Friday, December 16, 2011

Falling Behind

We've been super busy in room 507 and we are way behind on sharing what we've been up to lately!  Before the Thanksgiving Holiday, our students took a closer look at life for a Native American and Pilgrim child.  We read two great Scholastic News for Kids articles and followed it up with a graphic organizer.  I wish I snapped a picture of one to share!  They had to compare and contrast what Native American and Pilgrim children wore, what they ate, what chores they completed, and what they did for fun.  They also had a column to fill out including information about themselves!  To wrap up the three day week, our students completed these:
  The students began with the prompt, "If I were a Pilgrim/Native American girl/boy I would..." I was really happy with how they turned out!!!  Here are some of my favorites:
The students really had a great time working on these and I couldn't believe how much they remembered!!!

During the week we also read, "The Thanksgiving Story Bracelet," which was found on Pinterest.  After reading the poem, the students had to make their bracelets by sequencing the story.  Then they took turns retelling the story to their "shoulder partner" (Kagan Structure) using the beads on their bracelet to prompt them.    

In science, we took a closer look at how the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to grow corn successfully using fish for fertilizer.  The timing couldn't have been better because we had just wrapped up our unit on soils!  To make it fun, each student received a chocolate jello pudding (as the soil).  They then placed a corn seed (one candy corn) into the "soil".  Next they fertilized it with fish (Swedish Fish).  Then they covered it with dirt (crunched up Oreos)!  To check for understanding, students had to complete a sheet that went along with the activity and our soil unit.  

The last day the students had the choice to be either a Pilgrim girl/boy or a Native American boy/girl.  Each choice accompanied a different craft that would be worn for the reader's theater play we'd been practicing about the first Thanksgiving.
I am so thankful for our 18 wonderful students!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Tree Ornaments

Last week, Cole got a last-minute request to provide some literacy-based ornaments to be used on some Christmas trees at the Governor's Mansion for the holidays. The trees will be part of the official Holiday Tour. The ornaments turned out so cute!

Mrs. Knowles' class read The Night Before Christmas. They drew some great illustrations and added quotes from the book to their ornaments.

I do believe that's a pretty amazing illustration!

Mrs. Kaeser's class did the book The Rainbow Fish.
They made rainbow fish with sequins and cd's!

They turned out great!

Mrs. Bozeman's class did the book Where's Waldo?

They added their own names to the title and drew miniature versions of themselves and dropped them into the ornaments with some streamers.

See the little person inside?

Ms. Ridings' class read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. They made little palm trees with letter beads.

And, Mrs. Irvine's class did The Very Hungry Caterpillar. They made little fingerprint caterpillars onto glass ornaments stuffed to look like apples.

Mrs. Haslam loved the ornaments and a few of them could even be seen on Talk of the Town this morning when she gave a tour of the holiday decorations for the show! So exciting!

So, a very special THANK YOU to all the teachers and students who worked so hard to get these done in such short notice!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hooked on Anchor Charts

As we wrap up the eighth week of school, I feel like we have anchor charts coming out of our ears.  However, I can't imagine teaching without them!  Here are just a few of our charts that we've generated with our students!
In the beginning of the year, we created a lot of charts about what classroom procedures should "look like, sound like, and feel like." 
We used this great visual to help our students get a better understanding of the beginning, middle, and end of a story.  It was definitely Pinterest inspired!  
To help encourage recognition and mastery of our weekly vocabulary words (seen here), our students love to  write their found vocabulary words from their reading on this classroom chart.  Our kids are so excited when they find our vocab words in their books! 
After learning that good readers question 24/7, our kids generated this chart of "I Wonder" questions and "I Learned" responses after reading a book about tornadoes.
  This visual and acronym has been great to help kids remember author's purpose.  We will continue to build on this idea through out the year.
After introducing author's purpose, we created a PIE chart that we will continue to add to through the next month or so.  We also created an anchor chart showing the difference between common nouns and proper nouns.
While studying non-fiction text features, this anchor chart was used to show how to read labels.  Our students then labeled their own picture in their non-fiction text feature booklet.  (My picture is obviously Pinterest inspired!)
We've recently been studying pictographs and bar graphs in class.  Before the students completed their own graphs, we made some together.  The students also generated their own questions to go along with the graphs. 
After generating their own questions, our students worked with their shoulder partners (Kagan grouping) to answer their questions.  
It's amazing how involved kids become in their learning when they get their initials written next to their examples!  It's been a great way for them to take ownership in our whole group lessons.
Our list of wow words continue to grow as the year goes on!  Our kids love adding things to our anchor charts!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Charts Galore!

