Friday, May 31, 2013

Four For Friday

I know I'm supposed to come up with five, but I only got to see my Owlets four times this week! I've tried to come up with one special event each day to count down the final days of school. A crazy thing happened on the way to Friday. . . Each days activity started with a P!
1. Popcorn and a movie...We watched Shaun the Sheep on Tuesday. We love Shaun and his silly antics. Thursdays we often eat lunch together and watch an episode together, but for a special treat we watched in the morning with popcorn. I always turn on the captions to squeeze a little reading practice in. You can watch him too right here...

2. Pancakes for Breakfast...The Owlets helped follow directions to measure, crack, stir, but left the cooking to me! I love my electric fry-pan! I can't make pancakes without chocolate chips. There wasn't a pancake left and the plates were licked clean!

3. Parachutes for Play...I taught the class how to play Lifeguard. Do you know this game? One student is the shark and stays under the parachute. One student is the lifeguard and stays standing. The rest of the students sit with their legs under the parachute. The shark tries to pull them under and the swimmer has to yell for help. The lifeguard runs to pull them back out. If the shark pulls them all the way under they become sharks. If the lifeguard pulls them all the way out they are lifeguards, too.  I have a very physical group this year, so they LOVED it!

4. Pond Study...I saved the best for last! We had an awesome experience at a local nature preserve. We had the best guides a teacher could ask for. They made sure each child got to pull out muck from the pond and we were scientists doing important investigations as we used forceps to pull out different organisms for closer study. I found an amazing resource on TPT for our study. I was hoping to make my own resources, but I'm running low on time right now! Check it out HERE!  After reading a book on ponds we talked about which they would rather be a frog or toad. All but one student wanted to be a frog. "Being a toad means predators won't eat you because you are poisonous," he said! Kids crack me up!
Yes...We can finally wear shorts in Michigan!!

There are some pretty incredible creatures that live in the much at
the bottom of a pond!

Looking for frogs was one time these kids were VERY quiet!

5.... Doesn't start with the letter P...THREE MORE DAYS!!
I had to follow the rules and add number 5!!
What are your Five for Friday?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You Might be an Artist! Freebie!!

I was so inspired by my time in the National Art Gallery that I created a unit to go along with an art theme. I hope you enjoy it! If you click here it will always be free. If you are a follower it will always be available. If you want to buy it it will be available at TPT for sale tomorrow!

My owlets get so excited when I pull out one of these following direction pages. I hope yours will enjoy it, too!
It felt good to be back at school after being with wild and crazy 7th and 8th graders for a week. I'm sure a couple of my owlets grew while I was gone. It was so nice to be back in the company of sweetness. Only six more school days until the school year ends for me. I'm trying to really fan the flame of loving to read as summer approaches. I'm trying to come up with ways to keep in contact with my students over the summer to keep that flame alive. I get to loop with my students this year and I'm going to be teaching full-time next year...Yippee!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Home Sweet Home!

Dear First Grade Owlets,
This is my last letter to you before I see your sweet faces again TOMORROW! I can't wait to see you. I missed you so much that I had a dream that when I returned to school the other teachers took you into their classrooms and wouldn't give them back because they liked you so much. The whole dream I was wandering around looking for you!

The last two days of the trip were some of my favorite times. I love the National Gallery of Art. Ella and I only got to spend a brief time there, but we loved every minute of it. We had one artist that we really wanted to see. He is Ella's favorite, Vincent Van Gough. Before Vincent Van Gough died in 1890 he left behind more than 900 paintings. He only sold one of his paintings and you would have to go to Moscow to see that one!
One of Van Gough's over 30 self-portraits.
Everywhere we went we saw gift shops. I bought this book to share with you. I can't wait to show you this book and read it to you. When we are done reading it, we'll talk about the ordinary things that you think are extraordinary! Click HERE to get the paper early. Maybe your family can make a book of their own showing ordinary things!

I have more things to share with you tomorrow. Be sure to come to school to check out the pencils I brought back for you and a puzzle to share with the class!

I'll be wearing this green shirt tomorrow! I got it at the zoo after I saw this panda!

Isn't he cute?
Mrs Reck

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Monumental Freebie!

Dear Owlets,
Washington D.C. is monumental! There are monuments and memorials all over the place. There are also crowds everywhere. You have to wait in line for just about everything, including the bathroom. Everything is clean and the gardens are well kept and fitting for our nation's capital. I hope that you will get to travel here someday, too!

I saw more memorials than I knew existed! Here are a few that were my favorites...
My dad was in the Air Force and so is one of my favorite nieces. I'm proud of their service to our country!

This monument to MLK is amazing! Coming at it from behind, I got to see MLK emerge from the granite.
It was breath taking!

The Lincoln Memorial is a must see!

This statue honoring Rosa Parks is the newest statue in the capitol. She has
always been one of my favorite historic figures.

You have to go to this memorial to really capture the feel and the beauty of it.
It is really special. 

There is so much history all over the city. Around each corner it seemed their was another historic figure or event highlighted. I think my Owlets would like to do a research project on an historic figure. Perhaps they can use this to guide their research...
In only a couple more days and I'll be home! I've got even more pictures and adventures to share with you! I hope you are thinking about an historic character you'd like to get to know  better! I know you love research projects!

Have a memorable Memorial Day!
Mrs. Reck

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mount Vernon!

Visitors coming up from the river are greeted with this view of the house.
 Dear First Graders,
This is the final resting place for George Washington.
There is a place reserved for him at the U.S. Capitol, but it will
never be used because he and his family wanted his body to remain
at his beloved Mount Vernon.
I have seen where George Washington  slept! He loved his home at Mount Vernon and I can see why.  I wish I could show you more of it with pictures, but they wouldn't let us take pictures inside at all. I can tell you it is beautiful. It sits high atop a hill overlooking the Potomac River. It is surrounded by gardens, trees and flowers. I wish I could bring you all. Here is a peek at what you could see if you came.

