Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weather, Writing Partners and Schema (and oh yeah! A little skydiving, too!)

Hello Everyone!
Happy weekend!! And it is a beauty here!! Great weather for some baseball, some yard work, and some skydiving! What?? That's right!  On Saturday, I went with my hubby to watch him take his first jump.  He's been so anxious to skydive with a friend of his. I went along to take pictures!  Well, while we were there, guess who decided to jump as well????!!!  Ding! Ding! Ding! You got it!  ME! It is something I never thought I would ever do.  I am the one who gets queasy just floating on a pool float. But I actually sucked it up and jumped out of a plane at 13,500 feet!  It was simply one of the most amazing things I have ever done in my life! I really can't even believe I did it!!

My husband and son, Toby went as well!  
We are all still kind of on cloud 9!
Toby and I before...

and after!

Very empowering!  I can't wait to do it again! I feel like I can do almost anything!  Even teach first grade!!  :)  

My jump actually came in handy at school because we were talking about wind/air/weather in science. I was able to tell the kids how cold it was way up there, and how it got warmer as we got closer to the ground, and how the wind was helping to guide the canopy all the way down. We ended our unit on weather by making our Flutterflies.  I have posted about these little gems the past couple of years, but here are a couple of pics anyway.  

Cloud shapes are loaded with weather vocabulary and made colorful with rainbow streamers!

They add so much color to the room!

In writers workshop this week, I introduced another writer's tool for the toolbox.  Writing partners.  Lucy Calkins gives lot of suggestions for this.  I put all the kids names on cards with a 1 or a 2. Paired the cards up and set them on the floor.  Kids sat with their new writing partners.  We talked about the rights and responsibilities of writing partners, and the fact that all authors have partners. I shared the mini poster and talked about what the 1 and 2 meant. (taking turns) I showed the kids how a friend helped me with a piece I was writing. Then I sent them off to meet with their new partners.  I loooved how they got busy right away and worked to help each other make their writing even better!!  

Such a precious sight!

Next week in reading we will focus on using our schema to help in comprehension.  Some kids may not have ever heard that word before, or even thought about thinking about their thinking. I love opening that door for them and helping them make connections.  I put together a few little visuals to help me help them.  This little unit introduces kids to what schema is and how good readers activate that schema to help understand their reading.

I will have more info on using schema to make text to self, text to text, and text to world connection a bit later.  For now we will work on realizing that we have, will grow,  and can use our schema!!

Well, have a great rest of the weekend!!! 
Thanks for stopping by for a peek! Don't forget to take a second to leave a comment!  I love hearing from you!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Home Sweet Home - "Human Characteristics of Place"

Hello Everyone!
Another quick share tonight.  Next week we will be studying the differences in homes, food, and activities of humans all around us.  Kids love learning about other cultures. I put together a very tiny unit where kids can be introduced to those differences.  This unit includes a book list, a poem and mini book to make, a research activity, comparison activities, a hands on visual with heart, a word search, abc order, and "think outside the box."  I'm not sure I will get all this in next week, but I will have it handy in case. 

Gotta dash, my bookclub is wondering where I am!! :)
Till next time, have a wonder-filled week!! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Falling For Place Value

Hello Everyone!!
Quick post today! I think fall might actually be in the air...I do see a few leaves falling, even though the temps are not.  Hope it's cooling down a bit for you all. This season is a favorite for so many people and it so inspirational!  We are beginning a two week unit on place value on Monday, so I created a fun little fall inspired unit.  Place value is such an important objective that all kids should grasp as it leads to deeper thinking about numbers and mathematical principles.  Place value is the basis of our entire number system. A place value system is one in which the position of a digit in a number determines its value. In the standard system, called base ten, each place represents ten times the value of the place to its right. You can think of this as making groups of ten of the smaller unit and combining them to make a new unit.Ten ones make up one of the next larger unit, tens. Ten of those units make up one of the next larger unit, hundreds. Of course this pattern continues for greater values (ten hundreds = one thousand, ten thousands = one ten thousand, etc.), and lesser, decimal values (ten tenths = one one, ten hundredths = one tenth, etc.). 
This little unit will help you introduce and practice place value with your youngest learners. Here are a few pics.

The unit ended up to be about 56 pages long.  Most of the tub activities are print and go, except you will need some small leaf shaped table scatters or confetti, some cups, and a fork or spoon.

As always, please let me know if you spot any typos or inconsistencies.  Sometimes I get going on these so fast that I don't always do the best editing!  Thanks, friends!!
I'll be back soon to tell you about last week and about something awesome that this old lady got to do!!
Have a great rest of this fall weekend!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Writing Tools, Uppercase Letters, and Johnny Appleseed

Hello Everyone!
Again, I have to apologize for my delay in posting.   Two more weeks down and we are moving right along, stronger than ever!  I wanted to post a little bit about how my writer's workshop is going.  I must say that I am not doing things in the order that Lucy Calkins suggests in her new series for first grade, but she really does make the suggestion to use her units as guidelines.  The kids and I have loved having a Writer's Toolbox and also a Workshop.  I've posted about these already, but I want to share a couple of new things that we've put into our tool boxes.
I found a cute little play tool box at Target the other day and whenever we have something to add to our writer's toolbox, I put a little clue in it for the kids to guess. 

We have added a few things to our Writer's Tool Box.

And the kids are rockin' the workshop!!

All these printables are available in my Writer's Workshop unit

Last week we worked hard on making sure our stories came from a small moment in our lives.
We call them our "pea" stories.

After reading Night of the Veggie Monster, and showing what the difference is between a pod story and a pea story, we of course had to check out some peas for ourselves! And then write our own pea stories!
(All but one little one wanted to try the peas!!-eating them, that is!) 

We also worked on when to use capital and lowercase letters! 
We made caps to remind us that caps go on the beginning of a sentence, names, and I.

 I can't wait for writing every single day.  Lucy Calkins has inspired me to be an inspiration to my students!!  Thank you Lucy!!

Next week, with all of the testing we have going on, IStation, DRA, Spelling Inventories, Writing Samples, Accelerated Math Inventories, we will be having fun reviewing a lot of what we have done so far and enjoying some Johnny Appleseed.  I have shared my Johnny Appleseed unit before, but I have beefed it up and decided to cover via review most of what we have worked on already.  Take a quick peek!

Well, thanks for hanging on to the end of this post. I know it was long, but I hope it was worth it!!   I love sharing what has worked for me in my classroom, and love giving anyone and everyone the chance to try some of these crazy ideas too! I get so many e-mails from new teachers, new to first grade teachers, home school teachers, parents, and teachers who just need some fresh ideas.  It is my absolute pleasure to help out. In fact, you all inspire me to keep this little blog going.  I guess I kind of think of firstgradewow as being similar to a food or style blog in that they give away recipes and tips for free. Why not give teaching ideas away for free? It's all for the kids!!!  Right??
Anyway, thanks for taking a peek through this little first grade window.  Hope you come back soon!
I love you all!