Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect?

You and I both know that perfect is not what we want at all!  Nothing is perfect!  We want improvement!  Gains!  Strides!

I have never taught a perfect day.  I always strive for better....my best. But I can't expect my students to be perfect just as I can't expect myself to be perfect.

Today we made great strides in learning our first grade routine.  It was bumpy, messy, but successful for sure!  Each day we practice to get better....but no more perfect!  Noticing the small things helps keep us encouraged.  One day at a time!

This week I began posting our objectives and to make my life simpler, we slide the page right into a clear pocket from oriental trading.  No cutting or stapling at all.

 editable objectives found here

One routine we have is daily review of letters and sounds!  We began with just our letter sounds and boy did I gush that my students could read a 26 page book!  #geniuses All smiles after this one!

I introduced our word work drawers.  We only practiced the first activity from the week's drawers.  But I got them locked and loaded for the next few days of training using activities that will grow with us as we acquire new sight words weekly! 
 These activities come from 
 Reviewing Kinder Sight Words while practicing graphing!

 Students at the writing center are digging the first activity from my Engaging Writing Activities.  Today I modeled picture Prompts and then some students tried out the writing center and didn't want to leave!
 Flurry of creativity....
 We also checked the box for iPad Citizenship today!  Students did so well on their reader's workshop practice, that they unlocked the iPads! (not literally but more like unlocking a level in a video game) We watched the iPad Essentials video tutorial and then broke into small groups to check our understanding! 


 For our math workshop lesson we created a life sized number line!  This will be a staple in our room to introduce many new concepts!
 This goes into a tub for students to build with simple tasks to do once built.  It's a great long lasting favorite.

 We also practiced a round of math tubs and enjoyed clip counters from Friendships and Fundamentals!

For the last hour of the day I was so thankful to have this little number!  We read two Clifford books, filled out the organizer, and wrote a Clifford shaped piece about our favorite big red dog!  We love Clifford books now! 

How is your first day, week, or month going?  Let's remember to strive for progress NOT perfection!  It's just been on my heart so much!  I hope I am not the only person that needs to really think on that!  Have a great week!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Kick Start Guided Reading!

Hi!  Last week was my first week back to school.  I am so thankful for Labor Day! My body and mind can really use an extra day to recover!

Back to school time is a beautiful fresh start but along with it comes a lot of training!  Today, I hope I can share a helpful tool to make our training run smoothly! 

First, I created some guided reading posters to help introduce building stamina, reading workshop, and 3 ways to read a book!  These are always monumental mini-lessons that I refer back to for the entire year of reading instruction!  I went for it and had them made into posters at Office Depot!

They are 18 X 24

You can get these free in my store here!  (If you need math, I have that free too)

 We practiced our reading stamina three times our first week and our best time was 8 minutes!  (I may have looked away when one stray eye met mine)

I made a hand drawn chart to keep track of our progress.  One more way to get that graphing in there, right?!  Next week, students will  put this same information on their own graph to keep in their portfolio.

 (this was after day one)


Once we have learned the different literacy options for guided reading, I am ready to implement a rotation system for our small group time!  Woo-hoooo!  It's hard not to jump right in.  I keep reminding myself that slow and steady wins the race....

Do you have a rotation system?

After making the Math Rotation board a couple weeks ago, I had requests to make a guided reading board too! 

I also made a power point that can be projected for students. (There's an option without teacher table in the rotation)

I made sure to add technology options for those teachers that have access, but to keep it general for all teachers to find what they need! 

Happy Labor Day!

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!  :)