Saturday?!?!

Yes, it’s Saturday and yes, I am late on this week’s post.  Sometimes that just happens during a busy week at Robinson. Thanks for giving me some grace. 🙂  In our classroom, we rounded out another great week in first grade and have done some wonderful things together.  We finished our chapter book and began a new one.  We are ending the first quarter of first grade, which is incredibly hard to believe. The children began working on identifying story elements, such as characters, setting and events.  We have also worked during our math time on finding many ways to make a single number.  Read on and find out more about what has been happening in Room 203.  Thanks for visiting our blog this week!

  • Conversation Starters
  • Class Meeting
  • Writing Workshop
  • Math – Many Ways to Make a Number
  • Reading – Identifying Story Elements
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Tell me about the book, Some Dog, that your class read and about the story elements (characters, setting, and events).
  • Your class took a walk in the woods this week to explore what you noticed about the sun.  What is something you observed during your walk?
  • You have been working hard on Dreambox for a few weeks.  Tell me something you have learned by doing Dreambox.  What do you enjoy about Dreambox?

Class Meetings: On most Fridays, we hold a class meeting.  Scheduled class meetings, such as the ones we have on Fridays, allow us to discuss things that have been happening in our classroom and to identify areas where we can improve.  (We also have unscheduled class meetings when a conversation needs to take place as a whole group.)  Our Friday meetings start with a list of 8 to 10 things we have done recently.  Next, I ask the children, “What has been your favorite?”  One by one, children make a dot next to their favorite thing.  After this, I ask, “What can we do better?”  Then, children make a dot (of a different color) next to something that answers the second question.  After each child has participated, we move into a circle and decide what activity the class decided that we could do better. (This is often the one with the most dots answering the second question.)  This becomes the focus of our conversation.  A first grader leads the conversation and children share the problem, as well as potential solutions.  Eventually, the children come to a consensus with a possible solution and give it a go.  Class meetings are one of my favorite things to do with children because they often come up with the most incredible solutions that I would have never thought of in a million years.  Class meetings also allow the students another opportunity to take ownership in our learning community.

This is what our flipchart looks like as we are interacting with it and making choices about what we enjoyed and want to make better.
This is what our flipchart looks like as we are interacting with it and making choices about what we enjoyed and want to make better.
After deciding what we would like to make better as a whole class, we have a conversation about the problem and possible solutions.
After deciding what we would like to make better as a whole class, we have a conversation about the problem and possible solutions.

Writing Workshop: During the second week of first grade, the children wrote an “on-demand” writing piece in our classroom.  This means that I give the children directions for a writing piece and they have 45 minutes to complete the task.  The purpose of this writing is for me to learn what the children know about this particular type of writing and what they need to learn in order to become the best writer they can be in first grade.  As you know, we have been writing personal narratives during our Writing Workshop.   So last week, the children worked on their own writing piece to show what they have learned and what else they need to know for the rest of this writing unit.  Check out our incredible writers below!

Before writing, we made a list of what we know about writing seed stories.
Before writing, we made a list of what we know about writing seed stories.
Look at all of these hard-working writers!
Look at all of these hard-working writers!
You can see the countdown as the children wrote their seed stories during our writing time.
You can see the directions and countdown as the children wrote their seed stories during our writing time.

Math – Many Ways to Make a Number: One of the expectations in first grade is for children to be able to understand that there are many ways to make a single number.  (Check out the rubric descriptor below for more clarification.)  This week, we discussed ways to make a number by using various contexts through story problems.  We also learned a new math game to guide this understanding.  Look at our work below and expect to see a math game – Counters in a Cup – go home with your child early next week so you can play together at home.  Additionally, please discuss story problems similar to the cookie problem below with your child to give him or her additional practice on solving this type of problem.  Thanks!

This is the rubric descriptor for the expectation to compose numbers in first grade.
This is the rubric descriptor for the expectation to compose numbers in first grade.
This is an example of the kinds of problems we are working on during our math time.
This is an example of the kinds of problems we are working on during our math time.  We solved this one together as a class.
These are the directions to a game we played last week in class.
These are the directions to a game we played last week in class.  Your first grader will bring game boards home next week for you to play this game together.

Reading – Identifying Story Elements: Oh my goodness!  We had such a fun week during our Reading Workshop last week.  Before I tell you the fun work we did, I’ll tell you about our learning focus.  Our learning goals included identifying three story elements (characters, setting and events) in order to aid comprehension during reading.  Identifying story elements is a VERY important skill for your child to secure as a reader.  As you read together, please be sure to ask your child about the story he or she is reading. (I will give further information about aiding your first grader as a reader in an upcoming post.)  As for the fun we had together, we read the book, Some Dog, and L-O-V-E-D it!  Just ask your child about the story.  Each day, we focused on a different story element and made some kind of “creation” to demonstrate our understanding.  Below you can see pictures of a few of the characters and settings the children made from the read aloud.  Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Smile for You:  I have two photos for you this week to make you smile.  I don’t think I need to say much about the first because the smiles on the children’s faces say it all.  As for the second, I FINALLY got our portraits up in our classroom and they look spectacular.  I know the photo is far away, but that was the only way to show you all of the portraits at once.  If you want to see them closer, you’ll just have to come visit us in our classroom one day! 🙂  Thanks for sticking with me and reading this post.  Have a great weekend!

Look at these happy first graders after finishing their 100-piece puzzle!
Look at these happy first graders after finishing a 100-piece puzzle!

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