Saturday, February 9, 2013

Terrific Teeth...

It's teeth time in first grade! And since last week was a short week for us (only 3 days) we're going to be spending quite a bit of time learning about our pearly whites this week!

I'm sure like most of you, we begin each unit of study by talking about what we already know. My kiddos this year really like this part because they love saying the word "schema." I really love post-its because I can remove them easily and save my posters for next year.

Then we started reading about losing teeth. Some of my favorites are Moose's Loose Tooth, Wibble Wobble, and Tooth Trouble. So many of my students have wiggly teeth right now so they were more than happy to make connections.

Something new I'm doing this year is keeping track of what the Tooth Fairy brings each time they lose a tooth. All year long my students have been reporting large cash deposits under their pillow!! When I was a kid, it was a bright and shiny quarter, sometimes a dollar! And I'm not even that old!! Man... inflation! Anyways, I'm calling it the Tooth Fairy Total. So far we're up to $501 (a few teeth aren't pictured) and a pair of roller blades. I'm hoping those weren't under her pillow all night!

We have also begun working on a creative writing piece. We spend so much time writing nonfiction and showing evidence to support our claims that I really wanted to kids to have time to just be creative. So, I asked the students if they have ever pulled one of their teeth out. Not surprisingly, many of them have. And just as I was hoping, one student recalled the time her grandparents tied a string around her tooth, the other end to a door knob, and then slammed the door shut! That really got the kids excited!! I asked them to come up with an idea for how to pull out a loose tooth. I told them it could be nice and easy (like wiggling it gently and then pull when the tooth is ready) or silly and creative. Boy did they deliver! My favorite is... step 1: run into a hard wall, step 2: eat a crunchy apple, and step 3: push it out with your tongue! Only a kid could think that up!

The next day we turned our ideas into complete sentences. I helped them write a topic sentence and a conclusion. Happily, about half of my kids are beginning to work ahead of me. I'm so glad they're getting the hang of this! The day after that, we reread our stories and added more details. I usually proofread for them, but we're going to be working on that ourselves on Monday! 

I know it all sounds like fun and games so far, but I promise there's leaning going on, too! For instance, we had some dental hygienists come and show us the correct way to brush our teeth. They mentioned brushing from the gums up, using a circular or up and down motion, and remembering to brush our tongue. Then they passed around a large set of teeth to let the students try. Somehow, I didn't remember to take pictures.

After learning about how to brush our teeth, we discussed when to brush our teeth. The dental hygienists told us to brush 3 times a day! Realizing the difficulty of brushing our teeth after lunch (bringing toothbrushes and toothpaste, labeling them, storing them, remembering to bring them down to lunch with us, taking away recess time to brush, plus having a ton of kids in the bathroom at once...), we decided to promise to brush our teeth twice a day. In order to make sure my little ones are keeping their promise, we made a Brushing Teeth Toothbrush Tracker.

Each morning the kids brush their teeth, they get a sticker. Each night they brush their teeth, they get another sticker. Since I took this picture Monday afternoon, we only had an opportunity to get 1 sticker. However, on Tuesday I asked them if they remembered to brush their teeth last night (Monday night) after dinner and that morning before school. Those that answered yes got more stickers. Those that answered no did not receive a sticker. This, by the way, is a fantastic follow up activity to our lesson on honesty. We spent quite a bit of time discussing honesty last month during Character Education!

All of these ideas are bundled together in my Dental Health and more pack. If you're looking for something to supplement what you're already using, please check it out! Since I announced a new product, you know what's coming next... the first 5 who comment will get a copy for absolutely no cost! But wait! There's more... just kidding! I just wanted to sound like an informercial, hehe!

Next week we're going to be performing the tradition egg experiment. I'm using Cara Carroll's Dental Health Mini Unit. Have I ever mentioned that she is my absolute favorite teacher blogger!! She always has such great, engaging ideas!! If you ever need anything, and you can't find it here, of course, go visit The First Grade Parade.

Well, I'm off to work on the kitchen now. My husband and I started to remodel our kitchen 3 YEARS AGO and still haven't finished! My, oh my, how time flies!

Best wishes,


  1. What a neat idea to keep track of how much money the tooth fairy has brought! I'm pinning this for next year. :) And my littles loved Cara's egg experiments.

    Heather (

  2. Love the toothbrushes! Looks like a great unit!

  3. Rollerblades??? Wow! Times have changed! Would love to try your unit!