TWO Days of First Grade!

Thank you for visiting our blog again!  If you have not done so already, you are welcome to subscribe to our blog and you will receive a notification each time I post an update.  We did SO MUCH during these first two days, you won’t believe it!  As you read below, you will see photos of our classroom experiences and learning, along with a few tidbits of information explaining some of our work.  Enjoy experiencing our first two days of first grade via technology. 

  • Conversation Starters
  • Read Alouds & Reading
  • Choice Time
  • Guided Discovery: Pattern Blocks & Power Polygons
  • A Smile for You!

Conversation Starters:

  • You have Specials two times a day this year.  Which has been your favorite Special so far?  What did you do during your Special called Movement?
  • Your class has a Morning Meeting each day.  What happens during your Morning Meeting?  What do you enjoy about this time of day?
  • Tell me about your class pet, Bradford.  What does he do all day?  What do you want to learn about Bradford?  How might you learn this information?

Read Alouds & Reading: We have already read A LOT of books this week.  As you are probably aware, research proves that the more a child is exposed to books (read alouds, reading with someone and reading independently), the stronger reader and writer he or she will become!  Therefore, we believe in exposing kids to many, many, many books on a daily basis!  Ask your child about his or her favorite read aloud so far.  Some of the books we have read include: Dad’s First Day of School, Milk Goes to School, Naked!, Ready and Waiting for You, The Class, I Love School, Chicken Goes to School, The Pigeon Needs a Bath, and MORE!  See?  I told you we’ve been reading A LOT! 🙂  In addition to our read alouds, we began reading already!  We had a chance to do some reading in our book boxes and it was so much fun to begin exploring some of the books in our classroom!  Check out our readers  in some of the photos below.

Before we began reading out of our book boxes, we talked about the purpose of reading. What smart thinkers we have in our room!

Choice Time: The opportunity to play and explore is of utmost importance for EVERYONE – children and adults alike!  We have an opportunity to do this everyday in first grade and we like to call it Choice Time.  This is a chance for kids to make new friends, develop socially by problem solving with others, take time to imagine, and simply HAVE FUN!  We had some time to check out a few activities in our classroom and it was a great learning opportunity for our first graders.  Over the coming weeks and months, please ask your first grader about Choice Time and what he or she chooses to do and why that choice has been made.  There is so much learning that takes place during this important time of day!

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Guided Discovery: Pattern Blocks & Power Polygons: In order to begin easing into our math workshop, it is imperative to begin discovering various components of our math center.  These will include various math tools that will guide our learning as mathematicians.  We are in the midst (this will continue tomorrow) of exploring two manipulatives: pattern blocks and power polygons.  Ask your first grader which one he or she had the chance to explore and what was created during our math time.  Stay posted for more exploration that will take place during our math time as your first grade mathematician grows and flourishes this year.

A Smile for You!:  Each week, I like to include something in addition to the photos above to make you smile.  This week, I chose to include two photos from our guided math discovery simply because these first grade mathematicians were having so much fun!  Check it out and I sure hope it will make you SMILE.  Thank you for visiting our blog this week.  Have a great weekend!

 

Welcome to First Grade!

Congratulations – you found the site for our classroom blog!

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year.  Our classroom blog is updated weekly and includes information – and photos – about what we have been thinking about in first grade.  Feel free to look through some of the posts from previous classes to get an idea of what is included in a “typical” post.  If you like what you see, you are invited to subscribe to the blog and each time our blog is updated, you will receive email notification.  Finally . . . since you recently learned that I have the privilege to be your child’s first grade teacher, you can check out a short video to learn a little bit more about me by clicking on the link below.

Click here to learn more about Ms. Turken.

The teachers at Robinson – especially me! –  hope to see you at Back to School Night on Monday, August 14.   You are welcome to stop by our classroom, Room 112, anytime from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.  Please feel bring your school supplies on this night.  Thank you for visiting our classroom blog!

