Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Technology in 1st Grade

I will be sharing at tonight's school board meeting about how we integrate technology in our classroom. The class helped me make a short iMovie to show what we do. Thanks, first graders!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The iPads in action

Our class is enjoying exploring the iPads. We often use a set of 5 iPads for small group station time during Reading Workshop, SWR, and Math. So far, students  have had a lot of freedom in which apps to use. All of the apps on the iPads were pre-screened to ensure appropriate content and relevance to education. Since having regular access to this device is so new, I wanted to allow ample opportunity for students to explore. We are now at a point when students will still have some choice of apps to use, but their time with iPads will be more focused and will sometimes require a "product" at the end. 

Busy blogger!

For example, students  have learned to access their KidBlog on the iPad and are creating posts/commenting on others' posts. They are also creating presentations about things they've learned using the Educreations app.

Have you noticed the new theme on our Kidblog?
Students had some "aha!" moments while using a letter formation app (their choice). They realized that it wouldn't "pass" them to the next letter unless they showed they knew the proper formation. Great practice!

Recently, I've been teaching students how to use iMovie, so creating iMovies in small groups is something coming up soon. This week, students will learn how to take a video on the iPad and will then have a choice of whether to create a simple movie with the Camera app or create a more elaborate video using iMovie. They will be creating "how to" videos to go along with our latest unit of study in writing. Stay tuned!

Here's a how-to iMovie we created together on Friday:

Spirit Week!

This week is Spirit Week at UMS! The schedule was sent home in everyone's green folder last week and was listed in Mr. Antonicci's email newsletter. Here's the schedule again, in case anyone lost it:

Monday: Hat Day
Tuesday: Favorite T-shirt Day
Wednesday: School Color Day (blue and green)
Thursday: "Fill a Bucket" Day (This goes along with a book the whole school reads about kindness--your child does not need to bring anything/wear anything specific that day. We will focus on kindness and "filling each other's buckets"!)
Friday: Pajama Day

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Comprehension Strategies

Over the past few weeks, we have been working on deepening our understanding of what we read by focusing on several comprehension strategies during reading lessons. Recently, we have discussed making connections, visualizing (mental images), making inferences, and questioning. Through the technology class I'm taking on Monday evenings, I learned about a website called Into the Book (click link to view). We'll be using some of these resources in class soon, but I think it's also a valuable resource for families who wish to learn more about these strategies. 

Another fun and valuable website we've visited is the Inference Riddle Game. This was a fun way to learn about making inferences--sometimes the illustrations and words don't tell the reader everything you need to know. You have to infer some of the details that are not obvious. Riddles are a great way to explain and practice this concept.

Below are a few photos of some of the work we've done with comprehension strategies...

I was having some fun with a new (to me) app called Popplet to showcase a bit of what we did with mental images.
Students had fun with Jack Prelutsky's poem, "My Neighbor's Dog is Purple" which is actually about a crocodile that was painted purple!

Students met in small groups to practice making inferences about short passages of text. They had some excellent conversation and  were able to back up their thinking with evidence from the text.

Cloud Parfaits

Cloud parfaits were a big hit last Friday! Have you heard about them yet? This was a combination of science, writing, and...eating! We have been studying weather for the past several weeks, so making a yummy treat with a weather theme seemed appropriate. Next up is Solids and Liquids. Finally, we're writing "how to" books. So, we followed directions to make something that changes state (Jello) and ends up looking like clouds in the sky. I'm hoping some students will use this as a how-to writing topic soon. And there's no question it was FUN! 

It's great to have our document camera to show what the student helpers are doing--it allows us to zoom in on the action!

I'm not a fan of Jello OR Cool Whip, but it seemed most students enjoyed this weather-themed treat. 
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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Check out this student iPad lesson!

One of our wonderful first graders created this wonderful water cycle lesson on her own at home. We have used the iPad app Educreations quite a bit in class, and soon students will be creating their own lessons on our iPads at school to share about something they've learned. I was so happy to receive this in my inbox last week! (I'm also glad to see that the water cycle song was a very effective teaching tool!)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Setting reading goals

Students set their first reading goal on our CAFE board yesterday. I was so impressed at the thought they put into this. Most students chose "Accuracy" as their goal. CAFE stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expand vocabulary. We'll work on these goals in 1:1 conferences, small groups, and whole group lessons. Reading goals will change periodically as students improve in one area and need to focus on another.

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Teaching Mrs. Sorenson

We are currently working on a procedural unit (how-to) in writing workshop. To reinforce the importance of using detail in our writing, I asked students to write a how-to about going down the slide or swinging on the swings. I told them that we would randomly choose some of their directions to test--out on the playground. I think several students thought I was joking until we actually got out there and I actually followed their directions to accomplish those tasks! They were very well written pieces. We did find some areas to revise, which was the whole point. Of course I know how to get down the slide and to swing, but we need to write in such deteail that we could teach someone who didn't know how to do these things. This was great fun, and the student photographers did an excellent job. :-)

So, I'm sitting on the slide. Now what? How do I get down? :-)
Wow! That twisty slide is FAST!
Learning how to stop. Fun!

Catching up: Geometry unit

I found some "lost" photos on my memory card. I thought they were worth sharing. The geometry unit in math is a lot of fun!

Pattern block stamps were one choice at a geometry explore station.
The interactive whiteboard is a fantastic tool for sharing ideas!
Another geometry explore station--making polygons with straws and twist-ties.
A city of 3-D solid shapes!
Take two. :-)