Two things are missing from Washington's home. There are no bathrooms and the kitchen is not attached to the house. There are two Necessaries outside! 
Here is one of the "Necessaries"! 

This ram was trying to find some shade on this hot sunny day. 

The Washington's had a unique circular 16 sided barn. To learn more about it
click on the picture.

I wish I had time to tell you more, but the bus driver is honking the horn! We are busy from morning until night. I'm only showing you a small part of what our busy days hold. Tomorrow, or later today, I'll show you the world's largest library!  It is gorgeous. I could have spent a whole day there.

I'll see you in a couple of days. I can't wait to give hugs handshakes and high-fives!
Love, Mrs. Reck
P.S. Click HERE to go play some fun games and learn more about George Washington!

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Dear First Grade Owls,
I can’t believe it is already Wednesday! By the time you read this it will be Thursday! I hope you were good owlets for our guest teacher. I’m sure she’ll have all kinds of wonderful things to say about you.
We are continuing to march through American history. We visited a sad time in the history books for our country. We visited a plantation that was used to grow cotton and tobacco. Someone made a lot of money growing these crops, but the people that worked hard were the slaves. Each day they were expected to work from sun up until sundown. Their homes had no windows. They shared their shacks with many others. They had dirt floors and many times they were locked in at night from the outside, so they couldn't run away. New Hope Plantation is a part of Williamsburg Historical site and one you wouldn't want to miss if you visit Williamsburg.

Remember how we've worked on comparing and contrasting? There is very little to compare to life on the plantation to life in town. People in town lived in fancy houses, had parties and had plenty of time for reading books and thinking great thoughts!

The most beautiful home that I saw was the governor’s mansion. It was beautiful. The  home was used as a home for the governor that the king of England appointed to make laws in New England. This house was used to entertain many important people who would visit the New World. Williamsburg was the place where important business was carried out in our countries early beginnings. 
The Governor's Manson
Find out how many governors this house was home to!

This fancy chair is actually a chamber pot. Do you know what a chamber pot was used for?!

Fancy parties were held at least twice a year in the ballroom. Music was play on instruments
such as this called a harpsichord. 

Fancy lights called chandeliers would be lit by candle for special occasions.

The prison  was not a nice place to live in at all. I sure wouldn't want to miss church too many times because this is where I would be  \placed!
This doesn't look to inviting to me!

Meals were delivered through this opening.

This is the chamber-pot in the jail cell.
Don't let the last picture scare you...I am coming home! I'm looking forward to seeing you and sharing more of my adventures with you when I get back. You can take a tour of Williamsburg by clicking HERE!    
I miss you!

I'll see you soon!
Mrs. Reck

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Dear Owlets,
We traveled to some very interesting places today and I thought of you all over and over! Can you imagine living in a place where your days are filled with work starting at about the age of four? Would you like to live in a house with no computers, no television, no video games, dirt floors and sleeping with your whole family in one room? If you had lived in Jamestown or Yorktown over 200 years ago that is how you would be living.

Yorktown, Virginia is where the final battle was fought in the Revolutionary War. Here Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington. I learned about what it would be like to be a soldier in General George Washington's Army! I don't think I would have liked it very much. I can't imagine living in a tent with five other people in one of those tents. We wouldn't be able to take showers and the food would be not so good!

How do these beans look? I'd have to be awfully hungry before I'd eat them.
Below is a picture of the oven the soldiers would cook their food on.

A soldier showed us how to load and shoot a musket. I jumped when
he fired. It was really loud!
I'm pretty tired but I can't end the day without sharing a bird picture with you. I think you'll recognize the feet of this bird!
Write your guess down...I'll show you the full bird tomorrow!
Tomorrow you'll learn a little bit about one of the first colonies in the United States. Life was very hard and many people died trying to make a new life in the new world. 
Remember to be kind to our guest teacher...Show her the ways of the OWL! I miss you!!
Queen Owl!

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Ultimate Field Trip!

Hi blog friends! I've had a pretty busy time between graduations, family and school events and now I'm on the ultimate field trip! Follow along with my first graders this week and explore the places I'm going with my daughter and her 8th grade class!

Dear First Grade Owlets,

I miss you very much! I think about each of you as I rush from one activity to the next trying to keep my eyes open...I'm so tired. After watching my daughter graduate from college, we packed up all her belongings and drove four hours home. I made it home in time to pick up Ella and get to our meeting spot to hop on the tour bus. We got on the bus at 10:30 at night and drove all through the night until we got to our first spot. Our first stop came after a twelve hour bus ride. That is a long time to be on a bus.

You would love to visit the place we first stopped at. It is a very famous place. Let's see if you can guess its name. It sits on top of a high hill in Virginia.  It is on the back of a nickel. Our third president lived here. Did you guess Monticello? If you did, kiss your brain...You are really smart. I learned all kinds of interesting things here.
This is the view from Monticello.

In this observatory,  Jefferson could watch the stars at night, or
his garden during the day.

One thing I found out was that Thomas Jefferson had pet Mockingbirds. They are one of my favorite birds. They are very noisy and make the sounds of other animals and birds. Go here to learn more about them and hear their sound.
I've never seen a Mockingbird in Michigan. Trying to get his picture almost made me too late to  go inside
the house!
I wish I could show you inside the house. There are so many awesome things to see. Sadly, we were not allowed to take any pictures inside, You can see pictures of his house HERE. Would you like a special surprise when I get back? Find out three interesting facts about Thomas Jefferson. Write them down and save them in your OWL book until I get back. Come back tomorrow for another challenge!

Queen Owl!