February 27, 2016

March: In Like a Lion, and Goes Out Like a Lamb

I was looking to add some new art outside our classroom and with March right around the corner we discussed, "In like a lion, and out like a lamb."

I thought EVERYONE would want to make a lion but boy was I wrong!

I gave a quick lesson on how to draw the face of each animal and how to finish them up. We used pastels for coloring.  For the mane, I bought scrapbook paper.

For the lamb, we used cotton balls and a shaving cream/glue mixture.

Noun Town

Last week we learned about nouns.  Students went on a noun hunt around school and then created Noun Town.

Click to Enlarge

February 24, 2016

Going Places

This week I read, Going Places, and students responded in their Reader's Notebooks.  Once the Chickadee nominated books are read, students will vote on their favorite!

I had no mini lesson prepared, teaching points, and the kids didn't blurt out during the entire read aloud.  Instead, the book played out like a movie and then the kids wrote anything they wanted to share.

Here are some of their responses.

February 22, 2016

Newsletter for the Week of Feb. 22nd

We're also beginning our Space Race today!!  Students are starting at Pluto with their rocket ships.  In order to move to the next planet they must read 3 books.  It could be a reading group book, a book from home, or a chapter.  You can also read to your child.  It doesn't have to be a planet book.

February 13, 2016

Designing and Building Animal Beds

On Friday, students began building their animal beds.  After reading a variety of books on animal homes, students designed a bed.  The animals were narrowed down to hamster, bear, snake, or bird.

After picking their animal they made their design and listed materials they'd need.

Today was the perfect day to let them have a go at it.  With vacation break just hours away this kept them engaged and focused.

I gave them little direction on how to make each bed.  I told them they needed to follow their design and add the materials they needed to create the best bed for their animal.

Here's there work!!


After break students will be reflecting on their designs.  They'll work in groups, discussing improvements they can make, and share how that improvement will better their bed.

I've also included these worksheets at my TpT Store for FREE (Designing and Building Animal Beds FREEBIE).

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!!

February 9, 2016

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

I always love doing this lesson with my students.  Even though it's messy and takes time the kids absolutely love it!

We first write the steps on "How to Build a Snowman."  Once completed I tell them I have a recipe they're going to follow to make their very own.

First, we read through my steps.  Then I reread them and the students used a highlighter to highlight the sequencing words.

Working in groups, students followed my directions.  Mixing powdered soap, adding water SLOWLY, and stirring until they got a doughy consistency.    Finally, they each made a snowman and decorated them once dry.

Here they are.

Designing an Animal Bed

Part of our new science curriculum has students designing and building.  We've been trying out some units and gathering materials.

One unit we've been trying out is learning about different types of animal beds.  Our focus is animals during winter and what they need in order to survive.

I read the book below.

Our animal list was narrowed down to hamster, snake, bear, and bird. Students first made a bulleted list of what each animal might need.  

Then they chose the animal they were most interested in and wanted to design a bed for.  They created their plan and listed materials they'd need.

We'll be going out on the bike path to collect items.  They'll create their animal home, write what worked, make improvements, and reflect on how it was the best bed.  

I'll be adding these sheets as a FREEBIE to my TpT Store once they're all created.

Stop Talking During a Read Aloud

Pretty catchy title right?

Some colleagues went to a workshop with Lester Laminack and it sounds like I need to hear him speak too!

He said that teachers tend to have lessons ready, points to make, and reading strategies to teach while doing read alouds.  Instead of letting the book play out like a movie, we stop and teach the points we feel we need to teach.

Instead, he said teachers should just read the book from start to finish without any interruptions.  Then let kids share what they're itching to tell about the book.

So, I've been doing this with my class about once a week.  Before beginning, I let the class know that I'll read the book from start to finish without stopping or making a teaching point.  They also have to do the same.  No blurting out, just keep your ideas spinning around in your head.

At the end of the read aloud, they open up their Reader's Notebooks and write anything they want.  It can be a connection, an I wonder, inference, favorite part, or something about the illustrations.

I read Children Make Terrible Pets.  I knew I'd get a reaction from them and they'd have plenty to write about.

Let me say, this is quite a new adjustment for me.  To NOT talk at all through a read aloud is a very daunting task but with each one it has become easier.

Here are some of their responses.

I mean, look what they came up with!!  We went around the room, shared, and answered each other's questions.  It was SIMPLY amazing.

I say, give it a try and see what happens in your class!!

100th Day Celebration

Here are some pics from our 100th Day celebration.

Students rotated to each first grade classroom.  They decorated a cupcake with 100 sprinkles, worked on 100 piece puzzles, made hats, sunglasses, and a portrait of what they'd look like when they're 100!

February 5, 2016

Happy 100th Day

Happy 100th Day from the finest first grade teachers I know!!

First Grade Lyons's Den