Don’t Let The Pigeon!

 

Don't Let the Pigeon!

Don’t Let the Pigeon!

 

Hello first grade party people! I’m so glad that you decided to stop by today and see what we’ve been busy with in first grade. As the weather warms up and the school year winds down, we always have lots of  fun things to share. Here’s what’s been keeping us busy…

1

By Mo Willems

During our writing block, we follow the “Be A Writer” program. It’s a scripted series that typically focuses on one anchor book each week. The anchor book is read several times, teacher models, and students independently write. The theme of the writing week is based on some aspect of the book.

At this point in the year, we always finish this program, but haven’t yet finished school! So, we try to follow the same format using books of our choosing.

This week, we’ve been reading the Mo Willem’s books about the Pigeon. We’ve laughed and giggled about the Pigeon trying to drive a bus, stay up late, and eat a hotdog.

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Then, the students created their own “don’t let the pigeon” stories. We told them to pick something the Pigeon wanted to ride or drive.

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

There were lots of great ideas. For example, that poor Pigeon wasn’t allowed to ride a unicorn, fly a plane, drive a monster truck, or even ride a monkey!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

What I really loved is how the kids used some of the phrases from the book. We talked a lot about why the author choose certain words and why some things were written IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS! The kids incorporated that into their stories as well!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

We also studied the illustrations. Most of the year we’ve worked really hard on adding details to our pictures. This meant, drawing appropriate backgrounds and details to match our stories. But we looked closely at Mo Willems’ pictures. These were different. There was only the Pigeon in almost all the pictures. The details were different. For example, we needed details to show how the Pigeon was feeling or what he was thinking, rather than a background picture.

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

 

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

Don't Let The Pigeon!

Don’t Let The Pigeon!

We practiced together, but then they were off on their own! The books turned out unbelievably adorable! And the cutest part is that I’m finding little Pigeons on all their other work as the days go on 🙂 He’s just so much fun to draw!

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Be sure to stop by soon AND subscribe to this blog by email along the upper right hand side!

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!

 

 

Using iPads for Writing {and AirPlay!}

Hello!

Hello!

Ariel wanted to pop in to say hello! Or really, she’s trying to convince me to play fetch with her. She’s such a sweetie and this is the face I often look at as I’m trying to get work down on my computer. She can be quite persuasive 🙂

iPads with Writing

I hear the question a lot “You can’t use iPads for everything, right?”, as well as the comment “I don’t think my kids could handle that”.

After a full year of being 1:1 with iPads in my first grade room, I can honestly say I’ve learned so much about management, ideas, creativity, etc… probably learned more this year than my kiddos!

It’s been such an incredible journey. I started slowly…. incorporating them more and more, until now the iPads are integrated seamlessly all day long.

At the same time, there is a natural balance that happens.

For instance, we use the iPads during writing time.

But, OF COURSE, I believe that my students need to know how to use a pencil, they need to know how to write on paper, and my kids have plenty of opportunities to use both paper/pencil and iPads for writing time. I usually switch off weeks- 1 week we write on the iPads and one week we write with paper.

There are also times when I let them pick which way they want to write.

What’s interesting is this- since my kids have the opportunity to use an iPad everyday, they are just as happy to use paper and pencil too. I think it’s the ability to choose their own choice, the variety, and knowing their strengths that makes them excited.

One of the ways I’ve been using the iPads during paper writing time is this…

Writing

Writing

 

As you can see, on the desk is the writing piece we spent the week completing {Our week of writing is spent with a teacher model, student writing, student’s adding more, editing, and sharing}

Then, I had the kids use the app ChatterPix to take a picture of themselves and read their writing pieces.

Chatter Pix Kids

Chatter Pix Kids

The app records the kids voices and makes it look like their mouth is moving.

Writing

Writing

Then, I had the kids leave their own iPads at their desks. They got to walk around to the other iPads around the room and listen to their friends writing pieces.

