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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jigsaw Cooperative Groups

First of all, my observation went well!  According to my post observation conference, the lesson objectives were met, the kids did what they were supposed to do and my principal enjoyed it.  (I am pretty happy considering it was the 100th day of school, we were out of our routine and Zero the Hero had left us donuts and cookies for breakfast!)

Now JIGSAW.  We had a professional development on using jigsaw for cooperative group lessons a few weeks ago.  I have to admit, when I saw the title I groaned a little and thought NO WAY.  Jigsaw never works when we have to do it in trainings...and we are adults.  How in the world can it work with first graders?  Then we watched a video...and learned a little more...and by the end I was ready to try it WITH MY FIRST GRADERS!  2 of my teammates tried it for their evaluations.  Both lessons went well, so I decided to try it with my reading group.  Of course, I modified and extended it like I seem to do with everything, so if you want to learn how to do a true jigsaw, you might want to read up on it {here}!

Here was what we did:
Day One: Home Groups- I had 3 groups with 5 students in each group.  All were researching penguins, but each student had a different area (can, have, are, eat, live) they were focusing on.   There was no recording of information, they were just reading about penguins in several informational non-fiction books about penguins.

Day Two: Expert Groups- The students worked in their "expert" groups.  All students who were in charge of "can" worked together, those in charge of "have" worked together, etc.  In these groups, they created a circle map where they recorded  information they learned about their "expert area."  I had several informational non-fiction books about penguins available.  They were allowed to use any or all of them.
(On a side note, it was great seeing them using the text features to locate the information they needed for their area!)  I had to stress that they could not just add information they thought they knew about penguins.  They had to prove that the information was a fact!

Day Three: Home Groups- The students went back to their home groups and TAUGHT what they were an "expert" in.  (TAUGHT is the key work here.  The did not just say, "Penguins swallow their food whole."  They had to explain why penguins do this!)  To help them stay actively engaged and remember what they learned from each expert, they recorded the new information on the back of their circle map.



Day Four: Creating a tree map with Popplet.  Popplet is an AWESOME free app for iPads.  If you have not used it, I suggest you go check it out!  It literally only took a few minutes to train the firsties how to use it.






Talk about ALL students being actively engaged!  They wouldn't have even noticed if Sponge Bob walked into our room!
At the end of this activity, we snapped a picture (screen shot) of our Popplets to use the next day.


Day Five:  We used our Tree Maps to write our penguin reports!



Since we saved the screen shot as a picture, we could easily enlarge it to see our information!
My students really liked using jigsaw!  Have you used it or something similar?

Meredith

Sunday, February 2, 2014

100th Day Fun!

We had a great 100th day of school.  I had my big observation so we did not get to do as much as I had hoped, but there is always next week.....Right?

First of all, this made me laugh!  Guess he is not a Justin Beiber fan!

The Wolf's Chicken Stew
This is a perfect book for the 100th day of school.  It is full of great vocabulary, has many chances for predictions and inferences and the author uses 100 throughout the story.  In the story, the chicks give the wolf 100 kisses. I hid 100 kisses throughout the room.  Early in the day, I had each student find 3 kisses and place them on the hundred board.  Throughout the day I used the kisses as a reward.  If students were caught doing their job or going above and beyond, I told them to go find a kiss and put it on the hundred board.  They LOVED this.
Teacher Tip:  "Hide" them in plain sight.  I did this activity a few years ago and we were never did find all 100 kisses!
This story is also great for the "how characters change" common core standard.   We will be revisiting this story next week to hit this component!

My Name:  The students love this activity.  It is a great way for students to visually see number patterns.  Especially if a name has 2, 3, 5 or 9 letters!  
Morning Snack:  This is the treat Zero the Hero left us.  Rumor has it, he purchased it at the Dollar Store!
Snack:  100 piece snack.  I must admit that this is my least favorite activity of the day.  I was talked into it AGAIN by my team.  Anyone have any ideas how I can make this a more educational and smoother activity?????
Q-tip Painting:  Students used q-tips to paint 10 groups of 10.  I let them decided if they wanted to use 2 colors or 5 colors.  The only direction I gave them was to make a pattern.

Now....my observation lesson.  I did not take any pictures.  I don't think that would have fit into any of Charlotte Danielson's domains!  I combined math and science standards.  I set out 10 objects.  In cooperative groups, students had to predict which objects would weigh less than 100 pennies, equal to 100 pennies, or more than 100 pennies.  Some groups had pennies, while other groups had 100 nickels.  (The groups counted the coins out BEFORE my observation!)  Then the cooperative groups got to test their predictions with pan balance scales. Let me just tell you that 100 nickels are HEAVY!  
After we tested our predictions, the groups discussed their results.  It took a while but they finally came to the conclusion that nickels must weigh more than pennies.  (Of course they finally got this as my principal was walking out the door.)  Overall, I think the lesson went okay.  Guess I will find out next week when I have my post observation conference!  
Here are the recording sheets I used.  I had groups of 3.  The jobs were Recorder, Materials Manager, and Reporter. 


Click {here} if you would like to download them.  They are free!

