We have had a GREAT week and a half since my last post. BUSY, BUSY, BUSY! Here’s a little run-down of some of the things we’re learning.
In Reader’s Workshop, we learned that readers think and read at the same time. This “thinking about thinking” has a fancy word: metacognition. Good readers use metacognition all the time through the strategies they use.
We talked about what we should do if we’re stuck on a word and something doesn’t make sense. The firsties learned that we can “finger read” by tapping each word as we read, check the picture for a clue, get our mouths ready to say the sounds in the word, wonder “what would make sense?” or look for chunks in the word that we already know.
Check out our firsties practicing these strategies during Reader’s Workshop!
In Writer’s Workshop we wrapped up our learning about how to make great illustrations with some explorations of drawing books. The firsties were introduced to these drawing books as a resource. I can’t tell you how many times I hear children say, “I don’t know how to make a _________.” I always say, “Imagine that in your mind. What shapes do you see? How are they connected?” To help us grasp that concept, we put a series of drawing books in our Writer’s Station. Children can use them to help complete an illustration when they just can’t figure out their idea.
They are already a big hit!
We have also focused on how writers and illustrators use labeling to help their readers understand their message. Labels tell the reader the names of things. We read many books that use labels, including Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert, and books that maybe SHOULD have used labels, like Of Colors and Things, by Tana Hoban.
We practiced how we can use labeling in our writing, and many children decided to use labeling in their own stories this week!
In Bible, we wrapped up our learning about Noah’s Ark by building our own arks! Many children thought building arks out of shoe boxes and construction paper was REALLY hard, especially because they had to design their own “gopher wood” paper themselves. We talked about how much more difficult it must have been for Noah and his family to build a real ark all by themselves, and why it took so many years to construct!
We also began talking about Jacob and Esau. The firsties got to feel some (faux) animal skins like the ones Jacob probably used to trick his father. They drew pictures depicting each son’s attributes and created a ladder covered with angels, just like in Jacob’s dream.
In Science, the first graders have been learning everything about apples and pumpkins.
We first made a chart of things we already know and wondered about apples.
We read Apples for Everyone and Up, Up, Up: It’s Apple Picking Time, and added to the “learned” column of our chart as we learned new things. We discovered all the parts of an apple, and learned that there is a star inside! Ask your firstie to show you where to find it! Many of us were tickled to learn that British colonists called apple seeds “pips.” Most of us called the seeds “pips” for the rest of the week. Hee hee.
We also conducted an apple taste test after learning that apples can be green, red, or yellow. Most firsties liked yellow apples best! We integrated a little math here through a pictograph of our favorites.
We wrapped up our apple learning with a delicious (and again, math integrated) lesson on how to make applesauce. Our classroom smelled AMAZING all day!
First, we borrowed Mrs. Alberson’s “Apple Peeler, Corer, Slicer” contraption to peel, core, and slice our 8 medium apples.
We added the pieces to the crock pot.
Next, we added 1/2 cup of sugar.
Then we added 1 tsp. cinnamon.
Finally, we added 1 cup of water.
It was already smelling delicious.
We set the timer for 3 hours and the temperature to high.
Every 30 minutes (or so) we mashed.
We turned the heat down to low for 2 hours.
And ultimately enjoyed what some firsties described as “the best applesauce I’ve ever had in my life!” One asked if he could have seconds, and then thirds, and then fourths. Ha! We had enough to share with Mrs. Stephens AND the 2nd and 3rd graders! They were happy campers, too.
We introduced our thinking about pumpkins by creating a Venn Diagram together showing how apples and pumpkins are similar and different. The firsties began by filling out everything they knew about apples. They knew A LOT! Then we read Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin Pie and listed ways that pumpkins were similar to and different than apples.
We created a little pumpkin “stained glass” artwork this week. It looks so festive hanging in our classroom window! Have I mentioned that I love fall?
Our math learning has focused on building numeracy skills. We are working on creating a chart for each number. So far, we have made 1-5. On each chart we write as many ways as we can think of to show that number. We typically include dice, ten-grids, money (just pennies and nickels so far), shapes (triangle for 3, because it has 3 sides), roman numerals, tally marks, hands showing fingers, the correctly formed numeral, the word form of the number, ordinal words, and sometimes even the number in different languages (so far we’ve included German, Spanish, French, and Italian. We’ve had to look up those spellings in language dictionaries for sure!). 5 isn’t pictured because it wasn’t on the wall yet when I took the photo. Oops! If you stop by the classroom, you’ll see it’s there now!
In Math Workshop we learned about telling and writing number stories. We practiced using a Change Diagram to write the “starting number” in the story and the “how much did it change?” number to discover the “ending number.” We always do math stories using units, so we always talk about “math problems” in terms of how many objects are being added or subtracted – never just the number. Children use manipulative objects (linking beads, counters, beans, toys, linking cubes, etc.) when showing their thinking to solidify this concept in their minds.
We learned how to play “Roll for 50” to practice counting forward and backward by 1s to 50, and learned all the ways to make 10 by picking up a collection of objects with one hand and seeing how many were left. My camera ate the chart we made to record our discoveries. 😦
We also began thinking about time. We discovered that a minute “feels really really long” when timing it. We noticed that it takes the same amount of time for the minute hand to go all the way around the clock as it takes for the hour hand to move one hour! 12:00 a.m. is called midnight, and it takes twelve hours to go from midnight to 12:00-noon! The first graders made clocks they will use in their “clock work” (get it? hee hee) for the rest of the year.
I think that just about covers it all. We are busy bees in the Patience Fruit Stand!
Oh wait! There’s more! I forgot about our October “Author of the Month!” He is Jerry Pallotta, author of the famous alphabet books that give details about everything from sea creatures to “icky bugs.” Ask your firstie about the first Jerry Pallotta book we read this week.
Have a blessed weekend!