Saturday, August 17, 2013

Meet Mrs. Elton

Hello 2013 - 2014 First Grade Families!

My name is Stephanie Elton. I have been teaching in Stow for 8 years. Throughout my time in the district I have taught Title 1 Reading, Second Grade and First Grade. Over the years I have also had the opportunity to work one-on-one tutoring students after school and during the summer. I earned my Bachelor's in Education from Ohio University in Athens in 2004. I then went on to receive my Reading Endorsement and Master's Degree in Early Childhood from Kent State.

When I'm not at school you are bound to find me reading, listening to music, playing with my beagles, spending quality time with my friends and family, or researching the latest trends in education. Over the summer, I also discovered that I love to kayak!

I currently reside in the Kent area with my husband Joe and our two beagle babies. By the end of the year you will probably know more about the beags than you ever thought possible. Joe and I both share a passion for people and animals. He is the co-owner of Primary Pet Care on Fishcreek Road. If you ever take your pets there be sure to say hello and tell him Mrs. Elton sent you. We both feel extremely blessed to work in such an amazing community!

I am very excited to work with you and your children this year and look forward to meeting everyone at Open House.

Have a wonderful week and I will see you all very soon!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Party

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your support and donations to our Halloween party. The kids had a blast!

Happy Halloween!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spider Week!

This has been such a fun week in first grade! We have been exploring the world of spiders while addressing important state standards in science, literacy and writing. It's been so exciting that we may just have to extend "Spider Week" a bit longer!

We began our unit by sharing our schema (everything we already know) pertaining to spiders. 

Each day we revisit our chart and add new learning. We also add any misconceptions we had about spiders. The children are fascinated by this new vocabulary. Misconceptions are beliefs proven incorrect as the result of new learning. 

Our first Essential Question was, "How do spiders eat their prey?" Like all thorough scientists, we made predictions before our experiment. 

Some of our predictions:
"They swallow them whole."
"They catch them in their web, chew them up and swallow them."
"They poison them." 

For our experiment we used sugar cubes as our prey and water as our spider venom. We sprayed our venom on our prey and observed the results. The children were surprised to see the prey melt before their eyes. We then discussed that most spiders do not have teeth. So, they liquefy their prey before swallowing. We even got to eat the prey just like real spiders! 

Our next Essential Question was, "Why don't spiders stick to their webs?" 

Some predictions:

"They have very strong legs. So, they just pull them off as they walk."
"They don't walk on the part of the web that is sticky."
"The web is only sticky to the prey. The spider has special skin."

For this experiment we used masking tape as our web. We touched it with a dry finger (prey) and noticed it was very sticky. Then we wet our finger with oil and touched it again (spider). We observed that we no longer stuck to the web! Spiders have oil on their feet that keeps them from sticking.

Our next step was to learn about the parts of a spider. We made a few predictions about what various parts were used for, watched a short video and worked together to label a spider diagram. Then, students drew and labeled their own spiders. They were thrilled to confirm that most spiders do have 8 eyes! 

We will continue our spider study by learning about the life cycle of a spider, writing a "how to" guide on catching spiders and comparing various kinds of spiders.

In addition to our spider fun, we also had a great time with Book Buddies this week. A parent volunteer read the story "Skeleton Hiccups" to the Book Buddies (our class and Mrs. Tice's 2nd grade). Then, students worked with their buddies to build a skeleton out of Q-tips and write about how they would cure his/her hiccups!

We look forward to ending this great week with our Halloween party tomorrow. 
Have a BOO-tiful weekend! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Math Fun!

Our class loves math stations! The children are incredibly independent and responsible workers. So, we are able to do math stations multiple times throughout the week. Today, we did four rotations.

1. Number Strips - Students practiced writing numbers 1-100+ on adding tape. The children loved writing on the long strips. 

2. 60 Charts - Students wrote numbers 1-60 on a 60 chart. Many children went on to write even farther on the back.

3. Quick Images - Partner A shows Partner B a dot card depicting a number 1-10 for five seconds. Then, Partner B attempts to draw the dots exactly as they were shown on the card. This exercise allows children to practice visual automaticity and organizational skills for numbers 1-10.

4. 100 Chart Cover-Up - Partner A covers up ten numbers on the 100 Chart (we used pumpkins as markers). Then, Partner B attempts to guess the numbers that are covered by noticing patterns on the chart. 

