Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jack Hartmann 2014

 Jack Hartmann is just fab-u-lous! I just love to see the firsties dance and sing and have the best time ever!
 Jack makes songs to help with reading, math, and even science.  We even exercise to his music. WOW he is so good on his guitar!
The best is the Tootie Ta!  Check out these faces.
video

Jack was such a sport to pose for a picture with our class and me! Thank you Jack for being you! The kids just love you, can't you see it on their faces.

Joshua's Heart

A small Act of Kindness can go a long way...
~Joshua
 While attending Miami Device I had the pleasure of listening to one of the closing keynote from Joshua.  This inspirational 13 year old totally had me in awe throughout his message. He started a foundation at the age of 4 with $20 from his grandma.  He doesn't want anyone to be hungry.  Seems so simple right.  Please take a moment to meet this inspirational young man.

His website can be found here: http://joshuasheart.org

Sharon Davison teaches K/1 in Vermont and they issued a challenge.  How can we help People that are Hungry? Watch their video here then we tweeted out how we helped @vermontkkids123


The stars aligned and the Wright's Rippers rose to the challenge.  Actually we challenged our first neighbors, Ms. Clutter's class-who can bring in the most can foods in 1 week.  Here we are with our cans.  Good looking group of firsties right...
Well we didn't win since Ms. Clutter's class collected over 150 cans.  Really the winners are all the families we helped with our joint donation.  What a valuable lesson that I hope they take with them as they grow up.  What passion is locked inside these kids as they go into 2015?  I hope I get to be a part of finding out...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Amazing Mathematicians at Work…

We have used ten frames from day 1 and 70 days later I wanted to see if it would transfer over into larger numbers so why not use those DigiBlocks… 
I had my daughter empty out over 500 ones into a copy box lid and you should have seen the firstie’s eyes while I was telling my story. I asked for a guess and one friend said 100 so I asked how many thought less than 100, 100, or more than 100 and thankfully most chose more than 100.  We will have to get some estimating and guessing going but that will be another blog post.
 I asked them to find a way to count them and let me know how many.  There was some talk counting and then a friend said that would take too long.  Put them in groups of ten came up next so I showed them how the DigiBlocks will only close when there are 10 units enclosed.  They quickly found a way to put 10 ones into a ten and then someone figured out putting the tens in the hundred to fill it up.  This time lapse took less than 3 minutes to film and I wish I recorded the ah-ha moments.  It was amazing!  I did record the discourse after so you could hear some magic.
video


There was a follow up to this lesson the next day.  In the past 64 was 6 tens and 4 ones.  Today we walk through other ways to see 64.  64 doesn’t have to be 64 it could be 54+10, 44+20, etc. depending on what you need to make the math work for you. Let me explain. 

I asked the firsties to make 64 and most made it with 6 tens and 4 ones.  Noah decided to use 5 tens and then count out 14 ones to make 64.  We checked that and counted it and sure enough it made 64.  We talked about other ways to see the same number and most thought let’s turn the numbers around like 14+50=64.  I was hoping for something else and then one friend chirped up “Wait just open the ten and take out the ones.” YES!! 

  We did it and then counted.  64 and I didn’t take anything away or add any more.  We continued the pattern and I recorded for later reference to notice patterns.




One very important ah-ha I found was Victoria counting the tens and ones.  At one point she counted the ten ones-arranged like a ten frame as tens and we had to stop and talk about when they are separated they are no longer a ten even though they are 10 ones.  It was an ah-ha for a few other students and then one friend explained the difference between tens and ones-and what they loo like.  It was a beautiful moment. We made some great discoveries today and I am proud of these firsties.  Can’t wait to see what comes next…

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Cooking Show 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!  I cannot believe we are at the end of November already.  Our firsties spent some time watching Kid Snippets Cooking Show and talked about how to cook a turkey.  Thanks to the moms helping-Ms. Kathleen and Ms. Amanda for getting us started.  We wrote how to directions and practiced reading them so many times just in time for the big day filming.  I put them all together for the Wright's Rippers Turkey Cooking Show 2014.  I hope you enjoy the hard work these amazing kids put forth for the premiere of this video.  I will sit down with my family today and count my many blessings.  Teaching 1st grade and these firsties top my list.  I hope each of you enjoy the day and share your love.  You can always make a comment and I will share with the kids.  Happy Thanksgiving. See you on Monday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Look what I made...

Can I just tell you how amazing our art teachers are at Cypress Creek!  Mrs. Hanna is one of the dynamic duo and lucky for us we have her this year.  The firsties came back with these projects and I just had to take pictures and share them with you!  They are amazing.  Here we have Frogs...

