Sunday, February 22, 2015

Read Across America

We're getting ready for Read Across America in another week and I'm starting to line up my activities some will be a repeat and others will be new to us. My team wants to do a Dr. Seuss theme for Open House this year, so we'll be starting to plan out our projects so that we're ready in a month.
We have a schedule that we're sending home to have a theme for each day. Monday, we will be having parent readers come in and read with the children. Thursday we're doing a Readers' Theater with both first and second grade. The rest of the days is pretty much up to each teacher.
I just love this hat. I posted this before and you can grab the "Thing 1" button on last year's post.
Check this blog post from last year for some ideas and a freebie.
I'm also going to be doing this It's a Math Thing powerpoint slide show. We did a few of these before and it's so awesome to see the progress they have made when locating the numbers from 1 - 120.

Try this fun activity at my TpT store.
I'm also passing out these cute bookmarks to the kids. They are always asking for the bookmarks in the library and there never seems like there's enough, so I always have to tell them "no". Now they'll each have one to use during their Daily 5, Read to Self time. If you want to use them with your class, please feel free to grab yourself a copy. Enjoy!
These fun bookmarks you can download HERE.
Below is an example of the week's schedule. We'll be sending this home as an easy reminder to the parents. I chose a book for each day of the week.
I've also just released a new, fun product that is super easy for the teacher. Just print and GO! It's called "Build a Puzzle and Write". Choose a puzzle to fit the holiday, the season, or a puzzle just because. All the puzzles are nine pieces. They came in two options. One has a small picture of the puzzle for the kids to refer to. The other has smaller lines to write and no picture. 
You can really use these in so many ways. I've been doing them as a whole class activity, but you can easily use it in a small group. It's also a great way to get them writing a "Super Sentence" with lots of detail.

The picture above shows the freebie available in my store. I thought the topic would be a great activity for Read Across America Week. I hope you enjoy!
Check out these fun activities at my TpT store.
This freebie is available HERE for you to use with your students.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Writing Station and Touch Points

Where has the time gone? We are already well into the second half of the year and it is flying by. This past week we were busy, busy, busy.
I read this adorable book by Maureen Wright, "Grumpy Groundhog". It was perfect to talk at about lots of different shadow shapes, because we were about to go outside and trace each others' shadows. We turned it into a science lesson that worked well with us wrapping up our unit on shadow. We made a hypothesis (a very smart guess), then we traced our shadows at three different times of the day. They loved seeing how their shadow moved each time they went out. If your were to do this easy experiment, make sure they first trace each others' shoes then stand in them each time they go out to trace their shadow. I had a few making all new shadows in another area, then they weren't able to compare the first to the second. All you need is some sidewalk chalk. Easy and fun!

 Many of my student still depend on their touch points to help them with their addition facts. It's wonderful to see many though are using them less and less as they commit the facts to memory. I just introduced touch points to a new student, so I have him starting out just learning the points and their placement. I tell him, "Practice makes better." Sure enough he's getting better. I love to see the growth in first grade. It's one of the reasons I love this grade. 

This is one of my touch point options, click HERE

I'm continuing to work on our Writing Station. During our Daily 5 rotations, I make them choose Work on Writing at least once. They have a lot of options to choose from and they are becoming more familiar with each type of writing as time goes on. See my other blog post for pics of the anchor papers for each month. They are always changing up, so it keeps them interested. What I was noticing though is that the kids were choosing the same options time and and notes. I thought maybe they didn't know how to do the other options. Now at the beginning of the first Daily 5 rotation, I do a sample writing. I've done the book review of Crankenstein, a book we had just finished reading. I've done on interview with Frosty the Snowman and last week I interviewed the Tooth Fairy (this is a great one for practicing writing question). Sure enough each time I introduced a new type, the kids would try it out in their rotation. Jokes is a new favorite. Most don't know any by heart, but that doesn't stop them from making up something silly. I tell them to ask their parent at home and come back so they can write it down the next day.

We also have up the Magnetic Word Wall. I'm in love with this, but I need to bring it into the classroom. I give clues at carpet time to see if they can find the mystery word. They can use them for Word Work. During our structured writing time I let them search for adjectives that fit our writing. In the beginning I was changing the words each month to match the holidays, seasons, and themes. Now I'm having the kids collect the Martin Luther King words, winter words, etc. Then they place the new words up in the appropriate box. It has saved me time and has been a great activity for them. This has made them more familiar with the words and return they are using it much more independently.

If you want to check out this writing option, click HERE

Since my focus has been on writing, I made this poster and used it on my door display. I tell the kids just like reading, the only way to get better at writing is to WRITE. 

You grab this freebie poster HERE