Archive for October, 2015

Fall Party Fun!

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Pumpkin Lab

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Week of October 26th

Good afternoon!
What a busy, but very exciting week we’ve had in our classroom!
I’d like to start by thanking all of the parents who reached out to help us in some way this week: pumpkin donations, volunteering to work the pumpkin lab today, donating supplies for the class party, running stations at the party, and even coming in to do a science lesson with our class this week!  None of this would be possible without the help of all our wonderful classroom parents.
We had a great time this morning in our pumpkin lab.  I’d like to thank everyone personally who brought in a pumpkin, but I had so many magically show up in the room or on my desk this week, I don’t know where they all came from.  Thank you to Andrea Langille, Jodi Terrill, Samantha Garofalo, Kim Hicks, Jessica Esslinger, Laura Melling, and Erika Sylvia for lending me your very helpful hands during this mornings pumpkin lab.  For those that were unable to come in and join us, I encourage you to ask your children what they did with the pumpkins, as there was a lot of learning and fun going on in our room.  The children split into pairs to work through a lab booklet with a variety of activities in it.  They worked on dictionary skills by searching guide words to find “pumpkin” in the book and then read and wrote the definition for this giant orange fruit we’re studying.  Then, they used their knowledge of adjectives and their five senses to describe their pumpkins inside and out.  We worked on circumference by measuring the distance around the pumpkin with yarn and laying it out on a yard stick to read the inches around.  Children estimated the weight of the pumpkin before and after carving/gutting and then worked with scales to measure the weights before and after carving.  We estimated the number of seams on each pumpkin and then counted to compare actual numbers to our estimates.  The children gutted their pumpkins and then put all of their seeds in groups of ten to count the total number of seeds.  Would you believe one little pie pumpkin can have as many as 437 seeds?!?!  That’s a lot of grouping and counting, but the kids did great!  We also did some work with sinking and floating.  The children learned that pumpkins do in fact float!  What a fun time!!!  Thank you to everyone!!!
This afternoon we had library and the children got to celebrate Mrs. Clary’s birthday with her and were so excited to do so!  They were also excited about some new computer programs Mrs. Clary is teaching them to use: Microsoft Word and Paint.  Their library books are due back next Thursday!
Thank you to all of the parents who came in this afternoon for our fall party: Mrs. and Mrs. Onda, Mrs. Holt, Mrs. Sylvia, Mrs. Hicks, Mrs. Papacek and Nana, Mrs. Esslinger, and Mrs. Staley.  If you couldn’t make it, thank you for the monetary donations you all made to make this experience possible for the children.  I know some of you had behind the scenes jobs and that too is very appreciated as I know everyone is extremely busy!  It was a HUGE success!!!  For those that couldn’t be here, the children rotated through three different stations: bean bag toss (made by the Papacek family), a minute to win-it game, and pin the eyeball on the monster.  Your children are coming home with a bag full of goodies and prizes from all their fun!  I’ll post pictures for you soon on our website.
We spent a great deal of time on pumpkins in class this week for science and studied the life cycle of a pumpkin as well.  One of my favorite science activities for the week however was presented to us by Lilly Onda’s sweet mother, Heidi.  She spent time with us on Wednesday to teach the children about static electricity and the positive and negative forces that cause electricity and lightning.  To demonstrate how positive and negative forces react together to bring a neutral force back, Heidi had the children create Halloween monsters and bring them to life.  It was adorable and they learned a ton!  Each child was given a piece of gift tissue paper and were asked to draw a monster on it and cut it out.  Then, every child was given a pumpkin balloon, which you likely saw come home.  They rubbed the balloon on their heads and/or the carpet to create a negative force and touched it to their monster, the positive force.  When the balloon touched the monster, it stuck and they could make their monsters move and dance.  So adorable and the children absolutely ate this lesson up.  Again, I’ll post pictures once I can get them pulled from my phone (still trying to figure out why it’s not working).  Than you Heidi and Lily for another amazing Super Scientist Lesson!!!!
Next week’s specials include:
Mrs. Newman also spent some time with us in class this week and did her first grade lesson on tattling.  In your child’s folder this evening, there is a letter explaining her lesson further.  She read the story Tattle Tongue to them.  Take a minute and ask them what a tattle tongue is.  It might be something you want to use around your house.  I know we do at ours!  Ha!
This amazing and unpredictable Indiana weather continues to take us on a ride of highs and lows.  Our classroom temperature is about as unpredictable as our outside weather recently so I highly encourage you to dress your child in layers and be sure to send a sweatshirt or jacket every day.  The playground is a wide open space too and the wind is painful back there some days.  Please be sure to watch the weather during the coming cold months!
Next week we will jump right into our November studies.  In math we will begin working on fact families.  For science we are working with Turkeys.  In social studies, we are going to touch upon elections and voting.  And, our reading skill will be learning to visualize and to ask questions while reading.
I hope you all have a great weekend.  Get some rest and enjoy Halloween with your little ones!