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

Writing

It’s a simple, easy way for the kids to share their writing with multiple people. The kids also love it because 1.) It’s fun to walk around the room, 2.) It’s a silly app, and 3.) iPads are fun plain fun!

Another big accomplishment this year has been my students learning how to AirPlay, or reflect what is on their own iPads onto my computer {which is then projected} so everyone can see.

AirPlay

AirPlay

It’s been amazing and something I definitely want to start earlier in the year next year.

I mentioned earlier in this post the comment I hear a lot that “My kids can’t do that” related to technology. I can honestly say- my first graders amaze me daily with what they can accomplish. This can be no more true than when related to tech.

I intro’ed AirPlay one day and that’s really all it took. They love any chance I give them to share through AirPlay and it’s a great way for me to see what they’ve accomplished.

So, have I come across anything on the iPads they can’t handle? Nope, not yet 🙂

Thanks for seeing this quick way we use our iPads during writing time. I hope you can use it on your adventure!

SAMR Model: iPads to Modify Writing

 

Puppy

Puppy

Good morning, good morning! The puppy (old dog) wanted to drop by and say hello to you too! He’s busy having some doggie play time and we’ve been busy in our first grade classroom too 🙂

You know we are 1:1 this year with iPads. When the year started, I was really using the iPads as a substitution for paper. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing- and it’s definitely a place to start!

But as the year has gone on, I’ve tried hard to find ways to use the iPad to modify and redefine our learning in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before.

(***This words- Substitute, Augment, Modify, Redefine– are based on the technology continuum called the SAMR MODEL***)

 

SAMR

SAMR

This picture is from the source linked above. If you click the link and log into Thinglink, you can touch each one of those apps and learn more about it. It should also be noted that most of those apps can really fit into different categories, depending on how you are using it.

The goal of this model is to help educators- and ultimately students- use technology in ways that allow them to create and share things that wouldn’t have been possible before.

iPads to Redefine Writing Time

We follow the “Be A Writer” writing program in our school. It’s a weekly writing program based on a anchor text each week. The story we read relates to the writing idea of the week.

I love it and love the books we read through the program.

This week, we read the story “Down The Road”.

Be A Writer

Be A Writer

It’s the story of a young girl named Hetty, who wants to walk down the road all by herself to get eggs for breakfast. It’s a theme my firsties can really relate too- this is the age where they want to do EVERYTHING by themselves AND want to be a “big kid”.

So, our writing theme this week was writing about themselves and something they can do by themselves. Also, we’ve been working on writing stories with a beginning, middle, and end. That meant, this week the kids were suppose to think of something they can do by themselves and write a story about that with a B, M, and E.

Typically, we spend Monday brainstorming ideas. The kids work with their learning partners and orally tell their stories. Then the next day, the kids begin writing. I like this format….

…..but the trouble always is, some of the kids forget what they want to write about or lose the focus from the day before.

The other problem of most first graders in writing is, it’s very hard to get their ideas from their brains down onto the paper. And for my ELL class, it’s hard for them to write complete sentences, without leaving out words that help make the story make sense. (For example, they might write shorter sentences like “Play sister” instead of “I play with my sister”).

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Enter the iPads. After we had brainstormed ideas and talked with partners on Monday, the kids got their iPads and recorded videos of themselves saying their idea.

We shared these videos and talked about how some students added details in their videos. For example, some students simply said in their video “I can ride my bike”, but some kids said “I can ride my bike. I ride my bike fast and I ride my bike slow”. After seeing these great examples, some kids went back and changed their videos to add more.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

The next day, there was no kid who forgot their idea because they could instantly watch their video and remember!

After shared writing (doing an example like a team together), the kids were ready to write their own story!

We started by having students find a spot in the room. They brought with their iPads and writing papers.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

They were told to watch their videos as much as they needed. Around the room you’d hear lots of videos playing, but the kids were totally focused and working.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Each time they watched their video, they better remembered and thought about their idea. And for my English language learners, the more they listened, the more they remembered all those little words to make their sentence make sense!

