Volcano Day!

Three Fridays ago I hosted Volcano Day in my first grade classroom! We had been finishing up our study on Landforms, and I thought it would be a fun way to celebrate! My idea came from A Day in First Grade and as soon as I saw Kristen's post, I knew I had to do it with my class!

We started our day off like we do every morning, with our "morning meeting" on the floor by the chalkboard. I had been eluding to this special day previously, and as soon as "Vol..." came out of my mouth, I had hands raised (and, let's be real, voices talking who I had NOT called on) wanting to share stories and experiences (and made-up stories) about volcanoes. No joke, we spent almost twice as long in morning meeting than we usually do! But they had so much fun sharing, that I let them do so. Once they had gotten most of their stories told, we moved on into our morning meeting, did a bit of morning work, and got started!

We began with this anchor chart, that I basically copied from the blog post above. I also found this poster (on the right) in my school's library/extra teaching materials. It was PERFECT! We also skimmed a book about volcanoes, practiced our vocabulary, and had some great discussion. It blew their minds that magma and lava is the same thing, but is called something different depending on where it is (inside or outside the earth).

Then, we learned the Volcano Song! Oh.My.Gosh. my students LOVED it! It's a lot of fun, and they sang it all day long!

After that, we got our paint on! I decided to do the craft that Kristen did with her first graders. We colored white cardstock green for the grass (on the bottom) and blue for the sky (on top). I wanted to make sure that it would dry before we finished the craft, so we did the painting in the morning.

After our paintings were hung to dry, we got started on our science experiment sheet. I explained to the students how scientists write down the different parts to their experiments, their predictions, observations,, etc. and how we would be doing the same! Here is the simple experiment sheet I made for free download, if you'd like to use it!

I thought (and pinned) about the different experiments we could try, but went back to the oldie but goodie... baking soda and vinegar! We spiced it up with red food coloring too. When in Tanzania, things like dish soap and other options are either expensive, or just not available. This experiment was inexpensive, and just as fun for the students! We started by going over the materials we would be using, and wrote them in the first blank space... baking soda, vinegar, red food coloring, plastic bottle. Then, we made predictions on what they think would happen. We had a lot of students that said that it would EXPLODE and others said FIRE would come out! I, of course, didn't say anything and let them discover it for themselves. I LOVE hearing their predictions! Their imaginations are INCREDIBLE!!!

After our writing time, we went outside to a grassy (confined) area to do our experiment. I started by having them all sit on the curb (see picture below), and put my empty bottle on a box in the grass. I had one student pour in the vinegar, another  the food coloring, and then another to pour in the baking soda. They LOVED seeing it erupt!
And then it was their turn to try it out! I paired the students up, gave them each a bottle, and came around to give the materials.

 Each team got two rounds of erupting, and they took turns with the different jobs. Look at those two cuties! Smiles all around!

 They had so much fun experimenting with the amount of baking soda to vinegar!

 I'm blessed to have an AMAZING teacher's assistant, Sarah, and she was so helpful with this experiment! The kids crowded around every time there was an eruption to see it!!

They could have done this for HOURS if I would have let them! It was tons of fun!

By the end of it, our hands were red, and fun was had by all! Just remember to keep an eagle eye on all of your students! I had one who tried to DRINK the experiment (WHOOPS!).

After we had experimented (and after lunch), we reflected on what we had seen. We wrote down our observations and drew a picture of what happened.

Lastly, we finished our craft from earlier. I previously cut out mountains and they pasted them onto their now dry papers.
 Sorry for the blurry photo- it's the only one I snapped of this part of the project!

 And then we went a-sprayin'! I found a couple of random hairspray bottles in my cabinet (though I wish I would have had a better spray bottle). I filled them with about 1/4 paint to 3/4 water, because the nozzles were finer. One had red paint the other had yellow. I had the students come outside with me one by one (while my TA was inside with the kids helping them finish up their writing and watching them) and helped them spray some paint onto their volcano, to make it look like it was erupting! For some reason, the students struggled with getting the bottle to spray, so I had to help them a lot. I think they turned out SUPER cute though!

We definitely had SO much fun, and learned a lot too! Teaching in Tanzania is hard sometimes, especially when I don't have access to all of the resources in the States. But I love when I can share a bit of my childhood with my firsties, and give them fun learning experiences!  I also love doing themed days like this, to mix it up a bit! Let me know if you do Volcano Day in your classroom! I'd love to hear about it!

Much Love, Allie

A Peek at My Week

Ahhh, I was so very ready for the weekend! Today I'm sharing five things about my week, and linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching! I meant to post this last night, but literally fell asleep while doing so! #teacherproblems
This week we were focusing on writing sentences! This is very important, and it was new to my kids. I found a great video that shares some ways to teach how to write a complete sentence, and I taught my students "day 1" of that video this week. We do not have the luxury of a smartboard, but I did have colored chalk. I hadn't broken them out yet, so when my students saw that they got really excited! (It's the small things!) I color-coded the different parts of a complete sentence as I taught it, to help them differentiate everything. Here's what my chalkboard looked like:
It may be messy, but it works! Most of my students can read some, but of course this is mainly a guide for me. Then we sorted some sentences. The ones on the left are complete sentences, the ones on the right are not.

Then I found a cute little worksheet online where it gives you all the words you need for a sentence, and you have to make them into a complete sentence.