Classroom Updates…

Good afternoon!
I hope you all had a nice fall break with your children.  They all had a lot of stories to share with me today and it sounded like everyone had a lot of fun and some traveled to some wonderful places.  I’m glad to have them all back today and of course am enjoying them as usual!!!
There are just a few things going on for this week I wanted to update you on…
First, I will be out tomorrow.  My oldest son was sent home from school sick today so I’ll be home tomorrow with him.  Mrs. Rowe will be subbing for me and she is absolutely wonderful!  I know the children will learn a great deal and thoroughly enjoy her!
For specials this week, the students have the following:
Monday-library (if you did not sent books today, feel free to do so tomorrow and your child can switch out after announcements in the morning)
On Friday, from 9:30-11ish, I am doing a pumpkin lab with my class.  We are in desperate need of pumpkins for this and are looking for them to be larger than a pie pumpkin.  We still need 6!!!  If you’d like to donate, please let me know!
I’m also looking for a handful of parents who might like to come in and help during our pumpkin lab on Friday, again 9:30-11ish.  You could stay part of the time or the whole time.  I am thrilled to have any help I can get.  Thank you to the two moms who volunteered already to help us.  Please let me know if you are interested in joining us in some fun hands-on, messy learning!!!
Before break, I sent home Scholastic Book Order forms.  I’ve noticed quite a few of you have already placed orders again and I’m so excited to see this.  It’s a great way to build your libraries at home and also earns us points for classroom books to build our library here.  If you would like to order, please have everything submitted online by Friday, October 30th by 5p.m.  I’ll be placing orders that evening.  If this is your first time ordering online please do the following:
-ENTER the class activation code, HDQ2G
-CHOOSE from thousands of print titles, value packs, and Storia eBooks
-SUBMIT the order to me by the due date, Friday October 30th at 5p.m.
This week we are studying bats, pumpkins, and spiders in class.  We’ve continued our talks about being a buddy and have been working with “bucket dipping” and “bucket filling” activities.  In math, our big focus is addition strategy review.  Our spelling words are “s family” blends this week.  This is just a snipit of what we are covering.  More information will be sent soon.
Thank you so very much to the parents and teacher who volunteered their time before break to attend our survive alive field trip: Laura Melling, James Sylvia, Chip Terril, and Phil Presser.  Our class represented Maple Glen wonderfully and I was so proud of their behavior and participation.  It was obvious they enjoyed themselves and also learned a great deal.  I hope they shared this experience with you.  I have pictures to share, but am having trouble pulling them from my phone.  I’ll add those to the website when I figure it all out.
Have a great week and please let me know if you need anything!
Christie Buonanno