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

We started with drawing the pictures first this time, three pictures for beginning, middle, and end describing the special thing they can do by themselves.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

After their pictures were drawn, they were able to write sentences about each part.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

I am telling you, I had students writing and working in a way I haven’t seen them do before. Writing time is always quiet, but has never been this focused. I had students who seriously struggle with writing and putting down their ideas that were now EXCELLING! It was such a motivation for all the students, and a wonderful support for my kids who struggle with putting their ideas into words. By being able to watch their video again and again, they never lost sight of the main idea.

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Using iPads in writing

Also, they were able to hear all the words they needed to write. And, at times, they were able to hear themselves making oral speaking mistakes. I had one student who said, “Oh, I didn’t say that right”. They were able to hear their mistakes and fix it in their writing.

This was such an amazing beginning to our writing this week! Be sure to check back as I update this post to include additional steps to enhance this project- APP SMASHING!

Thanks for checking in on our adventure. Be sure to check back soon!

 

 

Vocabulary {How to Introduce New Words to Firsties}

 

Journal

Journal

In first grade, you see an amazing amount of growth from the beginning of the year to the end. The kids aRE like little sponges and constantly learning and growing every day.

One of the important things we teach is vocabulary words. Even though we are constantly learning new words during units, we specifically teach new words twice a week. We focus on “every day” words, words that the kids might hear in books or people around them that are probably new to them.

The majority of our students speak two languages- which is an AMAZING skill!- and because of this, we have found that focusing on every day vocabulary words helps build their second language.

We use the Evan Moor Word a Day program…

Vocab

Vocab

This is a great program and great words your kids will see and hear in so many stories. I find it crazy that the word we learn that day always seems to pop up in whatever stories we read that day- it’s great to see the kid’s faces light up when they recognize the new word! They also love using the new words all week. We had the word “odor” this week and it’s been a kiddlet favorite- “This wipe has an amazing odor!” 🙂

In my room, I introduce 2 vocabulary words a week (Monday-Wednesday-Friday I do grammar, Tuesday-Thursday I do vocabulary).

On this day, we were learning the word “dash”.

I introduce the word by writing it in a few sentences on the board (the program also gives example sentences)

After we read the sentence together, the kids pick out the special word they think we are learning. They almost always get it right, showing they know how to pick out interesting words!

Using our basic vocabulary sheet, we write the word of the day at the top of our paper.

Then, we discuss the word together. We talk about examples and what it means. Depending on the word, we play a thumbs up or thumbs down game with what the word means.

Vocab

Vocab

We always talk about things we can draw to represent the word. Then, the kids draw their own picture to represent the word.

Vocab

Vocab

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

I mean- agh! How AMAZING is that picture!? There is so much I love about it- look at the lines to show the lion is “dashing”, look at the expression of the deer! It’s so good!

After, we write a sentence that tells about the word and the picture.

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

Vocabulary

It’s such a great part of our day and something the kids REALLY love. You’d be amazed how much they remember these words and pick them out of every story we hear or read. It’s a great way to practice our oral language skills and build our vocabulary.

For teachers, this page is included in my Vocabulary Journal Pack- FOUND HERE AT MY TPT STORE! – with many, many others.

Journal Page

Journal Page

 

 

There are multiple other versions of pages, and they scaffold to get harder and be more detailed. As we learn more grammar skills, we’ll start using the pages that include details about the parts of speech. Right now, the page we’re using is a great beginning of the year tool to get us used to learning words. Also, drawing a picture is so essential to learning and remembering the word’s meaning. When they draw, it helps transfer the word from our short term memory to long term. This means we’ll remember it better!

Check out the pack on TpT!

The pages can be put together to make a journal and includes pages labeled with letters at the top of put in ABC order. It’s a great way to organize your learning in class. Let me know what you think!

 

 

First Round of Summer Project

Now that summer school is over, the wedding has past, grad school class finished (for the summer), and we’re back from our honeymoon, it’s that time….. SUMMER PROJECT TIME FOR SCHOOL!

