the midst of a sea of 100 first grade voices!

Today we listened as pairs of first grade teachers read poems written for two to the group.  (Ask your child what the poems were like!)  Later we shared poems in our pockets with our lunch table buddies.  Some of the poems were written by famous poets but most were written by Rowe first graders.  Has your child read a poem to you lately?

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Noticing Poetry in What We Say and What We Hear

The first grade team will introduce poetry formally this week. In room 109, we've already begun to spend time listening to each other talk in an effort to find the seeds of poems in our natural, everyday language. We won't "listen for words that rhyme but, instead will listen for words that feel true, expressions that surprise us, or language that describes something in a new or beautiful way." Collections of the words will be posted on a bulletin board inside our classroom.

We'll also begin to search for "true, amazing, beautiful, interesting, vivid words and sentences selected from stories and other read alouds."  We'll display these collections in talking bubbles above each child's self portrait in the hallway.  

*Ideas taken from Reading and Writing Poetry by Georgia Heard and Lester Laminack

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cathryn Falwell Visited Rowe School Today!

Today was truly our lucky day because we were able to participate in book activities led by Cathryn Falwell.  The author grows vegetables and mystery vines in her garden next to Frog Song Pond in Maine.  The pond and its creatures are featured in her books Turtle Splash!, Scoot!, and Mystery Vine!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homework Reading

Your children have made great gains in reading! As a result, many are bringing home longer books to read each night. We realize that spring is a very busy time. If your child does not have a chance to read his/her book, please keep it home an extra night or two.

I would also like to mention that every book does not need to be read aloud to you. Now is a good time to encourage whisper reading or even silent reading. Your first graders are truly ready to read independently.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Apps to Check Out

I have created a new section on this blog called Apps to Check Out.  You'll find it on the right-hand sidebar.  Please keep in mind that these are not links to the actual apps.  Something good to know is that many of them are offered in a Lite version which is free.  What's nice about that is you can use them for awhile to determine if they're worthwhile.

Some book apps worth chasing down are the iPad books found at Oceanhouse Media (through the iTunes store) and Nook Kids found through Barnes & Noble.  Please let me know if you bump into quality titles elsewhere as I would love to start a bookshelf on our classroom iPads.  We have yet to invest in this area and the only iPad titles I can share (other than stories found on TumbleBooks) are those I have purchased for my personal iPad 1.

I will continue to add to this list.  For the record:  the order of the listing is random.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

iPad Magic--It's More Than Free Apps

Ever since I held my first iPad, I knew deep down that this was the perfect tool for primary grade students.  I knew this with all my heart but I didn't exactly know why.  Now I think I do.  In fact, I can explain it in one word--audience.

As you know, first graders love to share what they learn.  They enjoy becoming experts in whatever it is we do.  Six and seven-year-olds live to talk about what they do well and what their pals do well.  I'll bet they've kept you up-to-date on their reading levels, their latest big book story, which math triangles are the easiest (probably the doubles), and what we're studying in science.

Did you know that every student in our class scores a self assessment at the end of each unit in Everyday Math?  Five or six skills are described and for each skill, the students determine if they can (1) use the skill independently AND explain how to do it, (2) use the skill independently (but cannot explain how to do it) or (3) use the skill with help.   

I believe that our challenge as educators is to structure authentic sharing experiences between students and their families all year long--not just at the end of a unit or at conference time.  The iPads can certainly help us to do this.  Many of the apps I am most excited about are those that allow students to document their learning through the use of pictures and video.  Your children will be able to practice explaining their thinking AND how they do what they do as they are working and learning throughout their school days at Rowe.

Our classroom blog will truly begin to breathe when we are able to embed snippets of video.  Stay tuned as we learn to use images with words and/or voice-overs, as well as, video to show you what it is that we work so hard to do.

P.S.  Tomorrow I will post a list of quality apps that we are beginning to explore.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pebbles, Sand, and Silt

Our class is beginning an earth science unit.  We've started a study of rock, one of the most important earth materials.  Our investigations will center on the properties and uses of rock in many of its particle sizes--pebbles, gravel, sand, silt, and clay.  The children will be working extensively with materials, observing, comparing, and communicating what they learn through their firsthand experiences with earth materials.

