Nature Walk {NGSS Patterns in the Sky}

 

Nature Walk

Nature Walk

It’s fall around these parts! That means a lot of scarves, a lot of leaves, and a lot of fun! 🙂

We’ve fallen right into our new science unit, which is about patterns in the sky. It’s really stated as “Make observations at different times of the year to relate the amount of daylight to the time of year”.  Additionally, students should be able to observe, predict, and describe the amount of sunlight and patterns of sunshine/sunset.

What does this look like in first grade?

We have a driving question in this unit, which is “How does the sun affect the seasons?” Since we’ve been talking about what makes us scientists, this is what is our question. So now, we’ve been collecting data to help us answer this question. (This relates to the NGSS standard because once we know about the seasons, we will be able to describe how the seasons are driven by the sun and tilting of the Earth. Each season has a different amount of sunlight, relating back to the standard)

To start, we took a nature walk around the school, to learn more about the season we’re in {fall} and to talk about how the changes we are seeing are being fueled by the sun.

Garden

Garden

First stop, our school garden. We noticed changed in the plants and flowers there. Why are they dying? What’s causing these changes?

Tree changes

Tree changes

We stopped to look at the trees. What changes were happening to the trees? Why are the leaves falling off?

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Dandelions

 

 

As we walked, we saw dandelion plants that were all white and fluffy. Weren’t these yellow a few weeks ago? How are they changing? What’s making them change?

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

Leaves

As long as we were outside, we made a detour to the playground field to pick out a leaf. In math we are doing measuring, so we each picked a leaf that we would measure back inside. I’ve blogged about this before, so more details on this activity can be found HERE!

Class Mural

Class Mural

The next day, we used what we are seen yesterday on our walk and made a collaborative class mural. Each table group was assigned one of the things we’d observed outside yesterday (grass, rocks, leaves, plants, trees). We talked about making this mural as a team, showing the things we saw and that shows our current season.

Cutting paper

Cutting paper

Making our mural

Making our mural

Honestly, those were the only two pictures I took because the rest of the time I was helping groups with ideas, arranging things, and helping glue. But take a look at how it turned out….

Our Fall Mural!

Our Fall Mural!

I mean, it’s is just amazing!? I love it so much! As we worked, the kids would stand back and say, “Wow, this looks really good!” And they are right!

As they worked, I also asked kids to make labels. Their inventive spelling was just awesome and right on! I think this really turned out to be a wonderful group project, showed our knowledge so far, and helps us see the season of fall.

We will of course relate all of this knowledge back to our essential question- how is the sun affecting these changes we see in fall?

Mural

Mural

Thanks so much for checking in to our adventure!

M is for Measure

 

Sunny Days

Sunny Days

Happy Saturday! We’ve made it through another week {we’re almost at 40 days of school…. can you believe that? I feel like school just started!}

Right now, we’re in the middle of our measurement unit {1.MD.1 & 1.MD.2}, which focuses on measuring with non-standard units, basically we are measuring objects with things other than rulers. This leads us into the second standard, which is about comparing things based on their lengths. We are putting objects in order from longest to shortest OR from shortest to longest.

Here is a couple ways we are doing this in class!

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Last year I bought this pack from TpT on measurement, which is based on the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk. We started off by reading the story together and discussing some of the things in the story that were long and some things that were short.

As pack of that pack, there is an awesome activity where the kids take the “giant’s shoe” and look for things around the room that are shorter than the shoe, longer than the shoe, and the same length as the shoe.

So the kiddos took their “giant shoe” and were off searching the room!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-A-Nonstandard-Measurement-Unit-for-Common-Core-351371

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

Spot! Of course the kids wanted to compare him to their shoes 🙂

Comparing Sizes

Comparing Sizes

As the kids were comparing things around the room, they used the simple organizer {that comes in that pack} to record the things they found. They wrote down the things they found that were longer than their shoe, shorter than their shoe, and the same length as their shoe.

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Recording their Objects

Have younger students or kids who can’t quite write yet? This can be simply differentiated by having the kids draw pictures of the objects they find instead of writing them down. I encouraged my firsties to write what they found, sounding it out. Not only did this activity help us practice comparing lengths, but it also was a great way to talk about vocabulary. As they were exploring around the room, they asked each other {and me!} “What’s this called?” when they found an object. It opened up their eyes to different words and how to describe things!

