Sunday, October 19, 2014

1st Grade News!

Link for this poem ~ The Month is October
I'm sad to see this month passing by so quickly.  The month of October presents so many wonderful learning opportunities.  I'm feeling like I could use a few more weeks before November is upon us...

Link for this week's 1st Grade News

Saturday, October 18, 2014


If you fell in love with Stellaluna, you’re sure to enjoy Chiro, the endearing, little bat in Ari Berk’s picture book, Nightsong.

I used this book as a mentor text for writer's workshop and our ongoing study of reading like a writer.  We’re pairing quality children’s literature with the Six-Trait© Writing framework to guide the process of learning the craft of good writing. 

The Six-Trait© traits are:  
1.) Ideas
2.) Organization
3.) Voice
4.) Word Choice
5.) Sentence Fluency
6.) Conventions
Because 'writing ideas' was the first craft I identified during guided writing, all lessons and activities targeted the writer’s (author's) purpose, audience and content.  Since the beginning of the school year, we have read a variety of text to draw students’ attention to this trait.  I’m sharing a few writing samples from lessons in which Zoobooks Bats was the mentor text.  Little by little, children are learning to incorporate the skills during independent writing.


Book Cover

Student Text Page:
"Bats are brown and orange.  Bats can carry their babies as they fly! 
What else can bats do?  I didn't know a bat could do that!

Student Text Page:
"Bats are mammals.  They are not birds.  They have white and brown bodies. 
They have orange.  They sleep in the day.  They fly in the night.  They use echolocation."
Student Text Page:
"Bats can see in the dark.  Bats are all about in the dark."

Student Text Page:
"Bats have echolocation."
We added three bat poems to the children's poetry/song binders:
 Link for Bats

 Link for Little Bat
We shared the pen and experimented with poetry. 
My little first grade friends did an outstanding job with their first poem!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Spookley, the Square Pumpkin

We’ve been talking about text connections since the beginning of the year and how connections help improve your understanding of a story.  Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a great resource for teaching text-to-self connections.  Our discussions focused on making connections to a time when something similar happened or when we had similar feelings as Spookley.

We made time later that day for a related art project.  These kiddos have very creative minds and appreciate the opportunity to put their talents to work.

The children chose a color (six choices) and used a sponge painting technique to create the background color for their pumpkin.

Once the paint dried, the kiddos cut out their shapes.  We didn't use templates; most children were able to cut shapes with little or no help from me.  They used scraps from our scrap paper box to add colorful detail.  That was my favorite part of this project!  I love seeing their personalities shine in their work.  

We are working on writing conventions (as we will all year - smile) so we added  descriptive sentences to the Spookley inspired pumpkins.

After I hung the pumpkins in the hallway, I realized the bulletin board needed a topper so I created this.  I'm uploading the pdf version of the document here.  I glued the letters to colored construction paper. 


Room on the Broom

There are so many wonderful books to incorporate into our reading and writing skills in the month of October.   
Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson is a gem with learning opportunities galore.  With this book, we worked on identifying rhyming words (dog, frog; cloak, croak; pond, wand, etc.) and nouns (forest, pond, frog, bird, dog, witch, nest, wand, bow, etc.)  We also focused on comprehension skills.  Since we’ve been working a lot on retelling stories, we used the characters to sequence the story events. 
We shared the writing pen and created an additional story event.  I uploaded the pages and hope you enjoy our story as much as we enjoyed writing it!

(A pic of our little bulletin board that's hanging in the hallway)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1st Grade News

We've had just 31 days of school, and this group already earned an extra recess for their behavior.  Woo-hoo! 
Our school is committed to establishing and teaching rules and routines at the beginning of the school year to set the children up for success right away.  One part of our PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) program is  rewarding classrooms for appropriate behavior in the cafeteria.  Students work together on the following skills while eating:  talking quietly, sitting properly, displaying manners, and cleaning up after themselves.  Classes who work as a group and successfully demonstrate these skills earn a "Golden Spatula" to display in their classrooms and are recognized on the announcements at the end of the day.
In our classroom, we use a tally chart to keep track of days the children earn the "Golden Spatula" award.  When the children earn ten tally marks, they earn an extra recess with me.  This group earned their first extra recess last week and we spent 15 glorious minutes of free time on our beautiful playground. 
 Acting silly!

 Even though it' a short week for us (NEOEA Day on Friday), we have a lot of great activities planned for this week!
Link for the October 13, 2014 Newsletter
Happy learning, all.  Enjoy your week!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1st Grade News

Link for this week's newsletter
 IPADS were added to the literacy centers last week and I'm so proud of this group for how they handle the IPADS with care and respect. 

The children's names are displayed on numbered center group cards alongside  the visual display of their center rotation. 

We have six students in three of the reading groups and four in the fourth group. This is a picture of the fourth group working diligently on Rocket Speller, Endless ABC or Magnetic ABC. 

Each week, the three differentiated spelling lists are displayed in a pocket chart. The display allows the children to work with words at their developmental level during the IPAD center.  

I'm in the process of registering the children on RAZ - Kids.   The kiddos will be able to access reading material appropriate to their reading level during the read to self center 

Rocket Speller

Endless ABC

So intense...

Happy learning!