Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Day in Our Classroom

When I first found out that I'd be teaching first grade this year, I was a little clueless about what a typical day in first grade looked like.
So I thought I'd have a little fun today and show you what a typical day in our classroom is like.
So this is what September 15, 2015 looked like in our classroom...
 Students may enter our rooms at 7:45am, so I usually get to school around 7:30.
I get most things ready for the next day before I leave school the previous day.
So 15 min is the perfect amount of time to get my things put away and get ready for our day.

Our BEE Book baskets (communication folders) usually sit over here by the sink.

But in the mornings I relocate them to my table so that I can go through BEE Books as my kids bring them in.

I check to make sure I've got all of my daily work ready to go.

I love using these little drawers to hold my daily work.
I put everything away in the drawers on Thursday or Friday for the upcoming week.  Everything is in order.  So the item on top is what we do first and the item on the bottom is what we do last.
Then all I do is work my way to the bottom of the drawer.
This works great if I have a sub too.

Next I get my diffuser ready.
I've been diffusing a blend of lemon, lavender, and peppermint lately to help with my allergies.
Plus the scent is very light yet fresh.

 Next, I'll get out our basket of highlighters.  If I forget, the first student will get them out for me.

At 7:45, my kids come in from the cafeteria and hang their backpacks up.

They get out the their BEE Books and reading books before coming into the classroom.

Morning work is sitting on their desks.
They get a highlighter out of the basket and get to work.

This handwriting set is available here from SunnyDays.

My students trace the top part with their highlighter.
Rewrite the highlighted sentences with a pencil.
Trace the words at the bottom with their pencil.
And then they may color the pictures.
I love having morning work where the kids come in and know exactly what they need to do.
They don't have to ask me for clarification on anything.
This frees me up to talk with a parent, take care of a situation, and check their BEE Books.

While checking their BEE Books for notes from parents, field trip money, or transportation notes, I usually go ahead and put their graded papers from yesterday into the left side of their pocket folder.
This way I'm not rushing around at the end of the day trying to get their papers together.
Click here to see my blog post about my BEE Books.

They are so good!
They haven't complained yet about all the writing, probably because they get to use highlighters, and I really feel like their handwriting is improving.

Final bell rings at 8am.
Time for our moment of silence.

The pledge of allegiance. 

Then we pass papers up and go sit on the carpet for our calendar meeting.

We do a few things on our calendar board.
This stays up all day so that the kids can refer back to it as needed throughout the day.

We then move on to our interactive calendar on the Promethean Board.
These are just flipcharts I created on ActivInspire that make use of my ridiculous amount of clipart.
Then we refer to our schedule chart to see what's going on that day.
I haven't found a good place to put this thing yet.  I tried to hang it on the wall with about 7 command strips and came back the next day to it laying on the floor.
So this is our schedule's temporary home.
Schedule cards available here.

We determine our encore class/classes for the day.

Then we check out the weather and label each day with the temperature.

So close to fall!

We've been working on counting by 5s.  So we'll count through our numbers aloud together.
On some days, if we have extra time, I'll freeze the screen so the kids can't see what I'm doing, then I'll use the colored dots to cover random numbers on our 100s chart.  The kids then figure out the mystery numbers.
They love this and ask for it all the time.

When the kids come to the carpet, they sit beside their PB & J partner.  This makes it easier to transition into our next activity.
BTW - I did not come up with PB & J partners, I saw the idea on DeeDee Wills' blog and thought it was a fantastic idea.  I love that when I split them up into partners, I can tell the Peanut Butter kids what their job is and the Jelly kids what their job is, and no one gets confused.  I introduced this last year when we were in kindergarten and it worked so well I brought it to first grade with us.

Next we discuss our picture of the day.
This is from Hello Literacy's Picture of the Day Volume 2 set - click here to check it out.  We used the Volume 1 set last year and since I looped with my kids and didn't want to repeat the photos, I bought her newest set.

First they make observations about the picture with their partner.
Then, when I draw their stick out of my cup they start their sentence with "I observe..."
Next they describe the picture and make inferences with their partner.
When I call on students they start their sentence with "I infer ____ because  _____."
Lastly, they will ask questions about the picture with their partner.
When they share with the group I don't make the kids start their question a certain way.  But many of them still say "I question..."
It cracks me up every time.
I'm in love with this activity!
Not only are they learning and using some pretty big vocabulary words but I love that they are learning to look closer and find out about things around them.  I'm hoping this will translate to their reading as the year progresses.

We've been sitting for about 15 min, so next we'll do some GoNoodle.
I usually switch between Brainercise and Maximo to get them up and moving, but not wild and crazy.
This week we've been working with Maximo and I think we were doing the Surfer Dude stretch on this day.

Next we transition in our reading series.
We use Wonders and I like it pretty well.
I really like that so many components are online.