A Quick Classroom Update…

Good afternoon Parents!!!
I hope you are all having a nice week.  Before the week ends and we all head different directions for fall break, I wanted to touch base with some quick classroom information…
First of all, congrats to this month’s Lunch Bunch Winner, Landon Paradise.  And, congrats to this month’s Guiding Principle Winner (Responsible), Julianna Garofalo.  I’m proud of all of the children for their hard work and focus this last month, but want to offer a big congrats for these two for standing out with great choices.
Tomorrow is our first field trip to the Survive Alive House in downtown Indianapolis.  Our chaperones for this trip are Chip Terril, Phil Presser, and James Sylvia.  Chaperones, I sent a letter home last week with directions for tomorrow.  If you have any other questions, please let me know.  Otherwise, we will see you all at the front entrance of the Survive Alive House tomorrow.  For everyone else, please remember to send a sack lunch in with your child, unless you ordered one through the school.  If you ordered through the school, it will be ready when we get back tomorrow.  The children will be eating once we return to school so be sure they have a good breakfast before heading out in the morning.  Several of you have said you wanted to pick your children up early tomorrow for the start of fall break or scheduled appointments.  If all goes as planned, we will be back around 1:00p.m.
Tomorrow, Friday, is pajama day at MGES, but as I mentioned earlier, our class needs to wear regular school clothes due to our field trip.  As I’ve told them, we will have another chance for p.j.’s in the near future!
We’ve been hard at work this week again.  It seems like there are never enough hours in our day to get everything in.  Just a quick overview of some curriculum things…
In social studies this week, we’ve been talking about Christopher Columbus and explorers.  We began the week watching an intro video of Columbus on BrainPop Jr. and then read our first “My First Biography” book on Columbus.  We talked about all of the dreams this explorer had and how he had to be persistent and not give up on those dreams even after a lot of people shot those dreams down for him.  The children watched a short video of the life of Columbus on United Streaming from their Great American Heroes Classics series.  This is a great resource and the children picked up a lot of information from this.  We then finished with a creative writing project over Christopher Columbus that we hope to have hanging for your viewing pleasure soon.
We’ve continued to plow through our computation work in math this week.  Our biggest focus has been on using a number line and showing how to count on from any given number.  We will continue to focus on computation with our addition and subtraction facts over the next month.  As we continue to practice, I continue to track the problems your children are fluent on.  Please have your children practice their addition facts at home as well.  In math we also do our daily morning math which included practice on the following: graphing (bar, line, point, picture), base ten blocks (place value), money, renaming of numbers using tallies, coins, computation, number words, etc.  We have been spending a great deal of time covering a lot of math concepts so I hope you see this in the work the children continue to bring home.  This week, we also began working in our math journals.  The children enter four story problems each day and we work together to solve and justify those using words, number models/equations, pictures, and graphs/base tens.  They have seemed to enjoy our story problem time in the mornings this week.
We did conclude our Fire Safety studies this week and were lucky enough to have not only a classroom parent, but former MGES teacher, Sawyer Beier, come in and work with our class.  Sawyer came in yesterday and concluded our fire safety unit with a wonderful experiment about what a fire needs to grow.  Please talk with your children about their experiences and what they did with this fun activity!
Our grammar lessons this week have focused again on nouns.  This week we worked with common, proper, singular, and proper nouns.  Children watched a “Grammar for Children” video on nouns, we did several noun sorts, and also went on a magazine noun hunt.  After break we will review nouns, but move our focus to verbs for several weeks.  These are always a lot of fun because we get to do some charades and also turn ourselves into “Verb Heroes”.  The kids will have a lot of fun with this!
In spelling this week, we worked on R Family Blends.  These, as I mentioned, proved a bit tougher for most students.  Thank you for helping reinforce the learning of these words at home too.
This week in science we had planned to study bats and spiders.  However, we got a little wrapped up in Christopher Columbus and also spent some extra time in math, so we will push bats and spiders to the week after fall break.  This is always a lot of fun because we can do so many things with math and language work together for these units.
After break we will also be studying pumpkins.  This is one of the first grader’s favorite weeks of the year, as so many things are hands-on fun.  That being said, I could use your help in two different ways.  1.  We need pumpkins donated the week after fall break for a pumpkin lab we are doing in class.  If you are able to donate a pumpkin(slightly larger than a pie pumpkin), I’d be very appreciative and grateful!!!!  2.  We are doing our Pumpkin Lab from 9:30-11:00 on Friday, October 30th.  I could use a few extra adult hands to help run this fun lab that morning.  If you are interested in helping, please let me know!!!
In reading we have been working a great deal on word attack/decoding skills, tracking print, and breaking down the elements of a story.  After break we will really be diving into work on mental imaging and visualization.  This is always a lot of fun for the children, as they get to use their imaginations.
If I don’t see or hear from you before fall break, have a wonderful week with your children.  Get some rest and have some fun!!!!
Take care,
Christie Buonanno