EEK – 4!

Yep . . . the end is NEAR. The days just keep cruising by and now we find ourselves with only four days left of first grade.  I suppose now is the time to embrace it and instead of pouting about missing these lovely students – to soak in the fun and good times we have together during the last days of school.  Thank you for being a faithful follower of our blog each week.  I hope you have enjoyed reading what we have been doing as much as we have enjoyed doing it! 🙂  Read on to learn what we did over the past week.

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • Making Nests
  • National Nursing Home Week
  • Fifth Grade Live Museum
  • Kids Teaching Kids
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class read several books by author Kevin Henkes this week.  Some of the books you read are pictured on the right.  What kind of characters does Kevin Henkes put into his books?  Why do you think he has chosen these characters?  Which book has been your favorite so far?  Please retell the story to me by including the character, setting, problem and solution.  Which book looks interesting to you as a next book to read?
  • Your school has two teachers retiring at the end of this year – Mrs. Meihaus and Mrs. Moffitt.  You wrote a note to one of the teachers last week that they will receive at their upcoming retirement celebration.  Tell me who you wrote to and what you told them you were thankful for that they did for you as your teacher.  What will you miss most about the other teacher you did not get an opportunity to write a note?

Making Nests:  As you know, we worked hard last week on planning for our bird nests.  At the end of the week, we had the opportunity to both go out and collect our materials as well as build our nests.  You have surely seen some photos of your first grader’s nest on Seesaw, right?  Hopefully, you were able to learn about the choices your first grader made in regards to the structures (materials) chosen and the function of each.  If not, ask your first grader to share his or her thinking with you.  Check out some of the photos from the nest-building process.  You are sure to find that they are quite spectacular!

 

Look at this EXCITED bunch of scientists ready to go outside!
Davion and Julia collected grass for their nests.
Autymn collected materials for her nest.
We are NOT afraid of mud!
It is so fun being a scientist!
More scientists looking in the mud! Yay!

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National Nursing Home Week: By having Aberdeen Heights as our next door neighbors at school, we have developed a wonderful relationship with the residents.  One of the lovely parts of being neighbors is that we had the opportunity to celebrate the kickoff of National Nursing Home Week on Monday by making cards for the residents and visiting their petting zoo.  It is always so much fun witnessing varying ages of citizens in our community coming together.  Check out a few of our photos below!

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Fifth Grade Live Museum: The fifth grade students at Robinson are such a positive role model for our primary students. We are quite fortunate to have these kiddos to teach our first graders about what it truly means to be a Robinson Roadrunner.  One example of this took place this past week when each fifth grader took on the role of a famous person from history.  After taking on the role of the person, the fifth graders hosted a live museum in which first graders were able to listen to the person speak about his or her life and teach us about their important achievements.  It was great having the chance for our first graders to interact with the fifth grade students in this way – Robinson truly is a magnificent learning community.

Kids Teaching Kids: We have continued to chug through our Kids Teaching Kids projects with the last few taking place over the coming days.  Each presentation is unique and shows the personality of each student by the way they share with us and teach us.  We have learned so much from one other!

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A Smile for You: We began talking about a day in which we could celebrate our positive choices this year and stumbled upon A LOT of possibilities during our conversation.  As you might imagine, first graders want to do MANY things for a celebration and the options seem limitless.  After having a class meeting, we found that the most prevalent suggestions were among 6 options (listed below).  In order to be fair, we chose to vote for the two most popular options.  One of the choices ended up in a tie, so we needed to have a second vote!  Check out the results of our vote below and enjoy imagining what each one of these days MIGHT look like in first grade!  That will surely make you smile. 🙂  Thank you again for visiting – and reading – our blog this week.

Check out our democratic process – in action – to decide which 2 events will take place in our classroom next Tuesday.

NOT Wanting to Count Down!

