Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa, Songs and Poetry

Acrostic poems provide a nice introduction to poetry writing.  Because the children are passionate about the upcoming holiday season, choosing the right words for
H O L I D A Y  should be a task for which most children feel comfortable and confident. 
We'll add the acrostic poems to the children's song/poetry binders, along with two holiday songs.


 (I combined the SANTA song with Frosty and the Holiday Acrostic.)

Link for these pages

clipart: @djinkers


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

He's BACK!!!
Yes, the Grinch is making an appearance in our first grade classrooms again this year! I don't know about you, but I can't imagine a holiday season without the Grinch...
Last year, I blogged about the special writings created by my first graders, who opened their big hearts and wrote about ways to take the grumpy out of Grinch. This year's group has asked to watch the movie in class. While we won't make time for the movie, the Grinch will be part of the reading and writing curriculums.
"And then he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store.
"Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" ~ Dr. Seuss
This year, we’ll focus on the above quote from the book for a personal narrative writing.  Our year-end goal in first grade is for the children to include four parts in their narrative writing: character, setting, events (sequenced in logical order), and personal reactions. 
As personal narratives begin with “small moments” (from Small Moments: Personal Narrative Writing by Lucy Calkins and Abby Oxenhorn), the children will begin this writing by capturing a memory, a time in their lives when someone did something kind for them.  They’ll use that moment in their lives and make it into a story.
I’ll use parts of this rubric to evaluate the student’s progress.  (Rubric model from Lucy Calkins and colleagues)
I made changes to the Grinch activities this year.  I found Doctor Soos Bold font somewhere along the line (love, love!), and rather than color, (not sure what I was thinking last year) I used black for all text, clip art, and borders, with the exception of the poster page. 

 Writing Page 2



Sunday, December 1, 2013

If You Take a Mouse to the Movies


With our Holiday Break just around the corner, we will be busy the next two weeks with many exciting projects.  We're starting off our holiday season with If You Take a Mouse to the Movies. This is always a fun learning experience for the children! 
I uploaded my revised "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies" activities, a six-page document (extra page for story writing). 
Link to download or view.

I used a clip art image from as a model to create parts of this mouse (not perfect!).  Our first grade team copies the mouse onto construction paper.

This is a picture of our hallway display from last year.

This group (from last year) added hats and other seasonal detail to their projects.  They were a very creative, talented class!

12 - 2 - 13 Classroom Newsletter

To Download or View the 12 - 12 - 13 Newsletter, Click Here

I take pictures in my classroom all the time, and find I don't share the pictures as often as I'd like to, so I uploaded a lot of pictures of my students for this post too!  These children are just wonderful. 
Enjoy.  :)
In this picture, the students are making connections while listening to a story that I read-aloud.  They show they're making a connection by connecting their pointer fingers.

The next few pictures show the children working with a partner for a math addition and subtraction activity.
 They used tools - the number line and connecting cubes for this game.

I took these pictures while the children worked together on a Thanksgiving Word Work Activity:
The objective was to arrange the letters in 'Happy Thanksgiving' to make words.  The children worked independently at first, and then worked with a partner to provide feedback and support to one another.

Link to Download or View Thanksgiving Making Words Activity
I love this multi-level activity because the children feel successful working at their own levels.

These two pictures show table groups eating lunch in the classroom.  The children work together at their table groups to earn "Table Tallies".  They earn tallies for making smooth transitions during changes in activities and while working together on group activities.  When a table group earns 20 tallies, we eat lunch together in the classroom.

The last picture shows the children moving during a "brain break" activity. 
We make time for brain breaks several times each day.  During the morning break, the junior teacher chooses the activity.  Most mornings, the junior teacher chooses to dance and we usually follow along via YouTube to a Just Dance Kids song.  (You have to preview the videos first because many have a 15-second commercial that precedes the song.)  Most songs are two to three minutes in duration.   You can't tell by this picture, but the songs provide opportunities for lots of movement! 

Some children are a little uncomfortable with the dance moves, but they stay active by moving about in the classroom during the break.
I still have dozens of pictures in my iPhone, and will share more in the future.  :) 
We have just 15 days of school before the winter break.  This school year is moving along way too quickly...


Tuesday, November 26, 2013


  It's been a joy sharing the pre-Thanksgiving holiday with my first grade class. Their hearts are filled with gratitude for their parents, siblings and grandparents. They love friends, cousins, and pets and can’t wait to spend a few extra days with the ones they love.
We read a lot of holiday-themed books throughout the month, including Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano and Dav Pilkey's, 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.  Working on comprehension skills, we focused on character traits, setting and sequencing story events.  The children also decorated handprint turkeys and made cards for their families. 

The old lady writing project was interesting and fun. The children worked on narrative writing skills as they wrote their own versions to go along with the story, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie, by Alison Jackson.



 Link for If I were an old lady on Thanksgiving Day writing









I Know an Old Lady Poster Link

  We kept the Thanksgiving theme going with a little movement and singing, and added three poems and songs in the poetry/song binders.
Thanksgiving Day Thanks Song Link
Turkey Dinner Song Link
The Dinosaur Dinner Poem Link

I hope your month was filled with enjoyable learning experiences as well.
Happy Thanksgiving!