Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Well, I am near the end of my vacation and I am nice and relaxed!  Got a lot accomplished and even managed to get some future lesson planning done! I know!!! =)

Before the vacation, the 1st grade teachers in my building had the students do a "Holidays Around the World" unit for Social Studies.  The classes had a blast! Here are some pictures!
We made Quesadillas! 

All of the different crafts we made to show where we traveled

How cute are their suitcases?? (We call them maletas in Spanish!)

The new year brings an arctic animal unit! Winter is one of my favorite seasons to teach about because there are so many things that the students can learn about! I love teaching about penguins and bears and hibernation! I also love reading about MLK with the class and they always are interested in how life was like in the past.  And February, well, that is another one of my favorites! Doesn't it seem that the shortest months of the school year have the most events??? December has all of the holidays along with winter and then February has Groundhog's Day, President's Day, Valentine's Day, the 100th day (usually) and this year, Chinese New Year!!!! So much stuff and so little time!

I hope that everyone had a great holiday!  Happy New Year! Let's make 2013 a great one!

Happy teaching!

Alyson Hennessy

Monday, December 17, 2012

An emotional couple of days...

I am still not able to believe and understand the events that took place on Friday in CT.  My heart breaks for everyone affected by this and everyday, I have been thinking of those poor babies, both the survivors who witnessed the events and those who lost their lives too soon.   This past Friday bought up some memories of when, during my second year of teaching, we had a lock down but it was not a practice one.  A man, who had a gun and was trying to escape the police, ran into a back door of the school I was working in. He knew that door was always open because he had gone to that school years ago and that door was open because of the large classroom trailers we had in the back of the school grounds.  My students were across the hall in the library and, after the lock down was called, I was able to go to them.  The reason I left my room was because we had just gotten brand new doors and only the principal had the working keys.  He had to go around and lock the doors-and of course, mine was not staying locked.  
We were sitting on the floor of the library for 3 hours-no bathroom, no food, and not really knowing what was going on.  I was able to communicate with my mother via text and a friend who worked down the hall from me.  We did not know if the gunman was still in the school, if he had a gun still-nothing.  After about 2 1/2 hours, SWAT came to our door with all of their gear and my class burst into tears-they saw a gun up close and even though SWAT was there to help us, they were petrified.  We were finally given the all clear to all evacuate the school and our kids were able to get back to their family members.   I later found out that the man had dropped the gun prior to entering the school and ran into a bathroom, climbed up the walls, and hid in the air ducts above the classrooms.  He climbed all around until he fell through one into the courtyard and was trapped-that was when police and SWAT were able to move in and arrest him.  His accomplice was found later on.  It was one of the scariest moments of my life.  My students were very scared and I just thinking about that day, makes me want to cry for the community of Newtown, CT.  My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone in that town.
This holiday season, I will be thinking about those angels and their families.

 I love the Rock Star Gingerbread!
Here are some more pictures of our Gingerbread or "jengibre" unit from last week.  We created speech bubbles where the students had to create a sentence that would try and persuade the fox to leave him alone.  We have been working with word order and using sight words when writing on Spanish days and I found that giving the students the words, all mixed up, and then having them cut them and glue them in the correct order to make a sentence has been working better than having them copy a model and finishing a sentence.  This method has been making them really think about sentence structure and using their "Writer's Eyes" to monitor their sentences.

I promise to post pics from our "Celebrations around the World"!!!! 

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Alyson Hennessy

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gingerbread Science

To help a teacher who was a victim of Hurricane Sandy, I purchased the Gingerbread Reading Response Unit (From Ms. Smarty Pants).  We have been completing the worksheets and writing activities for the past few days and I will post the student work on Friday after the unit is complete.  I also found on Pinterest a Gingerbread Science Experiment worksheet!  My class had so much fun being scientists and playing with Gingerbread cookies!    
 Watching and observing

  Watching and observing

We wrote down on the Enoboard how we completed the experiment

 This is how one of the Gingerbread cookies looked after a few minutes

 A few floated on top of the water

 We completed the 1st page yesterday and the rest of the experiment today

The students had to write and draw what happened.  I let them stick their hands in the water to touch the cookie and they all said, "Ew it's mushy!"

Before we have our Christmas break, the 1st grade team is planning on celebrating "Holidays Around the World"! So excited to have the students taste food from the other countries, read about the other countries, and also complete projects and their own "Suitcase" and "passport" for their travels.  I am planning on having them create their suitcases on Friday so I will also post pictures of that!

Happy Teaching!

Alyson Hennessy

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Gingerbread Explosion!

