Showing posts with label american contributors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label american contributors. Show all posts
I've spent the last 2 blogs focusing on deciding whether information is fact or opinion and focusing on the difference between important and interesting facts.  All with the goal in mind of working smarter, not harder to combine Readers' Workshop, Writers' Workshop and that all important, but hard-to-find-time for content unit studies!

Our last focus for our American Contributors Common Core unit was...

...choosing facts that support our opinions.

This has been a problem for lots of my firsties over the years.  You know, when kids write,

"Abraham Lincoln was a great president.  He was shot and killed...."

Really??? I just shake my head.  Every. Time.

We've talked about it here and there over the years, but this year I decided to give it a little more focus!

So we worked in partners to sort facts about Lincoln to decide if they support the opinion or not!

This helped SOOOO much when we finally wrote our own opinions about which president was our favorite!  I'm so glad we used this activity to help us.

You can find this 2 sorts like this and lots more activities in my Presidents' Day packet.
Now that we are in February, we are almost to the end of our American Contributors unit.  We have been researching George Washington and Abraham Lincoln this week.  I have blogged about several activities already so I will not rehash them.  This post will focus on how I tied our big idea unit into Readers' Workshop and Writers' Workshop mini-lessons...because let's face it: We don't have a lot of time.  The struggle is still real... So, when I find a way to tie reading, writing, and content together into one big block of time, I'm a happy teacher!

This is the 2nd post of 3 posts (for now) about our Readers' and Writers' Workshop focus on fact and opinion.

During our first two weeks of our American Contributors unit, we worked on recalling facts from a text that support each person's contribution and how to choose what to write about.  You can read about that in this blog post.

Then, our reading focus became listening to decide if information is a fact or an opinion.  Read the first part to this mini-series in this blog post!

This week I had two goals in mind for Readers' Workshop to wrap up our unit.  Let's take a look at the first one for this little blog! :)

Our first focus was...

We "graduated" from giving facts after only a few pages to listening to the whole article or book and then recalling facts from the entire text.  I think this helped kids filter out the minor details and focus on what's important!

The first day of Readers' Workshop this week, we started reading one of my favorite books...The Important Book.

We read each page and talked about what was important about each topic and what was interesting.  We also discussed WHY the important fact was chosen as important.  We read the book across two days in Readers' Workshop to keep the lesson part "mini!" :)  We charted our discussion.

During Writers' Workshop they chose a topic and wrote about what is important and interesting about their topic in the same pattern as Margaret Wise Brown.  We just did this in their journals, but they were too cute not to share!

So how does this tie in with content?  Because after these activities, we were able to move on to charting important and interesting facts on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.  Here's the beginning of our chart for Lincoln...

No, the dry erase board chart isn't the cutest, but it got the job done.  And this was the perfect segway into our Writers' workshop time where we talked about which kind of facts we need to include when teaching about someone.  This chart helped make it easy for kids to see that while the interesting facts help give our writing style, it's our duty as authors who teach our readers to include several important facts as well.  And this made a HUGE difference in their informative writing!

Now that we've got our facts down pat, we will be moving on to how to choose facts to support our OPINIONS!
Have you ever noticed how authors just conveniently slide their opinion about topics into a text?

Well, it happens.  A lot.

And it kinda drives me crazy when teaching kids the difference between opinion writing and informative writing! #grrrrrface

Since we had already learned to listen for facts that support a topic, we were ready to dig a little deeper into what kind of information authors give us.

So, we spent some time last week during readers' workshop with this goal in mind...

...reading to determine if the information in a non-fiction text was a fact or opinion.

First, we charted what facts and opinions are...
You can find a pre-made template for this anchor chart here.  Just print and chart with your kids!

Then, as we researched our inventors, we added our information we learned under each side of our chart on our dry erase board (sorry, I forgot to snap a pic!).  This was really helpful for the kids to see how authors use both kinds of information in non-fiction texts!

We followed this same routine all week as we researched Alexander Graham Bell, sound, Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison.

Then, on Friday, we sorted our facts and opinions on one of our topics we researched: Sound.  This was the kiddos Readers' Workshop activity.

Next, we will be digging deeper into facts to decide if they are important or interesting with one of my very favorite literacy read alouds of all time!  I'll be blogging about that one soon too!

This week in first grade we have been researching and learning about Martin Luther King to prepare for his upcoming holiday.  I loved spending time learning about him right after our New Year dreams we wrote our first week back from break!  The connection between our two ideas was just perfect!

If you use my Common Core Units, you may be wondering why I'm teaching MLK now and not with Unit 5: American Contributors...and the answer is simple... I just like the way the American Contributors unit fits in January and February.  It ties in with MLK day, with Presidents' Day and with black history month!

So I was super excited to start our Bright ideas unit this week!

We started off by reading resources and gathering facts about MLK.  I **LOVED** using Google Docs for this and integrating technology this way.  The kids were engaged and loved watching me type and it definitely saved anchor chart space!

We read 3 different sources, Martin's Big Words, a reading rainbow clip about MLK and a pebble go article on him.  We added a * beside each fact when we heard it again from another source.  So, two stars by a fact means we heard it two more times after the original time.

