Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giant Map of North America

Pointing to cities that they share a name with too.
curled up inside Alaska

Scavenger hunt

Friday, November 11, 2011

First Grade Geometry

Students in first grade have been learning about shapes. They have been working on creating 3-D shapes out of toothpicks and clay. Here are some of their creations and writing.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Sharing our Instruments

Students from Mrs. Padgett's class came to visit our classroom. They are also beginning a new project on instrument. Our students were able to share with them many interesting tidbits they had learned during our project work.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Writing Celebration

Students celebrated their Launching unit in Writing Workshop on Friday. This unit in writing was designed to introduce the students to how the workshop works. They were encouraged to write about anything they chose. I was pleased to hear personal stories, informational books, poetry, mysteries, and more. We listened to everyone share who was willing, and afterward enjoyed popcorn and water as a snack. Look for their writing to come home in the next week. In our next unit we will be focusing on All About books.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Students use the international instruments to create their own rhythm and beat during Choice Time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Manipulatives

Our class has received some new building manipulatives this year. We will be rotating our two sets every six weeks and getting two new sets. the students have really enjoyed making new structures during their Choice Time in the morning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Students in this math group work on a problem assigned by Ms. Guynn.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mondays Musings

Monday’s Musings

Welcome back to the second week of school. I have enjoyed getting to know each of the students and many families over the last week. Each Monday I will try to send out a listserve to keep you informed as to what is going on in the classroom each week.

· Homework- please check your child’s blue Monday folder today. It contains important information regarding homework this year. I wanted to get started with spelling, but I was unable to pre-test everyone for this week. Typically the spelling words will be connected to your child’s small group for reading for the week, but we may need to make some adjustments so that all students are appropriately challenged. Please let me know if you feel that the words were extremely easy or very hard this week. I am still getting to know the students’ strengths and weaknesses.

· Assessment- I have begun assessing the children in different areas. All first grade students have had a simple word test for reading, and I am starting to do DRA’s on them to determine appropriate reading levels. Reading groups this week were based upon last spring’s levels, so there will possibly be movement between groups over the next couple of weeks. I gave the 2nd grade students a math assessment today to determine what they need to be working on for our first unit. We will begin with the third grade math textbook, and I will be carefully monitoring any gaps in knowledge so that we can plan for small group instruction.

· Snacks- Mrs. Johnson has determined that we will not be having snacks this year during instructional time. Please do not send in any extra food with your child other than what is needed for lunch. We will not be having a specific time allotted to eat it.

· The Week Ahead

o Reading Workshop- focus on making predictions and answering questions. Small group work will also center on characters and graphic organizers

o Writing Workshop- Launching the workshop and developing ideas.

o Math Workshop-

§ 1st grade- computation strategies for addition and subtraction

§ 2nd grade- numbers and operations, algebra

o Social Studies

§ Second Steps- anger management

§ Community Building

Choice Time

The first activity that the children enjoy in the morning, is Choice Time. This occurs from the time they enter the classroom, until about 8 am. Choice Time is the time when students are free to explore, play, and create whatever they want in the classroom. Some of the more popular activities during this time include:

~playing with the international instruments
~building with dominoes
~using the pentominoes
~playing with the pretend money
and many more!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Getting to Know You

In math this week, students are completing surveys and asking each other questions. This allows them to practice both math skills like graphing, as well as providing a way to get to know their new classmates.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I am good at...

Today the students wrote pieces about what they are good at. This is always a great activity for the children to get to know each other, as well as for me to understand them a little better.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Classroom Paintings

On the first day of school, students worked together to create a painting that will be hung in our classroom. The students were divided into 4 groups, and each group given a blank canvas and paint. Some groups worked together developing a plan before beginning to paint, others dove right in with each child painting something important to him or herself. I hope you can visit our classroom to see the final four art pieces. They are truly beautiful and a part of our clssroom family.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Important Dates

To get our year off to a great start we have our, “Meet Me on a Monday” on August 15th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Our “Meet Me on Monday,” will give you and your child an opportunity to meet your teacher, visit the classroom, tour the building, find out about your child’s ISTEP scores, order spirit wear and explore the opportunities for volunteering your time, resources and/or talents with our Parent Faculty Organization. We need you as a volunteer to help in our classrooms and work with individual students. While in the classroom be sure to log on and sign up for the school and classroom list serve. List serves allow you to be notified of school events, and other important school and township information. This is a wonderful time to greet and meet other families in our school community. Our first day of school is Tuesday, August 16th 7:35 a.m-2:35 pm Tuesday full day for students (Breakfast begins).

Please join us for our “Back to School Night” on Tuesday, September 20th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. “Back to School Night all grades” gives our teachers an opportunity to present classroom curriculum and procedures while being able to meet you. While you’re here, we would like to explain to you what to expect this year at Mary Castle. Your child is going to have a fantastic school year. We can do great things for students together.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

School Supply List

The following is a copy of the district supply list. The items I have listed with an asterisk in red are optional, and not really needed for my classroom. Save yourself some money this year!!! :) We will be sharing many of our items, and there may be a couple additional supplies that I will be requesting. Also, if boys could bring markers and girls could bring colored pencils, that will more than suffice. You do not need to buy both.

