Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mrs. Wanke's Wonderful Whales: Amazing Animal Projects!

I can't say how proud and excited I am with what these kids did!  Can't wait for round 2 of their presentations tomorrow!

Mrs. Wanke's Wonderful Whales: Amazing Animal Projects!: Today day we showcased all of our hard work for the past few weeks.  When I started this project with my firsties, I had a list of expectat...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


I have been working really hard with my students on using evidence from a text to support their answer.  Today, I gave each of my students a copy of an article about koalas that I found on  I also put a copy of it on the Smart Board.

I first had my students use their red, yellow, and blue crayons to highlight answers to questions that I asked in the text.
Use your blue crayon to highlight the two things that Koalas eat.
Use your red crayon to highlight where Koalas get their water.
Use your yellow crayon to highlight what the work Koala means.

Then I asked my students, What would happen to a koala if all of the eucalyptus leaves smelled bad? (This question came with the passage, which you can download for free at

I asked my students to first give their answer.  Then, I had them use part of the question in their answer. Next, they had to add the word because and evidence from the text to support their answer.

Check out some of their answers...pretty good for first grade and only our second time doing this sort of activity.

After my students had attempted their answers I modeled for the students how I would write my sentence.  I used three different colors to break down the three parts of the answer.  Black for my answer, blue for the part of the question restated in my answer, and the green for the evidence from the text.  (They will be using the fancy colors from now on when we do this together. It really seemed to help them visualize what I was asking.)
Here is my answer...

The Koala would die if all the eucalyptus leaves smelt bad because they will not eat eaves that smell bad and eucalyptus is a Koala's food source.  

I explained to my students that you can add more information from your own head or schema, after you have provided evidence from the text. is a free website where you can download grade appropriate text and lesson plans.  You should totally check it out!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Art Party

What do you get when you combine, the coolest art teacher, watercolor paints, and Alka Seltzer?
Exploding Art!
My class earned an art party from the art teacher for having the highest attendance at the art show.  They had so much fun!  I think I will be doing this with my daughter this summer.  I wonder if it would work by mixing chalk paint and Alka Seltzer?  I will report back this summer!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Persuasive Writing

We read the book, I Wanna New Room by Karen Kaufman Orloff. In this story a little boy and his dad write letters back and forth as the boy truss to convince his dad that he needs his own room.

We were inspired to write letters to our parents to convince them that we should have a later bedtime. Check out these two, I literally laughed out loud.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Eggstrodinary Week!

Today we did the first candling of our duck eggs.  Our eggs have been incubating for 8 days now.

Our incubator hard at work, keeping our duck eggs at 99 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is what the inside of the duck egg looks like at day 8.

When we candled the eggs today we were looking for veins and possibly some slight movement of the developing duck.  If we didn't see any veins then we knew that the egg was not fertilized and there would be no duck.  

Based upon our observations, we predicted the following
Egg 1:  no veins, no duck
Egg 2: veins, duck!
Egg 3: veins, duck!
Egg 4: no veins, no duck
Egg 5: veins, duck!
Egg 6, veins, duck!
Egg 7: no veins, no duck
Egg 8: veins, movement, duck!
Egg 9: no veins, no duck
Egg 10: no veins, no duck

Below is a YouTube video of a duck egg candling at Day 7.    She gives lots of good information about candling.

We have also been hard at working learning all we can about ducks.

My attempt at humor.

We have been reading articles about duck.  Then, we have to answer questions about ducks and find evidence from the text that supports our answers.  
One question was, Could a duck survive in Antarctica?  We said no, and because we looked back in the article we were able to support our answer by adding... because ducks are found all over the world except in very cold places.  Some ducks even migrate during winter.

This is the article about ducks that we read.  Notice how we highlighted key pieces of information!
Click on the picture for the link to the TPT store A Year of Many Firsts.  This close reading packet has it all! 

This is the fun fraction activity we did with ducks!