Teachers know what I mean- there comes a point where you find yourself surfing Pinterest just a little bit more, reading ideas on blogs just a little bit longer, and before you know it, you have the itch. It’s time to start thinking about next school year! Now in the words of one of my sisters- who is also a teacher and, being told that some of us are back in the school year mode already, responded by saying “Go take a nap“- I know a lot of you out there are saying the same thing! (Is that the longest sentence ever? Does it matter that I’m a teacher and made such a run-on sentence? It’s the summer, so I hope you let it pass)

Anyways, I can hear some of you screaming “Nooooooo! We still have weeks of summer left to go!”

But I’m crazy and always looking/reading/finding/thinking about my class for next year and was in the mood so here we go!

Mess

Mess

For starters, please tell me that when you all are doing projects at home, you also have a mess pile going on too.

Please? I can’t be alone in this!

And inevitably, one/both of the dogs decides to run right through it and it becomes even MORE of a mess!

But on this day, the pups were pretty much moving at this speed…

Sleeping

Sleeping

Which was just fine for me because it meant I could get things done without toys being brought to me, barking at squirrels happening, and whining because I wasn’t paying attention to them 🙂

The first project….

Write

Write

I saw on Pinterest a teacher who made these out of burlap (I think ?) and I thought it was so cute! Here is the project in process. Basically, I printed out the black letters on the computer, cut them out, and glued them to pieces of construction paper. I cut the bottom ragged, like a pencil, and glued on brown paper. I cut the brown in a triangle shape to get the point. To the top, I just glued on a slim piece of black construction paper and a slightly larger piece of pink. And voila! An adorable sign!

Signs

Signs

Here it is with the bottoms colored in to make it look more like a pencil. I plan to hang these from a string above our writing goals for the year. I think it’s a cute way to show what we are focusing on in writing!

Check off that project and on to the next….

Writing examples

Writing examples

I’ve seen this idea on Pinterest thousands of times, but I’ve never gotten around to doing it until now. Now in my fifth year teaching, I can’t wait to start off the year with these visuals for my kiddlets. I think it will be SO beneficial for my firsties to actually see what it means to get a one as opposed to a four on their writing!

1 and 2

1 and 2

Here is an unclose view of the 1 and 2 examples. And…

3 and 4

3 and 4

Here is the 3 and 4.

I literally copied these from the example I saw on Pinterest (Source) and then added the numbers to the sides.

Ratings

Ratings

For these, I got a pack of these cut-out shapes at the Dollar Tree, used a permanent marker to make the cute marks on the outside, and wrote the number in the middle.

Four

Four

I just love this idea because even though we model, model, MODEL in first grade, I love having examples posted all of the time so that they can see what it means to just be starting out, how to add more, and what it means to get a high score. Some of the kids really need that visual reminder of what good writing is and having it posted will really help.

So there it is- those are the two projects I started so far and I’m already working on a few others. Slowly I will get closer to getting it all done. In the meantime, here is what else I’ve been doing…

Farmers market

Farmers market

My sister invited me along to her town’s local farmers market. It was great, so much fun and full of people! The one booth we both had to stop at and buy from wasn’t the fresh produce, but instead the dog treats. How cute are those!? My puppies ate them up- all except the cone, which surprisingly was rejected from my dogs who eat garbage  😉

Beach

Beach

Later that day, we meet up with my other sister, mom, and this little man…

Pookie!

Pookie!

at the beach near our home. What a great day! The view was wonderful and the little man had so much fun collecting rocks and walking into the surf. We had a few exciting moments of the umbrella blowing away, but overall it was a very beautiful day 🙂

Rapids

Rapids

Hiking

Hiking

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Here are just a few pics from our honeymoon in Colorado. It was such an unbelievable experience. I’d never been out there and loved seeing the mountains, the scenery, and all of the outdoor things we got to do. Most of all, it was great spending a week together away from all the business of our lives 🙂

That’s it for now. Thank you for checking in! Be sure to check back to see other projects I’m tackling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4: Summer Seuss {The Lorax}

Good morning!

