Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank you to Caleb's mom for making the adorable Sleepover Cake for all of the teachers to enjoy!

Our Sleepover Day

Enjoy the slideshow of pictures from our fabulous Sleepover Day! A big thanks to Charlotte's Dad for sharing these pictures with us!

A Surprise Lesson

One of the interesting things that came from our Sleepover Unit was a little lesson on sewing. Students were asked to make a pillow in the shape of a moon, planet, or star for homework. There is always one or two students who cannot afford to do these "extra" projects. A big thanks to our friends who sent in extra pillows for these students to use during Sleepover. Mrs. Alvarado brought in her sewing machine to show all of the students how the sewing machine works. Mrs. Cordoza worked with several students and let them "make" the pillows. Miss Donofrio also received her first sewing lesson and she did GREAT!

First Grade Sleepover Family Night

Family Night was a huge success, despite the cold weather. Students and parents were invited to the classroom at night to enjoy some star-gazing (through high-tech telescopes), space movie (The Magic School Bus Lost in Space), and some space snacks (Moon Pies, Cosmic Brownies, and Star Crunches). We had a great time! Nobody wanted to leave after the movie ended, so we turned it into a dance party and even invited the parents to dance too! Thanks to all of the parents and students who were able to attend!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Report Writing

Our friends could've fooled us the past few days--they are writing like second graders! We've been exploring nonfiction books and now it was time to understand how to gather facts from nonfiction books so they could write their very own 'All About' reports. We've had some really deep discussions this week and one of the most important things we learned is that it is never okay to copy words exactly as they are in the book, use those words in our writing and say that we are the author of the book. Our friends had no problem understanding that this would be stealing an author's work.
Friends decided if they are going to borrow facts from books, then they had to summarize or 're word' the facts that they are interested in including in their reports. Many friends were also able to use different pictures and conventions shown in their books to develop their own facts to include in their reports. They used headings to separate the different ideas among the facts in their books and will complete a table of contents when they are finished drawing their conventions. We are super proud of their awesome effort and can't believe we are halfway through First Grade!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Partner Reading - Conventions

Partner Reading is a great tool that we love to use in our classroom. In this case, during Readers Workshop, we gave friends some time to read their Nonfiction books with their assigned partner. Each pair was asked to explore the different conventions in their books and discuss what facts they learn just by browsing through the conventions. Conventions are the elements of a Nonfiction book that help to clarify and organize the facts in the book. The table of contents, labels, captions, headings, close-ups, charts, comparisons, photos, maps, types of print, cutaways, a glossary and an index are the many pieces of Nonfiction books that we have been studying.

Partner Reading is a great tool because we use it to hold students accountable. For closing, we do not ask a student what they shared with their partner, but we ask them one fact their partner shared with them. They are great at sharing their own findings, but the goal is for them to be listening to one another. They are accountable for what they discuss. Our friends did a great job and really love searching for and learning from conventions.

This is a chart each table in our classroom has to help them name the conventions during Readers Workshop. They also use this for the books they create during Writers Workshop.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Math Choice Time

Our friends worked very hard on their Math Diagnostic throughout the week. We decided that they deserved some 'Choice Time.' This is where friends have the ability to choose from different math games or worksheets that we have completed throughout the school year. We made sure to review the instructions for each game/worksheet and allowed friends to choose a partner (if necessary) and a game/worksheet they would like to. It was awesome to see how much they love to learn! Take a glimpse at some of the games/worksheets our friends chose:

100 Chart Missing Numbers: One partner covers up 5 numbers, the other has to name the numbers covered by describing them. For example, I know this number is 36 because it is one more than 35 and one less than 37. Once finished, the other partner will take their turn.

Pattern Blocks Count: We did many different activities with pattern blocks this year. Some friends chose to create their own designs when given a set number of pattern blocks to work with. For their design, they had to fill in how many of each shape they decided to use and make sure that they did not go over the set amount. This shows that friends know their shapes and how they are related to one another. This is an activity that friends can do individually.

Head and Tails: Heads and Tails is a great game to work on combinations of numbers (ex., 5+5=10, 6+4=10). Friends work with a partner and could use up to 10 pennies. Once they decide their amount, they record that number on the top of their sheet. Then, they drop their pennies on the table and count how many heads and tails. They make sure that the numbers they have recorded equal the total amount listed on the top. Eventually, friends become much quicker at their combinations and do not have to count each penny individually.

Double Compare: Friends work with a partner and compare their number cards. Again, this is a great game for getting those combinations quickly. Friends split the deck in half and turn over two cards at a time. They must add their pair of cards together and decide who has more. They can either count the pictures on the cards, put the bigger number in their head first and count up, or they will just quickly know the combination from practice. Whoever has the larger combination gets all four cards. If it is a tie, then each partner draws a third card and winner takes all six.

Welcome Back!! :)

We were sooo glad to have our friends back after Winter Break. They worked incredibly hard their first week back. We had a lot of diagnostic and state testing to do and our friends proved that they are almost Second Graders! We are halfway through the school year and couldn't be more proud of the BEST First Grade class at Chets Creek!