Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mental Images, Poetry, and Spring Chicks

This time of year is where the kids are tired of creative stories or personal narratives, they are ready for MORE!  We have been learning about adding details to your writing because you want to paint a picture or have your readers be able to play your story in their heads like a movie.  So we jumped to the other side.  As readers, we used a poem by Jack Prelutsky called "My Neighbors Dog is Purple".  I read the first part of the poem and had the kids create a picture of what they heard...

Then after they created a picture of a purple dog with LARGE green eyes and a never ending tail, I revealed the rest of the poem to see if their mental images changed.  The next picture is what they came up with.  

That same week I introduced poetry.  It seems to come so easy for kiddos this age and I have to say this group did fantastic!!

I really like the book by Reggie Routman that gives a very simple way to teach poetry.  I have about six days of lessons just from this book and they worked out pretty good. There are other grade levels as well.  I used her one in Kindergarten when I taught as well. 

We started with just reading all kinda of poems.  This book had poems from kids the same age and they were able to relate to some of the topics... "My Little Brother", "My Parents are Divorced", "Baseball", "Skating", and so many others.  After a couple days of reading poetry we brainstormed a list of what they already know about poems.  They knew that a poem could rhyme or not rhyme, they are short or long, it can be about ANYTHING, and they are FUN!  We also made a list that a poem could be about for those kids who needed help with ideas to get started.  Next, we moved onto shared writing and made a class poem about a storm we had just had that morning.  Then, I sent them off to create their own poem.  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!

Fun Friday this past week was a glyph idea I found {on Pinterest... DUH!} about spring chicks.  I don't like to get too much into Easter stuff so these chicks I figured we could keep up longer than something that was Easter related.  In our school we don't keep up seasonal stuff too long after the holiday happened.  These chicks are too cute!

Up next week, FAIRY TALES!!  This is one of my favorite units and I can't wait. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day Activities

I don't know about you all, but I am BEAT!  This past week has been rough.  In year round, we are just about end our third quarter. So I have been plugging away with quarterly assessment, running records {HOLY COW, some of those were hard to get through... I've got all the books memorized}, report cards, and preparing for parent conferences.  On top of all of that, we must make school fun.

When I taught Kindergarten I used to have "Lenny Leprechaun" come visit our classroom.  He was a feisty little guy who liked to mess up our room.  Now that I look back, it was fun, but I'm not into cleaning up my own mess anymore.  In first grade there is not much time for that sort of stuff.  Instead we did a couple other things while still keeping in the spirit on St. Patty's Day.

Our science unit of solids and liquids helps us to explore Oobleck and Dr. Seuss at the same time.  We read his book and made the Oobleck green.  The kids really loved it and I am proud of myself because this year was a lot less messier than past years.  There wasn't any on the carpet this time!  *pats self on back*

In math, we are pulling teeth teaching how to tell time by the hour and half hour.  In order to make it less painful I introduced a basic lesson first.  Most already knew how to tell time and others did not.  We began by making the hands on a clock and then making all the parts and discussing how much time goes by {5 minutes in between each number, the hour hand, and the minute hand}.

I made up a silly story that goes something like this...

“On the way to school this morning, I saw a little green man on the side of the road. He was waving his hand at me and calling “Mrs. Smith... Mrs. Smith, I’ll give you a hand! I’ll give you a hand!” and he gave me these green hands. He told me what to do with them and I told him I would try it. I don’t know how he knew we would be learning how to tell time today. He said that his magic in these hands would help all of you to learn how to tell time. So, this is what he said to do. (Glue the hands up at this time. After gluing them up continue with the story.) What do you think this is supposed to be? A clock, how is this silly clock going to help us tell time? Oh I see! (Continue with the lesson by numbering the hands, etc.)”

