MLK Jr. Research {& some math!}

Our current literacy unit is informational text. The kids are reading about real people, real places, and real things. With all of this, we are summarizing! The kids are turning into real pro’s. They identify the topic of the text and then find details about that topic.

For the past couple of weeks, we have been focusing on Martin Luther King Jr. We’ve been reading, researching and learning all about him.

When we started this topic, the first thing we did was make a Circle Map. A Circle Map is a wonderful way to gather student’s knowledge before you start a topic. It gives the teacher insight into what they already know and what ideas they might not understand. The kiddo’s initial ideas were so great!

They worked in their table teams (teams of 4) to write one fact they already knew about Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Post it's

Post it’s

 

Post it's

Post it’s

Post it's

Post it’s

{As a first grade teacher, this is easy for me to read. But for others, let me translate- Martin wanted everyone to be together} 🙂

Aren’t these the best? We put them together on a Circle Map.

Pre Knowledge Circle Map

Pre Knowledge Circle Map

The cool thing about doing it on post-it’s is that as our unit progressed, we kept adding more post-it’s. We used different colors each time we added more, so that by the end of the unit, we had a wonderful map that showed everything we’d learned!

Another fun way that we learned more about MLK Jr. was by researching him using the kid-safe search engine KidRex. If you haven’t heard of it, you should really check it out!

KidRex

KidRex

Just go to www.kidrex.org. It’s a filtered search engine for kids. KEEP IN MIND- You should always monitor kids searching anything on-line, but I’ve only had great experiences using this with my kids.

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

KidRex

I love allowing my kids to learn more by researching and reading things themselves. The more we do this type of research, the better my kids get at it.

The first times you have first graders search something, they are mostly just clicking pages and looking at pictures. But by now, my kids are really reading some of the facts they see and sharing what they find with the others around them. It’s really awesome to see them start this journey in their education, it’s such a skill they will need as they get older!

And going back to the Circle Map, as they found new facts, we wrote them on post-it’s to add to our knowledge!

Subtraction Games

I just wanted to mention a SIMPLE, QUICK game to practice subtraction. I’m always looking for fun and simple ways for my kids to have hands-on ways to practice the skills we are learning. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to get together a bunch of materials when you only have 20 minutes to play something.

I was looking at the materials I had ready and came up with an easy game that helped reinforce the idea that subtraction means to take something away. After six years of teaching first grade, I’ve always found that some of my kids still struggle with the difference between addition and subtraction. I wanted them to really understand that when we subtract, we take things away.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

All you need for this game is a cup with counters inside and dice. My kids worked in partners, each pair getting a cup with 20 counters and a die.

To start the game, each kid takes 10 counters {this number could be adjusted up to as high as you’d like}. They take turns rolling the die. Whatever number they roll, they have to put that many back inside the cup.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

In essence, each roll is a “subtraction”. They have to take away from their own counters and put them in the cup. Their pile is getting smaller- the main idea of what it means to subtract.

The kids play until one of them runs out of counters. Then, they start over.

And do you want to know something? THEY. LOVED. THIS. GAME.

We played it for 3 days in a row {using larger amounts of counter chips} because they were BEGGING to play.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

We only played in small time segments, but a great way to kick this game up a notch would be to have them write the subtraction sentence each time they roll. So if they start with 10 counters and roll a 3, they could write 10 – 3 = 7.

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

Subtraction Game

I just wanted to share because it was an amazing game. Not only was it simple to set up, but the kids loved it and it truly enforced the idea of subtraction!

Thanks for checking into our adventure! Be sure to come back soon!

The 4th, Adventures, and Telling Time Differentiation!

The fourth of July holiday flew by in a flash! I can’t believe it’s already over and we’re back at summer school. The 4th always seems like the middle point of the summer and since we start school this year in the middle of August, it will be here before we know it!

The 4th

The fourth started for me by weeding and watering our garden. Last year we planted everything from seeds and while some plants turned out fantastic, others did not. (The carrots and radishes were so sad looking 🙁 ) This year we thought we’d be proactive and try planting the seeds inside first around March- as, I’d like to point out, most of the packets told us to do- and planted them after the last frost- again, as per instructions- but, disaster! (Maybe it’s me? 😉

We didn’t let that stop us and went out to buy some starter plants. We got starters of tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts.