Soon your child may ask for help finding a rock or two to contribute to our class rock collection.  A rock from your yard or neighborhood is fine.  As our study continues, your first grader will be learning more and more about rocks.  Try to find opportunities to talk with your child about sand, gravel, and soil and ways people use these materials in construction (asphalt, concrete, bricks, mortar, etc.) and landscaping.  This is an engaging theme for a family outing.

We're looking forward to lots of discoveries and new experiences as we explore the earth materials that can be found all around us.  If you have any questions or comments, or have expertise you would like to share with the class, please contact me.

--Taken from the FOSS Pebbles, Sand, and Silt Module
The Regents of the University of California

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dr. Seuss' Birthday

I forgot to bring my camera to school on Friday, March 2nd--Dr. Seuss' birthday.  Fortunately, our Tech Support Teacher, Cathy Wolinsky, was working at Rowe that day.  Before school, Cathy gave me a tutorial on using an iPad to take pictures and even offered to cover my morning duty so that I could fool around with the process before the students filed in.  Later in the day, she explained how to email the images to myself so that I could create a slideshow of the day. 

Thanks, Cathy!

Click on The Cat in the Hat to view our busy day of preparing for our assembly honoring Dr. Seuss.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

We Love Science!

Prior to vacation, we finished up our Science unit, Balance and Motion.  I've included a second slideshow titled, Balance and Motion-2 so that you might view some of the wild fun we had learning about this concept.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Valentine's Day

We hope you'll enjoy our Valentine's Day photos!

The 100th Day of School

There are so many ways to get to 100!  Please click on the words, 100 IS A LOT, to view our collections of 100.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dr. Seuss' Birthday

Tomorrow is Dr. Seuss' birthday.  To celebrate, we've joined forces with Ms. Berry's class and Mrs. Boutin's to plan a few fun activities that will take place in the gym during the last 45 minutes of the school day.

Part of our agenda involves using an iPad to project the storybook, The Cat in the Hat, onto the huge screen in the gym.  Following the reading of this book, two first graders will hook up with a kindergartener to read the first six pages of the sequel, The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.  We practiced reading our designated parts on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Our plan was to continue to practice reading our assigned pages on Thursday.  As  it seemed likely that school would be cancelled, we made extra copies to send home.  If at all possible, please help your first grader to practice reading his/her assigned pages.

I plan to take pictures all day Friday so that you might get a bird's eye view of the fun we have.  Stay tuned! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Telling Time

Have you had a chance to play Time for Time yet?
You can find it by clicking on this picture of Kermit the Frog.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine's Day

Our class will celebrate Valentine's Day on Tuesday, February 14th from 1:00 to 2:00.   We'd love to nibble on a few healthy snacks prior to opening our valentines.  Is there a chance that a few of you could send in some tidbits for our party?  If so, we'd appreciate donations of paper plates, napkins, cups, strawberries, cookies, and maybe even some red jello jigglers.

We hope to create individual valentine bags late this week. Next week, students may bring in their valentines to mail. Please check your valentines against the following names to make sure that no one is forgotten: Amber, Ava, Cameron, Carter, Colter, Cornelius, Dhriti, Ethan, Grace, Hans-Erik, Isaiah, J. Michael, Jonny, Julia, Kyla, Lucas, Maya, Mollie, Noveen, Pammie, Rowen, and Will.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

100 Days of First Grade

The 100th day of school is February 13th (as long as we don't have any more snow days). In our class, we'd like to celebrate the day with a variety of activities that involve the number 100. Please help your child find 100 items from home to bring to school.  Children could use 100 Cheerios, 100 buttons, 100 pennies, 100 toothpicks, 100 stickers, 100 words, 100 cards, 100 stamps...The possibilities are limited only by the imagination!

When the special day arrives, we'll pass out black paper for our students to use as a base to organize their collections into 10 rows of 10.  Then we'll walk around the room to check out the many wonderful, creative ways to represent 100.  Who knows?  We might even ask another class to come in for a viewing!

Please send in your child's collection any time this week.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012