Ms. Melissa's Class

Our 1st Grade Memories

Ms. Melissa's Class

Design Thinking: How Can We Help Piggie Fly?

November 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Science

Our Air and Weather science unit has come to an end.  As a culminating project, we read the story Today I Will Fly! by Mo Williems.  In this story, Piggie wants to fly but cannot find a way to make it happen.  I challenged the students to design a way to help Piggie and Gerald fly!  First, they began their thinking by drawing different flying ideas they had including wings, parachutes, kites, airplanes and strings.

Mya, Bao Nhi and Abi create a plan to help Piggie and Gerald fly!

After we made our drawings, I gave the students a variety of materials to use to make their creations. They used tissue paper, A4 paper, plastic bags, chopsticks, popsicle sticks, straws, ribbon, tape, paper clips and staplers.

The students tested their designs by running through the hallways and ‘flying’ them in front of a fan.

After, they altered and changed their designs to make them better.  They added more string and tails to help their kites stay balanced in the air, they took off excess materials that made their kites too heavy to lift, and they really tried to make their ideas into practical models. They enjoyed this process, and used their creativity to make their designs the best they can be!

See the slideshow for other photos from our project!

I want to give a special thanks to John Rinker from Nanjing International School, who was a great presenter at the Learning 2.0 conference in Bangkok this fall! I really enjoyed the Design Thinking Workshop, and I think my students were also happy I attended! :)


Writing Partners Musical Chairs

October 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Celebrations, Literacy

Today we played Musical Chairs… Not your original Musical Chairs, but Writing Partners Musical Chairs! The students had to walk around the chairs while the music played, but when the music stopped they had to find a chair quickly!  Once seated the children shared their stories with their partner.   The odd one out, got to share in a group of three.  The children really enjoyed sharing their Small Moment story from our second writing unit! :)



Daily 5 in Action

October 28th, 2014 · No Comments · Literacy

The students have worked extremely hard to reach independence in the Daily 5!  They enjoy making choices to Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, Word Work and Read to Self while I work with individuals and in small groups.  Here are some pictures to show you how Reader’s Workshop works in our classroom.

The students get to choose which Daily 5 they would like to work on. We usually have 2-3 choices each day.

Read to Someone:

To build fluency and teach each other reading strategies, the students Read to Someone.  Mya and Jimmy share a story together.

Listen to Reading:

Alex and Neal use the blog to find a reading website.

We love to read stories on Raz Kids and listen to books on Tumblebooks.  Akka and Sung Ho work on Raz Kids.

Work on Writing:

We love to write stories, make cards for our friends, write letters and work on pieces from Writers’ Workshop. Ellen works on writing a story in a mini-book!

Annie makes a list of what she wants to write about.

Word Work:

Word Work is a time for us to practice sight words and Word Study activities. Bao Nhi and Abi make sight words with beads.

A group works on using Capital letters to begin names.

Read to Self:

Grace practices her reading during Read to Self.

Ask your children what they love about Daily 5!


International Week

October 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Celebrations

We had a wonderful time celebrating cultures from around the world!



Using Capital Letters

October 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Literacy

The students in Grade 1 know the difference between capital and lowercase letters.  Though sometimes, we still mix them up.  We spent some time working in stations to spell our friends’ names using a capital letter at the beginning and lowercase letters for the rest of the name.  Three names in our class have 2 capital letters in them.  Can you think of which ones?

Akka, Jimmy, Alex and Grace use magnetic letters to make names.

Abi, Neal and Jia-Chi look for capital and lowercase letters to make names.

Bao Nhi practices writing names using her best handwriting.

Eitaro and Rainver stamp names.


Measuring the Rain

October 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Science

Today we reviewed the 3 main types of clouds and answered the questions, “What kind of weather do clouds sometimes bring with them?”  And, “What do the clouds look like that bring rain?”

We learned that people all over the world use rain gauges to collect rain and see how much has fallen in a certain amount of time.  We even put our own rain gauges around the elementary school for observation!


Word Bank What We Learned
  • Rain Gauge
  • You can tell it is going to rain when the clouds are dark and thick.
  • You use a rain gauge to measure how much rain has fallen.


photo (1)Grace and Adam hold up our rain gauge! We are excited to check it tomorrow!



Science- Watching Clouds

September 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Science

Today we learned about clouds.  We figured out that there are 3 main types of clouds: cirrus, cumulus and stratus.   We even made our own clouds from cotton balls!  We also learned that clouds are made up of water drops and that the wind moves clouds in the sky.

Word Bank What We Learned
  • Clouds
  • Cirrus
  • Cumulus
  • Stratus
  • Cirrus clouds look like feathers or cobwebs.
  • Cumulus clouds are big and fluffy.
  • Stratus clouds stay low and cover the sky.


photo 2 photo 1

Questions to ask at home:

If there is no wind, what happens to the clouds?

If the wind is strong, what happens to the clouds?

What are clouds made of?

How are the 3 main types of clouds alike and different?


Enjoy the clouds this evening!


Zero the Hero!

September 26th, 2014 · No Comments · Celebrations

Today at the Celebration of Learning, the grade ones sang a song we’ve been singing since the 10th day of school! Here’s a video of our performance! :)

And Zero the Hero made his debut! :)
photo 1

photo 2


Science- Exploring Temperature

September 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Science

Today your scientists learned about temperature and their first meteorologist tool: thermometers.  We discovered that we can feel how hot or cold air is, even though we can’t see it.  After touching ice cold & hot water, students generated vocabulary words to describe both temperatures.

Word Bank What We Learned
  • Temperature
  • Thermometer
  • Celsius
  • Fahrenheit
  • Tool
  • Freezing
  • Cold
  • Cool
  • Warm
  •  Hot

We use a thermometer to measure temperature.


We use the temperature to decide what to wear and what to do outside.


photo 2

Annie creates a paper thermometer.

photo 1The students watch the temperature rise and fall in hot and cold water.

Wondering what would be some great follow-up conversations at home? 

  • How does the temperature change from evening to morning at your house?
  • What would it be like if we didn’t use air conditioners at school?
  • What would it be like if we didn’t use air conditioners at home?
  • What is the best temperature for playing outside?
  • What other (things) might a meteorologist measure?
  • What tools might a meteorologist use to measure those (things)?



Reading Buddies

September 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Literacy

Yesterday we started Reading Buddies! Every few weeks, we will get together with our 4th Grade Reading Buddies from Mrs. Sylvester’s class. The students enjoyed getting to know their new buddies and reading books from the classroom. We really look forward to the next time we see them.

Here are some photos from the afternoon!