Sunday, August 24, 2014

First Days in First Grade

First Day Feelings Chart
We've had a wonderful start to our year together! 1D Kids and teachers spent the first three days getting to know each other. We are learning routines and discovering ways that first grade is like kindergarten and ways that first grade is different from kindergarten. We read several books about starting a new school year. We loved reading First Grade Jitters. It was fun to add this very first book to our 1D Shelfari (see sidebar on this blog for a bookshelf of 1D read-alouds!). We also made a chart of our first day feelings. 1D Kids were excited, nervous, happy, hopeful, shy, and tired on the first day of school. One of the kids' favorite activities so far is the EXPERT project. The children (and teachers) spent some time talking about what it means to be an expert, and ways that each of us is already an expert at something. Students determined their area of expertise (Legos, cartwheels, trains, reading, soccer, basketball, etc.) and they made a paper version of themselves to reflect their area of expertise. These paper 1D Kids are posted on the cubbies in our classroom. Stop by and discover the experts in 1D!

We've already started some of our Readers Workshop, Writers Workshop and Math Workshop routines. In Writers Workshop we are focusing on Ideas - how authors get ideas for their writing. We learned that writers write about their experiences. We read a book called How I Spent My Summer Vacation and then each 1D friend wrote about his/her own summer break experiences. This was our first chance to try out the QUIET 10. During the Quiet 10, students write quietly for 10 minutes while soft music plays in the background. In Math Workshop we are learning daily calendar tasks and we are practicing numeral writing. The 1D students created covers for their math journals and they added some content to these math notebooks. We are talking about the importance of numbers, and the students filled out a page with their very own numbers - address, birthday, age, favorite number, etc. On Friday we started talking about odd and even numbers. We learned some chants to help us with this concept:  0, 2, 4, 6, 8 - EVEN numbers are great! And...1, 3, 5, 7, 9 - ODD numbers are lonely! We explored the idea that even numbers can always pair off by 2's, but odd numbers will always have a leftover (lonely) member. In Readers Workshop we are learning ways to read a book (read the words, read the pictures, retell the story), and we are thinking about the best places to read in the 1D classroom. The students worked with Mrs. Downing to create a chart explaining what Read-to-Self (independent reading) should look like, sound like, and feel like. 1D readers are practicing their independent reading so that they can develop greater stamina in reading. We practice reading just like we would practice piano, soccer, or jump-roping. Check out the photos below to see the 1D Kids immersed in Read-to-Self! (One of the 1D Kids is missing because she was out the morning we practiced Read-to-Self. Look for a class photo including ALL 1D students soon!)

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