Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back To School: The First Two Days

We are two days into the school year and I feel like we have covered so much and yet I am staring straight up at a steep mountain we have yet to climb in first grade!  

It's so exciting to get to do all the new firsts with a brand new class, but we all know that being out of a consistent routine takes a LOT of extra effort!  I'm currently sitting with feet up listening to calm soothing music trying to preserve my last ounces of energy! 

Here's what we have been up to in room 119!
We began our day with the first page of the rise and shine.  We did it together and only worked on the first page. 
 (I didn't take a picture of it our first day.  This was from this morning as I was able to wander and give encouragement rather than direct teach)
 Students were able to reference mine if they got stuck.
 We took our beginning of the year writing sample which I will keep until the very end of the year.  I will place this right next to an end of the year writing sample and we will marvel at how far we have come! 
Activity from School Beginnings

We made a flow map with clip art to help us with the morning routine.  This was so helpful on day two!  Students were so cute walking up and checking the flow map to see what to do next! 

We learned our first poem and added it to our new poem binders.  This was cut up in the pocket chart.
We read it, found kinder sight words, mixed it up, put it back together, sang it, and then illustrated the poem.  I don't have a poem unit or anything like that!  It's just a hodge podge of poems that go with our words, spelling pattern, units of study etc.  I didn't write them! 

 I introduced math workshop in the form of building stamina during exploration tub practice.  This was my favorite time of the day! I was walking around listening to students and they were so excited to have some hands on fun!

Our exploration tubs

 We had to focus on reading workshop too of course! 

We practiced  reading around the room and building our stamina! 

 Students also each shared a ME BAG of three items from home with the class.  We have done a few each day to help fill in some of the extra time we have since we aren't trained on our full schedule quite yet!  (not sure where this original idea came from)

Our first math mini-lesson was on letter formation.   We practiced letter formation and then made our own set of digits 0-9 on sentence strips.
 Next, we color coded our numbers to match our even odd number board that we use every day for our daily data. 

 I know you are focusing on the enormous watermelon here and that is "bait" as students learned that we will be using this watermelon for science this week as we learn about what makes a scientist!
We will ask questions, predict, and experiment!  Much like all the pumpkin fun we have in October.  This watermelon is going to end up missing tomorrow and we will go on a watermelon hunt around the school ending in the principal's office!  We also sang down by the bay and did rhyming activities!  We will read The Enormous Watermelon and compare it to The Enormous Turnip.  For math we will work on our counting skills with the seeds. 

 Also in the picture above is our All About Me Flip Up Book.  This was a life saver today!  We practiced turn and talk as we completed each page. 

 The flip up book asks for a favorite color so it was the perfect way to integrate using our word wall too!

Finally, today we all practiced using a math journal together!  This was the students' favorite of the day!  They kept saying, "This is so fun Mrs. Tonsil!" 

Can I please tell you about the tidy tub in the picture below?!?!  What an awesome addition to our classroom!  Place a tidy tub on each table and all the little scraps go right inside!  Students do not have to get up, and the floor remains clean!  This genius idea came from Nicole Alderson and I got these labels from Rachelle here.

The room is ready for another day!  Tomorrow students will come in and begin all over again!  
Off to snore!  :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Guided Math Rotations & Explanations!

This summer I taught a guided math class for my district.  I was able to teach this class 8 times with a mixture of 8 different groups of teachers grades 1-5.  Although I was leading these sessions, I also learned so much from the participants about what guided math looks like in a variety of classrooms.  I also learned about what struggles teachers have and what triumphs they experienced!

 I had many requests to create and share the rotation system that was working in my room....

Of course I kept telling myself that I had all Summer to make my new and improved updates....

Lo and behold it's the first week of school but here it is!

I created the acronym STACK!
Just like stacking blocks, students will stack up all the components of great learning! 

Let me break it down! 
Small Group-teacher table differentiated lessons
Technology-computer rotation  iPods/iPads
Apply-Skill practice, problem solving,  "apps", anything applying the skills!
Create-math journal, critical writing, critical thinking, group activities etc.
Kinesthetic-hands on!  This is the conceptual part of math, moving numbers, manipulatives, etc.

Many of my teacher friends this Summer were interested in only having 4 rotations rather than 5.  So you can be math CATS!
Small Group

Honestly the acronym doesn't come into play much in your system, but I wanted to be sure to hit on higher order skills so the acronym helped me build the system.  Then the play on stacking blocks just thrilled my teacher self to the core.

The idea here is to hit on the key components of guided math while also ensuring a high level of engagement and purposeful activities!

I have the wall version which you see here as well as the version you can project on your computer if you like getting fancy with yourself! 

What I like about this, it that it lends itself to many different resources.  Let's face it, we teachers have so many resources to pull from, but many times it looks different at different times of the year!  With STACK being so general, you can plug the resources you need into the area that you see fit!

This resource has all the visuals you will need for building a wall rotation.

 It also has the slides you will need if you want to make an electronic version to project in the room during the math block.  Note- the timer below is just a graphic, you will either need to time your students on your phone or use the timed transitions in power point to advance your slides.
(4 and 5 rotations are in the pack)

Looking for resources for each component of your STACK?
Here's some links to what I use!

Small Group
A Teacher's Math Resource
Variety of Math Games through the year

Johnnies math page
math facts in a flash
Xtra Math
iPad Essentials Math Stories
Teach Me (app) (you can pick your grade level)
Subitize Tree (app) 
Hands on games with a recording sheet
Daily Math Complete Set
Your Math Adoption Independent Work 
Problem Solving
Math Journal Semester 1
Math Journal Semester 2

Hands on with or without a recording sheet (This one is all about conceptual understanding not written understanding)
Big Bundle of Math Centers
Math Sticks

Thursday, August 21, 2014

School Tour Continued!

The last time I blogged, I shared some pictures from classrooms in my school.  I assure you we could do this every day for a month, and I would still have more to share! 

Tonight was our Meet the Teacher Night so before all the fun began I was able to visit a couple more classrooms to share with you! 

 First up, here is a classroom all set up for Meet the Teacher tonight!

I know these are not top quality pictures I took....I tell you I did not even check my camera settings.  I know you know how Meet the Teacher night is...I am lucky I even remembered how to point and click. 

One thing you will always see in our rooms is objectives.  We post daily objectives for every subject! 

Can you handle another SUPER cute classroom?

 Clearly I am not utilizing my cabinets to their fullest potential!!!  Can you even believe this!  I LOVE IT!

 We have these great big posters that let parents know which grade level they are visiting.  These are as big as I am!

 One of the cool things about our campus is that we have flex rooms.  They are terrific for grade level activities that extend beyond your own classroom.  These light bright gathering areas are located by each grade level cluster of classrooms.  This one is located in a central location so it is utilized as an art gallery!

 Here come the parents and students for Meet the Teacher Night!  Buster the Bobcat is out making kids feel excited about coming back to school! 
 We have a new theme this year.  We enjoyed the superhero theme the last two years and this year have decided on BE THE ONE as our school wide theme.

I have blogged about Meet the teacher before so I am going to spare you the details of tonight since you have been on picture over load!  If you want to read a past post about it just click the pictures below!