They next day, I put my students into groups of three, and they had to come up with their own sentence. Then, I gave them the opportunity to write their complete sentence on the child-sized chalkboard (greatest thing EVER) in my room. Once they had written it, I made sure they had the four components we talked about: uppercase letter, who/what, what they did, and an end mark. Finally, they were able to use the colored chalk to underline or circle the parts. They loved it!

 We are working on a landforms project! We are using salt dough to build the eleven landforms and bodies of water we learned about. Right now we're in the "building process", we make a couple of landforms a day. After we are done with this part, we will be painting the landforms to make them look realistic! It's a fun project that is out of the "paper" box!

One of my favorite parts of the week is Wednesday chapel! Most of the time we have it with Preschool-3rd grade, but the last Wednesday of the month is all-school. This week I took a little video of the kids singing one of their favorite songs, "Big Big Love!" It's a song that the founder of the school wrote and he sings it with them almost every week! It's so catchy too, so we all sing it all day long!
I got to skype my parents on Wednesday morning! It was so great to see them and talk with them for a bit! It's the only time I'm actually excited to wake up early! :)

I introduced my students to "Swat" this week! I wrote numbers on the board, gave two of them spatulas (I don't have fly swatters), and they had to put the spatula on the answer to the math problem before the other person. We've been going through the addition facts so this was a great review tool! Then, they did it as a center activity for more practice! It's a great "worksheetless" center activity that helps them quickly find the answer!

It's been a great week! I'm so happy to have the weekend to rest! Last night was worship night with the other missionaries- which was incredible. And today we went to have lunch at Melinda's- it's so relaxing out there!
I hope you are having a good weekend!
Much Love, Allie

Stickers, Sneaky E, Pen Pals, and More!

I am loving teaching my first graders this year! I really enjoy their different personalities and what each one brings to the classroom. It's been very much a challenging, learning and growing experience!  I've decided to share some fun things we have been up to! But first, I thought this was funny, yet very true!!

Sticker Spelling Scoot
 This is a really fun way to practice spelling words! My students are borderline obsessed with stickers! And, here in Tanzania, we have SOME supplies, but definitely not as much as you can get your hands on in the States. So when I found the endless sheets of small colorful foam alphabet stickers, this idea came to me!
 I wrote each of our ten spelling words on a small piece of cardstock and placed them around the room. I also punched out enough stickers (it was a lot of work, but worth it!) and set them by the correct station. Next time, I'll place each letter in a little container so it's not so easy to lose them ;)

 It just so happens that I have ten students, so they each started at one word. If you have more than ten, you can put a couple students at each word! They had to start with number one on their green cardstock paper. (I wanted something a bit heavier-duty than regular paper) They would make the word they were at with the stickers, next to the number.
 It kept them focused, moving, and working on spelling words! I also placed 3-4 books at each station for the early finishers. They had lots of fun with it, and it's a great thing to take home and practice spelling words!

Sneaky E Puppets
 We spent some time learning about the "sneaky e" that shows up on the end of some words and makes the vowel say its name. It's a new concept to first grade, and they want to read the word with a short vowel sound. For example, they read "hope" as "hop". When I first introduced the concept, we tried to figure out whose names in our class had a sneaky e, and what they would sound like without the sneaky e in them. One of my girl's names is Hope. So, I said, "If the sneaky e wasn't at the end of your name, it would be Hop! Isn't that funny?!" And of course everyone laughs. I did the same thing for James; it would be Jams! And they all laughed. I also had to point out several times that the e in your name isn't always sneaky! "The e in Hero isn't sneaky because it makes a sound!"
 I found this CUTE sneaky e puppet idea from First Grade Wow! We took a brown paper bag, glued on a brown "hat", a mustache, a nose, glued googly eyes onto a little "mask" and glued it down, and then a big red e on the front. Then they wrote some sneaky e words on their puppet with crayons! I love this because the e is in disguise! The students loved this activity, and I heard from parents they were talking about the sneaky e at home, too!

Addition Facts
This month, we've really been hitting the addition facts hard in math! I set the math book aside for a bit to teach the students the addition facts, with my goal being memorization. We've spent about a week and a half on the twos and threes, individually. I've tried to give at least one study tool for each set, to have them take home and practice. The one above is for the two facts. We folded a half sheet of paper in half, and cut the top half into strips. (How many times can I say half in a sentence!! :) We wrote the problems on the top, and the answers on the inside. This makes practice easy, and it's all in one place!

All-School Chapel
One day I look forward to every month is the last Wednesday of the month- when we have all-school chapel. Usually, our chapels are broken up- one for the Preschool - 3rd grade and the other for 4th-8th grade. But for this chapel, we are all together. We also have a dress-up day on those days. This particular month it was "School Spirit"- wear the school colors. So we dressed up in our purples and yellows! This chapel is where we present the month's Bible Memory Verse that we've been learning, and any plays or choir songs, etc. The photo above is of a lot of the students singing a song from choir. Several of my first graders are in the first row- from the orange shirt over to the right. Aren't they the cutest?!

So there is a little peek into my classroom at Hope! I'm hoping to be more consistent with blog posts, but life gets busy and keeps on moving! I can't believe I have less than 40 days until I fly home for Christmas!!
Graphics by Melonheadz
P.S. I am looking for another First Grade class to become pen pals with mine! If you are a first grade teacher and would like to be pen pals with me and my class, send me an email at allieelliott@yahoo.com! Thanks!!

Much Love, Allie