Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 2!

Boys and girls eased right into Day 2 of first grade. Impressive! They were especially engaged and attentive during our Math Workshop. We have yet to implement many of the routines of Math Workshop, but taking it slowly is what will help make it successful in the long run. Students are getting familiar with the Math Meeting part of our math time, which includes reviewing the calendar (date, days of the week, months of the year, etc.) and the number of the day routine (watch for a post on this coming soon!). These activities lead into our math mini-lesson, which is a whole-group teaching time about a skill or concept that will help the entire group of mathematicians further their math skills. Since everyone is coming to first grade with different readiness levels, it's important to differentiate our math work, and this will happen during math station time, which will begin sometime next week. This is the time that I can meet with small groups of students to meet their individual needs. 

Today's math mini-lesson was about a tool that we will be using quite a bit in our Math Workshop--Pattern Blocks. We will use Pattern Blocks to explore several skills--parts of a whole (fractions), comparing attributes, patterning, and symmetry--just to name a few. 

You will learn that I like to use pictures to help tell the story of what we do in first grade. I can't photograph everything, but I hope that throughout this school year this blog helps you get a glimpse into life in first grade...enjoy (and leave comments)!

Students already love our document camera as much as I do. It allows us to project anything that we put under it onto our interactive white board. Today we used it to review the Pattern Block shape names and then to allow a few students to show their ideas for how to use Pattern Blocks (we have a very creative group!). They are brave too--it takes a lot of courage to share ideas in front of the whole group so early in the year!
I love it when students look so happy to be sharing their ideas/thinking!

After we explored Pattern Blocks as a whole group, students were given the choice of working alone or with classmates, at tables or on the floor, to create something. 


We ended our exploration of Pattern Blocks with a "Museum Walk." This is a time when students can look at each other's creations to get ideas from one another and have the opportunity to "show off" their great work!

We have now completed two "Mystery Names of the Day." This is an activity that is part of our SWR time (Spelling, Writing, and Reading), which is a time of the day that we explore spelling, phonics, and word study in general. It's a fun (and meaningful) way to review letters/sounds, putting letters together to form words, vowels vs. consonants, etc. Most importantly, the class seems to enjoy it! :-)

Mrs. McCleary, our School Counselor, is awesome! She stopped by today to say hello and read us a book. She will be in each Thursday morning starting next week for regular Guidance classes. I will post updates about her lessons as the year goes on, but be sure to also check out her blog. It's listed in the UMS/CSD Links tab above. 
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A busy first day!

Phew! I'm tired! Was your first grader tired this evening too? What was his/her favorite part of the day? I'll write another post tomorrow with information about our schedule and I promise to take more photos. Today was a whirlwind! Here's a collage to give a glimpse into our day--a small fraction of it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's almost time!

Wow! First grade is right around the corner! I hope that everyone has been enjoying the gorgeous weather and getting lots of outdoor time before school begins. I will be in the classroom a lot this coming week, getting it all set and ready for students to arrive. Remember, Open House is Tuesday, August 27th, from 8:00-9:00 a.m.Please stop by and say hello and tour the classroom. School begins on Wednesday, August 28th. Yippee!

I created this "Tagxedo" image with the names of everyone in our class and the words "First Grade" and "UMS." I know the names are not the same color/size, but they were generated randomly from this website, and I think the effects are quite neat! I am excited to get to know each of you better as we begin the new school year! Enjoy the last few days of summer!