One Year in 1st Grade

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dr. Jean Transition Ideas

1st Grade can use these too! Reteaching and positively reinforcing expectations is both a survival skill and necessity.

Digital Storytelling

Using iMovie and a digital camera. Watch Stephanie's Bad Day movie to see how it's done. Watch The Skier and the Yeti movie to see how it's done. Watch Goldilocks, Shrek and Donkey movie to see how it is done.

Gingerbread Houses from Graham Crackers and Milk Cartons

This simple tradition came from a parent in my classroom 6 years ago. Once I demonstrate how to tack the milk carton and graham cracker sides down, I let the students get completely creative in their designs. We use plain white frosting in a tub, so marshmallows and lighter candy work best. I let students problem solve and insert math language as we discuss, slope, weight and shapes. I introduce and use 3-D shape vocabulary such as, rectangular prism and triangular prism. In geometry, the pentagonal prism is a prism with a pentagonal base. It is a type of heptahedron with 7 faces, 15 edges, and 10 vertices.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Snowy Day Art

Love, The Snowy Day. A timeless story. Here's the art to go with this wonderful story.

Digital Storytelling

Watch Friendship video and Fred the Frog and Big Mama in iMovie. Watch the entire video in order to see how it's done.

Digital Storytelling

Watch A Trip to Hollywood video or The Three Big Mean Pigs digital storytelling with video publishing based on collaborative student writing projects.

Snowmen at Night Inspired Art Pastel

I love how Miss from a faithful attempt blog demonstrates the use of pastels to create night snow scenes. Wonderful. Inspired by the book "Snowmen at Night". You can read this book and see the beautiful illustrations by clicking on the linked title.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Math App

Math Tappers New application for iPad and iPhone.


I attended a math workshop tonight and walked away with a $50 door prize from The Math Learning Center plus materials to prep my unit on Penguins.

Digital Storytelling

I love digital storytelling. Watch the entire episode to see how it is done with 1st grade students by clicking the link here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Elf on the Shelf and How Adults Make Kids Behave

I keep hearing about The Elf on the Shelf. Although the title implies a Christmas tradition, I have never heard of it. The elf idea was one of those, why didn't write that book, moments. A teacher states she says things to the elf, and then pretends that he is whispering in her ear, "What? You told Santa to do time out yesterday?" What did he say?" I learned quick in kindergarten most of my Kindergartners could be taught this way. I have a bunch of puppets that also talk to me. The elf may as well join the rest of the group in the prop basket. Some people say he looks kind of creepy.

Kandinsky Circles Art

Found this really cool art project on Pinterest by Mrs. Bearden's Art Room.

Kindergarten and First Grade students are learning how to mix primary colors to create secondary colors with different art materials. For this project, we used tempera paint in the primary colors and white. Inspired by Wassily Kandinsky’s painting “Squares with Concentric Rings” we talked about how artists like to experiment with different color arrangements and combinations.


  • 12×18″ paper
  • pencils
  • foam trays for paint mixing
  • tempera paint in primaries (red, yellow, blue) and white
  • brushes and rinsing cups


  • We folded the paper in half 3 times to create eight square boxes that I asked the students to trace
  • Inside each square, I asked the students to draw concentric circles big enough to fill the space
  • We began painting by using the primary colors in their pure form, then mixed them with one another to create secondary colors, and then added white to create tints (light colors)
  • Using the colors they mixed, the students fill in each ring of the circles and the squares around them with different colors.

Eatonville Cooperative Nursery School

I started out in worlds greatest profession by luck. I was hired to teach a group of preschoolers in a college program. It was a small town in Washington State, Eatonville. Eatonville Cooperative Nursery Schoool still stands today.
I was only 27 years old, and today I am 54. It is hard for me to believe it has been so long. I often tell younger teachers and parents, I feel as if I've been in a time warp working with young children. Each year my students are the same age, so I feel like I haven't aged either.