Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back to School

I have officially made it through 3 weeks of the new school year.
Tomorrow will be day 18.
Lots of changes going on this year.
New grade: I'm in first in case you missed that post.
New classroom: About as far away from Kindergarten as you can get, but I'm right next to the cafeteria!
New grade level team
One thing that has not changed this year is my class!
I LOVE looping!
Our first 2 weeks have been so smooth because 14 of these kiddos were my kindergarteners last year.  We do have 6 new friends, but they have fit right in.
I was a bit nervous about the beginning of this year because I'm very new to first grade.  In kindergarten, I knew exactly how to start off the year, how to start introducing my routines, etc.
Well the majority of my kids already know my routines this year, so we kinda just jumped right into everything else.
All summer I was looking for things to make sure that this year wasn't exactly the same as kindergarten for these kids, since they would have the same teacher.

One thing I know I like is to have morning work where the kids come right in, know exactly what to do, and I can talk with parents or handle situations if needed while my kids are occupied.
So right now we are going with handwriting.
I didn't stress handwriting too much last year because they were in kindergarten and were learning letter formations.  But this year, I want to see some awesome penmanship.

I tried to make it a little more fun by letting the kids use a highlighter to trace and write the letters first.  Then they go back over their letters with pencil.

I also have big plans for reading and math workstations this year.
One of components of both sets of workstations will be journals.
I want my students to be able to look at my example journal and know exactly what to do, independently, so that I can meet with a reading or math group.

But before I can expect my kids to do these independently, I modeled, they practiced, I modeled some more, and they practiced some more.
We've been doing journals whole group for the past 2 weeks, with me doing an example first while they watch.
During workstations, they will only have 15 min to complete these journals. So last Wednesday-Friday I timed them so that they would see what 15 min would feel like when they were working.
It rocked their world the first day because they realized that they wouldn't have time to talk and goof around.

These tidy tubs, which I've seen all over blogs and Pinterest this summer, have been a lifesaver and timesaver.  Last year it would drive me nuts that my kids would visit and chat with each other on their way back and forth to the trash can. 
Now, there's no excuse!
They throw their cutting trash, no food or drink trash allowed, into their group's tidy tub and then a designated student empties it when it gets full.

While the kids work on their journals, I would leave my example projected for the students to reference.
I really wanted them to get used to the formats, so I tried to choose a variety to showcase throughout the past 2 weeks.
Right now all of my phonics journals are coming from Teaching with Love and Laughter's Kindergarten Phonics Interactive Notebooks, check it out here.  But when we start getting into the first grade work next week, we'll start the first grade version.

The math journal templates came from Karen Jones, check them out here.

Wiggle Break!
Go Noodle is awesome!!

A bigger view of First Grade Blue Skies bus craftivity I showed us making a few weeks ago.

Lots of work display area out in the cluster this year.

We actually did this on our first day after reading the story First Day Jitters.  I love that story!

In addition to showing the students different journal templates that they will be using in workstations, I've also been showing them different writing and word work templates that will also be in there.
This super fun dice rolling game for sight words is from Reagan Tunstall.  I love that it works with an words you want.  So we may use spelling words or sight words to practice.

Lakeshore games are still a big hit in first grade!
Good news since this is a fun activity to do the 10 minutes before lunch when I send the kids to the bathroom one at a time.

And more Go Noodle!
They beg for the Field Trips.

More phonics journals from Teaching with Love and Laughter.
My kids love all the flaps and pockets they can make in their journals.
And they do a great job with making sure they cut and glue the right parts.  Modeling has definitely helped.

Time to empty the tidy tub!

Another gem that will soon be in our word work station is from Teaching with Love and Laughter's Writing Activities Menu.
We created our word searches together.  I picked some sight words and then let my students write the words into boxes wherever they wanted, I just told them the letters had to touch.
Then we filled in random letters.  By the way, I was doing an example on the Promethean Board while the kids completed theirs.

Then I had my kids switch their paper with a partner and complete each other's word search.
Some thought it was blast, others thought it was the hardest thing in the world.
I'm loving the backwards checkmarks on the paper above.  I told the kids to check off each word when they found it.

But I thought this would be a fun word work activity and now they'll know what to do with it when they see it in workstations.
First grade has afternoon encore, so one day I came back from picking up kids to my desk looking like this!
Some of my kindergarten teachers snuck into my room while I was gone and messed up my nice neat desk!

They were witnessed fleeing the scene of the crime giggling.

So I told them they are not allowed in my room unaccompanied anymore :)
You won't know when or how, but Cindy and Dana, I'm coming for you.

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