 Here we have Giraffes...

Aren't they fabulous? Our class is full of the bestest artists around. You can always leave a comment and I will make sure to share with the firsties.

Monday, November 17, 2014

50s DAY!!

The 49th day was like every one before and then came the 50th day of school…  The firsties walked in to the music playing and there were jeans, poodle skirts, and pony tails as far as the eyes could see. It was such a cute sight with giggles and skirts twirling and boys with gelled hair.  Every room in 1st grade had a different 50s activities.  We hula hooped, did the twist, made greater than/less than records, drank root beer floats, counted how many things we could do with 50 seconds, and built towers with 50 cups.  It was so much fun seeing all the kids in 1st grade pass through my room. 
I tried a new rotation this year.  I made a flipchart with various activities and the kids had 50 seconds along with keeping their count.  Have you tried jumping jacks for 50 seconds, then standing on 1 foot, then switching to the other foot?  It is tougher than it sounds.  Here are just a few of the pictures I took because I was participating too.  My highlight was Ms. Kathleen, an intern at our school.  She is exceptional.  She has lead a full life of family, children, working as a paraprofessional, a nurse, and still at 68 wants to learn so she of course went back to school.  She was right in there with those 6 year olds hopping, counting, and having just as much fun. 
Here is our crew of Pink Ladies and Greasers.  
Thanks to these brave ladies.  We had a firstie vs mom paddleball competition.  Too fun!

50s day you might ask why do we do it? We never did those things when I was in school. Funny you should ask. Here is my take.  At Cypress Creek we are creating experiences for these children.  They won’t know what the 50s were like, what they wore, or how they survived without electronics.  The 50s are fading, so for a few hours we could let them experience the music, the laughter, and the simplicity of life in the 50s.  The best part, my favorite part, is the math we shared that day.  We counted over and over again and it was fun.  Math was fun.  Imagine that a world where 50 doesn’t have to be 50 but a 25+25, or 10+40, or 30+20 depending on what would make it easier to work with.  If you ask the kids they will say it was fun because they didn’t have to do any work.  Little do they know how much energy went into making the 49 days of learning before 50 come to life.



Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Please remember to Thank a Veteran

Veteran's Day 2014-did you remember to thank a veteran? I did!  Here is my favorite Veteran-my daddy!
Yes I know I am probably too old to be calling him my daddy but well...he is just the bestest daddy in the whole wide world! Did you know there are over 100 restaurants that offered something special to a veteran today!?! Wowie, wow, WOW!  I thought that was incredible.  Here we are at Olive Garden and he had one amazing looking dish.  Thank you to all the restaurants.  Just watch this video, there aren't any words but I don't think there need to be any...

We don't have a Food City where I live but if we did I would walk right up to that manager and say"Way to go! Great commercial!"
In my #100happydays tweet I thanked the families of those that serve because they sacrifice as well.  My dad went to Korea for a year so we wouldn't have to move and that year was hard.  He made a sacrifice not being there while my brothers and I were growing a year older but the one who made just as big a sacrifice was my mom.  She had to be mom and dad for that year.  She had to put on a brave face and tell us everything was going to be alright.  She was the one that made sure we wrote letters so my dad could be a part of our every day. She made sure we did well in school and did our chores.  I don't remember her crying for missing him because she was too busy taking care of the 3 of us.  To her I say thank you and you deserve meals just like our veterans because nobody knows how hard the families have to give right alongside their veteran. Thank you mom and dad.  Thank you for all that you have done so I can be me living in America, land of the free.
My firsties have a message to all the Veterans.  Theya re too cute for words.  Please share with a Veteran you might know.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

October brings our annual Pumpkin patch field trip and it did not disappoint!  I am amazed every year at the theme and creativity to bring about a fun child experience.  Way to go!  This year the theme was Candy Land.  We went through a maze on the hunt for gingerbread men.  We ran through Licorice Forest, Lollipop Woods, Snowflake Lake, and Chocolate Swamp along the pumpkin path.  It was so much fun but don't take my word for it.  Watch our slideshow and look for those big smiles!

Watch our walk through Licorice Forest.  What a cute idea!

I have the BEST parents ever!  Thank you to all the moms and dads that helped with the field trip.  We had a great time and I hope you enjoy the pictures with your kids.  I think they captured the special memories of the day.

Who won your game of Garbage?