Please leave a comment and tell me how the make the 100 piece snack mix activity better!!!
Meredith

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Portable Word Wall Freebie


**********Fixed a typo on the Christmas page!  Re-download!************

I know the value and importance of a Word Wall.  However, with I Can statements, a million anchor charts, and student work, it is hard giving up an ENTIRE wall!  This year I have been using Portable Word Walls.  The kids love them and I LOVE having an extra wall!

Here are a few pics of them being used in action.
Mine are kept in a plastic 3 pronged folder.  Nothing fancy but they are durable!
The pages are placed in plastic sleeves....again...durability!


These are the ones I made at the beginning of the year.  Don't worry, I have "cutsied" them up for you!

I do not add a page until that season/holiday.  Before I add it, we talk about the words on the new page, so the kids are easily able to find the words they need.  
I have one folder at each table, one at the Teacher Table, and a couple more in baskets around the room.  The kids do great sharing them and reminding each other where to find words!
Click {HERE} if you would like it for FREE.  (I would appreciate feedback or a blog or Facebook follow!)
If there are any words you would like added or pages, please let me know and I will add them!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

WInter Warm-Up Unit and a FREEBIE

Aaahhhhhhhhh.......VACATION!  I have enjoyed relaxing, spending time with family, relaxing, leisurely running errands, relaxing, staying in my sweatpants, relaxing, and reading!  Did I mention simply relaxing?
I have lived in Florida for 10 years, but this is the first time I have spent the holidays here.  I did miss having a white Christmas, but going to the beach ON Christmas made it a little better!  My family was here from Indiana and it was their first Florida Christmas too so we took full advantage!  We grilled out, took a jeep ride with the top down and went to the beach!


In between all of my relaxing I have also been creating some units!

First up is a FREEBIE!  I know the value and importance of a Word Wall.  However, with I Can statements, a million anchor charts, and student work, it is hard giving up an ENTIRE wall!  This year I have been using Portable Word Walls.  The kids love them and I LOVE having an extra wall!

Here are a few pics of them being used in action.
Mine are kept in a plastic 3 pronged folder.  Nothing fancy but they are durable!
The pages are placed in plastic sleeves....again...durability!


These are the ones I made at the beginning of the year.  Don't worry, I have "cutsied" them up for you!

I do not add a page until that season/holiday.  Before I add it, we talk about the words on the new page, so the kids are easily able to find the words they need.  
I have one folder at each table, one at the Teacher Table, and a couple more in baskets around the room.  The kids do great sharing them and reminding each other where to find words!
Click {HERE} if you would like it for FREE.  (I would appreciate feedback or a blog or Facebook follow!)
If there are any words you would like added or pages, please let me know and I will add them!

I also created a unit of literacy games to practice reading long and short vowel words.  They require very little teacher prep and are easy for students to play independently!


Click {HERE} to grab it for $4.
I better get back to my relaxing now!
Meredith

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Turkey Disguise...a bit late!

December.....what???  (Said in a minion voice.  I watched Despicable Me for the first time over break!)

Here are a couple of pictures I wanted to share before Thanksgiving Break (but never got around to)!

Turkey Disguise!
We sent the turkey disguise project home last month.  They all did fantastic, but this is the most creative one I have ever had.
Not sure what it is?  I wasn't either at first, but it is....... Lady Gob Gob!  (Apparently this little first grader is a major Lady Gaga fan!)  As part of the project they had to pretend they were the turkey and use the speech bubble to convince me that they were not a turkey.
It says:  Gob, Gob!  Oh La La.  I am the fabulous Lady Gob Gob!  I am not a turkey....Can't read my, can't read my, No you can't read my turkey face!  See you on tour!

I laughed so hard and had to share it with anyone who came in our classroom last week!

This month we sent home a Random Acts of Kindness Project.  2 days in and my kids are so excited to share their random acts of kindness with me!  I will blog about it soon!  

Meredith











Sunday, November 24, 2013

Action Verbs with Pete the Cat

First graders always love Pete the Cat.  Since I did not get around to reading them at the beginning of the school year, I decided to use a couple of the books to reinforce action verbs.  It was a HIT!

First we listened to I Love My White Shoes.  Visit Harper Collins to listen to the Pete stories by clicking {here}.  They are great readings and they even sing the song parts.
Then I reread the story and we found all of the action verbs.  (Ignore the velcro dots, I used the poster I created last year for a character activity!)
The next day we listened to Rockin' In My School Shoes.  After reviewing the chart from yesterday, I split the students into small groups and gave each group a copy of the book, sticky notes and a smelly marker (because smelly markers make every activity more fun!)



This was a super activity for cooperative learning and gradual release, which happen to be major buzz words in my district this year.  I heard great dialogue while circulating during this activity.  I was impressed that they were all taking turns reading the pages and identifying the action verbs.  I even heard them helping and encouraging each other if they couldn't decide if a word was an action verb.  (Would have been an ideal time for an administrator to do a walk through, LOL!)
Finally we regrouped on the carpet and added our verbs to the chart.  They had to listen to what each group added to make sure they did not add the same verb.  They did GREAT!!!
We have a two day week this week!  I love that it is a short week, but there are so many cute Thanksgiving activities I have to cram into those two days!
Meredith