This week is red ribbon week!  We've had spirit days all week and I had the best of intentions to snap pics of each day's theme...but here we are on Thursday night and I've only got a picture of "Sock it to Drugs" day!

This year, our drug free week coordinated perfectly with our study on the human body in our unit, Stayin' Alive.  We were able to make some really good connections when learning about drugs to the organs and muscles when had been studying.  We watched this video on drug education.  It's short and to the point and has plenty of info for first graders to understand!

We paused the video after they talked about each category of drug {tobacco, alcohol, illegal drugs} and charted the information from the video.  This was another great way to tie in shared research with a non-fiction video instead of a text.  Our kiddos are learning quickly that there is a variety of non-fiction resources.

Every year, I'm amazed at how engaged kids are in talking about drugs.  Even at 6 and 7 years old.  And the knowledge they have about alcohol and even illegal drugs is unbelievable.  Scary, actually.  This year was no different.  Again, this year brought great conversation, concern for parents who smoke, and that one sweet firstie who brags about how much the parents drink and how many times the dad or mom has been to jail for drinking.  I know I'm a naive person.  But, again, I say how blessed I was to grow up in a home where there was no fear of dad or mom going to jail for any reason.  There was no need to think that alcohol was "cool" at the young age of 6, because I didn't even know it existed.  Yes, again, I say,

Thank you, Lord, for blessing my childhood with innocence and purity.

Moving on...

After we charted our research on drugs, my firsties wrote their opinion on staying drug free.  Of course, all of our opinions were to be drug free.  Although our Stayin' Alive unit writing focus is informative, we will continue to work on opinion writing here and there throughout the year.

After our writing, we made "wise owls" to display our writing.
 "slur speed"....errr....slur speech.  I love first grade writing!


You can find this writing and craftivity in my Stayin' Alive Unit or by itself!  Happy drug free week, friends!

This is week 2 on our Stayin' Alive Unit!  We are digging deep into inferring the main idea from non-fiction text!  

We started by charting main idea.  Then we became inferencing detectives with our main idea bag stations!  I have 6 group tables, so I made 7 main idea bags--1 for each table and one for us to model together with.  

We did a bag together first.  I took each detail out of the bag and said, "This detail is ______," trying to reinforce the language of "main idea" and "detail."  Then, we did a think-pair-share with carpet partners to figure out the main idea.  After each main idea inference, we went through each detail on the back and said, "Would skeleton be a good detail for a human body main idea?"  I modeled how to write the main idea and illustrate the details on their recording sheet.

Then, they went back as inferencing detectives to their group's table.  I told them how important it was that they worked quietly so they didn't give away the main idea to other groups.  They spent 5 minutes at each station.  


The main ideas I used were: human body {for modeling together}, animals, vehicles, Halloween, toys, school supplies, and shapes.

Once they figured out the main idea as a group, they wrote it on the corresponding number line on their recording sheet and then illustrated and labeled the details from the bag. {We worked super duper hard on labeling last week! Read about that HERE.}  Then, they rotated through all 6 stations after our 5 minute timer.  After we finished rotating through all 6 stations, they had a few extra minutes at their desk to color their detail illustrations and finish any labeling or illustrating they didn't finish at stations.  

After that, we came together as a whole group and discussed the correct main idea for each bag!  They had so much fun with this!!

Here's the {{FREEBIE}} main idea handout we used. Click to print your copy!  I hope your kiddos enjoy it as much as mine did!!
This week we are kicking off our Animals Unit....which means that, among other *amazing* things happening in our room, we get to add the groovin' Bee Gees song to our list of brain breaks! ;)

Our animals unit is all about using non-fiction texts to learn information.  We study non-fiction text features, main idea and detail, informative writing, asking informed questions, and we manage to learn about animals and the human body {from our state's science standards} along the way!  Gotta love literacy-based science integration!

Non-Fiction Text Features: Labels

We talked about two features of non-fiction text: photographs and labels.  We really have been talking about photographs since the beginning of the year, and working on that during guided reading, so this time we focused mostly on labels.

I introduced labels and showed them the label "bubble" that goes with our chart.  Then, I asked them to help us label me.  I had volunteers that labeled my head, leg and hand with sticky notes.  Then, as a quick reinforcing activity, I had them partner up and label each other with 3 sticky notes.  This literally took 10 minutes or less, but they LOVED it!  They were so engaged, really trying to sound out words so they could write the words and label their friend, and they had a BLAST!  Plus, it was a great "learning brain break" since we had been sitting on the carpet and were going to have to sit to read our story some more!

Once we had labeling down, we read the non-fiction book on bones from this **awesome** scholastic series:

It was the perfect book because it's about the skin AND bones.  No, I'm not crazy.  I know we weren't learning about the skin Monday.  But we had just discussed and charted that non-fiction books do not have to be read in order and you don't have to read the whole book.  So, we used the table of contents and found only the parts on bones and skipped the rest!  As we read, I had the kids listen for information from the text that they learned about bones.  They also helped me watch for labels in our text and loved pointing them out to me!

We stopped after each section and did a think-pair-share on information they learned.  At the beginning of non-fiction, I always have to stress how the information they share must come from the text.  That's a BIG deal in Common Core.  And it's hard sometimes for first graders.  They want to share what they know {or think they know} about the topic. So as each person shared information, I asked, "Did that come from ____'s head or from the text?"  When they answered, "From the text," we had to prove it!  So we turned in the book and read the sentence(s) together that taught us that detail or information.  This has been a huge shift with Common Core over the last few years, but I think it's definitely for the better.  Not only is it a deeper understanding of the text, but it is also very engaging. First graders get very lively when trying to prove something they learned actually came from the text....and this teacher might just be guilty of throwing out the ole, "I think you just made that up.  I don't remember reading about that..."  Gets 'em good.  Every. Time.

Bones Shared Research

Back on track...We charted our research....

Labeling Skeletons

Then, they each assembled their own skeleton and we practiced our labeling skills.  We used words and arrows to label our skeleton.  My favorite bone to label is ribs.  That's because I get to tell my sweet firsties that I have an extra pair of ribs.  Yes, you read that right.  I have 13 pairs of ribs...not 12.  I found this out because of some severe numbing and pain I was having in my arm and fingers.  I had surgery when I was a teenager to remove one of the ribs.  So now, I'm an even weirder person with an odd number of ribs.  Go figure.  They absolutely love that story and year after year, it's one of my favorites to tell!


The rest of this week and next we will continue to research other organs and muscles from our body.  We will be learning about the brain, heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, kidneys and muscles!  And we will be learning about more non-fiction text features along with our content!  I can't wait and the kids are literally on pins and needles too.  This unit is hands down a winner in my classroom every year!
I may have been MIA from the blogging world for a little bit, but how can you blame me with these two handsomes in my world???
Goodness, I love my boys!

...okay...end bragging session here!

We've been working hard are the elements of fiction...see my previous post....

So for our final project, each first grader wrote an opinion piece about their favorite version of Cinderella.  Then, I grouped them by the version they chose.  The groups worked together to make a story map about their Cinderella to present to our class.



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