Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wait...there are only 8 planets now?

Wait...there are only 8 planets now? This is the question that I am getting from every single one of my first graders. We are doing our solar system unit, and my first year teacher salary does not have the funding to purchase newly published all of my space books still include Pluto! It is so hard for them to understand that it is not considered a planet anymore!

I started my whole unit with an anticipation guide. I read the questions to my students and they had to decide whether it was true or false. It was amazing how little they knew about the solar system! We had a lot to learn!

Anyway, we are having a "blast" with this space unit ;) I got a ton of ideas from The Techy Teacher...her ideas are so awesome!

We performed her "Planet Roll Call," painted pictures of the planets, created our own constellations, and so much more!

Yesterday, we read The Magic School Bus: Lost in the Solar System. I LOVE this book. It took us almost 40 minutes to read it because it was jam packed with so much information. And it was all completely understandable to my students! They kept asking question after question!

The only tidbit my kiddos were having a little trouble with was an orbit. So I thought of an awesome activity to reinforce it!

I am lucky enough to have a special right after lunch on Wednesdays, so I ran outside to our empty parking lot with some chalk and drew my heart out! I drew the sun, and then 8 orbits around it, getting bigger and bigger for each planet's orbit. My kids got out of music and walked outside and they were speechless!

Each of my kidsgot to be a planet orbiting the sun at the same time. One of the facts in our book said that some planets have shorter and longer years than Earth based on how far away they are from the Sun. We didn't really understand it until today! The kids were able to see that the students on Mercury and Venus' orbits, made it around 5 or 6 times before Uranus or Neptune. I saw so many lightbulbs going off it was unbelievable!

We are finishing up our unit on Friday with a performance of our "Planet Roll Call" and some watercolor pictures of the Sun! Lastly, we will be going over our anticipation guide to see how much we have learned!

Enjoy this weather....snow is coming :(

Contraction Surgery Activity and FREEBIE!

We're getting soooooo close to the long weekend I can taste it! I am traveling to Kansas City to see my best friend for the long weekend and I cannot wait. I am trying to keep things exciting in our classroom this week to keep me motivated to make it to Friday!

This week, I introduced contractions to the students. I wanted to find a way to keep the students completely involved and make the concept really stick. After googling for a while, I found the best idea!

My class performed contraction surgery!

To to our surgery, my mom was sweet enough to bring me home some surgical masks from the hospital she works at. So each of the kiddos got to wear a mask and come up in pairs to perform surgery on the contractions. 

The poor little contractions want to be whole again and they need your help! They start as two words, and then our "doctors" surgically remove the part of the word that we do not need for our contraction. After surgery, the contraction needs a bandage to help him heal. Once he has healed, his bandage is removed and there is a scar left behind. This scar is the apostrophe! I swear....every single one of my kids: low, high, average...they all completely and totally understand contractions after doing this activity! It was amazing!

After we completed the whole group activity and each of the students got a chance to be the doctor, they all trotted back to their desks with their masks on and performed surgery on their own!

To go with this activity, I made a little FREEBIE that is my very first TPT item! I hope everyone likes it!

Only two days left before a 3 day weekend!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pencil Sharpener Giveaway!

I'm linking up with Oh Boy 4th Grade for her Currently January Linky Party! I don't let my kids use my brand new electric pencil sharpener since they already destroyed two this year :( I would be so lucky to get one of these fantastic sharpeners! I can't believe how kid-friendly they are!

I've never been a part of a linky party like this before so hopefully I did it right!

I had to pick "breathe" for my OLW because I have to remind myself to do so every five seconds! I give 500% of myself to my classroom and my kids everyday and I still have students that are majorly struggling. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am doing everything I possibly can for them and that they are going to leave me better students then when they came in. Being a first year teacher makes it REALLY difficult to feel like I am doing everything I can for them though!

This is an AWESOME giveaway so fly over to enter yourself!

Happy Monday!
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