Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Writing to Teach...and Making Connections With Similes!

Hello Everyone!
Happy Spring!!! Some of you are still in the grip of winter with snow and ice!  Here in Texas, the temps are warming up, the trees are budding, and there are flowers everywhere! I am such a warm weather girl, I can't wait to put coats and sweaters away!
Springtime in first grade is just as exciting.   The kids are really becoming independent learners and so into researching things they want to know about.  In writing we are working our way through a writing to teach unit.  Kids love to share what they know.  They are experts at so many things!  Our first chapter book is based on what kids know most about...themselves!!!  We are using most of what Lucy Calkins suggests in her Units of Study. The first chapter books turned out pretty well. Here are a few pages of the published books. The kids were so proud to share them!!!

I have shared the templates and information for this written expression project before, but I have added a couple of things.  Lucy Calkins has a good list of how writers teach their readers.  I added that and a quick poster of the sequence of writing to teach.

If you noticed, one of the "How Can I Teach My Readers" ideas that Lucy suggests is to include comparisons in writing.  I don't know a better way to teach kids about comparisons than to introduce similes!! We have had a blast with that this week! 
I started off with some amazing mentor texts!  My kids can't get enough of these!  
We then brainstormed some of our characteristics!

The kids did their own brainstorming and planning for their own Simile books!

So after they got the hang of similes, we decided to create a visual for some Spring Similes!!

I put together a little simile unit to help guide us through.

The unit is about 20 pages of templates, lists, posters, etc.

I know that my kids will use some similes in their next chapter books!! Sometimes you have to spend a little extra time on something that will help kids make those important connections.  Their writing will benefit from that side trip! 
Well, thanks for making it all the way through this post!! You are as patient as an ant!!! :)  I hope some of this will help you help your kids make connections in their writing!  
Till next time...Have a wonderful rest of the week!!  And for those of you who still haven't seen any signs of spring, I hope they come soon!!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Soaring with Eagles and soon...Leprechauns!

Hello Everyone!
My apologies for not posting for a bit, but spring break is here and I have absolutely been chillin'!  It has been a crazy rainy week and with the hubs working, I have been just been catching up on some reading, cleaning, movies, cleaning, cooking, oh, and more cleaning. Don't feel sorry for me!!! We do have plans to get away this weekend!  So I thought I'd go ahead and share tonight! 
Before break we had our annual Open House!  I posted last time about what our theme was going to be...Bald Eagles!  I can not tell you how much we learned about our National bird!  The kids did a great job of showing off all their knowledge and application to their families!  Here are a couple of pics of finished products.

Life cycle!

If I had eagle wings...

First graders cut out hundreds of their handprints to create this "Handsome" bird!

How does your arm span compare to an eagle's wingspan?

We kept a log of our observations from a live eagle cam!
Throughout the cross curricular unit, the kids kept telling each other things they had learned about eagles, and I couldn't help sharing with them that I was learning right along with them, and loving it!! The kids seemed surprised by that, but I told them that the world is so full of things to learn, and when you are learning, you are growing, and keeping your mind young!! :) They responded with "You must have a really young mind!"
Hahahaha!!! :)  I hope they keep their minds young too!!!

For our Printable Eagle Unit, CLICK HERE!!

If you already have it, please download again, because I have added more fun!  It is 100 pages of math, reading, writing, creating, researching, and more!!!

And now another quick share!  We aren't often in school on St. Patrick's Day because of spring break, but this year we are! I think I've shared this quick little unit before, but I, again, have added more to it, and can't wait to have fun with the kids on Thursday! This unit focuses on the leprechauns and rainbows included in the legends of this fun day.

The unit is 32 pages of math, writing, creating, etc!

Well, that's it for tonight!  So looking forward to the weekend!!! And looking forward to keeping my mind young next week!! 
Have a wonderful weekend!