As you might imagine, this is the time of year when people ask me how many days are left of school.  Well . . . I don’t want to count down!  We are having so much fun learning and exploring together that we (well, maybe it’s just me?!?) don’t want it to end!  I guess I don’t have a choice in the matter though because you probably have some summer plans that would be interrupted by me wanting to have school for a bit longer.  So . . . I’ll just keep soaking in the fun we are having together and you just keep sending your fabulous first grader to school each day.  Deal?  I hope so.  Thanks for visiting our blog this week – enjoy learning what we have been doing recently.

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • ACES Day
  • Telling Time
  • Planning for Bird Nests
  • Kids Teaching Kids
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class read a book this week – The Case of the Stinky Stench – that was the second part of a book you had read earlier in the year – Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast.  Tell me about the setting in each of these books and how you know this to be true.  In the new book you read this week, what was the cause of the stinky stench?  How did the characters solve the problem in the story?
  • Tell me what the best part of your day is in first grade each day.  Do you enjoy activities in the morning or afternoon best?  What is the most challenging for you during the day in first grade?  Does this challenge help you grow and become a better person?  Why or why not?

ACES Day: We celebrated yet another successful ACES Day this year and of course, it was such fun! We learned from the fifth grader dancers over the past couple of months and Robinson kids were really able to show off their dance moves when we all met together on Wednesday morning.  Ask your first grader which dance was his or her favorite and why.  We had such fun as a Robinson family and enjoyed our time outside together.

Check out our fifth grade leaders – as well as many parents!

Telling Time: We have continued to work on telling time this week by doing various activities to strengthen this skill.  We have explored clocks and how the hour hand moves, practiced making times on clocks, practiced reading times on clocks, did a Kahoot together, and watched some short videos about time.  As you know, time is a tricky concept but we making progress.  Continue to work with your first grader on telling time to the hour and half hour.  If you’d like to stretch a little further, you can even work on telling time to 5 minute increments and then the 1 minute increments.

Here is an example of clock work our kiddos have done to practice their skills of telling time.

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Planning for Bird Nests: We watched some AMAZING videos this week which allowed us to observe birds making nests.  As a class, we began talking about how the birds built the nests and what function each structure (material) of the nest served.  Next, we decided to try to make our own nests!  Each student has come up with a plan for their nest and tomorrow we will take off into the Robinson Woods to collect materials for our nests. The intention with this project is for kids to notice the structures of birds (beaks, body shape, ability to fly, etc.) and nests and how each is connected to a specific function.  We will then expand this conversation into noticing structure and function in other areas of our lives.  Check out some of our thinking below.

This is one of the rubric descriptors we are using as we explore animals and objects in nature.
We discussed structure and function of nests after watching some videos of birds building nests.
Check out the nest planning by this first grade scientist!
Check out the nest planning by this first grade scientist!
Check out the nest planning by this first grade scientist!

Kids Teaching Kids: We are rounding out another great week of Kids Teach Kids!  This week, we learned how to play a new game, how to do back walkovers, how to make fire and how to do a magic trick!  If you’d like to see an iMovie trailer for the magic trick, please click here.   It’s hard to believe we are ending our second round of Kids Teach Kids very soon!  As you can see, we just keep learning from one another!

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A Smile for You: This week’s photo to make you smile includes a problem that was created for our morning easel work.  Just so you know, each morning we have a question or problem on the easel that each first grader is expected to answer.  Often the easel includes a math problem related to what we are currently learning, yet other items there are questions or wonderings connected with other topics of conversation.  At this point in the year, first graders take A LOT of ownership in the classroom – which is lovely – including with our easel problem!  Below, you will see one of our easel problems from this week, which is very sweet because I can only imagine the conversation that took place prior to finalizing the numbers in the problem.  Enjoy the photo and have an AMAZING weekend!  Thanks for visiting our blog this week.

This was one of our easel problems one morning this week – clearly created by a first grade mathematician.

