Thursday, September 29, 2011

Messy Day!

This week's Star Scientist, Kendra Chaffin, led us in a messy science experiment today...WE LOVED IT! She she showed us how fluids have a viscosity (thickness or resistance to flow in a fluid). When we stuck our hand in the Non-Newtonian Fluid our hands seemed to stick to it, but when we pulled our hand out, it "oozed out like slimmy boogers" (quote taken from Cameran Ball).

In the afternoon, Team Schappelkins decided to make a trip over to the wetlands...FINALLY! Although it was a long hike and a bit muddy, we were able to find a few creatures that caught our attention!

Soon we will be able to use the yurt for our classroom instruction. We weren't able to go in yet, we were excited to see it!

I have a very curious mom who did some research and found out that we saw a White Lined Sphinx Moth...Thanks Melody! :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trio of Cheeseballs

How could I possibly have a bad day when I get to spend it with them???? Right????

Team Schappelkins 1.2

We've been having some difficulty with the batteries in our Flip Cam! (It's actually quite funny). Be sure to check out both links!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sound Boxes

We've just updated our Phonemic Awareness Activities Page on with a free printable for helping children segment sounds in words. You will find cards with 2-5 phonemes (sounds). Great for small group instruction! Check it out.
Head Over to to Download for FREE!

Friday, September 23, 2011

A My Name Is Alice

The antics never quit as a parade of Miss Appel's First Graders sold their wares in this wildly illustrated version of the familiar alphabet book. Translation: We created our very first FlipSnack! (A huge thank you goes out to Mrs. Smith for sharing this website with me). I love it. Click the link to read our book!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Star Scientist: Jerry Burke-Fisher

This week's Star Scientist, Jerry demonstrated what would happen when pennies are added to a full glass of water. Each student shared their hypothesis with the class...Some thought the pennies would become cleaner and most of the students said the water was going to overflow just like it does in the bathtub.

Jerry added one penny at a time...We were able to get 76 pennies in the glass before the water spilled over...Well, actually Miss Appel wanted to know what would happen if a handful of pennies were dumped in!

Jerry told us how the water has a special "skin" that keeps it from overflowing. "Now friends, the big word I will tell you is called surface tension". Hmmm...I wonder if this will happen with other liquids? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Team Schappelkins' Newsletter 1.1

Check out Team Schappelkins' 1st Video Newsletter Volume 1.1! We'll be reporting to you each week via YouTube for our latest news and updates!
Click Here to See Team Schappelkins Volume 1.1!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turtle Lady Visits

Team Schappelkins had a very busy day! We started off the morning by generating a list of questions that we wanted to ask The Turtle Lady. Mrs. J lead us in a group discussion and helped us think of things that'd help us narrow down our search for the perfect classroom pet.

When The Turtle Lady arrived, Team Appel was pretty disappointed to learn that turtles do not make good classroom pets! They can become very large, they are picky eaters, and they are stinky! (We crossed "turtles" off or potential pet list).

In the picture above, The Turtle Lady was able to make the boy turtle and the girl turtle kiss! (Ask your child how you can tell the difference between a male and a female!)

Miss Appel learned that turtles have the ability to make their heads stick out like snakes. Alligators are like to eat turtles, but alligators are afraid of snakes! Turtles pretend to be snakes to scare away the alligators. Pretty genius, right?

We were able to see some pretty cool frogs! When The Turtle Lady picked them up, we laughed because it looked like they were peeing on her, but it turns out it's just water! Frogs do that when they don't want to be touched. Miss A was disappointed to learn that frogs, like turtles, don't make good classroom pets!

This 'lil guy (or big guy I should say) was making a lot of noise in his bin when The Turtle Lady was talking about bearded lizards. When she lifted him up out of the bin, he received a standing ovation from the crowd!

I have a strange feeling that the next animal will win the hearts of Room 161! The bearded dragon...

We were able to walk around and pet most of the animals. First graders had a great time!

Kendall and I were really hoping for a turtle...I mean, how cute is this little guy????