I hope you are having a fabulous Wednesday!

We are around here, with only one day left of summer school. These past four weeks have really flown by, so let’s start with a Fourth of July re-cap…

Sno-Kones

Sno-Kones

My first day of the break last week took me to a local forest preserve with my family. And before we left, we had to stop and get Sno-Kones. Nothing says summer more than this!

We spent the actual fourth on the lake with my family, watching the fireworks go off from the pier. It was such a fun, beautiful night… for most of us anyways…

Poor puppy

Poor puppy

Just like the picture I posted of my other dog last week, our other puppy has the same feelings towards loud noises. Poor babies, they both spent the  fourth in the closet, scrunched in the corner 🙂

The Lorax

This week in summer school, we read the Dr. Seuss story “The Lorax”, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I just love the story and the message.

After our first read through on Monday, we started our project.

Using the pictures I’d taken of them a few weeks ago for the Cat in the Hat project, the students cut out yellow mustaches to add to their portraits.

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

I mean, seriously- how cute are those!?

Yellow mustache= The Lorax 🙂

The next day and after the re-reading of the story, we finished these projects by adding a writing part. The prompt asked us “If I were the Lorax, I would help the Earth by…”

Together, we brainstormed ideas and wrote two ways we could help the Earth. We came up with “I would not cut down trees” and “I would keep the water clean”.

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

We stapled together the picture from the day before and the writing to make the finished product…

The Lorax

The Lorax

 

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

The Lorax

So adorable! I love making projects with the kiddos faces, I just think it adds such a cute touch!

Ok, I’m off to get them from their special. Thanks for checking in and have a great rest of your day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Carle Projects, Writing, and QR Codes

First things first, here are some quick photo updates on what we’ve been doing:

Movies

Movies

Movies

Movies

1. We went to Disney’s Bears last week as a whole school. It was an adorable movie and a really fun experience to go a movie with the entire school. The kids had so much fun!

Movie

Movie

Movie

Movie

Bus

Bus

Movie

Movie

2. We are learning all about life cycles in class- butterflies and plants! So, we’ve been raising caterpillars, who are already chrysalis’, and planting seeds!

Caterpillar Cup

Caterpillar Cup

Plants

Plants

That brings us to our Eric Carle projects.

Brown bea

Brown bea

During our bear unit, we did a mini author study on Eric Carle, specially all of this bear books, including Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Panda Bear, Panda Bear and Polar Bear, Polar Bear, and Baby Bear, Baby Bear. Whew! Did you know there were so many?

We talked a lot about how he illustrates his books. He paints several pieces of paper, all different shades and textures. Then, he cuts out pieces and puts them together to create a picture that is unique.

We created our own Eric Carle bear pictures by doing the same thing! The kids painted papers in various shades of brown. Then they used forks, straws, and paper to texture their papers.

The next day, we cut out the painted paper. To make our projects fun and a variety of shades, we mixed up the pieces we cut out, so everyone had pieces that were from other people. This made the end product fun shades and textures!

Gluing

Gluing

The kids worked to glue together the pieces and add a face.

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

Bear

You can see on their desks a writing paper. The day before, we’d used the writing prompt “First Grader, First Graders, what do you see?”, similar to Eric Carle’s books. The kids had so much fun writing about the things they see in our classroom and school.

The bears were glued to their writing papers to make the project.

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

Project

The best part? Do you see the QR code? When scanned, you will hear that student reading their writing that is shown. WHAT!? Isn’t that just the coolest thing ever? I KNOW 🙂

It’s called vocaroo.

Vocaroo

Vocaroo

It’s a website where students can record themselves talking and turn it into a QR code. When scanned, you hear what was recorded.

The catch- it has to be recorded from a computer, no an iPad. Which isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s something to know. I just called the kids over one at a time and had them read their writing. What’s great is that there is no limit, the kids read their whole writing and it wasn’t cut off at all!

They love being able to scan each others and hear what they say. It was a great project and really fun to make!

Thanks for checking in!