Monthly Archives: April 2013

Team Spencer!

Spencer Meyer, is a 7 year old from Hudsonville who is battling leukemia.  Spencer currently is 1 year into a 3 year chemo regimen.  His parents, Jason & Jodi, both are teachers at Hudsonville High School.  His sister attends Georgetown.

Team Spencer was put together last year to support the Meyer family.  We decided that since Spencer is not done fighting, Team Spencer is not done either.

Team Spencer is selling orange wristbands for $2.  If you are interested, please send in $2 with your child, and they can purchase a wristband from Taylor Sytsma (Mr. Gort’s 5th grade class).   Part of the proceeds from these wristbands go to the Meyer family.

We also are accepting donations that will go to the Spencer Meyer Benefit Fund.

Writing Update!

This week, the kids worked hard at adding lots of chapters to their All About books.  So far, the kids have brainstormed ideas of people, places, activities, or things they know a lot about, chosen a topic and worked on writing a table of contents to organize the information they want to teach us about their idea.  They have learned how to write chapters many different chapters that teach: diagrams (parts of), different kinds of, fun facts, glossary, quiz, and teaching story.

We reviewed all these chapters this week and then while the kids were listening to some of our nonfiction read alouds this week, they noticed that some books included a ‘how to‘ teaching story and graphs.  So, we decided to add those chapters to our baskets and now they have been working to see if they could add either of those two chapters to their books.  The kids have gotten so excited about trying these different chapters, that many of the kids have so many chapters in their books, that they needed to add on an extra table of contents page to accomodate for their new chapters.

Way to go first grade writers!

Reading Update!

The kids have had a blast the past few weeks using new tools to help record and share what they read about in their guided reading groups.  Here are just a few examples:

click on the picture!

click on the picture!

Math Update!

This week, our mathematicians learned how to tell time to the hour and half hour!! They learned that the two different kinds of clocks that we use in everyday life are called an “analog” clock or a “digital” clock. We discussed that the shorter hand always points to the hours and the longer hand always points the minutes.

We spent lots of time reviewing and practicing drawing the time on an analog clock and on a digital clock!  The hardest part for the kids is to remember that when it is a half hour, the hour hand is half way past that hour (they often read it as the next hour ahead instead of the hour it is half past).

Science Update!

Our scientists have been busy learning about the changes that we can see to our daily weather.  We had already studied wind, temperature, and cloud cover. This past week, we studied different kinds of precipitation: rain, snow, hail, and freezing rain.

We have also learned that plants need sunlight in order to live!  We finished our plant observation– we have been closely watching a plant that we water and keep in the sunlight and another that is in a bag in the backroom.  We have looked at the different plants over multiple days noticing what happens when a plant is not given sunlight or water!  The kids pointed out that the leaves turn brown… the plant gets crispy, the stems and leaves droop, and it doesn’t look as nice!!

We started our daily weather observations, so your little meteorologist might be asking to watch the weather forecast with you in the mornings!  We will predict and record actual weather each day this week (temperature, wind, cloud cover, and precipitation).

As we monitor our daily weather changes, we also will study severe weather that we experience in Michigan and how to stay safe in these storms.  The three storms that we will study are: blizzardstornadoes, andthunderstorms.

Save the Fish!!

…let me explain.   As one of our ‘reduce what we use’ conversations this week, we talked about electricity.  I drew a diagram for the kids to see how some energy plants are built on bodies of water.  We talked about how these plants use the cold water from the lakes to cool down their machinery and then dump the hot water back into the lake.  I explained how the hot water wasn’t good for the fishies and sometimes it killed them.   So, we figured that, if we use less electricity and remember to shut off lights when we leave a room, the power plants won’t have to make as much electricity and we can save some fish!  (It is easier for kids to worry about killing fish than about wasting electricity)

So, our first graders are now saying, “Save the fish!” every time they turn off the lights…come on, are you smiling yet?  :)

Science Update!

In Science, we have been learning about the SUN and WEATHER! So far we have covered TemperatureClouds, and Wind.

With Temperature, we discussed a thermometer and the seasons in depth! We ended this lesson by coloring a thermometer. They made sure that the top of the thermometer was colored red because it’s hot and the bottom of the thermometer was colored blue because it’s cold. We also talked about the numbers that match temperatures that are hot, warm, cool, and cold.  New vocabulary: thermometer, Fahrenheit, degrees.

With Clouds, our scientists learned about cloud cover. There are four categories of cloud cover: clearpartly cloudycloudy, and foggy. We identified each of these categories with a picture.

Lastly, we covered Wind. With this lesson, we read a short book about wind… then we headed right outside!! Once outside on Georgetown’s observation deck, we tried out our very own pinwheels!  It happened to be quite a windy afternoon when we ventured out and the kids squealed with delight as they watched their pinwheels race!  We talked about the speed and the direction of the wind.  We also talked about how wind is invisible and how pinwheels aren’t the only tool that we can use to see the wind.  The kids right away noticed the trees and bushes moving, as well as the ripples on the pond, the flag, our hair and clothing moving, goose bumps on their skin…the list kept going!