Thursday, April 26, 2012

Is it a Frog or a Tadpole?

Friday seems to be "cram-as-much-science-in-as-we-possibly-can" day!  I have actually enjoyed it because it really keeps us very focused and not so fragmented.  Last week we worked on our Frog and Toad Venn Diagram.  Our job this week was to find more facts about the toads (since that is what we have in our tank--shh--don't tell).  I was really lacking wall space to hang this HUGE chart so I hung it out in the hallway. It is funny how many kids from other classrooms have been talking about frogs and toads.  they have even been offering details to add!

One thing that I have been doing during our observation time is to put the tadpole bucket under the document camera and project them up onto the Smartboard.  They are so easy for EVERYONE to see.  Seriously? How did I live without this tool?  If you have a document camera, how do you use yours?  I would love to know!

GIANT tadpoles!
Sometimes, up close is better!
Tadpole/document camera set-up

When we were finished with our observation recording sheets, we did some good old-fashioned book looking!  There really are some awesomely disgusting toads and frogs out there!
I gave the kids some choices at the end of our time.  They could either look at books, write an acrostic poem about our classroom visitors or write a poem about them.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many kids wanted to write the poetry.  I got some pretty great stuff!
 What will we do for our Friday Science Day tomorrow??????

Bee the Change~

True Confession Time

I have so many good blog posts that I need to get up and posted but honestly......this is what my work area looks like as I am typing this.  As I look around my room, there are not many other spaces that look any better than this!!! 

Is anyone else out there feeling the urge to just throw or pack it all away right NOW?

OK, back to many great things to do.
Bee the Change~

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Poetry-palooza and lots of links!

We have been poetry crazy in our classroom the past couple of weeks.  I love focusing on poetry at this time of first grade because I feel like that the children are really READY to be poets!

I taught acrostic poems first (after reading poem after poem after poem) and we wrote a class acrostic poem about tadpoles (another thing that we are crazy about lately). We got a little bit of publicity from my friend Amy VanDerwater of The Poem Farm (she mentioned us on her Facebook page) and got some comments from some published authors!  Visit my classroom blog, Mrs. Faas' First Grade to see our now famous poem.

SIDEBAR----- This was a great way to show my first-grade bloggers the concept of a world-wide audience.  The fact that published authors can look at OUR poem means that we need to make sure that it is our BEST work.

The next lesson that occurred in my classroom was a fantastic lesson about the rhythm and sound of poetry.  We used Regie Routman's Teaching Kindergartners to Love Writing Poetry.  There is a book for each grade and if you have not read them, I suggest it.  I had used this when I taught kindergarten but the lesson works perfectly for first graders too.

Linda (AKA tech goddess) and I have taught this lesson a few times with my class and I wanted to make sure she got to do it one more time before she retires (don't tell her but I think that I am going to keep inviting her back to teach this lesson every year).  This year she brought Ranger Bear with her because we are participating in Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano's Teddy Bear Project

Linda loves Ranger Bear. Can't you tell? 

Ranger Bear had to sit quietly while we were learning!
Linda started the lesson by showing the kids a copy of a poem written by a kindergartner.  It was a poem about a dead bee. The title of the poem is Bumble.

 The kids them got to see what "Bumble" looked like after it was "published".

 Then Linda wanted the children to listen to the rhythm of the poem.  She brought her little wooden toad to tap the rhythm of Bumble.
She had the kids close their eyes so that they could hear and feel the beat of the poem.  The great part of this was that my class had just done a beat and rhythm lesson in music class so this was all very familiar to them! 
Closing our eyes helped us concentrate on the poem's beat.

We wrote a class "bumble poem" about our Ranger Bear. Read it below.

Ranger Bear's our mascot.
Ranger Bear's our mascot.
Ranger Bear's our mascot.

The kids went coo-coo crazy for writing these poems.  Here are a few examples of our rough drafts!

Cereal is yummy
Ice cream is delicious.
Robots can do anything.
Colin actually wrote 4 poems, 2 on the front and 2 on the back.
I am in the process of publishing the poems for them and will share when they are done. I think that I may do a Photostory so they can read them too! 

Bee the Change~

Monday, April 16, 2012

Just a little advertisement here! After a winter of neglecting my personal blog...
I am back and determined to give equal time! Come visit if you want to and let me know if you have a personal blog and want some followers! I love to see what everyone is up to outside their classroom.

Would love to see you!

Bee the Change~

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A freebie and some grouchiness

I am having a little computer trouble and will be trying to get it patched up until I can get my new one this summer :( I will probably have to do most of my surfing and posting from school so I am not sure how that is going to work out.

Here is a little something for everyone to use!

Bee the Change~

Friday, April 6, 2012

Shh! Listen.....

Do you hear that????

That is the sound of nobody calling me Mrs. Faas for 9 days! :)

For all of my fellow Spring Breakers-- enjoy and refresh!

Bee the Change~

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Today I got to participate in a really fun, cultural, playful activity. In my classroom, I have 5 girls that are English Language Learners. They leave my room every day to go and work with one of my school's amazing ESL teachers, Cori Smith. She always does very creative and thoughtful activities with the girls and this was NO exception. She brought a tradition that she celebrates with her own family and shared it with us. Cori and the girls made a bunch of cascarones. Cascarones are confetti-filled eggs. Below are pictures of these beautiful eggs.

The best part of cascarones is that you get to crack them over the heads of unsuspecting victims. The girls had a get-together and "confettied" our school principal, counsellor, secretaries and PE teacher. Guess who was next? Alina "dropped" a dollar on the floor near me and asked me to pick it up. When I bent down to pick it guessed it! CRACK! (Just so you know, I may or may not have known this was coming)
Cori then gave ME a cascarone to crack on someone's head. Colin was my "lucky" guy!
(Very blurry but captures the fun!)
I had a little extra confetti in the egg so I was able to spread it around!
After the messy fun, Mrs. Smith gathered the children and explained the history of the cascarone and how she and her family enjoy them at Easter time! That is not a hat she is wearing, by the way.
Glitter hair!
The Cascarone Crew!
If you would like to learn more about cascarones, click here!

Bee the Change~

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Good Morning!

This is the scene in my room each morning for the past few. Everyone has to go and check out our tadpoles!
2 buckets were not enough so I had to divide them into 4!
Using the magnifying glasses to get a closer look!
They are getting big! I put them under the document camera today and projected them up on the Smartboard. VERY cool!
Bee the Change~

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Sorry about the biblical reference. I went to Catholic school for 12 years!

Remember in my last post I said that I told the children that the tadpoles were just taking a little while to "wake up" after hatching??????

Apparently they were actually doing that!

The other day as the children were entering the room, they went directly to the bucket to check on the progress.

"MRS. FAAS! They are swimming!"

(sure they are......)


Mother Nature is grand.

Bee the Change~