September 23, 2011

Crazy Busy and Looking Like a Mad Woman

This week has been so CRAZY busy!!  I feel like a mad woman running around.

Today (crazy me) decided sponge painting and an afternoon of apple taste testing would be FANTASTIC!  With no specials I didn't even think about how I would manage this. Teachers seem to be the BEST at multi-tasking and making things look simple when in our heads we're saying, "What in the world was I thinking?!"

Well the painting went great.  We read The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree and talked about each season. The kids also completed writing this week telling which was their favorite.

After lunch we had an apple taste test.  The kiddos tried apples, juice, applesauce, apple crisp, apple jelly, and apple cereal.  They LOVED the food!

Of course I WANTED to take pictures but my camera battery died.  Just my luck!  I managed to get one picture and will post more on Monday.

Poor Bennett (above) had a loose tooth all day that was just itching to come out.  The class was even cheering him on at the end of the day to get it out.  It looked quite painful as he wiggled it around throughout the day with his tongue. FINALLY, his tooth appeared in his hand.  

A pic will here Monday of Bennett with his tooth necklace. It's SO exciting!!  His classmates were just as ecstatic when they saw the tooth.  He's the first student to lose one at school this year.  Oh, the day in the life of a first grader...

September 21, 2011

A Look into Writer's Workshop

Here's a look into our Writer's Workshop...

At the beginning of the year we looked at different forms of writing and why writer's write.  I showed examples of writing I've completed but also used kid's work.  I found this cute poster at The First Grade Parade and had to make one!

We've spent time going over expectations and what our workshop will look like.  Students learned where to find materials and what to do when they think they're done.  They have worked on adding to their pictures, adding words, or beginning a new piece.  Here's a pic of my writing nook.  This is where kids find all of their supplies and refer to posters.

My kids made heart maps this year, filling it up with topics they could write about.  We talked about using our binoculars and focusing in on a topic.

Now to the writing...Model, model, model!!  I often start with a read aloud and then a quick mini lesson focusing in on a skill I want students to practice.  I model by thinking aloud.  First, I create my picture adding words or labels to help me remember what I'm writing about.  I begin writing, talking aloud, and having the kids help me.  I also show them how to rate their work.  Here's the poster I have in my room. This will apply more as they develop as writers.

First Grade Lyons' Den Rate Your Writing

Students then turn and talk to a friend about a topic they plan on writing about.  Then the writing begins!

I always start with the "Quiet Ten."  This is 10 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time for the kids to work on their illustrations.  I play music (softly) in the background.  When the music stops the kids know it's time to go to writing.

When writing time is over the kids stamp their work.  This has been a highlight and they enjoy slamming that stamp into the ink pad and onto their paper.  This is a way for me to also keep track of how much they've written.

I will admit the sharing part has been the hardest part to fit in but I WILL find a way to get that in when the workshop is over!

I've been reading No More I'm Done and have found some great ideas that I'm beginning to implement in my class.

*Quiet 10
*Using a notebook with a tab for each student.  When going around to conference you just flip to their page and jot down observations about their writing
*Using an Editor's Checklist and individualizing for each child.  When conferencing you pick one skill you want them to work on.  This makes them responsible for examining their own writing.

Here's the checklist I created and plan on using with my kiddos.

Editor's Checklist

Apples, Apples, and More Apples

We've been learning A LOT about apples.  First we completed a KWL chart and wrote in our science notebooks.

Then we learned the parts of an apple.  I made this diagram and we labeled the parts together.  Students then completed some apple art.  They were NOT allowed to use scissors!!  The kiddos had to tear the paper to create an apple.  We used white stickers and labeled each part.

We're also tasting different types of apples. Yesterday we tried Mcintosh apples and wrote some describing words.  The kids REALLY liked this type and wanted more!!

Community Members

We've been learning about communities.  Our focus was school community.  We went on a school hunt trying to find and take pictures of community members at our GREAT school.  We took pictures, wrote their names, and drew pictures of what they might need in order to do their jobs.

September 14, 2011

Were YOU the Recess Queen?

We read The Recess Queen today.  This went right along with Peacemakers and Peacebreakers.  After we finished the book most kids said she was a PEACEBREAKER!!

We completed a Character Map together.  We talked about what kind of girl she was and added describing words to the chart.

My quick 10 minute drawing at 7:00 in the morning.

September 12, 2011

Kiss Your Brain!!

Today we kissed our brains!!  We've been building stamina for reading to self.  Kids read for 15 solid minutes with no interruptions.  So exciting!!  Tomorrow I'll be introducing read to a buddy.  Here are some pics of the kids reading.

They've learned you can read the words, the pictures, and retell the story.  We've also discussed our class library and how it's set up.  Students talked about what types of books they pick and how to make good choices.

September 7, 2011

Day 2 in First Grade

Today we began Special Person of the Day.  Each day we'll be interviewing and learning more about each classmate.  This is a great way to talk about sentence structure, capitalization, and punctuation.

Here's Abby with her poster.

I also Read First Day Jitters.  Of course the kids are ALWAYS surprised by the ending!!  We talked about if they had the jitters on the first day of school.  They had to write a complete sentence and illustrate.

And...the highlight of the day.  Magic Play Dough.  I attached a poem on the front of the bag.  In each bag was white play dough.  If it changed colors then each student would have a GREAT year.  Here are the results!!

September 6, 2011

A Successful FIRST Day

Whoa, even with the caffeine this morning it was crazy busy!  Lots of energy and excitement.  I'm quite PROUD of the class I have.  While driving home I finally realized I didn't even get a bathroom break today!! :o)

Here are some pics of our first day.

We also worked with our names and put them in ABC order.  The kids drew self-portraits and practiced writing their names.

 We also read David Shannon's books about little David who always seemed to find himself in trouble.  I found a great lesson idea at The First Grade Parade and completed it with the kiddos today.  We talked about our new Peace Garden and what peace means.  I then introduced them to Peacemakers and Peacebreakers.  We made these two posters to hang in our room along with our class expectations.

We also spent time learning about each other.  The kids made friendship necklaces.  In order to get clay the kids had to ask each other questions.  Once all the kids had their clay they made beads.

And last but not least, we made some first graph gylphs.  Here are a few kids working on them.

September 5, 2011

My Top 10 Blogs to Read

So I awoke to find my blog had made the top 10 on Mrs. Ayala's Kinder Fun!!  Thank you so much taking the time to check out my blog.

Top 10 TBA

Here are my Top 10 Blogs that really helped me through my first year in first grade.

Made for 1st Grade

The Teacher Wife

The First Grade Parade