In addition to celebrating our math brains, we also celebrated our friend Miss Panella on her last day in first grade. We read her a class book we created titled "The Important Thing About Miss Panella." It was modeled after a book with a similar title, "The Important Book" by Margaret Wise Brown. We also ate cake, shared plenty of hugs and plenty of laughs. Here is our favorite picture of the day.  

Thank you for all of your hard work Miss Panella. We'll see you on the flip-side (also known as third grade).

Please note: I have edited the first post to include pictures of Word Work, Work on Writing and Book Club groups. To view the post, just click "Daily 5" under tags. Happy reading! 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fun with Measurement and Maps!

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend!

One of our standards in first grade is counting on to 120. In order to support this standard, Miss Panella has been working with the students to count large quantities of various objects. Today, students measured area by counting the amount of color tiles it took to cover an outline of their foot. 

First, students predicted how many tiles it would take to cover their foot completely. Then, they traced their feet, covered their foot tracing with tiles, and counted to find the total. 

Students have also been working hard to learn about maps. Last week, Miss Panella led the class through a project based on the picture book, "Me on the Map" by Joan Sweeney. While completing the project, students used flat maps, globes, Google Earth and other resources to locate their city, state, country and continent. After learning about each location, they completed an illustration for their map flap book project. 

Be sure to check out their great work when you come to meet for parent teacher conferences. We will continue to learn about maps this week as we examine symbols and locate items in familiar places such as our classroom, school, and city. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sight Word Games

Starting tomorrow your child will be bringing home a sight word ring in his/her book buddy bag. Sight words are words we read and write the most frequently. They are also words that typically ignore basic phonics rules and patterns. MEMORIZATION IS KEY. Having a large sight word bank aids in oral reading fluency which is directly related to adequate comprehension. Thus, is vital that your child practice reading, writing, and spelling these words each night.

If you're looking for a fun way to encourage your child to continue nightly practice, check out the following websites. Each one leads to a plethora of links, often organized by sight word level (start with list 1 and work up).

Dolch Word Games

More Dolch Word Games

First Grade Interactive (Sight Words)

Have fun reading!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Welcome to Our Blog!

Hello Room 18 Families!

Welcome to our official classroom blog. In case you were wondering, the title and tagline of this blog were inspired by one of our very favorite characters, Pete the Cat. His motto is, "No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song's all good." In other words, stay proud, stay true, and never give up trying.

My goal in creating this space is to keep everyone updated on classroom happenings and post pictures of some of the activities taking place in our room. This is an amazing group of kids and we're having so much fun learning and growing. We look forward to sharing our days with you.

Let's start with one of the children's favorite parts of the day - Daily 5. During this time students rotate through five independent literacy stations. They also meet with their guided reading groups. The five stations are as follows:

Read to Self - Students read "Just Right Books" from their personal book boxes.

Read to Someone - Students sit EEK (Elbow, Elbow, Knee, Knee) and take turns reading to and with each other.

Listen to Reading - Students listen and follow along with books using listening stations, portable CD players and computers. 

Work on Writing - Students continue working on pieces they started during Writing Workshop. This is also a time when students may choose to expand their writing experiences to work on cards, letters, fiction and non-fiction stories, etc. 

Word Work - Students use a variety of manipulatives to practice spelling, writing, and learning words. Right now, students are getting their words from individual picture word walls, our classroom word wall and their corrected writing. Eventually, students will also use this time to practice their spelling words.

Book Club Groups

This is truly one of our most cherished times of the day. Students move effortlessly from one station to another making choices as to what they would like to read, write, spell and practice. Each station is tailored to individual needs and allows the children to work at their own pace. It is no wonder the children cheer each day when we say, "It's time for Daily 5!" 

Another very important part of our day is Morning Meeting. This is the first thing we do every day after announcements. There are three parts to Morning Meeting. 
  1. Greeting - We learn a new greeting each week and revisit them throughout the year. This allows each child to be recognized and welcomed to the day with a smile. 
  2. Morning Message - The morning message tells children what to look forward to throughout the school day. The teacher and students read the message together, discuss the day's events and problem solve any questions that may arise . 
  3. Activity - Activity time is all about getting our bodies warmed up and building our community. Activities range from games reviewing previous concepts to brain busters that require everyone to work together as a team. 

Here is a photo of the children doing Miss Panella's "spider web" greeting. Students tossed a ball of yarn to one another as they said good morning. Once everyone had been greeted we were able to see that each and every day we are all connected! 

We hope you enjoyed your first peek into our classroom! Please check back often and feel free to leave us a comment below. Enjoy your day!