Monday, September 25, 2017

Reading, Writing, Second Step & Family

Hello Families!

We have been up to a lot in first grade since the beginning of the year! We are adding SO many new and awesome tools to our tool boxes. 


In reading we have learned to build good reading habits. We fill our book boxes with new books every Monday and empty them on Fridays. 

Every time we start independent reading students make a pile with their books. They decide which one they are excited to read first, what they might read next, and so on. This helps us get organized so that once we begin reading we don't have to think about what book to grab next. After putting them in a pile they take the one from the top and do a sneak peek! This means they look at the front cover, back cover, and even the first page before the book begins and start to notice who the characters are, and what might happen in the story. This is the time to make predictions. As they read they check their sneak peek to see if what they thought would happen actually did. 

At the end of the story students have to do SOMETHING at the end. This helps us reflect and process what happened. They can either: reread a favorite part, reread the entire book, think back over the parts, or retell it to themselves/partner.

There are many other good habits to practice on that first anchor chart I posted. These good habits are also important during buddy reading.

In writing we have been practicing writing a "small moment story" or a "seed story".

We have talked about how you can start with a big watermelon story such as going on a vacation to see you grandparents and then breaking it down into all of the small seed stories inside. This could be going out to dinner one night with them, playing a fun game with your grandparents, or remembering a story they read to you before bed. There are TONS of seed stories inside a watermelon story!

This is the writing process we got through: think of an idea (seed story), plan it out by touching the page with your finger and reading what you may put there before even picking up your pencil, then writing and lastly illustrating. "When you think you're done you've just begun" we like to say :) So when students say that they are finished with a story we like to go to the revising part. We think about if we have everyone who was there included, the setting, the time, etc. in our story.

We have also practiced a few strategies for different ways to spell words. 

Second Step
In second step we have learned a lot about listening rules and focusing to learn. This is called "The Learner Song". We have hand movements that go along with the words as well! Students have been doing an amazing job singing and doing the hand movements. You can listen to the song in the link below...the song starts 12 seconds in.

Families (IB)

We have been talking a lot about families and what makes them the same or different. Students came up with this amazing chart about what is a family all on their own!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A New School Year! 2017-2018

Welcome to our classroom blog!! I am so excited to share with you all that we are learning in 1st grade this year. This blog shows pictures of the classroom, anchor charts, what our calendar looks like, and so much more. I hope to post weekly to show things we are learning and fun things we have done. 

Here are the classroom rules that we came up with as a class! They guided the entire process and came up with amazing ideas!

We have also talked about how to recognize how we're feeling. At OAES we use the Zones of Regulation. Different zones show different emotions. We talked about different ways to get back to green zones from other zones. 

One of the ways to calm down in our classroom when someone is very frustrated, mad, or upset, is to go to our "calm down" space. In this space there are feeling cards that help recognize how we're feeling, and strategies to calm down. In the basket there are different tools to help such as play doh, a squishy stress ball, crayons to color, and a stuffed animal to give some comfort.

Not only do we practice using strategies to regulate our feelings but we also learn how to avoid getting very upset, frustrated, mad, or sad by solving problems. To do this we use a curriculum called "Second Step". We do Second Step every morning. This program has videos, posters, puppets, and stories to learn about different situations children may find themselves in. Whether it be getting in a fight with a friend during a game, learning to be patient while waiting in line, or learning how to be focused during class, Second Step teaches us lots of strategies! Here are Puppy and Snail who are Second Step puppets helping us learn all about solving problems. We also learned our listening rules for the carpet: voice quiet, body still, eyes watching, and ears listening.

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!