Saturday, March 31, 2012

TerrificTruffula Tufts

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for taking a peek!  We have been having so much fun using the themes of "The Lorax" as springboards for other cutrricular areas.  In math we have been working on composing and decomposing addition facts.  We have been working on the strategy of making groups of 10 to help solve those additon problems.  Using a 10 frame is a way to show kids how to compose and decompose using 10's.  The frams also show kids different ways to solve the same problem. To make the concept clear and multisensory, I decided to find some "Truffula Tree Tufts" to use as manipulatives. Alas! Hobby Lobby had some large bags of bright colored pom poms in all different sizes. They so reminded me of Truffula Tufts and the kids couldn't wait to get their hands on them!!  We practiced using the tufts to show how to decompose (or move) enough of the tufts from one of the addends to help the other addend make 10.  We were then able to compose a new related addition fact.  10 + anything is easier to add!! The kids really got it!!

We finally had the time to make our little Text Connection books I talked about last week.  We, of course, had to use the story "The Lorax." The kids cut out their own hearts in specific colors, and wrote their connection ideas on each color, Yellow= Text to Self, Green= Text to Text,  and Blue= Text to World.  The kids had some great connections. The pics didn't turn out very clear (I so need a new camera) but I hope you can get the point of their connections!

"It reminds me of a book called Grizwald. He had to move because were cutting down the trees."

"I am a Daisy, and it reminds me of the Lorax."

  A final fun craft connection we did to go along with "The Lorax" was of course to make Truffula Trees!  I needed an inexpensive craft connection that the kids could easily make. I decided to have the kids make some tissue paper tufts with striped pipe cleaner trunks.  We took 4 sheets of brightly colored tissue paper (about 8x12) layered evenely.  We then fan folded starting from the short side. We trimmed the ends either round or diagonal, and twisted the pipe cleaner around the center. Now the fun part!  Gently pulling the layers apart!!  This so reminded me of creating hundreds of flowers for parade floats way back in high school!! :)  The kids had a blast making these and wanted to make a whole Truffula Forest!!!

A Truffula Tree Forest!

Thank you, Dr. Seuss, for your inspiration!!
We've had a fantastic week!
Hope your week was just as inspirational!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Froot Loops OO word Work

Hello Everyone!
Just a quick post today.  One of my favorite things to do is to create multisensory word work to help my kids experience everything they can about letters and words.  This week we are working on the short and long sounds of oo. Of course, Froot Loops had to come into the picture!! :) We had a good discussion about the correct spelling of "froot" and why sometimes we see words that are not spelled in the conventional way.  We looked at the words "sooper loopers" as well.  Sometimes people like to have fun with words!!. The kids did a great job of picking out Kellogg's creative spelling!! :)
 I made a quick recording sheet to go along with our word work practice today.  The kids were able to use almost every sense to experience and experiment with words.  They did a great job, and enjoyed munching on the leftovers!!!

For your loopy printable click here! :)

Or click here :)

Have a sweet night!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Retelling Stories

Hello Everyone!
Thanks for stopping by our blog to see what's happening in our first grade classroom!  This week we are working very hard on "retelling"stories we have read. Learning how to retell a story helps our little learners as readers and thinkers. It helps to organize thought, and recognize the thoughts we have during reading.  It helps us recognize when our thinking changes throughout our reading.  Characteristics of good retelling are: using character names, telling about the setting, including the happenings or plot (beginning, middle, and end), discussing the problem the character is having, and describing how the problem was solved. 
Today I introduced our "retelling rope." Each symbol represents the parts of a story.  I have used retelling ropes before, but revamped this with some better visuals. The kids really get it when they can actually manipulate the parts.  This year I wrote a simple poem to go along with our retelling activities. 
We practiced retelling several stories together using the large retelling rope, and then the kids got to make their own mini one to manipulate during their own reading time. After putting these together, some kids chose to work with others to retell a common story (The Lorax has become a favorite for some reason :) !) We also practiced recording our retelling thoughts. We will continue to work hard on this important skill!

When I read a story!

For your printable of these pages plus larger visuals to make your own retelling rope click here! :)

here's the link to the printable with student rope pics! :)

Or click here! :)

I love helping kids improve their retelling skills!!  Don't forget to retell your own stories with your kids!!!

Stop by again soon!!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stop and Smell the Roses...or look at Moths!!

Hello Everyone!
Sometimes we are moving so fast through life, we forget to stop and not only smell the roses, but look at the moths around us!  The other day I found a perfectly formed moth laying dead on the sidewalk leading up to the school. I, of course, picked it up and brought it inside to my classroom.  It was beautiful and I couldn't wait to show the kids!! I knew they would love to look at it and touch it!! I was right!  we immediately had to do some research to figure out what kind it was. After looking for quite some time, we finally found out that it was a Polyphemus Moth. We did some more research and discoved it was a male and that this species only lives a couple of days.  It does not have a mouth, so it doesn't eat. So interesting!! 
The kids recorded their observations by doing some drawings, and some kids even got into labeling the parts of this beautiful creature.  We have a butterfly garden at school, so our next mini field trip will be to go out and look for some eggs!!  I love spontaneous learning!!  Especially when I can learn along with the kids!!
A Found Moth!

Getting a good look!

A Polyphemus Moth

I hope you fit some spontaneous learning into your day!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Author Celebrations

Hello Everyone!
Publishing children's writing is such a validating experience for them!!  Celebrating those publications is just as exciting!!  Today we were able to celebrate the published works of many of our kiddos!  Our school has an in house publishing company.  The volunteer moms and dads put in hours and hours to help as many students as they can go from rough draft to hard cover bound books that become a part of our library. This year our hard working volunteers found a company to bind the books and offer extra copies for parents to purchase. The company did a wonderful job! Check them out!! Most of my class took advantage of this amazing opportunity and this morning we celebrated writing and reading!

These books and many more become a part of our school library until the author leaves the school.

We do a ton of publishing in the classroom as well. Along with the writing conferences, editing, revising and publishing that we do with certain pieces, I also have wonderful parent volunteers come in twice a week to help kids "quick publish" pieces from kiddos' draft books. My first graders write in their draft books every day, and it would not be feasible to formally publish every piece. They pick out their favs and our volunteers help fix up spelling and punctuation. The kids leave each quick session with a mini book and with a sense of authorship!
Here are a couple of pics and my printable note to volunteer publishers.
Writing in draft book

Draft Book Writing
Note for Publishing Volunteers
Publishing Buckets

Published Minibooks

I love working on writing with kids!  I hope they all feel as though they can write anything they want!!

Keep writing along!!