Thursday, December 2, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Hello Cowpokes' Parents!  Have ya missed me? :o)  What a month November was for me!  Between Halloween and Thanksgiving break I feel like I was pretty much never at work!  My son Tucker was sick for almost a full week, and then I had strep which knocked me out for quite a bit.  I am happy to report the Chamberlains are making a full recovery!  But hello, it's already December!   I can't believe how quickly the year is passing us. 

Mrs. Jones, our student teacher, has done an amazing job with our students.  Next Friday will be her last day, and we will be so sad to see her go.  She is going to be a wonderful teacher and her future students will be lucky to have her. 

Though I hate for Mrs. Jones to leave, I am ready to get back in the saddle with our kiddos!  We have such a wonderful class -- each of your children are so special!  I am excited to be with them full time again. 

In the classroom...
In Math we will continue to work with place value and identifing tens and ones.  We are also working to solve for missing addends and subtrahends.  
In Readers' Workshop & Integrated Social Studies we are looking at books about communities and goods and services.  We are examining the idea of the world being a community and how we are a part of it, and how cultures and customs differ.  This is a precursor to our upcoming "Holidays Around the World" unit that is always so much fun.
In Writers' Workshop we are continuing with writing our own stories, and our focused lessons are on the revision prcess.  We are learning how to be a writing teacher to our friend when we have a peer conference.
In Science we are studying the sun and the moon.  We have had some lively discussions about our solar system!  It's always interesting to get a six-year-old's perspective of the universe!

Notices, Dates, & Reminders:
  • Saturday, December 4th: The Boals Honor Choir will be singing at Merry Main Street at 7:35.
  • December 6-10: Inclusive Schools Week. 
  • December 7th: "Warm Up to a New Friend" (wear warm ups); Mooyah Spirit Night; Staff Caroling around the neighborhood
  • December 8th: "Shine for Boals" (wear white day)
  • December 9th: "I am 'Blue-tiful'" (wear blue day); Chick-Fil-A day; 6:30 3rd Grade Performance
  • December 10th: "Boals Unity Day" (wear your Boals shirt)
  • December 17th: "Snow Ball" Winter Party, 1st Grade @ 2:00
Just a reminder, we will go outside for recess even when it's really cold, so please dress your child accordingly.  Also, put their names in coats, jackets, mittens, scarves, etc. 

Thank you so much for all the contributions to the Angel gifts!  I know there are two kids out there that will really appreciate your generosity. 

Happy Trails,
Mrs. Chamberlain

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Quick Update from Room 208...

We have been busy as usual laughing and learning here in Room 208!  First of alll...
Congratulations to us for winning the Golden Keyboard for the week of October 12-15!  We were presented with the Golden Keyboard from Mrs. Jackson at Good Morning Boals on the 15th for working expecially hard in computers.  Hats off to the 'Pokes for another Golden Recognition!

Thanks to Caden's mom for taking pictures at our Safety Town Field Trip.  We had so much fun and Mrs. Bailey-Cantu took some great pictures.

In the classroom:
In Readers' Workshop we are in the midst of an author study.  We have been reading and discussing books by Kevin Henkes like Chrysanthemum, Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, and Weekend with Wendell.  This is a three week study that will conclude next week.  We've added "This reminds me of..." to our list of readers' responses. 

In Writers' Workshop we continue to use the writing process to write authentic stories.  We have been focusing a lot on the revising part, using peer conferences to add details and make changes to our drafts.

In Math we have been working copiously on Fact Families.  These are a doozy to a six-year-old!  It's a great idea to work on these in a concrete way at home.  For example, pull three forks and two spoons.  Talk about how three forks and two spoons makes five, two spoons and three forks make five, five take away three forks is two, and five take away two spoons is three. 

In Science we have been talking about the contributions of Thomas Edison and expanding our knowledge of light sources. 

REMINDER: When report cards come home, please sign the envelope and return the ENVELOPE ONLY!  The report card is yours to keep. 

Happy Trails!
:o)  Mrs. Chamberlain

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm

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So Much Learning!

I so enjoyed meeting all of you for our parent conferences!  Thank you so much for taking the time to be interested and involved in your child's learning process.  Parent involvement is absolutely a necessity for student success!  I truly valued this time with each of you.

Two Huge "Glows":

First of all, our class won the "Golden Music Award" at Good Morning Boals on Friday, October 1st.  The Golden Awards are awarded by each CAMP Trainer (specials teachers) to the class that worked the hardest that week.  Way to go Cowpokes!

Another great "Glow"...we had two friends last month chosen for a "Positive Referral"!  What's a "Positive Referral"?  This is a referral to the office for doing GREAT things!  Here at Boals kids can be sent to the office for doing a great job in class, setting a good example for others, and going above and beyond their peers in character.  Congratulations to WILL & OLIVIA for being compassionate first graders that set good examples for their friends by following the directions the first time, every time, and doing their best in all things.

In the classroom...

These past two weeks have been a blur of activity!  We had great fun going to Safety Town on our first field trip last week.  Thank you to Amy Stamps and Angela Bailey-Cantu for coming with us.  Mrs. Bailey-Cantu took LOTS of pictures and has graciously offered to share them with me, so I will post them to our blog as soon as I can!  Our class was incredibly respectful and well-behaved.

--In Math we have been focusing on working with doubles facts (ie: 2+2=4); reviewing odd & even, discovering place value, and comparing and ordering numbers.