Families, just a reminder that our "Class Pet Questionnaire" is due Monday, September 26th. We will be compiling our information that we receive and we will share our data with you. (Thank you for all of your wonderful ideas and willingness to donate animals and supplies for our future pet-mate!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Literacy Intervention Tip of The Week

Many of us use popular assessments such as the DRA Developmental Reading Assessment),the QRI(Qualitative Reading Inventory) and screenings instruments like DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills).  

When it comes to working with a student who presents with reading fluency problems caused by poor decoding skills, I'll take the QPS (Quick Phonics Screener)by Jan Hasbrouck, over all of them. 

The lesser know QPS is a quick, easy to administer, assessment that shows you the exact TYPE of words students can and cannot read.

Notice I said "exact type of words" and not "exact words"!  Yes, our written language is comprised of word types and to effectively provide reading decoding intervention you should be familiar with the seven different syllable types that exist in our written language and concepts referred to as BASIC and ADVANCED alphabetic code (AKA Basic and Advanced Phonics). Confused? The QPS can help! 

Administer the QPS to students below grade level in reading fluency and under 92% accurate in words read correct.  The information the QPS provides will pinpoint the cause of the decoding breakdown (basic or advanced code? syllable type? single words or sentences?) and help you determine the exact target of intervention

Move beyond simple sight word instruction and tackle the real issues: poor word attack and decoding skills!  The QPS has helped me to be more effective with my students and I hope it can help you.    

You can learn more about BASIC and ADVANCED code on's Reading Activities I and Reading Activities II pages.  
You can learn more about and purchase the Quick Phonics Screener at the Read Naturally website.

All my best,

CVC Game

Be sure to check out our TpT Store to download our FREE CVC Flower Game...You might recognize it from! Same game, better graphics! (Don't forget to leave us feedback!)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Star Scientist: Cameran Ball

Each full week of school, Room 161 has a "Star Scientist" and gets to participate in many fun & exciting activities. On Fridays, the Star Scientist will share some type of electronic biography that they create at home. 

Click on the link below to check out Cameran Ball!
Cameran Ball's Biography

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thursday Hodge-Podge

We had a busy day today...Our Star Scientist, Cameran Ball placed special beads in water which changed throughout the school day. (They turned into gooey marbles). First graders wondered if the same thing would happen to regular marbles, bouncy balls, and erasers. We placed these items in cups and will see what happens when we return tomorrow morning! 

In the afternoon, after an intense "Team Schappelkins' Games" relay race, we went on our first Nature Walk! Mrs. Jenkins led the way! Although we weren't able to go to the wetlands, we managed to trudge through puddles of mud while observing the sounds and smells of our Summit Campus. We even ran into Mr. Hardy who was kind enough to supply us with some hand-sanitizer at the end of our journey. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Schema Stuff

I'm always on the look out for new ways to introduce & reinforce the comprehension strategies to my students. (I'm a big fan of Tanny McGregor's book, "Comprehension Connections"). If you'd like to see some of her great ideas, check out!

This summer I found my old Mr. Potato Head I had when I was a kid. (Luckily, he wasn't missing any body parts!) Mr. Potato Head keeps all of his belongings inside of his head, in much the same way we all have different schema inside of our own heads! My Super-Smart 1st Graders made a pretty brilliant connection today; sometimes Mr. P might need his glasses, but some days he might not. He can put them back in his head and keep them safe until he needs them again! (Seriously? They just summed up 'metacognition' in a nut shell! Proud teacher).

I purchased a Rolodex to show them how it can file important information in special places (A-Z). I haven't shared this with the class yet...I'm just waiting for a kid to ask me what it is! 

And then I have a kid who tells me that he'd really like it if he could see the inside of a brain. Since our SmartBoards haven't been installed yet, I do the most logical thing I could think of...I hop on eBay and purchase a brain model. It's a little bit smaller than I'd hoped it'd be, but know we have a visual reference when we refer to our brain [thinking].

If you have any other comprehension tips, please send them my way!