97 Days!

t97logoWe have officially completed 97 days of first grade!  Crazy, huh?  I feel like I say it each week, but this year has been going by so quickly and we have been working really hard together to solve problems and use our grit.  On a more personal note, thank you for understanding about me postponing this week’s blog post from Thursday, as a result of conferences – and my exhaustion.  However, I’m happy to share with you below about what we did last week.  It’s some GOOD stuff – I promise.  And, I can’t wait to share the upcoming week with you in our next post – after our 100th day of school on Wednesday.  We have great plans for our special day.  Until then, read what we did this past week in order to stay connected to your first grader’s life of learning and fun at Robinson.  Thanks for visiting our blog.

  • Conversation Starters
  • A LOT of Math
  • Student-Led Conferences
  • A Smile for You

Conversation Starters:

  • Your class worked on a number string in math this week.  What is a number string?  If you know that 26 + 10 = 36, how does that help you know the answer to 26 + 12?  How does that help you with 36 + 12?
  • You started a new chapter book this week about space.  What is the story about and who is going into space?
  • You did a lot of work to prepare for conferences this week.  What did you do to get ready for your conference?

A LOT of Math: We did oodles of gritty work this week during our math time.  We worked on solving two-digit addition problems with doubles and figuring out the most efficient strategy to do so.  After each child worked on solving the problems independently, they worked with another student to clearly represent their thinking on a poster for the rest of the class.  After making their poster, the class took a Gallery Walk.  A Gallery Walk is when each child silently peruses the classroom to look at each poster and write comments or questions with sticky notes.  Next, each partnership made changes based on comments or questions from the other mathematicians and finally, we shared posters with the class to learn from one another. Check out photos from the hard math work we did this past week.

During our math time, we had a Gallery Walk where the children observed one another's math posters and wrote comments on sticky notes.
During our math time, we had a Gallery Walk where the children observed one another’s math posters and wrote comments on sticky notes.
Here is one of the posters with the sticky notes after our Gallery Walk.
Here is one of the posters with the sticky notes after our Gallery Walk.
Here is another poster after the sticky note comments and questions from our Gallery Walk.
Here is another poster after the sticky note comments and questions from our Gallery Walk.
After our Gallery Walk, the mathematicians read the notes with their partner and made changes to their poster based on the questions and comments from their peers.
After our Gallery Walk, the mathematicians read the notes with their partner and made changes to their poster based on the questions and comments from their peers.

Student-Led Conferences: Last year, as a fifth grade teacher, I tried having student-led conferences for the first time.  It was quite a stretch for me to give up taking the lead in the conference, but it was SO GOOD.  I’m really glad I took the risk and gave it a try.  (By the way, the idea came from Mrs. Bearden – one of my closest teaching buddies!) After all of the fifth grade conferences, I decided that I wanted to always have student-led conferences because it provides an incredible opportunity for each child to have a personal investment in their learning.  I believe that student-led conferences give children the time to reflect on their progress and consider specific areas in which they would like to grow.  Additionally, each child gets to have a voice to share anything other information they desire to communicate to adults that care for them.  After having one evening of first grade student-led conferences so far this year, I have to admit that they have been just as incredible as I had hoped.  Preparing for conferences is another story.  It is HARD WORK – especially with little ones in first grade. 🙂  Check out some of the steps we took to prepare in the photos below.

This is one of the sheets each child completed in order to prepare for their student-led conference.  They also needed to PROVE what they were saying with an example.  Some examples included modeling reading, counting, doing math problems and sounding out words.  Awesome stuff!
This is one of the sheets each child completed in order to prepare for their student-led conference. They also needed to PROVE what they were saying with an example. Some examples included modeling reading, counting, doing math problems and sounding out words. Awesome stuff!
Olivia worked hard to think about how to complete her conference notes sheet.
Olivia worked hard to think about how to complete her conference notes sheet.
Lissa practiced her conference by using all of the materials from her conference folder.
Lissa practiced her conference by using all of the materials from her conference folder.
These two first graders worked diligently on their conference notes.
These two first graders worked diligently on their conference notes.
Mati and I modeled a conference in front of the class, with Molly pretending to be Mati's mom! :)
Mati and I modeled a conference in front of the class, with Molly pretending to be Mati’s mom! 🙂

A Smile for You: Remember how I said that each child worked hard to prepare for their student-led conference?  The photo below shows the stack of folders the children used for their conference.  Each child had their own folder with evidence for learning and growth.  Evidence included items such as: books, number lines, whiteboards, story maps, math problems and more.  This photo makes me smile because of how prepared each first grader was and how spectacular it is that even six and seven years old can confidently lead a conference about their learning.  I love it! 🙂

Check out this stack of folders with all of the materials each first grader needed for their conference!  Look at how prepared they are!  This makes ME smile!
Check out this stack of folders with all of the materials each first grader needed for their conference! Look at how prepared they are! This makes ME smile! (Also, if you look on the top right of the photo, you’ll see that one of my dog’s toys made it into the photo – her favorite squeaky cow!)

 

 

 

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