Thursday, September 29, 2011

Writer's Workshop

We started Lucy Calkin's Primary Units of Writing last week and it is going pretty well.  I have set up my classes "Writing Kits" like this...

They all have a folder which is labeled Drafts and To Publish. 
We made "Writing Groups" which are different colors.  I put each groups materials in an old Saxon Math box. 
On the front I have the group members numbers.  We have writing captians which are in charge of getting their groups materials each week.  I pretty much just go down the numbers. 
Inside each box is each child's writing folder, blue and black markers and new paper. 

It has been really fun to see the kids apply the skills they learn during mini lessons to all their writing.  I have seen Bucket Notes with words underlined because they aren't sure of the spelling but just wanted to get their thought down on the note.  I plan to have moms from my class come in for publishing and editing at the beginning of November.  I am still looking for a good set up to house all the materials we use during writing workshop.  I have begged my husband to make a 2x3 large cube system for me but he insists I just buy one at Target.  I don't think it will fit the space I have so I am still looking. 

 The kids love the mini lessons and helping me come up with what I should write.

They also enjoy the after workshop share! 


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How 1st Grade Does "Words with Friends"


Yesterday I introduced the Work on Words component of the Daily 5 to my class.  While blogstalking this weekend I came across this fabulous worksheet by Michelle Oaks.  While doing my grocery shopping this weekend I picked up some boxes of Scrabble Cheez Its to share with my firsties.  "Munch a Word" along with "Stamp Your Spelling Words" was perfect way to get my kids excited about Work On Words.  I challenged them to come up with 5 words in each column.  I will definitely have to have a follow up mini lesson for each activity but it definitely got them hyped about practicing their spelling and sight words. 

This week I also plan on introducing Spelling Tiles, Sight Word Games and Word Sorts.  We will practice them as a class for about two weeks and then I hope to put on a few at a time for those children who pick Work on Words for one of their D5 rounds.  I downloaded Erica Bohrer's Read the Room worksheet on TPT and hope to use that as well but I am not sure if it is intended or classifies as word work.  I am guessing it will in 1B :)


Something to Smile About

Our reading and math programs require us to test our chilren on material weekly.  For the first month of school I work on teaching my firsties how to take tests and how to check their work before turning it in.  Last year I use to have the kids put a check on their paper to show me they had checked their work.  I found that several didn't know how to make check marks or made them backwards.  This year we have switched to Smiley Faces.  I told them that when they check their work it puts a smile on Ms. Lovelace's face.  During math we go section by section to make sure every blank has something in it, every question has an answer and that we have done what was asked.  At the end of a test I say something like, "Welp, we're done!  Bring me your wor-" and even before I can finish someone says "Stop, we didn't check our work!"  I have had doubts about whether this was all sinking in until I was checking homework a couple days ago and came across smilies on diferent kids homework sheets.  Can I just say this made me beam?!  I would love to know what other teachers do to help their students learn study and test taking skills.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Windows Live Test

Trying out Windows Live in hopes it might be an easier way to post pics…  These are from my I-PICK lesson a few weeks ago.  IMG_0121The kids had such fun trying to help me pick out shoes and loved trying to guess what my Vibrams were for.  I think I might have to do a follow up lesson because my littles are still having trouble finding books that are Just Right.  This past week we started Unit 1 in Treasures and I found that having the main story as a must read during R2S time is a good approach for now.  I am hoping that my kids can add shopping for books to the morning routine after this week.  So still working on implementing D5 in class but we are getting closer to having all in full swing.  Really interested to read how other teachers do basal and D5 together..



Friday, September 23, 2011

An award for me!?!

So Mrs. D at The Silver Lining, has awarded me a Versatile Blogger Award!  I must say I am just happy more people than my sweet Mom are reading this blog.  SO thanks to Mrs. D for the shout out I really appreciate it.  Per the rules, (I really don't like the word per by the way) I am to share 7 things about myself in this post.
  1. The Golden Girls is one of my favorite shows.  I watched it almost every night before bed when I was in college.  
  2. I tend to use a lot of !!! and CAPS in my sentences.  I am loud in person and almost always excited about something so I think that using a lot of exclamations is how I carry my personality over to the online world. 
  3. I have 3 beautiful children! AJ, Ko and Pie are my LIFE and my HEART!  

     4.  Most of my clothes come from Ann Taylor Loft.  
   5.  I have an Erin Condren addiction.
   6.  I am currently struggling to kick my Red Bull habit, but have bumped up the 12 oz until I do
   7.  When I am working hard or concentrating on something I stick my tongue out.  