So did your child come home asking for a deck of cards?  Your head might have wondered what is that Mrs. Wright doing in class now?  Funny, but seriously we are working on the importance of 10 and I know you have seen 10 frames so this leads right into it and believe me it will help with visualization when we start decomposing... Sorry we will get to that.  We made a tutorial on how to play Garbage. Watch as we play Garbage and I hope you pick up a pointer or 2.  Good luck they are getting pretty good so don't be too sad if you lose to your child.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thank you Firefighters

October is Fire Safety Month and we were so excited Firefighter Drexler was making a visit to share some safety tips and answer any questions the firsties might have.  We had no idea Port Orange Fire Station 71 was bringing the fire truck!  We enjoyed our time with these dedicated firemen.  We were able to see a full uniform, hear their voice with an air pack on, touch their glove, learn about tools on a fire truck, and even got to walk through the fire truck cab!  The children learned about fire safety and the importance of having a family meeting space in case of an emergency.  I had the students write thank you cards and then record themselves reading the cards.  I tried to get them all together to make 1 class video.  We even had some friends make a ChatterPix Kid video with their pictures.  Too cute. Enjoy and thank a fireman for all the hard work they do every day.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Columbus Day exploring...


Cutest explorers you ever did see right?  OK you are thinking where is my kid.  Someone was out but then we had some rely release kids too.  I had to quick get a class shot before anyone else went home.  We talked about what an explorer is and even used this from Wonderopolis http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/where-is-the-next-frontier/ The only bad thing was the video would't play through the school filters.  We used some scientific inquiry to make a sail for an egg carton ship.  The kids did great and had so much fun watching their boats float across. Watch this, too cute, just love them!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What a way to end the year!

You are probably reading the headline and thinking wait, what?  It is only October where has the time gone? Exactly where has the time gone?  This is a post that is long overdue! Hopefully I won't get to emotional.  
My son Carson had the privilege to have Mrs. Spies and Mrs. Williams as teachers and the knowledge he learned will stay with him throughout his life.  I should know I strive to inspire like these 2 ladies do, some days I come close other days well you know teachers have dreams...  At Cypress Creek we talk about life skills and these are skills you use everyday to be a more productive human being.  Classes make skits and perform on the morning announcements, Otters of the Week awards are given out, and they are on display in classrooms.  These 2 classes headed a school wide campaign to collect pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald house.  They measured and calculated class averages.  They gave updates and made public service announcements to promote their campaign.  They even collect supplies to donate on their field trip over as a culminating activity.  See one of the teachers has a family member that has been a recipient of stays at Ronald McDonald houses right here in Florida.  Can you image going to the doctor and the doctor saying your child has to be admitted right now and there is no time to waste.  But, but I need to find a place to stay, I need a toothbrush, I need... but wait I can't leave my child. In steps the Ronald McDonald house to provide a home away from home so you can be near your sick child.  
I can't imagine...

These kids worked so hard and they were moved to visit the house, donate the supplies, and even received a tour from Cameron himself! Thank you for helping collect those pop tabs and keep sending them in. 
After the tour we went over the Orlando Science Center for an overnight field trip, I know crazy right? I asked my hubby if he wanted to be a chaperone and he said it wasnt his skill set. haha mine though and what a time to look back to one day.  It was an incredible adventure and with the kids he has been in class with since 2nd grade.  See this was Carson's 5th grade year and the last year I would take him to school with me, see him in the halls throughout the day, and get to be part of his class before heading off to middle school.  We made the most of it.  We laughed, played, and yes we did get sleep.  It was so much fun! I mean really how cute is this kid?!?
Thank you Mrs. Spies and Mrs. Williams for being the teachers to inspire my son to think of someone other than himself, to believe in miracles, and to love learning! We thank you from the bottoms of our heart and more...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Apple Day

Another Apple Day in the record books.  What a day it was!  Thanks to the families donating apple items we were able to have an apple tasting party.  Yummy!  We had Apple Jacks, applesauce, apple cider, apple juice, apple jelly on crackers, and a homemade apple pie.  We had some special helpers come in for some center activities.  We put together apple puzzles, sorted math pictures, rolled number generators and created math problems.  A highlight was the 5 senses apple table.  Read apples won out for the best taste.  Does an apple sink or float?  At first we thought sink but then we used our inquiry skills and tried it out.  Our apple floated?!? can you believe it?  We then had to set up a container of water to try it out over and over again.  We are the best scientists ever!  Make sure to check out our good times through this slide show.