Cabbage

Cabbage



How awesome does that look? ( if I say so myself 😉 )

We planted aruggula, raddishes, sunflowers, beans, and carrots from seeds still and (knock on wood) they’ve all been growing like gang- busters! While all this rain doesn’t make me feel summer-y (totally a word), it does help my garden!

After gardening, I went over to my (soon-to-be) sister-in-laws and spent a few wonderful hours sitting outside in the warm sun, talking, and watching the girls play on their new playset.

Fun!

Fun!

Not gonna lie, it was so cool that I had to play on it myself 🙂

The evening ended with us in downtown Kenosha watching the fireworks lakeside. It was such a nice night and the show was great!

The Dells

The next day, the fiance and I packed up the car and the dogs and hit the road for the Dells. My sister and her family, along with my parents, were already up there so we were anxious to join the crew and see this little man…

Luke

Luke

He’s cuter every time I see him 🙂

The weekend was filled with eating (yum)…

BBQ

BBQ

long walks…

So pretty!

So pretty!

and pool time. Then this happened….

Oh hey new puppy!

Oh hey new puppy!

We were taking a walk along the river and as we got back in the car, we saw this adorable dog walking through the parking lot. I immediately jumped out and called for it, and she came right over. She seemed very friendly so we picked her up and began looking for anyone around who might have lost her (she had a collar but no tags). After about 10 minutes of looking, we took her to the local police station. They said they’d hold her for the day and then send her to a local shelter. Of course we’d already fallen in love with her at that point, and while we were totally hoping her owners would pick her up, were also secretly hoping we’d get to keep her. In the end, we called back the next day and she’d been picked up! 4th of July miracle!

Telling Time Differentiation

Back to school! Last Wednesday, we were wrapping up our unit on telling time. The kids had a good understanding of the concept and we’d spent a day playing different review games to practice time. As the final project, I wanted to do something that would give them flexibility and allow them to creatively show their understanding. I thought back to the class I just finished taking for my Master’s degree about differentiation. A huge part of differentiating is about giving students a choice in how they show their knowledge and letting them explore in how they show something. Since we’d been playing time games, I thought a great final project would be for students to create their OWN games about telling time. This would include:

1. Students using materials to make up a new game about telling time.

2. Students applying their knowledge and understanding of time to a new situation.

3. Students creatively showing their understanding.

and 4. Students practice orally explaining directions and rules to others.

I set up a table in the room with tons of stuff: paper, scissors, glue, tape, play-doh, paper plates, sticks, straws, clocks, dice, shapes, and crayons. I explained the directions and encouraged students to use anything to make up a new game that practiced telling time. They could do this alone, with a partner, or with a group. They were off!

Picking materials

Picking materials

Most kids started with things they thought were cool, like the play-doh or straws, but as they worked, they moved back and forth between the supplies and their work tables to either put back or get new things.

 

Working hard

Working hard

Planning

Planning

Right away I could see how engaged the kids were. They all got started working instantly and all had a set “plan”. Some kids made their own clocks, some kids made up board games, and some came up with other ideas all together! Here was one I found very creative….

 

Fractions

Fractions

In her game, she set the clock to a time- like 4 o’clock and the other person had to split the play-doh into that many pieces- 4. It was so creative and combined clocks and fractions, which we had just learned about.

Clocks

Clocks

Making games

Making games

The kids worked for about 30 minutes, and in that time, created wonderful and fantastic games! Then, they presented their games to each other.

Here's my game...

Here’s my game…

 

Presenting

Presenting

The games were all awesome! Some kids made up a “Simon Says” game, where the person says a time and the other people have to make the time, only if “Simon Says”, of course.  Another kid made a detailed rolling game, involving dice and the clocks.

Games!

Games!

Another game was about making a time and picking up that many pieces of play-doh.

All in all, it was such a fun, differentaited way for the kids to show their knowledge and use that knowledge to make something new. It helped them creatively think, explain their thinking, and of course- have fun!

I hope you enjoyed this post and are looking forward to our next one- this week’s all about ADDITION!