We started off by reviewing our vocabulary words for the week and our new sight words.

Then we listened to our story.

Next up was phonics.  This week we were working on r and s blends.
I really wish they were introduced separately, but I am not a reading series writer, and nobody asked me.

Then the kids sorted r and s blend words.

Next we practiced reading r and s blends and matching them to the correct picture.

Someone needed to switch out their pencil.

Then I introduced possessives.
This was a brand new concept for them.

Sight word review was next.
Too many words that say to!

Next up was reading workstations.
These are loosely modeled after the Daily 5.
In reading workstations the students spend 15 min in each station:
  • small group (with me)
  • phonics journals (at their desks)
  • independent reading (in book nook)
  • word work (at their desks)
  • writing (at write site)
We go back to the carpet so that I can introduce our workstations for the day.
I always introduce workstations in the order they are listed on our chart.
So first I read off "Small Groups" and tell them what I want them to bring.  Sometimes its their reading book and a pencil, sometimes they bring nothing.
For phonics journals I've usually got their activity cut and glued into my journal, just so it saves time.  At the beginning when I was introducing these stations, we would do phonics journals all together as a class and I would model the cutting and gluing to make sure they didn't cut off anything important.
They tell me the date so that I can write it at the top of my journal.
I do a quick run through of what they need to do on their journal.

Then I place the items at the front of the room so that my students have easy access to their materials and my example.
The next station is Independent reading.
Right now that involves them choosing books in our Book Nook.  Later it will also include book boxes and Raz-kids on our chrome books.

Next up is Word Work.
Their materials for this station are always located in the tower with polka dots. (The other tower is for when we do math workstations)

I pull examples of each activity out of the drawer.

On Tuesdays we sort words with our phonics pattern.
This set is from Teaching with Love and Laughter - you can check it out here.

After the groups reads and sorts the cards together. 
They get this page out and complete it on their own at their desks.
I always put my example out where kids can refer back to it.

In writing we were using our sight word sticks to make sentences with our new sight words.
This is from Reagan Tunstall - check it out here.

After I do my example on the board, all materials are place at our Write Site and I hang my example on the wall.

I bought this really awesome timer from Amazon.  It lit up green when students started working to let them know they had time, then when they had two minutes left the light changed to yellow as a warning, and then when time was up it would turn red and play an alarm.
Great idea, but it didn't work.
So for now, I'm using the timer on my phone. 

I call out my first rotation and we get started.

Today we read from our reading book and then practicing r blends with this fun game from Reagan Tunstall - check it out here.

My kids are in love with these games.
I love that they are easy to get the hang of and then can be used with different skills.

I keep everything I need for this game behind my table.
The game boards are in the folder pictured above.
The recording cards are in a pouch inside the binder.
Eraser socks and dry erase markers are in a medium sized basket.
Dice and teddy bear counters are in a small basket.

Students roll the dice, move their teddy bear forward, name the picture they landed on, then write the r blend at the beginning of the word.

We did this again with s blends on Thursday.

When we finish each rotation, I have a designated student who changes the cards for me.
Students at work word and writing turn their papers in to a basket that is on the table beside me.  If they did not finish their work, it goes in a blue basket on the counter.  Then I read off where each group is going and we start the next 15 min.
My kids are starting to recognize the pattern of which center they go to next, so by the time I read them off, some have already made their way to their next station.  I plan to keep reading where they need to go for a few more weeks and then we'll see what happens.

When we're all finished with rotations, I do a quick check of everyone's phonics journal.
We usually have about 15-20 minutes to work on grammar, then its time for lunch.

We go to lunch in our number order, so no fussing going on here.

Our lunch menu.

The baked potato looked pretty good.

The lunchroom is usually crazy and the kids come back a little wild.  So we have a 10 min quiet time where they can lay their heads down while I play soft music.
When we finish with quiet time I call kids who were quiet and not playing to get a skittle.  If they were playing or talking during quiet time, no skittle.
Then we move onto math.
Some days we only have 1 encore class, so we have time for math workstations, today was not one of those days.
We typically do math work stations on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
Our math unit for the past few weeks has been subtraction within 10.
So we did some activities on the board (I forgot to take pictures) and then did some independent practice with counting back on a number line.
Then we worked in our math journals.

Then it was time for Music and Guidance.
And then recess!

I love having recess at the very end of the day.

We were the first class outside, so we got the playground to ourselves for a few minutes.

Then it was back inside for some snacks.

While the kids eat snacks I have them get their backpacks from the hallway and put them on the backs of their chairs.
Then I'll call them back to my table to do their behavior chart.
Next, after snack trash is thrown away and backpacks are all packed up, we'll sit on the carpet while I read a few chapters of Magic Treehouse.  (I love that these books have 10 chapters each, so I can read 2 chapters a day and we finish a book each week)
Then the bell rings and its time to go home.
Thanks for spending the day with us!

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