Thursday, January 24, 2013

Penguin Time

Just a quick post to show off my Interactive Math Bulletin Board.   We are doing a nonfiction penguin unit in Reading and learning how to tell time in Math.  My class makes these super cute cut and create penguins every year. (BIG listening and following directions activity!)
This year I used some of them on an interactive bulletin board.  (The rest will be used in our Gallery Walk in the first grade hallway....more to come on that soon!)  I made the clock bellies with clip art from Scrappin Doodles.

Sorry the pictures are not the best, I snapped them with my phone on my way out the door this afternoon....on my way out the door for my LONG weekend!!!  I get tomorrow off for the Teacher of the Year banquet tomorrow night!!!  Trying not to brag, but I am very excited.  It is supposed to be 74 and sunny tomorrow and my mom arrived from Indiana this morning.  (Where it is REALLY cold.)  She is here for the weekend and the banquet.  We are going to have a nice relaxing day tomorrow. I am sure soaking up some sun will be on the agenda!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How To Writing Pack

Just a quick little post to let you know about a new writing pack I posted on TPT tonight.  It is 17 pages.  Students can write How To Build a Snowman or How To Draw a Snowman.  Writing pages are included.  My team is using the How To Build a Snowman prompt for a formative assessment soon!  I will let you know how it goes.
Click the picture below if you want to check it out.  It is only $2!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Generating Questions

Students will generate questions.
Was anyone else worried about this Common Core standard?  Well, I was!  I think that I ask pretty good questions and my students usually give pretty good answers!  My students can even tell you if a question is a Right There question or an Author and Me question.   I mean, I teach the enrichment group, I ask them enriching questions and they give enriching answers:-).  But, have the students ask the questions?  First of all, I am the teacher, I ask the questions!  Second of all, they DO NOT understand what a question is.  You know what I am talking about.  During a lesson, on a field trip, when we have an assembly or guest and the students are asked, "Do you have any questions?"  They ALWAYS tell a STORY!!!

So, yes, I was a little worried.  Okay, a lot worried.  It is what I chose for my DP.... DPP...IPDP....that professional goal thing I chose to work on during the school year!
I have been modeling asking questions before, during and after reading all school year.  After Winter Break, I started handing the questioning over to the students.  Guess what?  They ROCKED it!

Here is what we did.
We made an anchor chart with question words.
I kept using "I wonder" as a stem.  This REALLY helped them generate question words!
Next I showed them the cover of The Hat by Jan Brett.  (We were in the middle of a Jan Brett author study.)  We came up with some questions.   Then I read the story.  I had the students raise their hands if they figured out an answer to one of our "before" questions or came up with new questions.  I wrote down any new questions.  At the end of the story we came up with some more questions.
The next day I showed the cover of Hedgie's Surprise.  This time I gave each student a sticky note and they had to write their own Before Question.  Most of them came up with some REALLY good questions.  They placed their stickies under Before.  Sorry, I don't have a picture of the poster!  We continued this activity with several other Jan Brett stories, focusing on the Before and During questions.  In the next few weeks we will be working on using deeper level questions and what to do if our question is not answered in the story.  And we are going to try this with non-fiction!

Beware of the word If!  They think it is a question word.  I let them use it at the beginning, but am now guiding them to choose a question word that can take its place!  (Notice it is on our anchor chart, but has a * by it!)

Moral of the story....first and second graders CAN generate questions while reading literature!  Several times this year, I have stepped back and given more responsibility to the students.  I admit that this is not easy for me, but every single time I have "given up control" I have been impressed with what they do and the discussions they have on their own!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Florida Snowmen

It was 81* here today....It is January 12th!  Welcome to winter in Florida.  Mother Nature makes it a bit challenging to teach winter around here!   I decided to use this as a writing activity last week.

First I told the students about the snow I experienced in Indiana over Winter Break and showed them a few pictures.  Next, I read There Was and Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow.  You all know what happens at the end....a snowman pops out!  This led to a discussion about what would happen if we made a snowman in Florida!  (And of course, we ALL had to share our stories of playing in snow, being in a blizzard, etc.  Most of which were not true a bit exaggerated since most of my little lovelies have never been out of the state of Florida.)
I gave the students this planning sheet to write their own stories.
It is nothing fancy, but it worked.  (I MIGHT have decided to do this activity the last Sunday night of Winter Break and I MIGHT have whipped it up right before I went to bed so I would keep my sanity the first day back from having 2 weeks off.) The students added little notes to help them when they wrote their stories.  Click the pic ABOVE if you would like a copy.

FINALLY, we made these cute "Florida Snowmen".
Thank you Jennifer from First Grade Blue Skies for the adorable craft idea!  She has a lot of great ideas.  Go check out her blog!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

FABULOUS Flash Drive Giveaway

Check out this AMAZING giveaway at Rockin' Teacher Materials!  It is grade level specific, so it is perfect for everyone.  (My Winter Math Unit is one of the first grade prizes!!!)  Click the pic to enter.