Friday, September 12, 2014

Early Back to School Fun!

It's been a fun and exhausting few weeks so far! I am holding onto my health and crossing my fingers that I do not catch anything anytime soon or at all! I don't know about you, but I am sure you can relate; I HATE making sub plans. I would much rather fight through a crummy feeling day than to miss a day of school. Talking about preventing sickness, I thought I would share an e-card with you. I literally laughed at loud at its truth!

Hilarious right?!

Anywhoooooo….The first week of school was spent primarily on building community in the classroom, name games, and practicing routines and procedures. We practiced, practiced, practiced until we could get it right. My voice was so hoarse by the end of the first week because I had forgotten how many details you need to give to first graders at the beginning of the year. They are so dependent at the first of the year and by the end of the year I remember practically begging them to let me help them! It is still amazing to me the amount of growth that happens in the First Grade. I absolutely LOVE it.

One of the first activities that we did in class was a review of our letter recognition and sounds. We used a large piece of construction paper and folded it to make little squares. In each square, the children were required to write the capital and lower case letter and draw a picture of something that makes the sound. This was an excellent assessment to see who remembered and continued to grasp their letter sounds and who could recognize capital and lower case letter names. 

I do have a few students who are new to the school and this is their first time ever in school. We will continue to work on letters to catch them up, but through this activity, I was able to tell.

We continued to do foldables to review letter sound and then most were ready for short vowel sounds and CVC segmentation.  

Brainstorming short a word families was very fun and the students had a lot of fun thinking of words that would fit in the right word family. Below is a picture of our short a word family tree map that we created together as a class to use as a visual aid in the classroom.

Using different colors for each branch of the tree map really helped the students visualize each word family. I was such a proud mama hen when I looked up and saw the students breaking up their CVC words with their fingers on their forearm!

After brainstorming, the next day, we used Sailing Through 1st Grade's word family houses. On the rood of each house, students wrote the word family. The bottom portion of the house, students were asked to come up with 5 words in each family and draw a picture to match the word. I modified the assignment by only requiring students who were at a lower level to only do 2-3 words using an example to help them. For my special friends who do not know letters or sounds, we worked together to come up with one word for each family and draw the pictures. 

I have also been exposing my students to different story elements early this year to get more practice with each part of the structure. 

We used an anchor chart to talk about four story elements (Characters, setting, problem, and solution) We talked about characters, what they were, and who they could be. Then, I gave the students 15 seconds of quiet time and encouraged them to close their eyes and visualize their favorite characters. After 15 seconds, each student was allowed to share theirs aloud. We also did this with setting.

To really elaborate on each element, I pulled up two videos. One was Characters and the other was Setting. Both of the videos are on from Brainpop Jr. You can click on the hyperlinks above to go straight to the videos. Brainpop Jr. does require a membership for most of their videos, including these two. Our school has a membership for us to use. If you do not have a membership to this website, I highly recommend talking to your tech specialist at your school or writing a grant to receive funds for this awesome site! I use it for everything and the kids LOVE it. It is really good at explaining social studies topics as well. Students really seem to relate to it.

Gosh, back on subject! Today, we read Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes to apply our knowledge on story elements into a foldable.

Because it was the first day applying this knowledge by ourselves, we talked about each element after reading so students would know what to put in each box. As we do more stories with foldables, I will wean them off. Eventually, they will be writing/drawing all of the characters, settings, problems, and solutions in the story by themselves with little to no help. 

The students write characters, setting, problem, and solution in each box and draw the pictures to go along with the story.

Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse 

Characters: Lilly (main character), Mr. Slinger, mom, dad, Julius, Chester,Victor, and Wilson
Setting: School and home
Problem: Lilly was so upset that she wrote a mean note to Mr. Slinger and felt bad about being mean.
Solution: Lilly wrote a nice story, a nice letter, brought treats, and apologized.

I loved seeing the students apply this to their foldable and I look forward to seeing their progress with this throughout the year!

Thank you so much for stopping by to see what we have been up to lately. I am glad I finally got some time to share it with you :) Have a great weekend and don't forget to stop by to see what else we are doing in the classroom and other fun topics of interest.


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