This week in class…

Good afternoon!
I wanted to give you all a quick overview of our week in our classroom.  We’ve been moving a hundred miles per hour to say the least, as we had so many things to do.  It made for a fun week!!!
Aside from our Super Scientists, which I emailed separate information on, we did a handful of our own experiments in class this week…
One experiment was “Sink or Float” with an apple and a carrot.  Our jobs as scientists were to find out if each food would sink or float and to determine why.  We made predictions and talked at length as to why we felt one would sink or float.  The children had great ideas about size, shape, weight, skin/no skin, even if one had air in it or juice/water to make it heavier or lighter.  We quickly learned that apples float due to the numerous number of air pockets inside.  And, carrots sink because of their density and the water inside making them even heavier.
Another experiment we did was also centered around apples.  We discussed how when apples are first cut, they are white and fresh looking.  But, after a short while, the look changes and they don’t appear so yummy anymore.  So, we tested multiple liquids (water, milk, soda, and lemon juice) to see which would preserve the apple best.  Some of the children were able to tell me it was the lemon juice and quickly made a connection to seeing mom or dad make fruit salad at home and using it.  Many others believed the water would keep the apple freshest because water itself is “clean and fresh”.  We of course worked through the steps of the scientific method as we conducted this experiment and the children were starting to name the different steps which told me our practice has started to resonate with them-yay!
In math this week we have been continuing to work on addition strategies.  We worked to make an anchor chart of our different strategies and hung it in the room to help them remember how to solve a problem if they are stuck.  The strategies we listed include:
1. Use your fingers
2. Use touch math (introduced to them quickly)
3. Count with tallies
4. Count up or count out loud
5. Draw a picture
6. Use mental math
7. Make a number model
8. Make a doodle
9. Use a number line
I hope you saw the math letters and flash cards I sent home this week.  We’ve been working on adding zero and one and counting up from a given number.  Please keep these flash cards at home for extra practice.  I will continue to send sets of flash cards home over the next month.  Keep in mind, addition and subtraction facts must be memorized by the end of the first grade year according to Indiana State standards.
This week in math we’ve also continued to work with place value, expanded notation, money, tallying, calendar work, time to the hour and half hour, and greater than and less than.  On our story problems, the students are doing a very nice job of learning to draw and solve and determining if they should add or subtract based on the given information.
We’ve continued to work on short “a” words during our word play time.  Students are just about finished with their short “a” word family albums so we did a word making activity using word family cubes and onsets to words.  They did a great job with it and you should see it in their folders tonight.  We ran out of time the day we did it, but it is now a center activity they can continue to work with.
We have done a ton of writing work this week.  One I wanted to tell you about was today’s activity.  I introduced one kind of “think sheet” or graphic writing organizers to the class.  We used the apples you donated along with our five senses to describe the apples.  The organizer gave the children an outline and they worked with me to put descriptive words in the blanks.  I then showed them how this could be transferred into a paragraph writing and informational piece.  We completed the organizer and the final writing piece and they really did a good job.  This is just the beginning of many writing lessons and strategies this year!
In reading we really started dissecting our stories this week.  We spent the most time again on Johnny Appleseed, a.k.a. John Chapman.  The children worked with me to create a special project over all they learned.  We did a three piece writing: tall tales, facts, and character traits.  The final products are hanging in our hallway and I’m excited for you to see all of their hard work.  A project like this takes a lot of time, concentration, and energy from a first grader!
We started 100s club in my room.  The children’s goal is to write from 1-1,000 this school year.  We had a good number of friends master level 100 (1-100).  To achieve a level, there can be no errors (reversals or misplaced numbers).
Children in my PALS group have been working on fiction and non-fiction stories, not just reading, but also writing them.  This week I gave them a blank book filled with pictures in sequential order.  Their job was to create a story from beginning to end.  Once they finished, we went through each person’s book and edited them together and added components that they were either missing or could improve on.  For our first book writing effort, I was pleased!!!
We spent one day doing a great deal of assessing so at conferences I could have the most up to date data and information to share with you.
I’d hoped to do “popcorn” with the children in science this week, but we focused on apples and diving deeper into our work with them instead.
Next week is the start of parent conferences.  Thank you to everyone for signing up and your patience as I pulled the schedule together.
Today I sent home several things: NWEA scores in a sealed envelope, Garden Club enrollment forms, and confirmations to anyone who signed up for a fall enrichment class.  Please look for these things!
Field trip forms and money are due on Monday!!!!  I had a great number of parents sign up to chaperone so on Monday we will draw names and I’ll notify you and also give specific directions to get there.
Next Wednesday, I am out of the building from 12-3.  I am the math rep for our first grade team and have to attend a training at Washington Woods.  If you have afternoon conferences, I’ll be back to meet with you.
Thank you to Mrs. Onda for coming and doing sight word assessments for us this week.  If you would like to come in and assess, please notify me, as I’d always love the help!!!
Next week’s specials include:
Have a great weekend and please let me know if you need anything at all!
Christie Buonanno