Since last year, I have made SO many anchor charts to help my kids... unfortunately I purged all of my ones from previous year (after all, I like to make them WITH the kids). 

Here are a few so far this year:

 One of our standards this year is to write a narrative using details including thoughts, actions, and feelings. So Ms. Austelle and I came up with this little graphic organizer. The thoughts refer to the head, the feelings refer to the heart, and the actions refer to the feet. We have used it a couple of different times, and they did an EXCELLENT job with it!

Post-its might be my favorite invention EVER! We were reviewing short vowels, so they posted some words under the different word families. Word families are great for the EL kiddos. It gives them a place to start.
And this week, we talked about text features that help us understand a text. Since we read a book about tarantulas (yuck), I decided to use that topic. After we made one together, the kids chose an animal to label by themselves. I have to show this one, because it is a skunk. Not sure why she chose a skunk, but maybe she has a lot of knowledge about skunks (that was a prerequisite).
And yes, spelling may not be a strong point for this youngun' (see title). We're working on it. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Anchor's Away!

I don't know about you. But, I love anchor charts!

I use them so much in my teaching because they are a great way to get my kiddos excited about what we're learning. And, I have to say that blogs have completely changed my outlook on anchor charts. They're all so cute! Mine are nothing compared to some of the awesome ones I see out there, but I thought I would share some of the types of charts I use in my classroom. Some of these are new from the beginning of this year and some are from the end of last year.

I used this chart to teach my kids about labels. I was all proud of it until one of the kids told me she loved my drawing of a lady bug. (??) But, this is still hanging in my room and the kids refer to it daily as they draw pictures.

There's absolutely NOTHING cute about this chart. But, it has helped my kids SO much this year in writing sentences. They will actually touch their heads while they're thinking, touch their mouths while they say the sentence and then go back and check it. I'm probably going to need to make this a more permanent poster in my room to help them out all year.

I got this idea from The Inspired Apple. Her stuff is so cute! I did change some of the strategies to be more specific for my kids. I plan to have this up all year for them to refer to.

We do a TON of these charts! This is just one I happened to still have from last year. You can tell from the lact of "cutesy" that it's pretty old. But, it does the job. I love having charts that they can add to all week.

And, seriously, how cute is this:
It says "how I now a tornatoa is comin is by waching the news."
Me too, friend :)

We made this chart last year to help write paragraphs. This format worked GREAT because it helped them organize the format of their writing into five sentences. I definitely plan to use this again later in the year!

This one is just cute :) We used this on the last week of school last year when we had Pirate Day - which was a total blast! I think they gave some pretty good guesses about why pirates wear an eye patch.

One thing I do try to do is to add initials to our anchor charts. I think it gives them some ownership for their responses.

This is one of our biggies in first grade. We call this a GO chart and it comes from the book "The Power of Retelling." We use it with basically every basal story we read. We talk about the vocabulary and then they make predictions about words they think will be in the story. (LOVE this idea!) Then, they make predictions about the story before we read. Then, under the third column, we do some kind of comprehension (depending on the week's skill.) This little chart is super easy, super fast and super effective.

I've also been trying to incorporate anchor charts into math.

We made this at the end of last year. I really enjoy the "schema" and "misconceptions" categories. And, I swear, they gave me every single bit of that information to put on the chart!

Sometimes we use anchor charts to review...

and sometimes we use them to ask questions.

These t-charts are my new favorites. What a great way to organize their thoughts. We even used this today to write three sentences about our pets.

I can't take ANY credit for this one. The whole first grade does it. We make a new one every week. It's suuuuch good practice for them to read and repeat all week. At the end of the week, I tape them to the edge of the dry-erase board and they read them at the fluency center. They roll a big dice and the number it lands on is the number they have to read to their partner. I LOVE this!

This is the last one. Promise. I saw this on Pinterest and I couldn't wait to copy it! My kids read this every day. And, they are even starting to refer to it when they are spelling and when they are trying to decode words in Guided Reading. It's such a great resource to have in the room.

I can't wait to see everybody's anchor charts.
Have I mentioned that I LOVE them?