Another non-standard measurement activity we did was “measure the teacher“. Another first grade teacher and I spent our planning time on the floor of the staff lounge {much to the laughs of our fellow teachers and ourselves!} tracing each other on butcher paper.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

The kids were seriously EXCITED to see their “teacher” papers to measure. The kids had a recording paper and had to measure their teacher with a unit of their choosing.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

This is also a great way for you as a teacher to see how they are measuring. We have been talking a lot about the correct ways to measure, with no gaps or overlaps between units. As I walked around, I heard a lot of them saying to each other “Don’t put a gap there!” 🙂

It’s also a great way to point out to kids that we measure in a straight line. Some groups might want to measure along the shape outline. It’s a simple chance to remind them to measure from one end to the other in a straight line.

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Each group had to use four different units to measure their teacher. To manage this  {in a non-crazy way} I assigned one student in each group as the “unit picker”. That student was the only one who picked the groups unit and also the only one to put that unit away. This worked out really well and ensured that the groups weren’t fighting about what unit to pick. I just put a bunch of units out of the table and they were ready to go!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

Measure the teacher!

After, this led to a great discussion about why they got different numbers for their measurement of their “teacher”, based on the unit. {i.e. because the units are different sizes, when they use them to measure the teacher, they get different answers}

The kids had so much fun doing this and as an added bonus, I had them decorate their “teacher” when they were done. I must say, I really should have taken pictures of that because some of them were just hilarious! One group made me in a Halloween costume and another dressed me for winter {because it might get cold soon, they told me} 🙂

It’s been a great unit so far! Thanks for checking in to our adventure!

 

iPad Updates AND QR Codes!

Doceri

Doceri

Welcome back to our adventure!

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about us starting our 1:1 iPad adventure this year! {If you missed that post, CHECK IT OUT HERE!}

This post will show a glimpse into us using our iPads during phonics time, as well as how I’ve been using QR codes!

Writing

Writing

Sometimes we use iPads as a basic white board substitution. For those of you who are all things “SAMR“, I’m talking about the “substitution” level of the continuum. Those of you who need a refresher, check out my post about SAMR here 😉

Doceri

Doceri

One of our most used/loved app is Doceri. I’ve posted about it TONS (just search Doceri along the right hand side of this blog, and you’ll find so many posts!)

dOCERI

Doceri

I love that the kids are already exploring all the inner-workings of the app, including changing the colors by using the color palette.

Doceri

Doceri

Doceri can be applied in MANY different ways, taking it anywhere along the SAMR continuum, but for the first few weeks of school, we are reviewing the letters and sounds of the alphabet. On this day, we were practicing “Q”. You can see in the first few pictures the students using the iPad to write the letter. It’s simple, quick, and motivating 🙂

QR stands for quick response. QR codes are on anything and everything  They can link to websites, QR voice, videos, pictures, words, etc. QR codes are really one of the easiest things to make yourself or use in the classroom with kids.

You really only need: a QR code reader (there are a variety of free apps) and some type of device to use the app on!

QR Codes

QR Codes

One way we use QR codes in our classroom are to review our sight words. Big shout out to the TpT seller Alma Almazan, who makes this product QR Codes (Scan it, Read it, Find it, Write it). I. JUST. LOVE. IT.

It comes in English and Spanish. One page is filled with QR codes, the only gives the kids writing lines. They scan QR code number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

And the QR code links them to a page that shows a sight word. They write that word down on line number one.

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

QR Codes

It’s so much fun! It’s an awesome review for the kids and so much fun for them to complete!

We’ve been doing this on Fridays as an engaging review. After, the kids have been picking up a QR code story to listen to.

QR Code stories

QR Code stories

This comes right from ANOTHER TpT seller, “TECHing it up”, who makes this product which links kids to the Storyline Online stories. These are stories you can play from a computer or device that are books read by famous actors/actress’.

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

QR Codes stories

It’s another great way we use QR codes in the room.

It’s also a great thing for your early finishers to do while the other kids are finishing up their work {SIDE NOTE- This is ALSO what my kids use for Listen to Reading during our Daily 5 time}

Thank you for checking out all the ways we we’ve been using QR codes so far. We are having such a fun adventure in first grade 🙂

 

The Itsy Bitsy……

Our past literacy unit was Nursery Rhymes. We’ve been knee deep in spiders, tuffets, pails of water, and fleece!

One of my favorite activities we did was during the week of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. We spent the week reading the rhyme, practicing the letters in the poem, and retelling it to each other. At the end of the week, we got to make an adorable project.

 

Craft

Craft

The kiddlets got a purple pieces of paper and traced a circle.