Super Scientist #2-Elephant Toothpaste

Happy Friday Everyone!!!
I wanted to tell you about a fun experience your children had today in class…
Our second Super Scientist, Laura Holt, and her son, Tyson, conducted an amazing experiment with your children in class today.  Their experiment was titled, “Elephant Toothpaste” and the kids had a blast with this.
There were so many things learned from this experiment and so many components of the Scientific Method used that the children were completely engaged the entire time.  It’s been so much fun to see both of our Super Scientist parents come in this week with so much energy and excitement for my students.
Today’s experiment started with a talk about safety equipment.  Tyson demonstrated his safety goggles and talked about why goggles would be needed during a chemical reaction experiment.
Tyson and Laura then discussed what ingredients were and which ones would be used in today’s experiment.  I won’t recall them all, but a few included: dish soap, food coloring, yeast, warm water, and perm solution (crazy, huh?!?).
Next Laura discussed units of measurement with the class as she and Tyson carefully measured out the ingredients to add to the mixture.
Laura explained to the children what a chemical reaction is and how a chemical reaction is very difficult, maybe even impossible to reverse once it’s taken place.
She also taught them about exo-thermal radiation, when 2 or more chemicals react to make heat.  This was also demonstrated in the experiment.
I’ve attached a couple of cute photos of our Super Scientists.  Please take a moment to ask your children about today’s surprise experiment!!!
Thank you Laura and Tyson!!!
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Super Scientists,Mrs. Sylvia and Ava Claire

Today we had the great pleasure of having our first Super Scientist in to work with the class.  Mrs. Sylvia, Ava Claire’s mom, came in and worked with our class and did a spectacular job!  It was a blast to have a parent in the room teaching us!
Mrs. Sylvia taught the children about Isaac Newton’s Law of Motion.  They learned that things stay at rest unless a change or force is added.  She went out on a limb and demonstrated this using raw eggs.  Ava Claire and her mom built a tower over a glass of water and quickly knocked the box out from under the egg making it land in the glass.  If I’d had tried this, we’d have had a HUGE mess.  These girls did great though and successfully demonstrated the Law of Motion!!!
I’m attaching a couple of snapshots from this super duo!!!  Way to go girls and thank you!!!!

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