--In Readers'  & Writers' Workshop we have taken a short pause from our usual format so that we could do some fun crafts that coordinate with the books we have read.  We are talking a lot about various genres of literature, including both realistic and fantasy fiction, as well as non-fiction, or expository texts.  Mrs. Jones, our student teacher, conducted a fun lesson on fantasy fiction using the book Harvey Potter's Balloon Farm written by Jerdine Nolen.  After reading we brainstormed our own fantasy fiction farms and created them out of construction paper.  Hopefully these farms will spark our imaginations so we can turn our brainstorming into incredible stories! (I am uploading a slideshow of these pictures!)

--In Science we have had great fun exploring magnets. Students have been introduced to the concept of magnetism through hands-on stations and experiements.

**REMINDER: Your child may have been bugging reminding you that they can bring in a game on Fridays.  Students are allowed to bring in a game (NOT toy or electronic device) for 20 minutes of "Fun Friday" for students that have finished their work for the week.  (If needed, this time is used as "Finish Up Friday" to complete any unfinished work.)  Game suggestions are Monopoly, Jr.; Guess Who; Sorry; Chutes & Ladders, Connect 4, Uno, etc.

Finally, you may have noticed some jars with teachers' pictures on them.  These are for the Teacher Dunk Tank that will be at the Fall Festival on Friday night.  My sad jar is very, very empty.  If you can/desire to, please help me fill it!!  The teacher that raises the most money gets to go first, which means clean water and coveted sunlight!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Story Elements, Patriotism, and Graphing...Recent class happenings!

This week has been another fun week in First Grade! We are hard at work learning all we can! Here are some things we learned...

In math we reviewed all concepts.  Here we reviewed constructing and interpreting graphs, with our friends, The Gummy Bears!

We talked about Patriot Day (September 11th) as a "day to love our country."  We made tear-art bald eagles using tiny torn pieces of construction paper.  When completed, the construction paper looked like real feathers.  

In Readers' & Writers' Workshop, we discovered that every story has a Beginning, a Middle, and an End.  We read The Little Engine That Could and used a train as an example of something that had a distinguishable beginning, middle, and end.  

We are busy first graders, and we are loving every minute of it!  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Windsocks, Houses, & New Faces...Week 3 Happenings

We've had another great week in first grade! I have much to report...

In science last week, we observed the weather around us. Thankfully, the monsoon rains held off long enough for us to test out our windsocks and record our observations of the weather outside:

In Readers'/Writers' Workshop we focused on being able to tell what the story was about, making connections, and being able to start a story of our own. We also interpretted and retold A House is a House for Me, a darling story written by Mary Ann Hoberman:

We also had our annual Fire Bus Evacuation practice. Because the thought of a bus crash or a bus emergency can be a little scary for little ones, I tried to make it light and fun, reminding your children that, while it's important to know what to do in a bus emergency, that 1st Graders would always have several teachers aboard a bus to help them. Here are some pictures:

Some of you may have already heard about or seen our new student teacher. Mrs. Wendy Jones has joined our class as of August 30th and will be with us until Winter Break. Mrs. Jones is the mom of 7th grade Stafford student, Foster, and 3rd grade Robertson student, Judson. Mrs. Jones has gone back to school and is eager to be a teacher, and she is already proving to be natural with our kids! We are glad to have her.

*First of all, Happy Birthday to our next September birthday, Tatiana! (September 18th)

*(From the office): President Obama’s second annual back to school speech will be shown in conjunction with College Week here at Boals. The speech will be shown on Friday, Sept. 22 for all students right after Good Morning Boals.

The speech was first broadcast on Tuesday, September 14th. You may preview the speech at

If you would like your child to opt out of the presidential message please contact your child’s teacher. Students whose families choose to “opt out” of the speech will be sent to the library until the conclusion of the message.
*College Week is next week! (Expect to see me in a lot of BURNT ORANGE! Hook 'em!)
Here's the schedule:
Monday, September 20:
College Rocks! (Wear College gear or College school colors)
Tuesday, September 21:
School Picture Day (Put your best foot forward, wear your best for pictures)
Wednesday, September 22:
Look to your Bright Future (Wear your brightest colored clothes)
Thursday, September 23:
Heading off to College (Wear a hat on your head)
Friday, September 24:
Go Lil’ Rangers!! (Wear your Lil’ Rangers shirt or navy)
*PTA has stated that there are numerous amounts of passbooks still out and unaccounted for, so please send back your books if you're not planning on purchasing them, or send in your money if you have. Passbook sales end on Friday.
*Picture Day is Tuesday...don't forget!
Well, I think that's all from the Cowpokes' Corral for now...quite a bit I'd say!
:o) Mrs. Chamberlain

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Weeks Down!

Hello Parents & Cowpokes!! We have finished our first two weeks of 1st Grade, and they have been wonderful! I have enjoyed getting to know your child and his/her own personality greatly. In the past two weeks we have established expectations, set the foundations for Reader's and Writer's Workshop, created puzzle pieces full of story ideas, worked on problem-solving and comparing/ordering numbers, discovered science tools, and realized that we are all scientists! Here are a few pictures from the past two weeks...

Also, Happy Birthday to this week's September birthdays (all on September 8):
Delaney, Austin, & Bryanna (not pictured...picture coming soon!)

Notices & Reminders:
--Homework begins today. Be looking for your child's homework spiral to come home today.
--"Raw" guided reading books will come home this week. This means that there will not be a formal lesson, but rather a quick overview of the book. These will be based on their end-of-the-year kindergarten level. I will begin literacy assessments this week and hope to meet with on-level guided reading groups in two - three weeks.
--Tonight is Moo Yah Burgers spirit night.
I think that's all for now! Have a great week!
--Mrs. Chamberlain