 

Um . . . it’s May!

We are entering into the last weeks of school, which is C-R-A-Z-Y!  I apologize that I seem to begin each post talking about how quickly the days and weeks keep going by . . . but they really do!  This past week we did so much there was hardly a time to take a breath!  Mostly though because it was so fun, if you ask me!  From exploring tadpoles to discovering GarageBand to virtually visiting a dinosaur museum and a Kenyan farm, we were definitely doing a lot – and traveling A LOT of virtual miles!  By the way . . . ask your first grader about our GarageBand experience and how this app is going to support us to become better readers by working on our fluency and retelling stories.  As always, thanks for visiting our blog this week.

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • Reading Sound Searches
  • Life Cycles of Frogs
  • Virtual Field Trips
  • Kids Teaching Kids
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Dai’jon and Amora suggested a new book series for your class to read about a dog named Martha – who can speak!  What do you enjoy about the Martha book series?  How did Martha begin speaking?  What happened to Martha’s words when the factory made some changes to save money?  Would you like to read more of these books?  Why or why not?
  • During your library visit this week, Mrs Meihaus read some poems to your class and talked to you about entering into something called the Pine Tree Poetry contest.  What did you learn about the contest?  Do you plan to enter a poem in the contest?  Mrs. Meihaus reminded you that poems are due Wednesday, May 10 if you are interested in submitting a poem.

Reading Sound Searches: We recently went on some scavenger hunts in our own room to think about, listen to and look for blends.  Remember, blends are when two or three consonants are together in a word and each consonant makes a distinct sound such as “gr” or “dr.”  Identifying blends and being able to read them accurately builds a stronger foundation for readers.  In order to become better readers, we decided to look around and take some pictures the represented various blends.  This was a lot of fun for our first graders and could be something you might do easily at home.  Check out a couple of our examples below.

This is the guide we use for phonological awareness for our readers. We focused on blends this past week.
Check out the work this reader did with blends.
Check out the work this reader did with blends.

Life Cycles of Frogs:  We had the privilege of seeing some live tadpoles this past week when Julia brought in her very own “pets” for us to discover.  After observing the tadpoles in the morning, discussing our observations and wonderings, and watching a short video about the life cycle of a frog it was time to create our own life cycle.  Scientists were encouraged to show their thinking however they preferred: iPad, drawing, building, and so on.  You can see a few of the photos of our creations below.  If you’d like to hear some short videos of our builders, click here, here or here.  

Look at the tadpoles that Julia shared with us last week!
Connor worked to build a frog’s life cycle with Legos.
This scientist represented the life cycle of a frog on paper.
Jack showed the frog’s life cycle with blocks.
Here is Jack’s finished life cycle for a frog.
Allyson worked to create a life cycle of a frog.

Virtual Field Trips:  We had great fortune this past week and had the opportunity to visit some amazing places via Skype!  We visited Wyoming and Kenya to learn about dinosaurs and farming, respectively.  If you are interested in WATCHING our Kenyan Skype in it’s entirety, please click here to join us!  We also spent time at Wyoming Dinosaur Center  and learned LOADS about dinosaurs.  If you’d like to learn more about the Center, click here.  While virtual field trips are fun, they also provide students opportunities to “visit” locations they in both our country and world that might not happen otherwise.  As you can tell, we LOVE meaningful, virtual field trips!

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Kids Teaching Kids: We had another great week having our kids teach one another.  We learned two new games, learned about toys, and learned how to do a back walkover!  There is never a dull moment in our room . . . can you tell?!? 🙂  Enjoy the photos below of our Kids Teaching Kids!

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A Smile for You: With so many options of fun things happening in our room (in my opinion!), there were several options of photos to make you smile this week.  However, the one below took the cake because we were ALL engaged and enjoying the surprise item that was brought to our room during a parent visit!  Check out the photo below, smile, and have a great week!  Thanks again for visiting our blog.