Now I am supposed to pass the award on to 15 newly discovered blogs... (since I am new to reading teacher blogs this is easy peasy!) 

  1. First up my team teacher Mrs. Cap, who just started blogging and is using it as a great tool to communicate with her students parents!  
  2. Cara Carroll at The First Grade Parade.  Must say I visit her site at least 3 times a day!
  3. Abby at The Inspired Apple.  Another one of my top faves!  I stalk her and Cara!
  4. Jenn from Finally in First, designer of my blog and great resource for awesome ideas, rounds out my must visit daily list! 
  5. Leslie and Erin over at the First Grade Fanatics 
  6. Kristin at A Teeny Tiny Teacher
  7. Mrs. Lochridge at First Grade Factory 
  8. Kathy at First Grade ala Carte who has some awesome games and other goodies. 
  9. Kelli at Castles and Crayons.  I am loving her D5 activities!
  10. The First Grade Connection, is a great place to find lots of info. 
  11. Christie at First Grade Fever has great spelling activities! 
Will have to edit later to add the last three as they are on my home computer and I am already so late getting this posted :)


I Heart Pinterest!!!

 As I have mentioned before my school use the Treasures Reading program.  We started the first unit this week and I have been struggling a fun way to introduce my kids to plurals.  I didn't think the worksheet would be very effective on its own and started looking online for suggestions.  So of course I log onto Pinterest and start seaching, last night by chance I came cross the Concentration Noun Games that Kathy has over at First Grade a La Carte.  Can I just say this was the perfect thing to drill plurals into my kids?!  I set up the cards under my Elmo camera and set up a game of them verses me.  I pulled name sticks and let kids come up to fill over cards to match the nouns.  When they flipped they had to tell which showed more than one and how they knew (without using the picture as a guide).  If they couldn't identify the plural noun or tell me the "S" was the clue I got a point.  They got a point for every match they made.  My kiddos were having SO much fun!  At one point one little girl said "Oh, Ms. Lovelace has no points."  I asked them if they really thought I was worried about winning, they said "No, you just want us to have fun!"  I had to laugh at the look on their faces when I told them "Nope, I really care about you learning you are learning!  This morning you walked in not knowing the word plural and now look at all of you you get it!".  I am happy to report that all of the kids got the plural questions right on the assessment.  More importantly though, they practiced listening skills, worked together and had fun learning the material!  So I'll say it again, I LOVE PINTEREST!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

1B is filling Buckets!

After reading about Bucket Filling from Ms. Carroll I quickly ordered the book from Amazon.  As soon as I read it on Friday night I knew this was something I had to bring into my classroom ASAP.  My one concern was that I don't have a lot of space for a really cute display with real buckets.  I saw the idea of using library pocket cards on What the Teacher Wants and decided that would work perfectly on the back on my cubby wall.   This is what our bucket filler board looks like. 

I read the children the book on Monday and we got to work on coloring our buckets.  Since Monday was also back to school night I decided to have the kids write their parents a bucket filling note and had the parents write one in return while they were in our class.    I made this really quick in Power Point and  had each of my students fill them out. 

It was so sweet to see what they wanted to tell their parents in hope of filling their buckets!  One cute one said that no one looked better in black then his Mommy! 

I brought out the bucket filling forms for the kids today and let them each write one to a friend to get them in the habit.  They had so much fun doing that and also coloring their bucket filling coloring page.  

I did notice that all though they came up with great ideas about what they wanted to say to their friends they had trouble putting it on paper.  We came up with the 4 most common phrases they wanted to use and I made some "Bucket Filling Ideas".  I am going to laminate these tomorrow and post them on our board to help them start them off on what to tell their friends.  I am unsure of making more or just letting them try their best to come up with what they want to say.  I must say they came up with such cute ideas after we brainstormed these four!  


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away...

