1. Narrative Writing - Watermelon/Tiny Seed Stories and Storytelling With Partners (A NEW PRODUCT!)
This week I taught a lesson on Zooming In on a narrative story to help focus my student's writing. So many students end up writing a list of their day (I drove to the apple orchard. I picked apples. I went home) rather than zooming in on picking one juicy apple or climbing a big tree to get an apple. I have taught the lesson for many years, but this year (with the inspiration by Lucy Calkins and crew) I made my own watermelon (see below) labeled with my watermelon story (our family trip to Storyland) and many tiny seed stories that will be the stories I write during my mini-lessons for the next few weeks. While conferring with students, I found SO many kids were writing watermelon stories, but most of them understood what I was getting at and through the conference, they were open to zooming in on just one part. LOVE when lessons show success so readily!
Today, I started working with my firsties on storytelling with a partner during writing time. I shared this whole class chart and modeled this with my messenger for the week. He was a great helper and even came up with a great question to help me add more details to my story.
Then, using our elbow partners from last week, partners went through the steps with each other while I was listening in. For the first time having to listen and ask questions, I thought the kids did great! I had to sit with one pair, but ONLY one! And best of all everyone was off to work as soon as I sent them to write! I have made a mini-version of my storytelling with partners chart to place in kiddos writing folders. It is in my TPT store HERE! It's only $1 (since I'm just starting out, I need to price it at $1, so I make a 30 cent profit for each one-sorry!). Please check it out, and maybe follow me on TPT, so you can see all of my products!
2. 3 Ways To Read A Book and "Just Right" Book Choices
This week the library was opened in our classroom. We spent two days learning how to choose a book (looking at the cover, the words, the picture, thinking about if you like what the book is about and if you can read the words). Finally, each kiddo had 4 books they liked to last them for the week. Then we needed to talk about how they can read a book. Again, I used Kim Adist's Blasting Off with Reader's Workshop pack and LOVED it! I took 3 days to roll out the 3 ways to read and they kids got it! First, kids could retell a story they knew. I planned to use The Three Little Pigs, but couldn't find the original version, so I ended up using There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and A Very Hungry Caterpillar. Kids knew one or both of the books, so it worked well to practice retelling the books with their elbow partners. The next day we practiced how to use the pictures of a book to tell the story even if they have never seen the book before. I used Cookie's Week to illustrate this strategy and the kids had so much fun telling their elbow partners what Cookie was up to! Finally, today we learned the third way to read a book...READ THE WORDS! This was one they all already knew and they were off to read on their own for 15 minutes! Literacy stations and Guided Reading groups start on Monday. Fingers crossed that we are ready for that independence!!
3. 3 Types of Clouds
To start off our year in science we teach kids the basics about weather. Types of weather, what a meteorologist does, thermometers/temperature zones, and clouds. Clouds are my favorite part! We learn about cirrus, cumulus, and stratus clouds. We then head outside to do the observation. Which type day does my cloud observation ALWAYS fall on??? Usually its a rainy day, so we can't get outside. This year...a day without a SINGLE cloud to view. We improvised and decided to draw all 3 types of clouds to share what we may have seen outside :) Then we spent two lessons making these beauties. I found the idea for these flap books on Pinterest, but my team modified them last year to this. The kids LOVED them and were excited to take them home! (of course a few friends went a little crazy with the watercolors and had a still wet paper to carry home - Oops!)
4. NOUNS - Freebie (not mine, but a great one!)
I love Kelly Dolling from The Teacher Idea Factory. I use her Good Morning Work everyday! Last weekend she posted this NOUN FREEBIE. I knew I needed to introduce the concept of nouns soon, and this was the perfect way. I did a short mini-lesson with the kids and we made this chart as we talked about how nouns can be people, places, or things.
Then had the kids work in groups of 2 or 3 to sort the words and then used the recording sheet to record their answers. The kiddos did a great job and thought the cards were pretty cool! Next year, when I do this station again I will make headings for the sorts (People, Places, Things). I think that will be more clear for the kiddos who are new to this kind of activity.
5. Apple Rhyming Pairs
I found this apple literacy and math pack from Made For 1st Grade last year, but I never made this center until this week. We have reviewed all of the letter sounds and will start tapping out CVC words on Monday (they did this in Kindergarten too!), so I wanted to see what they remembered. Kids worked in groups of 2 or 3 to tap and read the words and decide if they rhymed or not. Here's a picture of the rhyming words. I wanted to get the whole sort, but they kids were so great at this, by the time I got everyone settled and recording they were already putting away the non-rhymers.
I hope you all had a great week and that you are planning on a fabulous weekend! The little lady has a playdate with a set of triplets who were born the day before she was tomorrow after ballet and we are hoping to head out to pick some apples on Sunday (since the PATS aren't on until 8!)
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A Teacher Mom :)