Since we would be talking about choosing *important* facts the next day, knowing which facts we heard over and over would be important!

The next day, we reviewed our facts and talked about what his bright idea was--what was his main contribution that made our lives better?  We charted his bright idea on our group charts {each group is named for an American Contributor}.

Then, students recorded his idea in their "Who Had a Bright Idea?" booklet that we will use during the entire unit to record our contributors we study.

In readers' workshop that day, we discussed filtering through facts to choose the *important* facts.  We highlighted our facts in blue!

We charted our important facts on an anchor chart for future reference! {But thankfully it could be much smaller since we'd filtered through our facts!}

Then, students chose 4 of their own important facts from our notes, turned them into complete sentences and recorded them on our MLK graphic organizer!

On the 3rd day, we "published" our important facts and made our MLK craft!  Isn't he adorable?? :)

Thanks to this MLK mini unit, my first graders are ready to rock and roll with our next idea in writing...choosing the most important facts to teach readers! ;(

... or grab the entire 6 week unit which includes MLK and other American contributors!

It's the end of our American Contributors Unit {tear}.  But the end of this unit also means the start of Spring Break for me this week {happy face!}  No alarm setting, playing the stay-at-home-mom again, quiet morning trips to Wal-Mart, ahhhhh....

*cough* Back on track... After finishing up on our inventors for this unit {Edison & Bell}, we began talking about how inventors come up with inventions.  We read I Am Inventing an Invention.

This is a cute little book that tells about some kids trying to invent something for a school project.  It does a great job explaining what an invention is and the process of inventing.

Then, we charted how to make an invention.

And I LOVE this anchor chart, but to save me some time, I went digital with this one!  The digital version is now included in the unit!

The next day we read an adorable book I discovered at a workshop a few years ago...

It's about a bunny who gets asked about his box and he keeps saying, "It's not a box!" because he has turned the box into something else with his imagination.  The kids loved inferring what the bunny's invention is!

I also found this YouTube ebook of it.  That's what we used this year.  It's fast so we read it once all the way through and then listened again and paused in between pages.

Then we spent some time brainstorming ideas for inventions...checking to make sure they had not been invented before and that they had a useful purpose.  Not only does brainstorming out loud help encourage even more ideas that build off of each other, but it also helps me see who my creative inventors are so that I can spread those kiddos out as leaders for my groups.  Other than having to gently nudge them away from every kind of robot imaginable, my firsties always shock me in how easily they come up with things to invent.  And they come up with great ideas.  Every year!

We brainstormed on Wednesday.  On Thursday we started creating our not-a-boxes.  I was so proud of how well they worked.  We worked for an hour and 15 minutes on Thursday and continued working for another hour or so on Friday.  They were all engaged, cooperating and I even heard kids encouraging each other about their ideas.  It made my teacher heart so happy!

After kids thought about what invention they would like to create, they shared their idea with me and then I gave them paper to plan...

When their plan was complete, they picked out their box and got started.  I also had a table completely dedicated to "accessories" {construction paper, balloons, random left over craft supplies like circle die cuts, pom poms, craft sticks, foil and pipe cleaners}.  As you can imagine, some of them knew how to use the supplies in an effective way...and some groups were a tad more liberal with their accessorizing! *wink*

Here are a few of our favorite not-a-boxes!

Meet the "Flying Bed."  It takes you places while you stay in your pajamas and in your bed.  {Interestingly, I've had a similar invention two other times in other years!}  I loved that they turned the Amazon "smile" into the boxes mouth and added a mustache above!

As Mr. Grinch is modeling for you, you can ride comfortably and you even have access to your iPhone, the internet and your iPod {errrr....pipe cleaners for each of these} through a power line {errrr...yarn! I was so excited that made those connections to our electricity studies!}

Here's the "Dragon Plane."  It delivers food straight to your house so you don't have to get groceries.  There is a fire booster that will cook the food for you also!  LOVE!

Check out this part!  It says, "Food line.  Pull!"  You pull on the red pom and it sends an apple down!

Here is the mini-dragon plane in case your house is hard to get to!

Once they had built their not-a-box, they wrote about their invention and drew a detailed replica of their box.  They shared and presented their invention to the class and then we took pictures of each group with their boxes to publish by hanging in the hallway!

They were so proud!

I'll be enjoying my Spring Break next week and then diving deep into fairytales....which of course, for me, means the downhill race to summer will begin!
Saturday School, Daylight Savings Time, and a full week this week, I'm plain ol' worn out!  But we've had so much fun learning about Alexander Graham Bell and the science of sound!

We are starting to finish up our unit on American Contributors.  We've learned about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Black History contributors, Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison so far.  This week's contributor was on Alexander Graham Bell.  We read about Alex and charted our learning. {It absolutely drives me crazy that I found a typo in Alex's name after we finished the chart...but as exhausted as I was this week, even this OCD gal didn't have the energy to redo it...}

And we added his most important contribution to our light bulb charts that hang above each table group in our classroom.

Since we were learning about Mr. Bell, we tied in a little science and made telephone cups and tested out how well they worked.  The kids loved this oldie-but-goodie!