We had the privilege to have Myles’ mom and dad visit us last week and teach us about electricity – with an ACTUAL stoplight!

We LOVE Mrs. Mimlitz!

We are ending this week on a slightly sad note.  Mrs. Mimlitz, our AMAZING and INCREDIBLE teaching assistant, is leaving Robinson – sniff, sniff.  The first grade team and students are celebrating on her last day with a few surprises to let her know how much she means to us.  We also learned about a book challenge this week from Mrs. Meihaus, our librarian.  She talked to us about Reading Without Walls, an adventure we can each take part in as readers.  As always, thank you for visiting our blog this week.  Read on to see what else we have been up to in first grade!

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • Poem in your Pocket Day
  • Data Collection
  • Continuing Realistic Fiction Writing
  • Kids Teaching Kids
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class read a book this week called Grandfather Buffalo.  After reading this book, your class discussed your thoughts about the author’s message.  Tell me your thinking about why the author wrote the story and what other students thought.
  • Tell me what your group did this week when you had time  to work on your Africa project.  Why has it taken so long for your class to finish your Africa projects?  Who are you going to be teaching about Africa?
  • When you visited the library this week, you had an opportunity to meet the librarian who will be replacing Mrs. Meihaus when she retires this year.  Tell me what you remember about Mrs. Davis during your time with her.

Poem in your Pocket Day: This past Monday, Robinson celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day with the rest of the nation.  For over 15 years, this day has been celebrated in order to create awareness for poetry and allow individuals to share their favorite poems with others.  If you’d like to learn a little more about this special day, please click here.  Our class celebrated this day with our librarian, Mrs. Meihaus.  Mrs. Meihaus introduced our class to acrostic poetry and each first grader had the opportunity to write his or her own poem.  Check out some of the photos from our visit to the library below.

Mrs. Meihaus introduced us to acrostic poetry before we had an opportunity to write our own.
Poets worked to come up with their own acrostic poems.
Poets worked to come up with their own acrostic poems.
Poets worked to come up with their own acrostic poems.
A few poets shared their acrostic poems with the rest of our authors.

Data Collection: We continued working with data this week and worked on representing information in various ways – bar charts, tally charts or pictographs.  We used some very familiar data – our daily lunch choices – as well as some sports data – winning statistics for various teams.  Next week, we will continue to work with data while beginning to integrate skills related to telling time.

Dai’jon represented data about his favorite baseball teams.
Autymn collected data about our lunch choices from the day.
Addie represented data about our lunch choices.
Jack represented data about the wins from come hockey teams.
Check out the math work this student did to represent data about baseball teams.

Continuing Realistic Fiction Writing: We kept working on realistic fiction stories this week and learned some new skills we are trying to implement into our writing pieces.  We discussed skills such as: clearly explaining the problem, getting characters out of trouble with action, dialogue or feelings, adding speech bubbles to illustrations, and writing a beginning that includes action, dialogue or feelings.  Ask your first grader about how his or her writing is coming along and how many books he or she has written.

Authors reviewed their writing in order to add onto their fiction stories.

Kids Teaching Kids: We learned SO MUCH during our Kids Teach Kids presentations this week.  It was quite fun!  Ask your first grader what he or she learned during our presentations and what we did to TRY everything we learned.

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A Smile for You: While we learned and worked together this week, we still managed to fit in some time to work on our Africa projects.  We have some great work coming along – cardboard models, paper cache creations, iMovie trailers, Keynote presentations, and books.   During our work afternoon, I was able to take a photo of some of our workers – who were both MESSY and PRODUCTIVE. 🙂  Check out the photo below and you will definitely smile.  Thanks for visiting our blog this week – have an amazing weekend!

Check out these hard workers trying to make a paper mache giraffe!

 

Chugging Through April . . .

