Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The 100th Day is Coming! The 100th Day is coming!

Hello Everyone!
We are 6 days away from one of our most exciting days...The 100th day of school!! We take that day very seriously! And why not??  To young kiddos, 100 is kind of magical.  We have been counting every day since the first day of school in August. We have some fun things planned for next week, and I know I've shared a lot of what we do already, but I wanted to quickly share my updated unit.  It includes poetry, word work, tons of math, fun activities and a new book idea.  100 Snowmen by Jen Arena has become my new fav. for the 100th day.  It's all about snowmen and math, but the illustrations are a hoot!  I can't wait to share it with my kiddos!! My 100th Day Unit includes some activities to go along with 100 Snowmen.  Here's a sampling from the updated version!!

On another note, my thoughts and prayers go out to all those in the northeast who are having to deal with the crazy blizzards recently! WOW!! I am praying all are safe and are staying warm.  Keep looking up, friends!!!

Thanks for taking a minute to stop by and peek through our little window!! Till next time,
Keep the Joy in your teaching!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Retelling Fiction and Nonfiction

Hello Everyone!
As teachers we should constantly be evolving.  I was reminded of that this week by my teammate.  We were working on our retelling using our story spoons. She mentioned that she included another part to the retelling...the author's purpose.  She, of course, is right.  We had briefly talked about that in the past few weeks, but I did not include that in my retelling charts, posters, or hands on visual tools. Retelling is an important part of detecting comprehension skills in our young readers, and the kids did a great job of including all the necessary parts of retelling a fiction piece, but I needed to revisit my unit to include author's message.  Before I share that, I want to show some quick pics of our work on retelling so far.
We reviewed all the different parts of a fiction story and I introduced the colored symbols we will use to remind us of all the parts. We had kind of a snow theme going on last week, so I used the symbols as buttons on our snowman. 

The kids made their own retelling reminder tools

They worked on writing out their retelling of a fun story, The Biggest Snowman Ever" by Kroll.

Then used their retelling reminders as they read books from their book baskets.
Next week I will have them add an orange button to remind us of telling about the author's message!!
Also next week we will practice retelling nonfiction pieces.  I've had a few e-mails asking if I had anything to share to help kids with that kind of retelling. I finally got busy and put something together!! I am so sorry it took me so long!
We will use the same type of hand to head reminder tool.  For fiction stories we used spoons.  For nonfiction, we will use forks to get to the point!! :)

If you have followed this blog over the last few years, you know I have posted about retelling many times.  I've introduced our retelling ropes with posters, students pages, etc.  I think I am going to like using spoons and forks better.  They are easier for the kids to make, manipulate, and manage. They are easily portable and store well in book baskets. And they are cheap!! 
Evolving, Revolving, and Involving!! My new mantra!!
If this is something you think you can use, or if you think I'm way off base, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment! I promise I read them all even though I don't always reply. 
If you think you want a printable unit on retelling fiction and nonfiction,

The unit (25 pages) includes all the mini posters and directions for the hand to head retelling tools, as well as student retelling pages, poems, and rubrics to "grade" your kids' retellings!! I know I can't wait to see how they do on nonfiction pieces!
Please let me know if you find any typos or other silly mistakes.  Sometimes my ideas are way ahead of my typing!!! 
Have a great week, everyone! Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek through our little window!!
Till next time, 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

MLK, Living and Nonliving, and Writing Expository Text

Hello Everyone!
Friday was one of our favorite days!  We finished up learning about Martin Luther King, Jr., and living and nonliving things. I love the passion the kids have for learning about important people from our nation's history.  Making it relevant to them can sometimes be a challenge. Our class is so diverse as far as ethnicity goes, the kids can't even begin to imagine what life was like in the 60's. For the past 9 or 10 years, I've been able to use this object lesson to bring home the lesson learned through MLK. Get as many different kinds of apples as you can find, or even have kids bring in their favs.  Talk about how different each apple looks in color, shape, size, texture. Then begin slicing the apples in half horizontally. The kids will be amazed at the formation of a star on the inside of each and every one.  Just like people- We all look different on the outside and are beautiful stars on the inside!! I am so thankful these sweet kids really understand and that they are the future!!

Friendship comes in all colors!

Next up was a culminating Sci. Fri lesson on living and nonliving.  Kids had the opportunity to compare a gummy worm, a live earth worm, and a rubber worm. Did you hear them all screaming at the sight of a real earth worm???  They were so engaged!!! You can't teach this with pencil and paper.

Found these at Dollar Tree

Sweet team mate picked these up at WalMart

Proud of all these brave learners!!!

For a printable living vs. nonliving unit,

This coming week we will begin focusing on other important men and women from history, and we will begin writing expository text.  That may sound like a daunting task to ask of first graders, but if you take it step by step and show lots of examples, they can do it!!!

I have posted my "Write to Teach" unit before, but I've gone through and refurbished to break down the steps even further including starting with having the kids write an expository on the person they know best...themselves!! 
We will start the process with a bubble thinking map, move to a rough draft, revise, edit, and publish with lots of guidance along the way.

When the kids are finished they will have a book about themselves!!

I know that I promised you a unit about hot chocolate, and that is still on deck.  I'll post it as soon as it is ready!! Thanks for your patience!!

Till then, thanks for stopping by to take a peek through our little window!! 
We are learning and laughing!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How's My Writing?

Hello Everyone!
I love helping first graders express themselves through writing. For me, the first semester of first grade is all about creating a safe environment for them to feel comfortable putting their thoughts down on paper. We work on all the different ways to incorporate written expression into our day. I just love when one of my little would rather write than do anything else!  
Well we are now all about making our great writing even better...That means editing. I don't know about you, but it has been my experience that kids do not like going back to fix anything in their writing! Does anyone truly love editing?   Hence the challenge, making editing engaging. After researching and trying different things and I think I finally came up with something that the kids can understand, use, and grow.  We  compared different pieces and rated them.  We will use them as rubrics to compare our own writing. We learned about a few first grade friendly editing marks. We modeled editing on an old piece. Then we received out "Editing Super Visors," and special editing pens. I love to have my kids peer edit, so we got with our writing partners right away and picked a piece on which to work our editing magic. TaDah!! Engagement!

Our Editing Super Visors

I did put all these ideas into a  micro unit about editing and rubrics. 

A quick set of printable rubrics with rating numbers

for your own quick print and go micro unit, CLICK HERE!!

Or CLICK HERE for a new and improved version of the unit!!

I hope you can use some of this!! As always, if you see any typos or anything that should be fixed (or edited!! Ha Ha!) please don't hesitate to holler at me!! 
Thanks for stopping by for a peek! Stay tuned for more first grade fun!!