November 30, 2011

Bold Beginnings

We've been working on bold beginnings or leads.  I've been introducing one a week and the kiddos have been practicing with Post-It Notes.

Today's mini lesson was reviewing the ones we've learned.  I picked books from our own class library and read each lead.  The kids had to place the correct Post-It on the book.

Then, I introduced a new lead.  SOUND EFFECT!  These are the books I used.

We went to my bear writing and I had the kids help me with my beginning.  They came up with,

"Vroom, vroom."
"Beep, beep."

They practiced in their own Writer's Notebook.  Here are a few examples.

The sound of an ambulance.
Pooh pooh that is the fire works.

Next up...riddle or joke leads!  

November 29, 2011

Reindeer Door

Here's our decorated door!

Un update on our Random Acts of Classroom Kindness.

Day 7: Hold the door for someone.
Day 8: Write a letter and donate a book to the public library (look for pics tomorrow).  We're lucky to have Cindy from the public library come and read to us.  We'll be surprising her tomorrow!

Run, Run, Run As Fast As You Can!

This week we'll be reading different versions of The Gingerbread Man and we'll be keeping track of the setting, characters, and how the story ends.

We'll also be creating our own gingerbread stories.  I have some kids writing about gingerbread pirates, dogs, girls, boys, and tigers.   Here are some of the Snapshot Leads they did today.

November 22, 2011

The First Thanksgiving

Today I told the story of the first Thanksgiving.  For each part the kids added a bead.

Brown bead:  Pilgrims left England
White bead:  Sailed on the Mayflower
3 blue beads:  Long trip on the ocean
Green bead: Spotted land
Black bead: Long hard winter and many didn't survive
Tan bead:  Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims
4 beads for the foods served at first Thanksgiving
   -1 red: Cranberries
   -1 yellow: Corn
   -1 orange: Pumpkins
   -1 brown: Turkey

Here are their bracelets.

Colonial Day Activities

Today the kids went to other first grade classrooms to participate in some Colonial day activities.  Kids dipped candles, weaved, wrote with quill pens, and played some games.

I was busy with the games.  The kids had the opportunity to play hopscotch, marbles, and bowling.  Here are some pics!

Love this photo!  Daysin got a strike.  This was their reaction.  Priceless!! 

Good Readers Ask Questions

I read Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman.  We've been learning that good readers ask qeustion before, during, and after reading.  Here's our work.

November 18, 2011

How to Cook a Turkey

If you're looking for a DELICIOUS recipe, look no further!!  That is if you trust a first grader.  They began this lesson by doing a Quick Write.  They had to list everything they would need in order to cook a turkey. Then they wrote.  Here's an example.

We've also been reading nonfiction books on turkeys and completed this chart.


Today I read Raven and we completed some art to go with the book.  This is a Native American trickster story.  We have been reading many legends.  Here they are working!

Colonial Day Venn Diagram

Here's the Venn Diagram we completed the other day on Colonial Kids Vs. Kids Today.

Some interesting facts the kiddos learned are...
1.  Kids served their parents dinner.
2.  They had lots of chores.
3.  Siblings shared the same plate.
4.  If you didn't bring wood to the school master, you had to sit in the back of the classroom.
5.  Classrooms weren't comfortable, they sat on benches, and it was cold.

November 16, 2011


Kids listened to All About Turkeys by Jim Arnosky.  They brainstormed a list of new facts they learned.  They wrote on sentence strips, which were used as the turkey's feathers.

November 15, 2011

Colonial Children

We've been reading and learning about Pilgrims.  Students listened to Samuel Eaton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Boy and Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl.  We talked about the lives of children during the Colonial Period.  Life wasn't always easy, lots of work had to be done, and the children worked A LOT!

The girls and boys split up into groups.  They had to draw a colonial boy and girl.  I did ask them to use the book to be as accurate as they could.

