background

Sunday, August 31, 2014

What We Have Been Up To in 1 & 2

Yup, you read that right.....1 & 2! A couple of days before school started, I was offered a 1 & 2 combo/multi-age/split (whatever you want to call it) class.  I have heard, "Oh, I am so sorry!"  "I will be praying for you."  "Bless you."  While those people meant well, they were wrong.   I was so excited at the offer, I JUMPED at the chance and have loved the first two weeks of school.  I am not going to sugar coat it, it has been very hectic and I am already playing catch up.  Remember I said this happened a couple of days before school, so I didn't have long to move classrooms, color code everything and plan!  Plan....yikes!

One of the BIG plusses of having a combo class is the kids!  (My 18 students were pretty much hand picked......ssshhhhhh, don't tell anyone!) I love having many of the same students as last year.  They AND their parents were just as excited as me.  I was a little worried how the parents would feel about a combo class.  So far, they are all VERY happy!  I have 9 first graders and 9 second graders.  All of which are hard working, well behaved, good students.  Right now I am integrating as much as I can.  Like I said, PLANNING is the biggest obstacle.  It is a good thing I am slightly extremely OCD.  Daily 5 Reading and Math Stations are my friends and saviors!  They will allow me to spend time with each individual grade level once we become independent with them.

Since I have been so busy playing catch up, I have done very little creating.  All of the things you are about to see are ideas from other teachers I found on Pinterest, blogs or TPT!   I am trying to be very creative so my second graders don't feel like they are doing something they did last year.  (With the exception of Zero the Hero....they were appalled when I suggested they would be doing something different during Calendar Math time!)

Like all of you, we focused on rules and procedures the first week.  I used a No, David! activity from Angie Neal at Fall Into First's .  You can find it for FREE on TPT {HERE}.

 I made tracers from the templates.  The kids used construction paper to trace and create most parts of their Davids.  They did the mouth and teeth on their own! Their personalities really showed through!

Check out Rule #2....Don't take your shirt off.   For the record, we did not discuss this as a classroom rule!  Maybe I should talk the her Kindergarten teacher.  Lol!
Last week our theme was COLORS.  Our main texts were The Day the Crayons Quit, The Crayon Box That Talked and Yesterday I Was Blue.  

If you have not read The Day the Crayons Quit, you should!  It is fantabulous!  One of the activities we did after reading The Day the Crayons Quit was to write letters to a crayon apologizing and telling them how we would meet their demands!   This activity, along with many others can be found {HERE} and {HERE}.
My new classroom has a lack of wall space, so I am using every inch I can find!



Then we read Yesterday I Had the Blues and did a colors feelings activity I got from Lyndsey at A Year of Many Firsts.  Check out her blog post {HERE}.  (We will be using her You're Quite a Character unit this week!)
Sorry about the poor pics, you know how hectic it is and you quickly snap a few pictures when you have 2 extra seconds!
I was blown away by their ideas.  I mean, come on....stoked! That was one of my first graders.  Guess it is because we are a beachside school and surfing is a huge part of their lives!



Okay, I am off to PLAN and add more to my already stuffed TPT cart!  Have a great 3 day weekend!
Meredith

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Free Sight Word Game

Here is a Sight Word Game FREEBIE I created this week.  It is perfect for Kindergarten through 3rd grade and includes letters, Dolch Words and Fry Words.  Easy prep---laminate and cut!  The 3rd graders in my Summer Reading Camp are really enjoying it!   Click the pic for the link.


Meredith

Monday, June 30, 2014

New Units...Flash Freebies

I posted 2 new mini units this weekend.   They will be free until I get home from the beach this evening!  Click the pics below to grab a copy.
Feedback is greatly appreciated:-)

Meredith

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