Now, I should say that I almost laughed out loud but I held it in... there is a student I have who will tell us right out that she does not believe in Santa OR the Easter Bunny, but she DOES believe in leprechauns.  :)

Here is the clock we made with the hands and the work page they used with it.  I would call out a time and they had to draw the time on their clocks.  They did great too!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Global Awareness Project

I don't know about your classrooms or Social Studies curriculum out there, but ours... is a bit dry.  We use Harcourt Social Studies for our text books.  It's really hard with first grade.  It's reading a lot of text and then comprehension questions at the end.  A lot of my grade level peeps have been searching and making up more "meat" for the Social Studies this year.  We need something else... more hands on!

I then found out that one of my team mates does a global awareness project each year.  It's a simple way for the kids to check out what's going on around them and then come back to class and share.  I liked it a lot, so I am trying it this year.  Each week I chose about four kiddos to share an article they thought was interesting from a newspaper, kids magazine, Internet, or local new broadcast.  They are to find something they think is worthy and put it into their own words to share with the class.  The only thing they are asked to not share are things with violence or politics.  I made one as an example for them and then I made copies of it to send home with the intro letter to parents so they can see how it can be done.  At the end of the presentation, we are going to make a class book out of all of the articles.  This book can be shared from year to year. 

Parent Letter- Download Here

Rubric for Presentation- Download Here

Reminder Letter for the Week Before it is Due- Download Here

Class Sheet for Presentation Dates- Download Here

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dr. Seuss

Our first week back to school has come and gone.  The kiddos enjoyed having mystery readers and also enjoyed creating their own Seussical kind of work.  We made a class book, compared stories and characters with venn diagrams and created a new door.  I love decorating my door this year.  This time it's super cute and I just may leave the stuff hanging until it all falls down.  I really like to display the work done by my class.  I think it gives them a sense of ownership and belonging to our class. 

Our class book was based on Dr Seuss' "There's a Wocket in my Pocket".  Ours was called, "There's a Zass in my Class".  

Chart paper for us to record our thoughts.  The kids brainstormed things in our classroom and then had to match a rhyme. 

Front of the book...

Pages from the class book...
Also using "There's a Wocket in My Pocket", the kids created their own pockets with characters in them.  This was a great idea I found on Pinterest.  Door decorating is right up my alley and we needed a project for fun Friday. 

With the new common core standards coming out, our school district is finally going to make the big change this next school year.  One of the new standards from the reading objectives is: RL.1.9. Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.  We used a venn diagram to compare "Cat in the Hat" and "Cat in the Hat Comes Back". 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm Baaaaack!

So it has been about three weeks since I have posted.  My track out was pretty good and I had family come visit.  The boys and I did some fun stuff and now it's back to the grind.  This week and next I am going to celebrate Dr. Seuss and Read Across America in class since it happened while we were on vaca.  My class is super excited and they all have brought their own books from home as well.  There is a slew of Dr. Seuss books in my classroom as we speak.  I'll be posting later in the week with some of the things we finished but for now here is what we started out with upon returning Monday.

I sent out an e-mail to school adminstration, specialists, and counselors to invite them in as mystery readers.  Each day there will be someone different coming to read a Dr. Seuss book to our class.  The kids squealed when I told them who was coming tomorrow.  "MR. PRINCIPAL... "  {not using real name for privacy purposes as I am sure you guessed already}.  You would have thought a movie star was coming to class... but in their eyes, he is a movie star.  :)  Once all of the school staff has signed up for a time, I then used Sugn Up Genius to invite parents in as well.  {By the way, has really made life easier for me this year}.  After our guests come to read we are going to send them a little note with our class picture.  On the note we put a little diddy from a Mailbox Magazine suggestion I found a few years back. 

Thank you, thank you
For reading to us.
Please read again soon;
It is a must!
You made our class happy.
You made our class glad.
That was one of the best story times
We have ever had!
We LOVE our Dr. Seuss and we're really enjoying books we may not have heard before.  My goal is to have myself or our guest readers share all forty four books before the end of next week.  Do you think we can do it?  {Actually the question is... can I find or access all forty four stories?}