Open House 2014

Open House was HUGE success!  We work so hard to create an environment of learning and anxiously wait for Open House to show it off.  My class is beautiful.  What a group of workers and their families were just precious!  Our PTA and business partners put on an EXPO in the courtyard and the Book Fair is also open.  We open the doors and in a few short moments we are filled with joy, laughter, and excitement!  There was a scavenger hunt so the kids could show the important things.  We made a video of the 1st ePub short i book each of our friends help make.  I talked and ran around to take pictures.  Enjoy the video and just take in all the excitement.
video
or here if it is too blurry...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Open House teaser...

21 days, 17 kids, iPad minis, math, dot cards, science tools, responsibility, rules, Zero the Hero, laws, sense, writing, reading, RAZ Kids, and 1 VERY proud teacher...

Trying to keep up with the blog, Twitter, Instagram, and oh so much more...oh but it is so fun.  Tomorrow night is Open House and I finally got the Open House teaser trailer done.  I sent it out late using the fabulous Remind app but maybe some parents didn't get it.  Won't they be in for a surprise in the morning. :) I can hardly wait for all the parents, the kids, the Book Fair, and oh the smiles.  I will have to take more pictures imagine that?  Watch this trailer and prepare for a classroom like no other...

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Grandparent's Day! 2014

YIPPEE today is Grandparent's Day! This week was so fun listening to stories about grandmas cooking, grandpas fishing, Nanas shopping, and Poppeys playing Legos.  Seriously I remember my grandma like yesterday.  I am so blessed that my class 2 years ago sent me this plant after her funeral and it is a lovely reminder of her each day.
Each friend wrote about a grandparent and we decorated a page to give them.  We even made handprint hugs to send in the mail to some far away.  They are so proud of their efforts.
 Watch as we share an extra special wish for a Happy Grandparent's Day!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Week 2~Top 3 things for the week

Labor Day or more important September 1, really where did August go?!?  The second week was just as busy as the 1st week.  Our class gained a new friend, Johan.  We are so excited to have 17 friends to make our class family this year as the Wright's Rippers! Let me get on to the top 3.
#3 Go Noodle is a favorite.  We are learning to be a little quieter during those Maximo yoga poses.  These yogis are the getting the hang of it.
The class favorite is Walking up the Stairs.  They are too funny.  I might have to play this one during Open House so you can see the excitement!
#2 ActivExpresssions get a cheer from these firsties!  What is an ActivExpression?  It is a learner response system.  In short we can answer true/false, mutiple choice, number, and even text-ok we haven't gotten to that just yet but remember I have only had them for 10 days.  Give me time...
#1 has to be the fun we shared with our friends across the hall playing short a BINGO on the iPads.  
We even learned how to scan QR codes to get different BINGO boards.  Great fun and all while practicing those short a words.  Can't wait for this next week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

First week went too fast...

So the first week went too fast because I ended up sick. Can you believe it and my sweet, sweet firsties were so kind and loving.  Just love the firstie friends! Here are my TOP 3 favs for the moment and I have more pictures to look through so check back because there might be more than 3 favs before the week's end.
#3 Journal writing and sharing is the best way to start out the day.  Better yet the parents have a year long journal at the end of the year to treasure.  When I went to introduce journals on the very 1st day of school I showed them Carson's journal and this year he went to middle school.  I had to hold back the tears remembering how my cutie man wrote like a big boy and all his favorite moments were captured in that journal. My favorite was when he wrote about losing his 1st tooth and I wanted it.  He said no way it was too special and he got a whole $1 for it!-just love that kid!
 #2gonoodle.com is the favorite part of the day and if you don't believe me ask you kid about walking up the stairs! Too cute for words! Maximo is a close favorite but they are still talking during yoga so maybe I should dim the lights so they get the hint.  They are all falling over themselves-balance not so much but we will get oh so better before it Christmas I bet!
 #1 Come on doesn't this picture say it the best? Who doesn't like playing with every piece of science equipment a teacher can fit into a Rubbermaid container? They had the best time and EVERYONE passed the science tool assessment with flying colors.  They are scientists for sure!
There are so many things to share make sure to follow our class Twitter and Instagram to get the latest.  Until next time...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Friends 2014

Meet the Teacher was Thursday and it was an exciting time!  I got to meet all 16 of my new friends. I even had one that brought me homemade chocolate chip cookies!  Super sweet and yummy because you know I ate every last one of those guys!  There were smiles and siblings and parents ready for the school year to start.  I have to say I am excited to see what these new friends bring to the classroom and to one another.  I know they will make me a better teacher because I can already tell by their awesome personalities in the short time I got to talk to them.  All I can think of is the "Everything is awesome!" song from the Lego Movie.  I quick sent them a video message this evening and I read the Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing.  I will admit I have butterflies and right now I can't fall asleep just thinking about what the new year will bring...