They used the same piece of paper to cut out 8 legs.

Legs

Legs

There wasn’t a template for the legs. I showed the kids how to cut out four long strips, and then cut each strip in half. They “fan-folded” the legs to make them extra fun!

Folding the legs

Folding the legs

Folding legs

Folding legs

Project

Project

You can see in the above picture the spider web the kids made too! We did this by folding a white piece of paper in half two times {that way when you open it, it was split into four parts}. First, we used a black marker to trace those four lines. Then, they split each one of those boxes in half with a diagonal line {for those with math minds, the paper was split into 8th’s} To finish it off, the kids drew tiny lines between the dividing lines to finish the web effect.

Finished project

Finished project

Here is the art part of the project all finished! The face on the spider is just TOO cute!

Here is another….

All done!

All done!

You can kind of see the writing part above the project. We’ve also been working on the reading skill of “predicting“, so the students finished the writing stem: “Along came a spider and Miss Muffet went….”. The kids had awesome answers- some predicted Miss Muffet ran up a tree, went home, but my favorite was the student who thought she went sky diving 😉

This was such a fun project and a good way to wrap up with nursery rhyme. I hope you enjoyed looking into our adventure!

 

 

Meet…… SPOT! {Our Class Pet}

 

Spot

Spot

Hi Spot! Look at that fact, those eyes, that nose 🙂

Spot is our first grade pet. He spends all day with us. He reads with us….

Read to self time!

Read to self time!

He works with us…..

Working with Spot

Working with Spot

He sits with us when we listen on the carpet…..

Can you "spot" Spot?

Can you “spot” Spot?

He even stands in line with kids who are ready to walk in the hall!

About to go on a walk!

About to go on a walk!

Walks are Spot’s favorite 🙂

So how does this work? And WHY do we have Spot in the room?

For starters, one day after  recess time, we came back into the room to find a box waiting for us.

What could be inside?

What could be inside?

The kids were so excited. Where did this come from? What could be inside?

The box came with a letter, explaining to the class that since they’d been working so hard on following the rules, there was a special friend inside the box to help us continue to be good characters. The kids guessed all different types of animals, from hamsters and fish to tigers and bunnies.

When we opened the box- we saw our doggy friend!

Ah!

Ah!

He's so cute!

He’s so cute!

We loved him instantly!

We loved him instantly!

Already friends!

Already friends!

The kids loved him instantly. They passed him around, shushing each other because they knew he was just a baby and was probably nervous 🙂

We voted on names, and while Max and Precious were close seconds……. Spot was the name winner!

So why do we have Spot?

Class Pet Pack

Class Pet Pack

Click here to find the above pack at my TpT store

{I created the above pack to help explain and provide all of the things you’d need to have the same class pet experience in your classroom}

The main reason we have Spot in our classroom is to help us learn, remember, and practice being good characters. Spot helps us remember to be responsible, trustworthy, honest, and hard working.

I introduce each one of these traits, as related to Spot. How can we treat Spot responsibly? How can we be trustworthy with Spot? Why do we need to be honest about Spot? How can we show we are hard workers with Spot?

By tying those traits into our interactions with Spot, it gives the kids a real life example. Instead of just talking about it, we model how to be responsible while petting him. We model how to be trustworthy playing with Spot, even if the teacher isn’t looking. We model how to be honest about things we do with Spot. We model how when we work hard, Spot wants to sit with us.

Then the magic happens. Instead of just portraying those traits with Spot, they also portray them with each other.

AND THIS SERIOUSLY WORKS! I’ve never heard my kids same things like, “You need to be a hard worker” to each other before, but now I am. This year it’s common to hear my kids remind each other to be “trustworthy” and “responsible”.

Spot reading!

Spot reading!

They know these rules because we review them every day. Plus, spot moves around the room and only wants to sit with kids who are showing these traits. {THIS IS MOTIVATION AT IT’S BEST MY FRINDS!}

Spot

Spot

And maybe the cutest thing is that as the kids move around the room, you’ll see them stop and give Spot a big hug. Sometimes they kiss his little nose. Sometimes they pet his head. But they always do it responsibly. He’s there when a kid needs some motivation. He’s there when someone needs a friend. And he’s a great addition to our room. He’s helping us be better kids, remember our class expectations, and try our best every day.

Check out my pet pack to get all the worksheets, posters, and more we’ve used to learn these traits with our pet. 

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Spot and our class are so glad you did 🙂