Showing posts with label citizenship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label citizenship. Show all posts
One of my favorite things to do at the beginning of my first grade year is read.  It's the perfect break in between hashing out routines and procedures...and MORE routines and procedures!  Here's a look at my must reads for building community in our first grade classroom!
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First Day Jitters is a must read for the first day of school.  It's the first book I read with my kiddos and it's the perfect ice breaker!

Also on the first day of school, we start building our class rules.  We read David Goes To School and the kids write about what rule we should include in our classroom.  I love integrating this one into writing and it always gets tons of laughs!

Once we are through with the first day of school, it's time to start our first integrated unit on citizenship.

We read about what a citizen is with this non-fiction favorite (I LOVE timing this around September 11th so we can tie it in to our We Remember Project.)

Then, we move on to fiction stories that show attitudes of good citizens in our classroom community.  These books are so important in our classroom for building a sense of community, respect, and making our classroom a place we want to be for the next 178 days of school!  The attitudes we read and write about during our unit are...

Enthusiasm - Morris Goes To School
Independence - A Bad Case of Stripes
Tolerance - The Sneetches
Creativity - Skippy Jon Jones
Integrity - Strega Nona
Curiosity - Curious George
Appreciation - The Great Kapok Tree
Confidence - Sheila Rae the Brave
Empathy - Hey Little Ant
Cooperation - It's Mine!

As we read each story, we post them in our can read about that set up here and find anchor charts to go with each story here!

Once we discuss our attitudes and behaviors, we read more about being a good learner in our classroom community--how we can get the MOST out of first grade.  I use the learner profile words from the International Baccalaureate PYP program because I started my teaching career in an IB school.  Here's a look at the books we use for each of the learner profile words.

Thinker - Look Book
Communicator - Diary of a Worm
Open-Minded - The Brand New Kid

What are your favorite books for building classroom community?
Sometimes building your class community can feel more like laying down the law the first few weeks of school!  And while laying down the law definitely has its place in my classroom, it has to be balanced with growing relationships with the little people in our classroom.

The first school I taught at was an International Baccalaureate (IB) school.  And even though I don't teach at an IB school anymore, I've taken a few of my favorite elements from that philosophy with me!  The IB attitudes and learner profile were some of my favorite of that curriculum.  I love spending time at the beginning of each year talking about what kind of attitudes we should show and what kind of learners we are expected to be in our classroom.  Not only does it help me learn my students better, but it also helps me "lay down the law" in a more positive way!

Each day we read a book (find the list of books here) and discuss the attitude the character did or didn't show in the story.  We chart our ideas...(grab these anchor charts templates to help!)

Add the book covers only to the templates or add notes from your attitude word discussion too!

And these templates even work great as Brag Boards!  Hang the anchor charts up in your room blank and add student names to an attitude chart when they show that attitude! that positive reinforcement to your advantage! :)

If you like these awesome attitudes posters, download the FREEBIE sample!

The other thing I love from the IB curriculum was the learner profile.

I love that these words give kids purpose at school.  With awesome attitudes, I am teaching little people how to be awesome adults.  With the learner profile, I'm training little people to become life-long learners.

We have a similar routine with the learner profile words as we do with Awesome Attitudes....

We read and brainstorm ways to demonstrate our focus learner word...

I love attaching each learner profile word with a part of our body because the learner profile is who we are!

Then, we add our focus word in our "I Am A Learner" booklet and illustrate the meaning of the word.

This packet even includes writing prompt papers and more anchor chart and poster options for these words!

Download a FREEBIE sample of the learner profile packet too! :)  Let's make this a *great* start to our school year!
September 11th can be a scary topic for little learners.  It's easy to say "they are too young for this," or "they don't need to know this yet," but history is doomed to repeat ourselves if we don't educate--even our youngest--about events in our past.  Let's take a look at ways to learn about and remember 9/11 in a developmentally appropriate way for K-2 students.

Has it really been 13 years since 9/11?  Has it really been 13 years since I was sitting in a psychology class as a senior in high school when we heard a kid running down the hall screaming, "Turn on the TV! It's awful!"  ...and has it really been 7 years since I've had a class of first graders that was even alive during that awful event?  Un.Be.Lievable.

We honored September 11th this week and today in our classroom.  First, I should add that I always send an email to my parents before our talk letting them know what we will discuss and when and to let me know if they have any problems with that.  In ten years, I've never had a parent complain.  And year after year, I get thank you notes from parents about how thankful they are that their kids are learning our history so young.

Friday, we talked about what it means to be a good citizen in our classroom, community and country.
This is all part of our first Unit on Responsibilities.  We read this book about being a good citizen.

We charted our "research" on our flag anchor chart.

Then, we wrote an opinion piece on why they are good citizens.  We made American flags to display with them.  They have been a beautiful patriotic reminder of the pride we have in our country!  Especially this week!
 {{Ummm...yeah, we did these on September 5th...and yeah, my August calendar was still up and I didn't realize it until I saw these pics...It's been busy in my world and my brain is FRIED, can you tell??}}

This morning, we read one of my favorite "9/11" books, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. It's based on a true story about a man who actually walked across the Twin Towers on a tight rope back in 1974.  And the end always gets me choked up talking about the towers not being there anymore.

I also showed just a few select pictures of the twin towers after they were hit using this photographic slideshow...
Here's a sample page from the powerpoint "book..."

The kids naturally asked lots of questions...and I tried to answer them all as factually {because I think that's super important}, but as simply as possible.  After much discussion about "Who did this?" and "Why did this happen?" and "Where did the towers go?" I had one little sweetheart who, after looking at the picture, said, "That's really cool, but sad at the same time."

Stop. My. Heart.

Ya'll, I felt like my grandparents at that moment in time. I have vivid memories of my grandfather trying to relay the gravity of his World War II experiences to me and just not getting it. I didn't ever make fun of it, but it was always just "an event in history that I didn't experience."

And that is exactly what 9/11 is to my firsties.  And that kinda breaks my heart.  So, yes, I went on a mini-soap box with my first graders about how "not cool about 9/11" I felt as I was watching, and the tears that flowed in my senior psych class and the shakiness in Matt Lauer and Katie Couric's voices as we all watched together.  And I felt like my grandfather must have when I was little.   Oh, my heavens, did I have a lesson on perspective today!

Check out this slideshow along with an easy booklet for young readers on September 11th!
We ended our discussion with the flag's symbol of pride and how no matter what happens, America will still survive because of the good citizens we have in our country!  I feel proud and blessed to be an American...and as long as I'm teaching, I'll be doing my part to pass along that pride to my little first grade citizens!

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