I did some thinking, reflecting this summer and while talking to my hubby, came up with the Wright's Rippers motto: Be the I in Inspire! I can, I want, I will, etc.  Which brings me to my challenge.  Everyone that is anyone in the tech world will be gathered at @MiamiDevice in November. I WANT TO GO TOO!!! These people must think I am their stalker @techninjatodd @kleinerin @techchef4u 2 guys and some iPads, and @tonyvincent!!! I have been all over Twitter, listening to podcasts, and reading blogs to get the info I need to take our school to the next level.
We have worked the past year and half on raising funds to purchase iPads and we have 2 sets of 20 iPad minis.  In all my searching I have hooked up with incredible teachers willing to share what they do and I then pass that on to my firsties.  It doesn't stop there we then teach others and I mean 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and even 5th graders.  We have taught them how to use Pic Collage, create tutorials using Explain Everything, and even create pages for class ebooks.  There is so much more to learn and I need to get to Miami Device!  Hopefully they will see my excitement and bring me to Coconut Grove so I can hang out with the coolest tech people in the world! Inspire to be better, inspire to learn, Inspire others...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

ThingLink

Today's Twitter Chat on #1to1ipadchat talked about creating ThingLinks.  ThingLink is an image with live links and of course you know I am game for anything techy and sparkly right?!? So here is my 1st attempt.

There are 3 live links to get you to the school website, our blog, and our youtube channel.  Did it work for you? Let me know.  Now the ideas are spinning in my head.  Can you image my firsties learning and creating ThingLinks, I can! I am even toying around with maybe Kidblog and the firsties blogging and adding their creations. Can't wait for a new year to begin...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where is our side of the story?

Summer? WOW I have to catch up on so many events but that will have to wait.  I need to get this story out as soon as possible so sit tight and read this story. I think you need to know how sad and disappointed I am…

A few months ago a reporter from the New York Times interviewed me over the phone to talk about parents, the Common Core, and math. EXCITED-yes! I was but I kept calm and talked from my heart about what I have learned over the past three years.  
I gave her stories about kids' misconceptions I would not have found if they merely completed worksheets.  For example, I asked one day “Cameron wants to share his cookie with Logan.  Who gets the bigger piece?” The kid responses: "Cameron does because it is his cookie."  "Logan does because Cameron will give him the whole cookie.  When my mom tells me to share I have to give it to my brother." and another,  "Wait if they are sharing they have to have the same size piece."  This was 2 years ago and I have taught fractions in some shape or form for 17 years. I had students complete hundreds of worksheets but had no idea this might be a misconception shared by children.  This is just one of many times I learned from talking to my students to think about math and become mathematicians and not just calculators.  
Being a Mathematician, that means something in my classroom.  It means being a problem solver, discovering a strategy to make numbers easier to work with, and seeing the relevance of math in our everyday world.  Math time is joyful in our classroom.  Yes, we struggle with why?, word problems/situational stories, and bigger numbers but we are working on really understanding math concepts and not just procedures for a better foundation. What about the parents?
My parents have questioned Common Core and how we are implementing it in the classroom.  How could they not when all they read are stories bashing the Common Core and how parents can't do the kid's homework? My thought-Parents shouldn't be doing the kid's homework. I conference with parents and show them samples of their child's thinking.  I explain pitfalls and provide strategies so they see the relevance and most important I ask them to talk with their child.  Talk about money-earning it, spending it, estimate how large or how long it would take to do something, about how 10 is such a powerful number and building on that helps add and subtract double digit numbers in the 1st grade and yes they regroup with understanding and not borrowing.  Borrowing means you are giving something back and that is not the case in double digit subtraction.  I had parents upon parents willing to talk to Ms. Rich but they were never called.  Parents have told me:
  • Wow finally a way I do math and now my kid can do math a different way than a book.
  • I wish my 2 older children would have learned math this way because they have no idea why they do the steps they do and rely on a calculator.
  • I am so excited to learn right along with my child because I see math differently.

Not everyone has a Common Core bashing story but you rarely hear about the success.  Common Core is here and we are learning, teaching, collaborating, and creating as a community.  We need to hear success stories so I beg you read this story:

After, know our story and send this reporter a comment in support of Common Core.  By the way after 30 minutes of praises and stories I did invite her to visit and she said she would talk to her editor.  We never heard from her again. Maybe she would rethink that visit to Cypress Creek Elementary in Port Orange, Florida.  Sad…