This past week, I met with my parents for conferences! It was a pleasure seeing them all again!  I always like to put some classwork outside, along with any other important information that the parents can look at while they are waiting for their appointment. I put out some class books we have made along with our Treasures/Tesoros reading program materials from the first unit.

We also did our 3rd science experiment/observation this year! We learned about objects that float/flotar or sink/hundir!  We watched the brainpopjr. video and made predictions before the experiment.

Next week is one of my favorite weeks-GINGERBREAD WEEK!!!!!!! I found a lot of great ideas to add to my lessons from pinterest and other teaching blogs!  For phonics, I plan to focus on hard g and soft g for English and J for Spanish because we say "jengibre" in Spanish.  Here are some activities I plan on doing!

Pan de Jengibrepoem Gingerbread Writing Activity Spanish

I also found from TpT a gingerbread literacy unit that comes with clip are and worksheets for comparing and contrasting the various Gingerbread books and games where students have to determine which words are real and which are nonsense words.  I am going to put that game in my GAME center this week!  I also found a Gingerbread cookie experiment where the students have to predict and observe what happens when Gingerbread goes into water.
This week, we are also going to be learning about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, as well as Christmas around the world! I will definitely post pictures of all of the student work!

Stay safe, happy teaching, and Happy Holidays!! See you soon!

Alyson Hennessy

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving and more fun stuff from the classroom!

Sorry it has been so long! Between work and taking classes for my literacy masters, getting the stomach virus on Thanksgiving with both of my twin girls, it has been a little crazy.
I was able to take some pictures though!  Here are some pictures of what we did during the month of November!

Turkeys in disguise!

They wrote about what their turkey was dressed up as.

We learned all about Native Americans, Pilgrims, and the Mayflower.

 A Native American Mind Map

Bats and Owls

All about Bats

Main Idea Anchor Charts

Amazing Adjectives

Our MANY class books that we wrote

How to cook a turkey! Funny stories!

More Anchor Charts

My Skill Board

Can't wait for December! I love to do Polar Express, Holidays around the World, Gingerbread Man, and so much more!

Happy Teaching!

Alyson Hennessy

Monday, November 5, 2012


Well, to say that this past week was crazy is an understatement!
My school was closed for a week! We had no power at my house for 3 1/2 days! But, I am very thankful that my family is okay-there are many people out there who lost everything, some even losing their lives.  My heart goes out to everyone affected by the hurricane.
My girls did get to dress up for Halloween and we went Trick or Treating for a few houses in our neighborhood.

Once we came back, the hurricane was all my class could talk about-so, a teachable moment occurred! For writing, my lessons included teaching about statements.  The Treasures theme for this week is PETS/MASCOTAS and they were supposed to write statements about pets or animals that they had or wanted to have.  I decided to have the same objective, but go with a different theme. The students wrote about how the hurricane affected them.  They drew amazing pictures and wrote great sentences!  Here are some samples:

 Nothing happened to my house.
 I have a roof blown off

My door fell. (She was talking about her fence)
 My pool cover fell in the water.
 There is no gas for the line of cars.
This one is my favorite-He said, "Mrs. Hennessy, nothing happened to my house-the hurricane did not find my house".

During the hurricane, my lights went out.
The hurricane broke the fence.

During Hurricane Sandy

 I see a tree fell.
My dad has no gas. My dads window cracked.

My neighbor lost a tree.

The tree fall down outside.

I see a tree fall down.

My mom said we did not lose electricity-This student also said to me, "Mrs. Hennessy, my mom said we are very lucky".

I see in the part a lot of water.

The lights went out.

During the storm, I lost gas in my car.

My fence fell down during the storm.

During the storm, my dad got a generator-Her lights just came on yesterday!

During the hurricane, I lost power.


These kids did an amazing job! They wrote/drew all of these stories with a smile on their face.  Many of them had no power/heat for days, still have no gas and sit on lines with their parents for hours waiting for gas, or had to leave their homes.  Their strength today amazed me!

While also trying to get back into our routine, we talked about Election Day! We watched "Duck for President" and the kids loved it! 
We then discussed who was running for president and the job of a president.  The kids had great things to say!  One asked, "If the president does not come back (we were talking about being reelected and how a president can only serve 2 terms), does he just disappear and die?" Another one asked, "What happens if the president does not do his job?"  We looked at a map to see the USA and pictures of Obama and Romney.  We also talked about the rules of only voting once in an election.  This worksheet came from  The kids loved doing this activity today!

One student also wrote, "If I were president, I would kill all the bad guys!".  
We have off tomorrow for a conference day/training.  Can't wait to start teaching bats, spiders, and dia de los muertos! I love Fall! So many great topics to teach!

Happy teaching!

Alyson Hennessy