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!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Projects by Jen 2013

At the end of this week, our first graders will begin the 2013 Holiday Card Project created by educator, Jen Wagner.  You can learn about Jen’s holiday card project here.   
A snip from her Holiday Card Project 2013 Site:
Please consider visiting her site to read about additional ways Jen encourages educators and learners to connect and collaborate with others around the globe.  Link

In addition to the opportunity to connect with other students, this project will allow our students to focus on first grade social studies standards while learning about maps and globes and their symbols.  We’ll also integrate math skills and work on data collection and analysis. 

2012 was the first year our first grade students took part in this engaging project.  You can read about our participation in last year’s project here.
This picture of our bulletin board showed how we tracked our collection of cards last year.  I changed the bulletin board this year and will share pictures in the near future.


Veterans Day

Inspired by stories the students shared about the veterans in their families, we decided to send thank you cards along with the stars.  Although a week late, I hope the ten brave and dearly loved veterans to whom we sent cards, enjoy the heartfelt thank you from this awesome bunch of six and seven year olds. 
A Sampling of the Thank You Stars...

 Our card:


11.18.13 Classroom Newsletter

Differentiated Spelling in our Classroom:
On Mondays, our first grade students take a spelling pre-test to determine the spelling words they will study for the Friday post-test.  List #1 words are grade level words and the list #2 words are above level.  Each week, both spelling lists include six words with a new conventional spelling pattern, two words with the previous spelling pattern and two word wall (irregularly spelled) words.  
Through a variety of hands-on activities, we work on spelling every day in school during our Word Work block.  (Common Core Standards: RF.1.3.g - Recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.  L.1.2.d -Use conventional spelling for words with common spelling patterns and for frequently occurring irregular words.)
Last year, I had a group of super spellers who enjoyed the challenge of working with enrichment words and needed words more challenging than the list #2 words.  Again this year, I have a group who is now ready to take on the challenge of the third spelling list.   I reviewed spelling data from the past few weeks and it makes sense.  Eight students received 100% on the list #2 spelling test last week, and the week before, six students earned 100% on their post tests.
(Although I have 3 lists now, I will not change the format of the pre-test paper. My students' families will choose the appropriate list for their children.)
I also have a few students who are not yet ready to study ten words. For now, those children are working with five words; three with the spelling pattern and two word wall words. 
The Word Wall is not covered during the spelling tests so the children are able to locate and copy the words (another skill!)  This is a picture of the Word Wall in August.  An additional 40+ new first grade words have already been added.
In order to accommodate the third spelling list, I revised the format of the weekly newsletter and homework sheet.