Chug, Chug, Chug . . .

uho-udivpriklAs mentioned in our most recent blog, we are working hard during these last weeks of school.  The title of the post, along with the picture of the train “chugging” along, show how our first grader have been working!  And . . . can you believe we ONLY have a month and a half left of first grade?  Holy smokes . . . we have done a lot this year!  I cannot believe how the time continues to go by so quickly.  As for this week’s post,  I feel like there aren’t TOO many words needed because the photos tell much of the story.  I hope you enjoy SEEING what we have been doing – and reading a little bit too!  As always, thank you for visiting our blog!

  • Conversation Starters
  • Writing Celebration
  • Math – Data
  • Science – Life Cycles & Adaptations
  • Reading to Self
  • Lego Challenge
  • A Smile for You!

Conversation Starters:

  • Mrs. Clark, a Robinson teacher, has come to visit your class a few times recently.  She has talked about some characters that sneak into our brains called “The Unthinkables.”  Tell me about the Unthinkables you have learned about during Mrs. Clark’s visits.
  • Mrs. Meihaus, your Robinson librarian, taught your class about acrostic poetry during your library visit this week.  What is acrostic poetry?  What was the poem your group created for the word, “candy?”  Could you created an acrostic poem for your name?

Writing Celebration:  Last week, we finished our persuasive pieces and shared them with our learning buddies.  Our first graders wrote pieces that were so convincing!  Our buddies were in awe of our great writing and our first graders were quite proud to share their hard work.  Check out a few of the photos below from our celebration.

Alec shared his writing piece with a fourth grade learning buddy.
Alec shared his writing piece with a fourth grade learning buddy.
Gus shared his writing piece with a fourth grade learning buddy.
Gus shared his writing piece with a fourth grade learning buddy.
Isaiah shared his writing with a fourth grade learning buddy.
Isaiah shared his writing with a fourth grade learning buddy.

Math – Data: We have done some data collection lately and we are embarking upon learning how to represent data in a variety of ways.  First, we began by doing a few surveys to collect data, as a whole group.  Next, each first grader collected data from his or her classmates.  Finally (next week), we will represent our data by using pictographs, line plots or bar graphs.  Read below to see our rubric descriptors on data, as well as some of our diligent mathematicians, as they collected data from one another.

This is our rubric descriptor for describing data in math.
This is our rubric descriptor for describing data in math.
This is our rubric descriptor for representing data.
This is our rubric descriptor for representing data.
We worked together to collect and represent data as a class. Next, we described the data by analyzing it together.
We worked together to collect and represent data as a class. Next, we described the data by analyzing it together.
First graders used this guide to develop a survey questions and responses. Then, they asked their friends questions to collect data, which they will represent next week.
First graders used this guide to develop a survey questions and responses. Then, they asked their friends questions to collect data, which they will represent next week.
Wyatt and Paiton asked one another survey questions in order to collect date.
Wyatt and Paiton asked one another survey questions in order to collect date.
Gray "officially" collects data with her survey question.
Gray “officially” collects data with her survey question.
Olivia and Mia asked one another survey questions to collect data.
Olivia and Mia asked one another survey questions to collect data.

Science – Life Cycles and Adaptations: We had conversations about life cycles, as well as how animals adapt in order to survive in nature.  First grade scientists worked in teams to share what they knew about life cycles, presented the information to the class and then we (actually, a first grader!) read a book about the life cycle of a frog.  We also discussed how birds adapt to their environment in order to survive.  Specifically, we experimented as a birds by using various kinds of “beaks” and “food” to see what it might be like to live as a bird in nature.  During our whole group debrief, the consensus was that it would be quite hard to be a bird because it was pretty challenging to get enough food!  Check out a few of our photos below!

We discussed the question above and then students were given a task to work in a team to demonstrate what they already know about life cycles.
We discussed the question above and then students were given a task to work in a team to demonstrate what they already know about life cycles.
This team represented their understanding about life cycles.
This team represented their understanding about life cycles.
This team represented what they knew about life cycles.
This team represented what they knew about life cycles.

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We learned about the frog life cycle with a book. Quinn was kind enough to be our teacher and read it to us since I was losing my voice! I would then whisper a question to a student who would "speak" for me to the rest of the class. What a silly experience, but we all continued to learn together!
We learned about the frog life cycle with a book. Quinn was kind enough to be our teacher and read it to us since I was losing my voice! During the read aloud, I would whisper a question to a student who would “speak” to the rest of the class for me. What a silly experience, but it allowed us to all continue to learn together!
This was our learning goal as we explored animal adaptations.
This was our learning goal as we explored animal adaptations.

Reading to Self: Seriously . . . these kiddos are AMAZING!  As you know, we take 15-20 minutes each morning to Read to Self, as a whole group – me too!  Just the other day, I a first grader said, “Ms. Turken I can’t wait until our Read to Self time so I can read the book I just got from the library!”  Then, when we cleaned up, I heard, “I can’t wait until tomorrow so I can keep reading!” Of course, I reminded this ambitious first grader that he surely could read BEFORE tomorrow!  Regardless, the excitement makes me smile.  So much so that I couldn’t resist taking a short video of our readers READING during our time together.  I guess that means that I took a few seconds NOT to read, but it was well worth it.  Click here to see what it looks like when amazing first graders dedicate time to read together!

Lego Challenge:  Lego challenge?!?!  At school?!?!  Yep!  Mrs. Sisul, our Robinson principal, came into our classroom to present a Lego challenge to our first graders and they LOVED it!  Their job was to engineer a prototype of an invention they would like to make in order to solve a problem in their world.  For example, one first grader said that her house has a lot of laundry around so she would like to invent a laundry-picker-upper.  Another first grader said he hates tripping over pipes in his front yard when he plays, so he wanted to invent something to cover them up.  You might wonder why we would spend time with Legos at school.  As stated in the book, Effective Instructional Strategies, Legos or any form of hands-on manipulative, stimulate creativity and thinking by involving touch and connection between the fingers and the brain.  Often by touching, manipulating, and seeing an object, students find their brains stimulated in different ways, triggering new thoughts an ideas.  That is pretty good justification to explore with Legos, huh?  Check out a some photos from our Lego Challenge below.

Whoa! Mrs. Sisul poured out 3000 Legos in front of our first graders.
Whoa! Mrs. Sisul poured out 3000 Legos in front of our first graders!
Gray created a plan for the prototype she planned to create with her Legos.
Gray created a plan for the prototype she planned to create with her Legos.
Children CALMLY and THOUGHTFULLY chose their Lego pieces to create their prototype.
Children CALMLY and THOUGHTFULLY chose their Lego pieces to create their prototype.
Check out Paiton's prototype!
Check out Paiton’s prototype!
Cristiano worked on his prototype.
Cristiano worked on his prototype.
Alec created a "teleporter" to take you anywhere you'd like to go!
Alec created a “teleporter” to take you anywhere you’d like to go!

A Smile for You!  This week’s photo is sure to make you grin from ear to ear.  Since you just read about our Lego Challenge and saw some photos, you know that our first graders thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  As I was talking with one of our inventors, I snapped a photo that made me giggle, so I know it will make you smile.  🙂  Have a wonderful three-day weekend with your first grader.  And . . . thank you for reading our blog this week!

Gus was EXCITED as he worked on his prototype! Actually, he might just be in the middle of talking, but it is super-cute!
Gus was EXCITED as he worked on his prototype!  Actually, he might just be in the middle of talking, but it is super-cute! (FYI . . . I did get permission from Gus to post this photo!)

 

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