Do Your Personal Best!

This week in the Patience Fruit Stand the firsties continued to develop their understanding of what it means to do their personal best. They wrote books, drew pictures, and sorted stories to illustrate their thinking. The firsties learned what it means to give their “4-Star Effort” every day!

20150904_17161820150904_17161120150904_171604

20150904_16322120150904_163133

They also learned about what it means to be a good citizen, not only in our classroom but also in the outside world, and began to investigate what it means to be an American. Ask your firstie to tell you about some of the American symbols they learned about or the fancy word for “freedom.” We also introduced the idea of voting and that presidents are elected while choosing a class mascot. As your firstie to tell you about Crocky and Fluff Ball and which one we chose! Don’t be alarmed if your child won’t tell you who they voted for. We learned that voting is serious business, and no one should ever have to share their personal choice if they don’t want to! 🙂

20150904_145339 20150904_145325 20150904_145218 20150904_145032 20150904_144951 20150904_144934 20150904_144845 20150904_144825 20150904_144709 20150904_144616 20150904_144559 20150904_144425 20150904_144411 20150904_144334 20150904_144324 20150904_144257 20150904_144032 20150904_144012

The firsties have been working on building stamina in readers workshop. They learned this week how to read to a partner. Ask your firstie to tell you what it means to sit “EEKK!” and how to stop, think, and check for understanding. At home, practice choosing “just right” books with your first grader by using the 5 Finger Rule. As your child begins independently reading a text, have them put up one finger for every unknown word. If they read through the page with 4-5 mistakes, that book is too difficult. If they only put up 1 finger, that book is too easy. If they read through and put up 2-3 fingers, that book is “just right,” that is, challenging enough to allow your child to build reading skills while not causing your child to become frustrated or give up.

20150904_094212 20150904_094147 20150904_094121 20150904_094105 20150904_094041 20150904_094030 20150904_094008 20150904_093952 20150904_093939

In writers workshop this week the firsties have been focusing on writing “small moment” stories. In first grade, many children write stories that sound something like this: “One day I woke up. I brushed my teeth. I got dressed. I ate my breakfast and we drove to school. At school I played and painted. After school I did my homework and ate all my dinner. After that it was bedtime. The end.” Sound familiar? I call these “list stories” because they simply list everything the child could think of to add detail to the story or lengthen it. Instead of writing list stories, writing about a “small moment” invites the child to choose one small part of the day or event, focus on it, and expand it. For example, instead of writing about every single thing I did when I went to Busch Gardens, I might choose to write about riding one roller coaster. I would add details describing what I was thinking, feeling, and seeing as I prepared to ride, rode, and disembarked. This type of writing allows children to practice adding 5-senses details and explore a singular topic in-depth. To help your child develop this skill, instead of asking, “how was your day?” you could tell them to describe their favorite part of the day and then ask more questions inviting them to give details. How did that experience feel? What did it make you think? How did others react? It takes time for writing to develop these qualities, and we will be using a variety of children’s literature to demonstrate and model this kind of writing.

We have been practicing using many different math tools over the last week to help us learn to use them properly, use “math talk” while working, and review familiar concepts, such as patterning, comparing amounts, number formation, addition, and counting to 120. The firsties have been working independently, in partners, and in groups as they practice the skills they will need for our workshop rotations. They are almost ready to begin our full workshop time! It is important for children to be able to work both independently and in cooperative groupings for skill and social development, and so that I can also work with small groups to assess learning, challenge deep thinking, and provide intervention and remediation for those that need extra help with difficult concepts.

20150903_121441   20150903_12130120150903_12133820150903_12125520150903_121346  20150903_121244 20150902_130450 20150902_130448 20150902_120816 20150901_134400  20150902_120738 20150902_120741 20150902_120801 20150902_120811 20150901_134326 20150901_133725 20150901_13433620150901_12081620150901_121418 20150901_121113 20150901_120917 20150901_120837 20150901_120833 20150901_120819  20150901_120805

We read Fireflies! by Julie Brinkloe and began an artistic response piece. These multi-step pieces are beautiful, and almost complete! Look for them in the hallway soon!

fireflies

This week we also learned about Cain and Abel and wondered whether or not each of them gave their personal best to God. Ask your child which brother gave their personal best and which one gave his leftovers. We learned that even when we don’t give our personal best, God (and our parents, too!) still love us, care for us, and want to protect us. Ask your firstie to share with you how God did that for Cain!

20150902_141139

I can’t wait for next week!

Advertisements

A Marvelous Mid-Week Meander

As my Granny used to say, “Well, foot!”  Ha!  I never got around to posting anything about last week.  Since I’m super stoked to share about our field trip on Monday, I’m going to give a little mid-week update and a glimpse into what’s coming up.

We’re five weeks into the first quarter, people.  FIVE WEEKS.  I think each year goes by a little faster than the one before.  I think each year is a little busier than the year before.

Speaking of busy . . .

I know I usually post a LOT about our literacy learning, because hey, “that’s my THANG, y’all!” but I wanted to take a moment to put a little spotlight on math.  In first grade, we do a lot of workshopping.  It works, because it teaches children to be independent and take responsibility for their own learning.  It’s also great because it allows me to continually assess individual children and meet their diverse learning needs, often one-on-one or in a small group.  It also gives students repeated exposure to concepts that “spiral,” or build upon one another, gradually increasing in difficulty.  Not only do we workshop our learning for reading and writing; we workshop for math, too.  Here are a few photos of our work over the last week:

ImageImageImageImageImage

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

On Monday of this week, the whole school took a field trip to Atlantic Shores Baptist Church in order to hear Ken Ham and Buddy Davis present a Biblical perspective on dinosaurs.  It was such a great overview of how the Bible explains the existence of dinosaurs and the mystery of their extinction.  I found this video that gives a nice little summary of all the things your child learned on the field trip.  Obviously, Mr. Ham and Mr. Davis gave their presentation using really cool videos, catchy music, and interesting visual-aids, but this will give you a general idea.

Dinosaurs

If you’re looking for something a little more in-depth, check this out:

Coming up, the firsties will be diving into all things Fall.  I can’t wait to get started on the science of apples, pumpkins, trees, and (always a firstie favorite) bats!  My house smells like pumpkin pie (not because I’m actually baking; I just have a delicious-smelling candle burning) and I’m looking forward to my fourth pumpkin spice latte of the season tomorrow morning.  I love this season!