It was quite FUNNY to watch how they worked.  The girls seemed to preplan everything and worked together coloring.

Put 10 boys on the floor with a large piece of paper and they were all over the place!  Even though at times it seemed like pure chaos, they got their work done!

Here are the pics!

I had just read Alice the Fairy by David Shannon.  Look closely and it looks like David (if you're familiar with the books) was around during the Colonial Period.  This pictures puts a grin on my face.  I just LOVE kid's artwork!!

Talking Leads

The kiddos worked with talking leads today.  I had examples ready and had the kids try to figure out how the author started.  The kids had to be good detectives as I read each book.  We then worked again on my bear writing and came up with different talking leads I could use.

Students went to their writing notebooks to begin work!  Some kids even managed to write a talking lead with a question!!  I was quite impressed to see what they came up with.  I forgot to take pictures but some examples were....

"Dad, where are we going to get my bb's."
"My sister is watching the fireworks.  We have fun watching the fireworks."
"Have you ever gone to the beach?"

AND...the classes FAVORITE talking lead today was...

"Do you have to go pee?"

A student was writing about hunting and he is always asked that question before they leave.  The kids laughed for quite some time!!

We added them to our Writing Board so kids can visually see the books we used.

November 11, 2011

Thanksgiving Activities

I saw some cute ideas on other blogs for Thanksgiving ideas so I've been creating some!  If you can use them, here they are.  These will be used during Daily 5 this week.

Turkey Numbers
Thanksgiving Ordinal Directions

November 9, 2011

Happy Veteran's Day

Today our kindergartners put on quite the show.  They put together an assembly and invited veterans to come celebrate with us.  Students were able to ask questions to a serviceman in Afghanistan and we sang songs.  A BIG thank you to the kindergartners and teachers for all their hard work.

I've been reading books about veterans and Veteran's Day.  We completed a poster on characteristics of a soldier.  I found this at Life in First Grade.  We came up with soldiers protect us, serve and love our country, are kind, and strong.

I went to take a pic of my class with their flags and our poster when out of NO WHERE Mr. Rand (4th grade teacher) popped into the picture.  Every time I see it I think of the Aflac commercials!!

Make sure you thank a veteran for his/her service!!

November 8, 2011

Main Characters

I thought I'd share our Main Character poster.  The kids have been adding LOTS of Post-Its!

Good Readers Ask Questions

Today's mini lesson was good readers ask questions before, during, and after reading.  I used the book Where's Spot? by Eric Hill.

Here are our questions.

Bad pic I know...not complaining though!  I love seeing the sun.

Reading Strategies

I thought I'd share with you the reading strategies we've been learning.  Here they are:  Eagle Eye (look at the pics), Lips the Fish (get your mouth ready with the first sound), Stretchy Snake (stretch out the entire word), and our new one Chunky Monkey (look for chunks in words).

We practiced with the book, Dan, Dan the Flying Man.  The kids and I looked for chunks and smaller words in words.  They'll be trying to use this new reading strategy during Daily 5.

November 7, 2011

Snapshot Leads

Today the kiddos learned about Snapshot Leads.  I showed them some books that began with a setting lead.  We looked at Meanwhile Back at the Ranch and Something Beautiful.  The kids worked with me on my bear story to see if we could come up with some Snapshot Leads.  They came up with a variety of ways I could start.

Then they went to their seats to begin work.  I put a Post-It on the story they wanted to work with.  Here's there work.

We added the book covers and first page of each book to our writing bulletin board.

I also introduced using pens for writing.  During guided reading groups the kids write in their journals with felt pens.  The first grade team decided to also try using pens during Writer's Workshop.  Today they wrote with black pens.  

We've talked about (just like in guided reading groups) we just make an X if we make a scribbling out of words.   I went around today during conferencing time and used a blue pen to show kids where they needed to fix work (adding capital letters, periods, lowercasing letters, etc).  Eventually they'll use red pen to correct their work.