indoor recess is no fun! Actually wait in 1B it always seems to be.  Maryland has been getting a lot of rain this week and my little firsties definitely need to get OUTSIDE but I am determined to show them that they can still have fun when it's indoor recess.  First up was teaching these newbies my favorite indoor recess game when I was a kid... 7-Up!  They loved it and were asking if they could please play again even if it they were supposed to go out.  I should mention we have two recesses a day so I have to find ways to fill both when we stay in.  Since it is only the second week of school I am trying to highlight different things we can do so eventually they can vote and have more say.  The second recess activity I introduced was 4 corners.  This game was also met with great enthusiasm.  Now for the kids that prefer to stay seated and do something quietly I brought out my drawing paper and had everyone free draw during lunch recess today.  This isn't always a favorite but I find that some kids like having the option to be creative or even just be alone for a bit.  I have a small collection of drawing books that kids can check out or they can really free draw see what comes to them.  Depending on how things go tomorrow I may try and share of my love of Connect Four and Uno.  Later on in the year we have Uno tournaments with our 4th grade buddies so I need to start prepping them now.  I have a few other board games I share with my class as I see they are ready.  My favorites seem to be the ones I played as a kid i.e. Sorry, Operation and Lite Brite.  Depending on where you live there are some great coupons out for many Hasbro games this week and next week Kmart is doubling them!!!  Once I think they understand the importance of cleaning up and putting all the pieces back I will bust out the Legos.  Once the Legos are out indoor recess time will be full of fun choices to please all.  Of course this is not to say that Ms. Lovelace doesn't love outdoor recess too!!!  


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

What are you reading?

My sweet Mom, knowing how frazzled I get once I leave school and am rushing to daycare to pick up my younger two has, been calling me around 4:30 to see how I am doing and if I am on my way. Most days it is highly unlikely that I am. I have so much to read about and brush up on before the next day of school that I get wrapped up and never leave as early as I say I will. If by chance I don't get it done at school then I come home and read after dinner and bedtime stories. I read in my Teacher Planner that to teach is to learn again.
If this snapshot of my dining room table is any example then that is completely true. At the moment I am rereading The Daily 5 lesson I have planned for the next day which I compare it to my Daily Five for Dummies file, I am also reading The First 6 Weeks of School and Lucy Calkins Primary Units of Writing. When I have some free time I pick up my latest copy of Runners World Magazine or Family Fun. All this to say I love reading and fully believe it is the best gift I can give my students and children. When I want to learn more about something or how to do something well I immediately start finding books on the subject, I may be one of the only people who learns to run by reading a book about it.
Now on to my kiddos... They are now reading for 6 minutes during Read to Self and tomorrow we start Work on Writing. I am also introducing how to shop for books and the I-PICK lesson. I plan to taking in my new Viabrams, even if its just for an opportunity to wear them so more. When we discussed how to pick where to sit I was once again impressed with their ability to internalize what I am saying or suggesting and make it there own. Here are a few quick pics of my firsties.


Friday, September 2, 2011

I hope there is a method to my madness

Now you maybe thinking what in the world is that?!  I am sure some of the parents how got this in their child's take home folder thought the same thing.  I'll be honest certain things get to me more than others.  Case in point having to explain to children all year where the margins are and how to use "first grade paper".  So yesterday while having my students number their papers for the Words Their Way assessment a light bulb went off and I realized they needed a lesson on how to properly use handwriting paper.  So we scrapped the numbering and started with clean sheets of paper and markers.  I had them fill in all the white spaces with red and explained that just like on a traffic light red meant stop, don't write here.  We found the side margins and colored them over in black.  I then had them skip the first line and number each other line in yellow.  Yellow means slow down only numbers go here.  I had them find the top of the paper and write TOP so they new that the large white space signified this is the top margin.  In green marker I had the kids write Name and then fill in every other line green.  Some of them attempted to write:  This is where you write your answer.  This is where you share your story, This is where you show what you know.  From the pictures I think they liked it and I hope it helps them remember how to use the paper.  But then again I am the teacher who has a dance party before mass to get out the wiggles (at the same time hoping it doesn't get them wound up) and passes out gummy worms while reading.  Oh and the Words Their Way test (?) I decided not to pick that battle and numbered the papers for them :D 

Always- G


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Daily 5 Day 1...

I feel like there should be Jaws music playing with the intro!  We had our first full day of school yesterday and I start Read to Self and the Daily 5.  My kids LOVED it!   I stole some ideas from Pinterest (shocker) and allowed them to chew a gumball while they read.  It was amazing to hear littles talking about how they felt when they worked on reading to themselves for 3 minutes.  They had great suggestions on what might help them maintain their reading and build stamina.  They made full use of the room and made themselves comfy in different spots to sit and read.  I am happy to report my seating crates were well received as well!  We discussed 2 of the ways to read a book and made some anchor charts to refer back to.  As soon as I make our final drafts I will post what my firsties came up with.  Tomorrow we begin day 2 and I have already had requests for more gumballs.  So far I am sticking with the Daily 5 for Dummies guide I found on ProTeacher.  It is so helpful and if you are debating whether you should attempt the D5 it is a must!  The first two stories we read where No David and David Goes to School.  They were great for introducing the D5's Read to Self Lesson.