We really are CHUGGING through April, which is so very hard to believe since it seems like we just started the second semester!  It might not seem like it to you, but our days in first grade go by so quickly and we do SO MUCH together each day that the days just fly by!   This week, we have worked on collecting data during our math time, beginning to write realistic fiction stories, discovering plant and animal life cycles and starting another round of Kids Teach Kids.   It has been a packed – and FUN – week!  As always, thank you for visiting our blog this week. 

Table of Contents

  • Conversation Starters
  • Data Collection
  • Writing Realistic Fiction Stories
  • Kids Teaching Kids
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class began reading a new book series this week, Henry and Mudge.  Which has been your favorite Henry and Mudge book so far?  What did you learn about the character Henry?  Would you want Henry as a friend?  Why or why not?
  • You class continued to set daily goals together.  Tell me about some of the goals you decided upon as a class and if you met them.  Do you enjoy setting goals with your class?  Why or why not?
  • You talked about life cycles of plants and animals this week.  Tell me what you know about a life cycle and what you learned about life cycles.  Do people have life cycles?  Tell me about what you believe.

Data Collection: We shifted our math investigation this week from measuring to data.  In first grade, we explore the skills of both describing data AND representing data.  This week, we began by talking about data and different ways to represent it.  We explored both tally and bar charts.  We decided that it would be interesting to ponder some of the books we have read this year and whether they are fiction or nonfiction texts.  In order to do this, each mathematician chose from a picture of just SOME of the books we have read and needed to decide whether each book was fiction or nonfiction.  Next, the data was represented on a tally chart and then a bar graph.  Additionally, we collected and represented data from rolling two dice.  As we rolled the dice, we collected the data and discovered that there are some number that come up much more often because there are more ways to make those use numbers.  Next week, we will continue to explore data with different ways to represent it as well and digging deeper to describe data.

This are the rubric descriptors we use for data collection during math.
Allyson worked to collect data as she rolled dice.
Cal collected data as he rolled dice.
Myles collected data about the number fiction and nonfiction books we have read this year.
Amora worked to collect data about the fiction and nonfiction books we have read this year.
Autymn and Addie worked to collect data about the books we have read.

Writing Realistic Fiction Stories: This week, we began our unit on fiction writing.  Within this writing unit, our authors “will draw on their ability to tell what happens first, then next to bring their characters to life by describing what they do, say and think” (Caulkins, 2013, p.vi).  It has been quite exciting to see our first grade authors create characters, touch and tell their stories and begin writing the first book in what will become a series.  Our authors have generated excitement in their writing with their characters and are beginning to show (not tell) the setting, problem and solutions with more details.  It has been fun to connect these writing skills with what we have been discovering as readers as we have been retelling stories.  The hope is that our first graders will begin to transfer the skills with confidence into their literacy work.  Check out a few of our writers below.

Kids Teaching Kids:  We began our second round of Kids Teach Kids this week and had two fabulous presentations from Duncan and Amora.  As you remember from the fall, each child has the opportunity to choose a topic in which they are an “expert” and then teach our class about their topic.  We continue to learn so much from one another and this has been simply another opportunity to do so in first grade.

This is part of the letter that went home re-introducing families to Kids Teach Kids.

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A Smile for You: Each time I look at the photo below, it makes me SMILE! 🙂 Over the past couple of months, we have been working on having the kids take more ownership in the classroom.  This takes place in many forms, one of which involves the students making announcements in the classroom, rather than all announcements coming from their teacher.  Students are becoming to feel more comfortable making these announcements and I had the privilege to catch one in a photo this week.  While students were creating their characters for their realistic fiction pieces, they were getting so excited about their characters, they wanted to tell the rest of our class about it.  In this photo, one of our authors was sharing information about his newly created character with the rest of the class and it was so much fun to witness the excitement around their writing.  I hope you enjoy this photo as much as I do.  Thanks for reading our blog this week!

Duncan made an announcement in the classroom in order to share the character he created for his fiction writing.