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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Drug Free Owl Writing Craft

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!



Monday, October 27, 2014

Main Idea & FREEBIE

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 ba.g {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!!

Later this afternoon, we used a non-fiction passage to infer the main idea and find the key details.  I have non-fiction passages included in my unit for each of the organs and muscles we learn about {bones, brain, heart, muscles, stomach, intestines, lungs and kidneys}.  I don't use these for every single thing we read about, but I enjoy using them for a few.  For muscles and kidneys, we used this passage as our main text.  We talked about how non-fiction texts are not just books.  Sometimes authors write passages that are non-fiction.  Last Thursday, we read the muscles passage and today we read the kidneys passage.

We did a first grade version of a close read with these passages.  NOW...you should know that the way a close read is supposed to go is NOT how we did it in our room.  In fact, our team feels that a close read "by the books" is not developmentally appropriate for our first graders.  But, I have modified and adjusted it over the years...maybe so much that it's really not a close read anymore, but it works for my kids!  

First I read the passage to them.  Then, we read it together twice.  Then, I gave them about 2 minutes to look for and circle sight words from our word wall.  

After that, we read it together again.  But this time I asked them to listen as we read for the important details--the key details--in the passage.  After we finished, I asked, "What are some of the important details we learned about muscles from this passage?"  We did a think-pair-share at their table and then they shared key details. After each detail, I had my firsties point to the place in the text where their friend found that key detail.  This was to reinforce the idea that our research comes from the text.  Then, we highlighted the details in green.  Not the whole sentence, just the key details.  As they highlighted, I highlighted on my model passage on the ELMO and then added the key detail to our anchor chart on muscles!  Finally, they went back and circled any more sight words they could find and added illustrations to match the text.  So, no, I didn't follow the ideal model of a close read....don't call the literacy police on me!  But, it actually worked beautifully for my first graders.  I think I've finally found a way to make this work in first grade!

We are off to a great start inferring the main idea and finding supporting details from the text.  These firsties should be ole' pros at this by the time our unit is over! ;)


Thursday, October 23, 2014

No Bones About It!

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! ;)

Friday we went to a local petting zoo and drive through safari to get the kids pumped and ready to learn about animals!  And MAN did that ever work!! :)  And as a side note....look what one of my sweet firsties brought me the morning of our field trip!  Uh-dorable...I wish I were as creative as all of the people around me!

Our animals unit is all about using non-fiction texts to learn information.  We study non-fiction text features (grab the anchor charts), 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!  Kills lots of birds with one stone... {okay, so maybe that was a really bad and corny animal pun...oh well, you should be used to me by now!}

Monday, we started off reviewing fiction and non-fiction.  At the beginning of the year, we had charted the difference between the two genres. {Sorry, but no pic.  I sent that anchor chart home with a kid on Monday and then realized I never took a picture!}  Monday, we charted descriptions of non-fiction texts again as a review.

Then, 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.
(This is a picture from later in the week.  We added 1-2 features a day.  We still have captions and headings left.  And if the feature bubbles look old, it's because they are...probably older than my firsties!  Hmmm...probably should get on top of making a newer, cuter version...***EDIT: It's finished.  Grab it HERE...)

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.

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

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!



Tuesday, we read reviewed what we learned about bones and we wrote an informative paragraph about bones together.  I introduced our informative writing graphic organizer {found in my literacy graphic organizer packet}.

This is the actual chart we use in class.  And yes, there is a reason for the magnet.  Right now I expect  at least 3 detail sentences.  So the magnet is a visual for our expectations--silly, but it works!  They know if they want a 4 on our writing rubric, they must have 4 or 5 detail sentences, too!

We did an interactive/model write together as a whole group so we could just learn how different informative and opinion are. {We spent the better part of the first nine weeks on opinion writing!}  I used the message on bones from my animals packet as a guide. {There are messages for muscles, heart, brain, lungs, stomach, intestines and kidneys too!}

The rest of this week and next will look very similar except with 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!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Making the Grade

Well, hello there!  Long time, no blog, huh?  I really have no excuse for my 2 week hiatus from blogging except that my intern solo taught all last week and I've just been out of the loop!  So, here's to a 5 for Friday to get back in the swing of things!

1.  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 and these.giggles.are.to.die.for.
...okay...end bragging session here!

2.  This week, I took my classroom back and we have been in full on assessment mode!  The end of our first quarter is tomorrow and we've spent the better part of this week getting reading for report cards!

During my intern's solo week I pulled my kiddos and tested their reading levels.  We colored in their new reading levels and I set goals individually with each kiddo.  {You can read more about it HERE.}

I absolutely love this one on one time with each of my firsties....even though it does take a while.  And now that Guided Reading is fully established in my room, I saw some great growth in reading already!  I just love watching those little light bulbs turn on! :)

3.  This year, we are teaching 4 units instead of 6 units as we have in the past.  Our first unit was Cinderella and retelling fiction stories.  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.






4.  In math, we've been practicing our math mysteries on dry erase boards so we can practice flexibility in solving a variety of story problems back-to-back.  Today, we took our quarterly math assessment.

You can download your copy here...it's based on the math progressions from my 1st grade pacing guide packet.   And each item has the Common Core standard it's based on.

5.  So much end of quarter testing this week!  But with that all behind me, I'm ready to head to the zoo tomorrow with my precious school babies to kick off Unit 2, ANIMALS!  It's a first grade fav around here! :)