Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank you!

I wanted to thank all of you who were able to attend our curriculum presentation last evening!  I realize how difficult it can be to get out in the middle of the week, but we hope that you now have a better understanding of what we will be teaching this year and how we will be teaching it.  If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me!  Again, thank you.

SWR Basketball

Students learned a popular first grade spelling game today--SWR basketball. Students used dry erase boards to practice our red words and word family words. To earn points, students spelled the word aloud and then tried to get the ball in the recycling bin (the basket). They could earn a point for spelling the word and a point for making a basket.  It was great fun!

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Book Shopping

This week, students learned to "shop" for their own books during Reading Workshop. I taught the lesson using a variety of shoes to model the concept of "good fit books." To summarize, we wear different shoes for different purposes and interests (sneakers for athletic activities, dressy shoes for formal events, boots for snow, etc.). We also choose shoes that fit us--other people's shoes often aren't the right fit for us! So, choosing shoes can be likened to choosing books--we choose books that fit our purpose and interests and they need to be a good fit (not too easy or too hard...just right). It was a fun lesson from one of my favorite professional books, The Daily Five. We learned the acronym "I PICK" to help us learn to choose books:

I PICK Good Fit Books
1. choose a book
2. Purpose – Why do I want to read it?
3. Interest – Does it interest me?
4. Comprehend – Am I understanding what I read?
5. Know – Do I know most of the words?

After being introduced to our leveled library, students "shopped" for books to put in their book bags for Reading Workshop. Here's some book shopping in action!

After book shopping, these students decided to read to our newly emerged butterfly! They were interested in watching it, so I suggested it might like to hear some great first grade reading. :)
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Literacy Stations!

Today, students learned about the final component of our Reading Workshop--literacy station time. This takes place during the last 20-minutes of our 90-minute morning literacy block. It follows our mini-lesson, Read to Self, Sharing Circle, and Partner Reading times. Eventually, students will choose which stations they wish to visit, but this week they are assigned to stations and are practicing each one. We had a very successful start!

Computer station was very popular--students logged onto the blog and then went to, which is listed under the heading, "Fun Links for Kids." 

The Puzzles and Games station will include MANY different types of literacy related games and activities--today we started simple. Students could choose from a variety of puzzles related to the alphabet, vowel sounds, rhyming words, etc. 

The Word Study station is another station that will include quite a variety of activities. This week, students can practice word family and red words using Wikki Stix and magnetic letters. 

This was the first time I'd ever seen someone build a word vertically. Very creative!

I think "look" might be the most popular red word!

Working with magnetic letters is fun too!

More Station Fun...

The classroom library is now fully open, and this is another of our literacy stations. We will take a closer look at the many types of books in our classroom library, but in the meantime, students are definitely enjoying exploring our books!

We have a large variety of books in many genres.

The Listening Station opened today too! 

Students can choose from a variety of activities within the Starfall website. 

The Writing Station includes lots of fun writing tools, special papers, envelopes, and more!

Just a few more...

Partner reading is GREAT fun!

The Writing Station seems to be popular!
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Thursday, September 23, 2010


Books are an important part of our daily life in the classroom, and I love capturing spontaneous moments of children enjoying reading. Of course, we read books throughout the day--not just during Reading Workshop and read-aloud time. Students are invited and encouraged to read often during transitions, whenever we have a bit of downtime, free choice time, settle-in time at the beginning of the day, quiet time after recess, and so on. We LOVE books!

Nonfiction is always popular in 1st grade. This volcano book is a hot item! No pun intended... :)

These boys discovered a book about cars with really great diagrams. I think I surprised them with this photo!

Reading=relaxing! :-)
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Self portraits...

Students have been working hard on their self portraits this week! Many are finished, and the rest should be completed tomorrow. I am very excited to post a slideshow featuring everyone's finished product. They are impressive! Here's a look at students working on their portraits (they were definitely works-in-progress at this point!). I am pleased with everyone's willingness to do their best!

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Our Hopes and Dreams for 1st Grade...

Recently, students came up with their "hopes and dreams" for first grade--something they hope to get better at doing or learn more about during our school year. Many are hoping to become better readers and writers, and many want to learn more about science topics. I can help make those hopes and dreams come true! Students have been working on artwork to be displayed along with their "hope and dream" statement in the classroom. 

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A visit to the computer lab!

During math time today, I introduced students to the first grade version of the Everyday Math games for the computer. These games will be an option during free choice time and various other times during the day in the classroom. So that everyone had a chance to practice using this software, we all visited the computer lab during our math time today. Students played Top-It on the computer. They were able to choose to play the "regular" version of the game or Addition Top-It. There are MANY more games, but we focused on this game today....there's much more to follow!

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SWR and Writing...

Just a few pictures of some of the latest happenings with SWR (our phonics/word study program) and Writing Workshop...

Yesterday, we used the interactive whiteboard to explore a new word family--the "ab" family. 
Students discussed what they were going to write about during Writing Workshop with their writing partners. 

It was great to hear students sharing their ideas with each other!

It's fun to tell each other our writing ideas! (And it helps us get ready to have a productive Writing Workshop!)
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Partner Reading!

We started a new part of our Reading Workshop yesterday--reading with a partner! Our Reading Workshop follows a routine every day: Mini-lesson, Read to Self time, Sharing Circle, and Partner Reading. We added the fourth component--Partner Reading--yesterday, and it was great! I told students a story about spiders to help them learn the acronym EEKK! This stands for Elbow to Elbow, Knee to Knee, which is how we sit during Partner Reading time. They have done very well with Partner Reading time for the past two days. Hooray!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Surveys in kindergarten

Students visited kindergarten classrooms on Friday during math station time to poll kindergarten students using the surveys we designed on Thursday. As many students said to me afterwards, "Wow! That was really fun!" Unfortunately, one student was absent and one student managed to dodge the camera :), but check our 1st grade pollsters in action! Your child brought home his/her survey on Friday. I hope you were able to talk about the results.