Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween from your favorite 1st graders! Thank you to those who donated to our Halloween Party with delicious food or games. A special thanks to our room mother for organizing our event and all the parents who helped during the big party. Costumes are on and we're ready for some Trick-or-Treating.

Leave us a comment with the total number of candy you collect tonight!  You can even tell us how much candy you already ate.  Stay tuned for our Pumpkin Patch Reader's Theater coming to a theater near you very soon.

 Just as Pete would say, "It's all good in 1st Grade!"

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Perfect Plump Pumpkin Alliterations

Our first published piece on the iPads is complete. Students created, wrote and then published an alliteration. Alliterations are sentences that have the same sound repeated at the beginning of many words.  First, we used pictionaries to help brainstorm words the start with the beginning sound in our names. We unscrambled funny alliterations on the Smartboard to help us understand that our alliterations must make sense! Students then wrote a sentence to making their own alliterations. After our sentences were complete, students wrote them on sentences strips and made an adorable pumpkin to go along with it.  
Wait, we weren't done yet. Next, we used the iPads and illustrated our pictures using one of our favorite apps educreations. Students even independently typed their sentences, picked their color, size and placement. As a class we recorded ourselves fluently reading our sentences. Make sure to watch our final published piece above.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nanananana Batweek

We've gone batty over bats in 1st grade. We started by asking I wonder questions about bats. There were typical questions such as, "Do bats bite?", "Do bats eat meat?" or "What do bats do during the day/night?". There were also some clever I wonder questions such as, "I wonder how bats get in our house" or "I wonder how bats don't fall". National Geographics for Kids was our resource for learning about these interesting creatures. Here's your fun fact for the week: One bat can eat almost 600 mosquitoes in 1 hour!

We used our love for learning about bats to help us practice our math facts. First we worked on our understanding of the commutative property of addition. Each student was given a number which was called their whole. Then we split our whole into two parts to write an addition sentence. This addition sentence went on one side of their bat. We then flipped our parts and our bat to write the turn around fact. Amazingly 1+3=3+1!
Our love of bats also helped us with our math fact families. Students were given bats with different parts on their wings. 1st graders were challenged to create fact families and number bonds to accompany their bats.  This helped us work on related math facts!
We are officially experts on bats. Although we still don't know how bats get in our house. I guess that will remain a mystery.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Giant Pumpkin

Yesterday we had our own Klipfel & Kids and the Giant Pumpkin moment.  Thank you to Mrs. Lancaster for bringing her father-in-law, Woody Lancaster (who is the former Topsfield Fair Largest Pumpkin Winner) and his giant pumpkin to Fuller Meadow. 
 Every year, Mr. Lancaster attempts to grow the heaviest pumpkin and enters it in the Topsfield Fair.  This year his pumpkin weighed in at 1,517 pounds!  Most of us were surprised to realize it looks and feels much different than a regular pumpkin.
Mr. Lancaster shared his wealth of knowledge about growing such a large pumpkin.  Let us tell you it is no easy feat.  Surprisingly, giant pumpkin seeds are only double the size of typical pumpkin seeds but it takes lots of planning when finding the right ones to plant.  Mr. Lancaster watches his two pumpkins grow 30 to 40 pounds a day.  Each pumpkin needs about 50 gallons of water a day, heated soil and lots of love.  Here are the pictures of how his pumpkin plants grow, right in his backyard.
Don't try and turn this huge pumpkin into pumpkin pies.  These giant pumpkins and seeds don't taste very good because they are mostly water and not sugar.  However, they do make wonderful Jack-O-Lanterns!
Last year, I was fortunate to help Mr. Lancaster and Mrs. Lancaster carve his winning pumpkin.  This pumpkin was so big, I fit completely inside!  We're looking forward to carving this year's Jack-O-Lantern face soon.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Word Families

We're like a family...a word family that is. Word families are groups of words that have the same spelling and sounds at the end of a group of words. For example: cat, hat, fat and splat are all members of the -at family. Word families have been helping 1st graders with reading, spelling and phonics. Students worked in groups to brainstorm as many words as they could for different word families.

Students used rhyming dictionaries and pictionaries to add words to their word family lists. We took our lists and turned them into word family mummies.
Practice hunting and recognizing word families while reading. Look for those word family chunks!
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Sunday, October 19, 2014


We can officially say we have a friend in Texas, well eighteen friends actually. As part of the Global Read Aloud project, Klipfel & Kids virtually met Mrs. Gelles' 1st graders in Texas.
We had a wonderful experience skyping together on Friday. First, we got to know about their school and classroom. Students then shared connections and predictions about our shared story, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Check out two of the text-to-self connections we shared.
Ask your 1st graders about Edward's journey so far.  As a class, we predict Nellie is going to dress Edward in a dress, high heels, a beautiful string of pearls and lipstick!  Now we just need to read and find out if our prediction comes true.  We are all looking forward to another skype date soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Adjectives

Clever 1st graders practiced their knowledge of adjectives or words that describe nouns, by making adorable Adjective Pumpkins. Enthusiastic students chose an adjective from the back table and then created a pumpkin that matched that describing word.

Smart students really grasped the concept of an adjective with this activity...thank you Halloween! 
Precious 1st graders were even coming up to our adjective wall to use them in their writing pieces. They couldn't be making their happy teacher prouder!

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Writer's Workshop

It looked like a squiggle but it wasn't a squiggle...

We read the story, It Looked Like Split Milk to get ideas for our own writing pieces. Students were given a squiggle line and created a picture around that squiggle. It is always fun to see what the boys' and girls' creative minds come up with. Students' drawings were unique and interesting. Once we completed our pictures, we wrote a sentence to go with our work. Then, we took our sentences through the whole writing process! We especially focused on revising our writing to make them even better.

Steps in the writing process

Here are our published writing pieces.  Make sure to pay close attention to our illustrations and backgrounds.  What do you see in the squiggle?

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Global Read Aloud

Today marked our first day participating in Global Read Aloud. The Global Read Aloud mission is for one book to connect the world. Over the next few weeks we will be reading, doing activities, and working on comprehension skills while reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. 296,000 students, 5,600 different teachers in more than 60 different countries are already signed up to take part in this global project.  Klipfel and Kids will be connecting with Mrs. Gelles' 1st graders from Bear Creek Elementary School in Grapevine, Texas. This afternoon we sent our new friends in Texas a class picture and are excited to receive one back soon.
Hello from Massachusetts 
Along the way both classes will be doing similar activities and skyping to share our read aloud experiences. To kick off the project, 1st graders used clues from the title, pictures, and cover to make predictions.  Now we're ready to take part on Edward's journey.
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