Read about more sound experiments here!
I taught school yesterday.  On a Saturday.  #thatsafirst #14snowdaysandcounting

I don't know about you, but Saturday is family day at our house, so if I was going to have to teach on a Saturday, it was gonna have to be super fun for me and the kids {you know, more than just your average I'm-having-a-blast-it's-so-much-fun day in first grade!}

We are smack-dab in the middle of our American Contributors unit and this week we started talking about inventors.  This week's inventors focused on people who invented or studied electricity: Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison.

The OCD me likes to go in chronological order, so we started with Ben Franklin on Wednesday {which was actually the first day of our school week because we had two....wait for it...snow days on Monday and Tuesday...}  We read about Ben.

Then, we charted our new learning...on a KITE, of course!  {I am obsessed with shape/symbol anchor charts if you can't tell! I think it's great for emerging readers when we make so many charts because it makes it easy for them to find the information they are looking for!}

On Thursday, we focused on Ben's contribution in electricity because of his interest and experiments he conducted on electricity.  We read from our favorite rookie readers series.

We charted our learning about electricity.

After that, we brainstormed a list of toys that need electricity {cords or batteries} to work.  The kids quickly saw how important it was to their lives that people like Ben Franklin studied and learned about how to use electricity!
**I'm not really sure how a coffee machine or a coke machine are toys, but two of my sweet firsties explained that they were "really fun" to use, so I just went with it!

After our brainstorm, my kiddos used our OREO graphic organizer to write an opinion piece about their favorite electronic toy.  They were so excited to write about toys!  {You can read more about how I introduce this chart from a previous post.}

Then, we quickly moved on to Thomas Edison on Friday because of our shortened week.  We actually read an article on PebbleGo about Thomas Edison.  PebbleGo is a website that our librarian just bought a subscription to and it is a fantastic resource for our school!  Then, we charted our learning.

We also watched a short cartoon about Thomas Edison that showed his many failures in inventing the lightbulb and his perseverance.  This was important background knowledge because in a week or two, we will be listing and writing about character traits that all of our inventors possessed!

So when SATURDAY school came around, we had planned lots of fun activities and experiments with electricity!

We made an electrical circuit and tested out materials to see if they were conductors or not conductors of electricity.  We had so much fun doing this, that I apparently forgot to take pictures until the last one!

We used the recording sheet from the unit packet to record our hypothesis about whether or not each material would be a conductor and then we wrote the actual results.

We also did an experiment with static electricity.  That is one of the things we are required to cover in our state science frameworks and it fits perfectly with this week's topics.  The idea for this experiment actually came from an intern I had last year.  We've always created static electricity with balloons and our hair and tried to shock our friends, but the can idea was new to me.  And the kids were ALL over this!  We created static electricity with a balloon and our hair.  Then, we placed the balloon close to the can to see what it would do.  Magically, the static electricity from the balloon pulled the can and made it stick to the balloon!

There were "Whoah's" and "Cools" going off like crazy in our room!

As always, we recorded our hypotheses and tested each question from the recording sheet {included in the unit packet}.

Seriously, ya'll, they had so much fun! They couldn't wait for the next activity!  After lunch we watched a video about electrical safety.  Every year, our local electrical cooperative sends Louie the Lightning Bug to do a skit for our whole school.  I really wish he could come during this unit, but it never seems to work out that way!  Louie has a website though, so we watched this video.  {warning: clearly this video is from at least 20 years ago...but that didn't seem to bother my firsties.  They loved it all the same!}  As another side note...this website is a great resource for older kids too.  It has lots of videos for all ages, activity suggestions for teachers and games!

After we discussed all of the safety tips from Louie's video, I paired up students and they wrote down rules for how to "Play it SAFE around electricity." And since it was Saturday and all....I decided that we needed to have a little craft time!  So we made our own Louie the Lightning Bugs to take home and remind us to be safe around electricity! I kept a few bugs to display with our safety signs!

The kiddos absolutely adored their Louies.  Original idea came from Pinterest. I did change it up some by using googly eyes, foil hearts for the wings, no legs, and we put mini glow sticks inside of the eggs.  I used mini Easter eggs because that's what I had already at my house, but you could obviously use any size!

If you decide to make these, you are inevitably going to ask {just like I did}: so, how do you get the pipe cleaners to stick? Do you hot glue them? Drill a hole in them?  I innocently mentioned it to my hubby one night this week and he insultingly sarcastically said, "Just heat up a paper clip and burn a hole in the egg."  Now seriously ya'll, did anyone else out there know that? Or am I the only *clueless* one?  I laughed out loud when he said that.  His reply? "You never did that when you were a kid??"  No, I didn't, sweetheart.  I played with Barbies.  And cooked with my Easy Bake Oven {remember those??} And played dress up.

But apparently....that's what little boys are made of...playing with fire and burning holes in things...

ANYWAYS...I tried it out and it's actually a {{{genius}}} and super easy idea!  So all of that to say...use a candle, get the end of a paper clip hot and poke two holes at the top of the egg!

I have to admit...our little Louies turned out pretty stinkin' cute!

And the kids were SO proud!  It was such a fun way to end Saturday school!
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