Sunday, September 20, 2009

The video I shared today was the final project for a SMART board course, "Using the SMART Recorder to Solve a Math Problem." The tutorial led me through the steps I'd need to take to create my own recorded solution for an algebra problem.
So, how does this fit into my first grade classroom? Oh, my Biese mind is buzzing already!

In September, my students are just getting their "feet wet" in math concepts. Some still have trouble identifying numbers (or writing them in the proper direction), while others are skip counting, counting coins, and more. Their math abilities vary as greatly as their reading abilities!

Now that I know how to create these teaching videos, and post them here on my blog, my students will (someday soon, I hope) be able to view a lesson on writing and reading tally marks, if they don't yet understand that concept. (I'll be able to direct the parents to the proper video on this blog.)

Those of my students who already have tally marks figured out could browse through my available teaching videos posted on this blog (once I get this up and running), and check out a more advanced math concept video, like counting coins or a trick to skip-counting by 2's.

My first graders' parents will benefit, too! They'll be able to view the video clips on this blog with their child, and see what terminology I'm using, as well as the techniques and tricks I'd like their child to remember as they work on specific skills. They should no longer have to hear their child moan, "But that's not the way my teacher does it!"

(I used to tell my folks that a lot. Finally they stopped helping me with my homework, thinking that if I could remember that well what my teacher DID say, I could probably do it on my own!)

I'm looking forward to using this new feature a great deal on my blog, and benefitting my parents and students at the same time! :)

My First SMART Board Video Tutorial--Posted!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back in the Game!

Oh, my...has it really been so long since my last post? I welcome my newest readers, and welcome back those of you who are still checking back, even though your child is now in second grade! :)
With the new school year comes the establishment of new routines. I'll admit, blog updates aren't on the top of my priority list, but I would like to experiment with this media more frequently this year than I did last year. I'm thinking to post about twice a month; that sounds like a feasible goal for the first "full" school year of blogging!
My students are getting used to routines, too. September is always the toughest month, in my opinion, because everything is new. Kids, parents, and yes, even teachers have many worries about the unknown school year that lies before them. After some time together, however, those concerns are traded for confidence; we all know each other better, and feel more comfortable in our shoes as parents, students, or teachers than we did at the beginning of the year. I'm hoping that this blog will serve as a "get to know me" vehicle, to help us all work better together, for the benefit of the kids.
This year, we started out with 5 hermit crabs, a beautiful betta fish ("Red Rocket"), and an unmentionable amount of red wiggler worms (yes, the Worm Composting Camp is doing extremely well!). I'm hoping to add more to our classroom critter menagerie soon this school year. Yesterday, I led the kids on an informational journey online, to research hedgehogs. Now all of us in the classroom are psyched to get our new classroom pet--even the teacher! :)
Our classroom will be growing Romaine lettuce again this year, with the hydroponic tub my husband built for me last year. Last May, our "Salad Party" was a huge hit! I couldn't believe so many 6- and 7-year olds would eat so much lettuce by their own free will! Ha ha! It was great to see them enjoying a healthy food that tends to get a bad rap from their age group. By the time that lettuce was harvested, the kids really developed an "ownership" of our little garden, and I think that was key to the salad party's success. The longest roots were over 30 inches long, which goes to show you can raise fantastic things in a hydroponic tub!
This school year, we will also be restoring some of our school property into the Oak Savannah Prairie that it was long before the Europeans arrived in North America. Over the summer, I attended a wonderful class, along with two kindergarten teacher friends of mine, and we've been granted a patch of 4,000 square feet to develop the land. Our Parent-Teacher Organization generously donated money so we could buy seed and other materials, and we're hoping to plant in October this year. I can't wait to see that area of land become a new habitat, on school grounds, for kids, teachers, and the whole community to explore and enjoy! :)
So, what other unique learning experiences are heading our way this year? Part of the thrill of teaching is that I don't always know the answer to that question! I'll keep you updated on our first grade adventures! Together, we are life-long learners; thanks for joining us in the ride!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back to the Blog!

Been spending a great deal of time working on my school webpage, getting summer school finished, and meeting new friends at the National Education Computing Conference in Washington, D.C. Two more fascinating days to go at this wonderful event! Hopefully I'll learn how to make this blog more valuable to its readers as a result of this technology convention! :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Plant Swap/Sale Coming Soon to Room 723!

I'm planning on hosting my Spring Plant Swap and Sale again, on Thursday, May 14th and Friday, May 15th. I had to skip it last year, because we were in the process of moving into our new classrooms in the newly-created Primary building. But it's back, and hoping to be better than ever! Here are the details:

If you're a perennial gardener who needs to divide some of your plants this spring, we'd like you to consider joining us in this fun gardening event! Share your love of plants with others! Get new plants! (You may get some spending cash out of it, too!)

If you're looking for a great place to find home-grown perennials at great prices, come check our plant swap/sale out! You don't need to bring in any plants to share in order to get new plants--those who can't swap can always purchase plants, and many are sold at $5.00 per pot.

If you are bringing in plants for the swap sale, here are some extra details for you...

1.) As you dig up the plants you wish to contribute to the swap/sale, please put what you consider to be "Five Dollars Worth" into a pot at a time. That makes for easier swapping, since a majority of the plants will have a $5.00 value attached to them.

2.) If you need empty pots, please contact me--I have lots! :)

3.) Please maintain the potted plants until the sale event. You can bring your potted plants for the swap/sale as early as Wednesday, May 13th, from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., or on Thursday or Friday that week, before or after school. You'll be best off having the plants to me Wednesday after school, so please plan accordingly.

4.) If you have plants that you wish to sell/swap for more or less than $5.00, please label the prices clearly on the pot. Pots of like prices will be swappable; for example, if you bring in a $2.00 plant, you can take a $2.00 plant, or two $1.00 plants. I'm a first grade teacher, after all; let's keep the math simple! :)

5.) Please label the PLANTS NAME, if you know of it, and the type of environment it thrives in (ex: full sun, part shade, houseplant only, etc.), as well as any other growing tips the buyer/swapper may need to know (ex: spreads rapidly, poisonous leaves, etc.).

Please contact me a for more information. Thanks for participating, and helping to beautify your yard, and the yards of others!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Bunny Balloon Car Races Are A Big Hit!

Last week Wednesday, before our school started spring break, I gave my first graders some little bunny cars, that were "powered" by balloons. We took the crazy vehicles to a less-traveled hallway, blew up the balloons (some of them a bit TOO much! POP!), and ran some bunny races! The furthest one traveled over 10 feet!

Spring Break Progress Post!

Our school had a shorter spring break than some, but it gave me enough time to get some more pictures taken of our hydroponic Romaine lettuce garden's progress, as well as show you what our worm camp looks like--before the kids come back tomorrow and mix up all the worms, vegetable scraps, shredded paper and soil particles all over again! (They love mixing the compost pile, and would be heartbroken if I told them I did it while they were gone!)

I bought some Coleus plants, a Black Pagoda, and a wonderfully interesting plant called Alocasia today, from my botanical buddy Aric. He's been a huge help for my husband and I, as we explore the world of hydroponic gardening! Check out his store, Aric's Indoor Garden Supply, on Wisconsin Avenue in Appleton, or on the web at It's a gardener's dream come true!