Friday, May 19, 2017

Running the Classroom & Becoming Independent

I have seen so much growth in independence these last few weeks! I have been handing over more and more control to the kids so that they can run the classroom together. Now every morning I choose a different student to be the "morning meeting teacher". They sit in front of the class, read the morning message, call on students to fix mistakes in the message, and read the daily schedule. I have been so impressed with their engagement as they sit and watch their peers. 

Helping each other change the calendar in the morning :) I love their collaboration!!
In math we have been learning about measuring. Today's lesson involved using cubes to measure objects around the room. For those of you who don't know, we use a math card based station system. Students get a math card each week that has 10 stations on it that they must complete in a full week. They get the power to choose what 2 stations they want to do every day. Usually their math textbook station is their least favorite, but today everyone chose to do it and more than a few decided to do it for 2 full stations! I just had to capture their teamwork, collaboration, and excitement. There was so much smiling, laughing, and enjoyment! 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Word Detectives & Haikus

Word Detectives!
This week we earned our word detective badges!! During this new word detective unit our class got secret word detective missions from the Super Secret Detective Agency. Our missions are on the colored poster below. Our 5th and final mission was to practice being a good word detective partner. Helping your partner stop and notice a problem, look closely from start to end, use everything you know to solve it, and do a slow check. Students seemed to LOVE working on these missions--and we finally earned our badges! Students get to wear their badges when they are independent or buddy reading--or as we say "when they're on the job"!

Word Detective Badges
Here are some pictures of students reading and working as an official word detective with their badges!

Writing Haikus
Last week we began exploring poetry! We started off by reading lots of different kinds of poetry books. Students then made their own poetry journals! In those journals we practiced using our 4 senses (not tasting) with 3 different objects: quiet critters, marbles, and play doh. Students felt the objects, made noises with them, and described what they look like. We shared out all of our different adjectives. I decided to begin our poetry journey with haikus which have 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the last line.

Studens have been doing an AMAZING job writing their own haikus! I have seen them writing haikus during choice time, or when they have finished their work! It is awesome to see them so excited about this new concept! Today we took a walk outside to sit in nature and use our 4 senses to come up with new ideas for spring poems. This is what we came up with after sharing out:

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Second Step Recognition Tickets

This will be our first full week using Second Step Recognition Tickets! I am sending home pictures and information about them with the newsletter this week.

During Second Step we have talked about all of these skills and have practiced using them everyday. I figured it was time to start giving students credit who are using these strategies and exhibiting these behaviors everyday. 

Each of these posters have a "recognition ticket" that accompanies it. That ticket acts much like a Catch A Wave or Owl Ticket. When I see a student using a skill or showing the behavior of something on these posters I give them the card that goes along with it. On that card the student writes their name. I check the box for what they are doing, then sign and date it. The student then places their card into the correct basket. 

At the end of each week I will pull a card out of each of the baskets. That student will then get to choose their reward such as: switching chairs with the teacher, prize box, extra computer time, lunch with a friend, etc. At the end of the week students will get to bring their cards home to share with you!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Transportation Unit of Inquiry

Today was a very exciting day in our classroom! We have been learning about transportation through our new unit of inquiry. Today we made a list of places that we need to get to in our community. Then we decided which places we really needed to have. This is the list that we came up with.

Then, we built our community! We used all kinds of materials such as connecting cubes, foam blocks, wooden blocks, tangrams, counters, etc. After we built the buildings we took the string and tried to figure out how to make our roads. What buildings should have a direct route to each other? Do any of the buildings go together? We decided to connect the school and fire station--just in case! We also thought that the airport and the hotel should have a road connecting them because so many people who travel need a place to stay. Big Apple was a popular place--it seems that there is a route to it from all angles! Here is an overview of our community!

 Here are close-ups of each building!
The Ferry

The Big Apple for getting gas

The Fire Station

A Hotel

Spare Time Bowling

Ocean Avenue Elementary School

Portland Jetport
We also had Mrs. Hodgkin's kindergarten class visit. We had the chance to explain what we were building and invite them to help us build too! I only wish that we had built earlier in the week so that we could have had more time. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Writing Book Series, Transportation Unit & Second Step

This week we are beginning so many exciting things in reading, writing, and IB! During reading today we read The Night of the Veggie Monster again to show how we change our voice when there are certain text features. The kids loved reading some parts with me that had extra bold font and all caps. Their goal during independent reading was to find some of these things in their books and then present them to their buddy during buddy reading time. 

In writing today we embarked on a journey of writing book series!! We brought out our Freddy the Frogcaster books and compared how they are similar and different. Students came up with awesome ideas like: 
  • they all have the same main character
  • the books are set during different seasons
  • there are different adventures happening in them
  • the main character is the same age in all of them

I heard from so many of you that your child loves to write their own books at home--so I wanted to include a picture of the anchor chart we are using at school incase they decide to create their own series after school! :)

We also began our new Unit of Inquiry for IB. Our central idea is: Transportation systems affect the ways people live their daily lives. 

We are exploring these questions--but students also come up with LOTS of questions to add to the list throughout the unit:
  • What kinds of transportation is there in Portland?
  • What do people use transportation for?
  • How does where someone lives affect what kind of transportation they use?
Here is our transportation list so far:
We will continue to add to this throughout our unit!
We also added all of our Second Step posters up on our wall. Students have done an amazing job using the STEP systems to solve problems. I am so proud that they are able to use different strategies to calm down on their own. Now we are working on fair ways to play!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The 100th Day of School & Valentine's Day

Today was a CRAZY day in our 1st grade classroom! Since we had 2 snow days this week our 100th day of school ended up being today, and because we had a snow day on Valentine's Day our party also ended up being today.
The kids came in and did their 100th day morning work, picked out new books for the book boxes, and then got to make a 100th day hat! To kick off reading workshop I read 100th Day Worries. During reading workshop there were tons of 100th day books and Valentine's Day books for the kiddos to read.

In writing we wrote about what we would do with $100! The kids had great answers, all from buying toys, to purchasing food, to saving it for college!!

After lunch we handed out valentine's cards and also made our own if we wanted to!

We had a great time handing out valentine's, and reading them!

At math time I put out different materials in groups of 100! 100 cups, 100 bears, 100 pattern blocks, and 100 building blocks. I split the kids up into 5 groups and they had to work together to figure out how to use ALL 100 pieces to build one structure in just 5 minutes!

Here are a few pictures of what the kids came up with! It was so interesting to listen to them come up with plans, problem solve, and help each other out! And believe me--every design has its own story!

This one is a key!

We had so much fun today! I sent every student home with a "100 days smarter" certificate and their weekly newsletter!