MSD of Lawrence Township
School Supply Lists – School Year 2011-2012
Book bag with no wheels
*****24 #2 yellow pencils (if possible, sharpened) I have a lot left over from previous years
2 large glue sticks
1 box colored pencils (Crayola preferred)
1 box 24 ct. crayons (Crayola preferred)
1 package of markers (Crayola preferred)
*****2 yellow highlighters (Sharpie brand, please)
1 pack of dry erase markers (4 pack, EXPO brand please)- just one marker will be fine!
*****1 pkg. of 3 x 5 index cards
*****1 pkg. of 3 x 3 post it notes
8 2 – pocket folders (plain – no characters, please)
1 box gallon size zip lock bags
1 box quart size zip lock bags
2 boxes of tissues- 1 box will be fine!!!
1 ream of white copy paper – for book making and observational drawing

Friday, June 03, 2011

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Last Day of School Party

Our theme for our end of the year party was Charlotte's Web. We ate snacks related to the book and rotated through several centers. Students created words out of pipe cleaners, did puzzles, made a web to describe themselves, and made a spider out of food.

Finally we created a giant web using yarn. I started and told the students what I loved about this year, and then tossed the yarn to another student. Each child got to share something they loved about the past school year. In the end we were all connected to each other before we said our goodbyes.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


This uninvited guest spent the morning in our classroom, and was affectionately named "Charlotte" in honor of the book we were reading at the time. The girls were excited to try out their new drawing techniques, and I was just happy to get rid of the spider by the end of the day.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Drawing Lesson

Hannah's mom was kind enough to come in two different days at the end of the school year to give the children some lessons on drawing. The first day she taught the children some drawing techniques to add texture, and the second day focused on drawing faces. The children were very excited to try out their news ideas and had a lot of fun.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Thoughts


  • Reading Workshop- This week we will finish up with Charlotte’s Web. The students have really enjoyed reading and discussing this book. We are focusing on comprehension and vocabulary, although other skills may spontaneously be interweaved into the lesson as we discuss the story together.

  • Writing Workshop- We have been using writing workshop this week to finalize our phase three of project. Some students are working on Powerpoints, others on writing scripts for plays or movies.

  • Spelling- no new words this week, only a dictation test.

  • Math Workshop- first grade is working on a pretend vegetable garden this week. It incorporates geometry, measurement, and computation. Second grade is working on decimals and fractions.

Field Day is Wednesday rain or shine. Please be sure to have your child wear tennis shoes that day, and they may want to bring a change of clothing too.

The volunteer breakfast is also Wednesday morning. Please plan on attending if you are able. This breakfast is for anyone who has helped in any way this school year. I’d love to
see you there.

All library books are now due.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ooey, Gooey, Oobleck

We made oobleck in class after we read the book by Dr. Seuss: Bartholomew and the Oobleck. It was about a king who wanted a different type of weather to come down from the sky. Oobleck came down and got stuck on everything. When the students first saw the oobleck in class, they thought it would be a liquid, but then they were surprised when they touched it and it seemed like a solid. We debated about which form of matter it really was. It is actually neither a solid or liquid but has properties from both stages of matter. Formally it is known as a non-Newtonian subtance. This means that when a small amount of force is used, it acts like a liquid, but when more force is applied, it acts like a solid.

Oobleck Recipe

2 cups of corn starch, 3 drops of green food coloring, enough water to make a thick mixture (about the texture of pancake batter) It usually takes 1 part cornstarch to .5 parts water.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Students are learning to play chess in class. We started with just a few pieces and have gradually added more and more.

Tuesday's Thoughts


  • Reading Workshop- We started reading Charlotte’s Web on Monday as a whole group.
    This is a new experience for the class with everyone reading the same book together. Different groups will still be doing different types of activities, and some will be
    reading with parents or me for more support. We will have large and small group
    discussions over the book as well.

  • Writing Workshop- Students have free choice writing this week. Many are still working on poetry, but others have moved on to writing books again. Many are
    working together, and a few are interested in writing chapter books.

  • Spelling- Everyone has a different list this week based on words they have been spelling incorrectly in their daily writing. A few students are instead studying Greek roots for vocabulary practice.

  • Math Workshop- First grade is reviewing perimeter, area, and comparing fractions this week. We will still be working hard reviewing math facts. Second grade is continuing to practice adding, subtracting, and reducing fractions. There will be a quiz on Friday.

  • Project- Students are researching their areas of interest and have decided on the method of sharing what they have learned.

  • Thinking Skills- We are working with sudoku this week again. Many students have expressed an interest in chess recently. I am gradually teaching the pieces and their movement to the novice players, while the more experienced ones are enjoying playing each other and then practicing with the new learners

Thank you to everyone who has turned in the form to help with Field Day. I know Mr. Beattie is still looking for volunteers.
I need some extra volunteers on Friday this week. We will be doing a messy science activity from 12:00-1:00. Please let me know if you are interested in helping.

MEC is collecting magazines for recycling. Each pod in the school is competing to see who can collect the most. Please continue to send in any recycling you have at home to earn money for the school.

Lunch times have changed this week. Our class will now be eating lunch from 10:45-11:15 each day. Please be aware of the time change if you are planning to eat with your

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Project Research

Students use the laptops to research their individual interests in project. Some students are looking into a specific disease, some are comparing soap and hand sanitizer, others are researching diseases around the world or ones that are not common anymore.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Students in first grade math this week are working on tessellations as a culmination of their geometry unit. We have been learning about slides, flips, and turns, as well as the different shapes in math.

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