"Love is caring, hoping, and growing. Love is wisdom and sharing feelings. Love is dreaming and healing." Yes, one of my kiddos wrote that! No, seriously! He did! He just turned 7 last week! We finished up our report unit a little early so I wrote "Love is..." on the board and sat back to see what would happen. I had the typical "Love is when mommy makes breakfast." "Love is hugs and kisses." And then...I got that darling little number up top. The only thing I helped him with (when it was already done) was a stray period and removing that pesky silent e in the words caring, hoping, and sharing. What 7 year old uses the word wisdom?! He is such a cool kid!
I may teach first grade, but our lives are still impacted by state testing. Our gym/music schedule got flip-flopped for the next two weeks, which means ours is now in the morning. This also means that we get 3 hours of non-stop quality time with our darlings in the afternoon. That is a looooooooooooong time to be stuck in our rooms. My kiddos do their best work in the morning, that's how I get so much out of reading and math centers. Did I mention a storm rolled through Monday and it has been raining and cold ever since? This adds to the dilemma because we have had indoor recess. There are less than 30 days of school left, our kiddos are done, and now you expect us to be locked in our rooms?!!! No thank you!
Pinterest to the rescue! I found Adventure to Fitness. It is free to sign up and there are dozens of animated videos for the kids to watch and "workout" to. There is a guy, "Mr. Marc", who is filmed against a green screen navigating through various locations. The kids have to run, hop, jump, and climb their way through the adventure. The videos are about 30 minutes long and the kids are exhausted when it's over. Yesterday, we traveled through a volcano and today we were chased by dinosaurs. The best part is that they give facts about the topic along the way. I didn't allow my kids to get loud, however I'm sure the kindergarten room, below us, didn't appreciate our stomping feet. Oh well, what are you going to do?
We have been sooo busy! We began discussing fractions in math and did this cute activity to go along with it. You can grab the paper from The First Grade Parade. Cara's blog is fabulous!
In reading, we have been focusing on non-fiction text features. Our students are required to know: table of contents, photographs, illustrations, bold words, and headings by the end of first grade. We worked hard on it for 20 days and then did this awesome activity to summarize what we had learned. It is called Text Mapping. You can find out more about it here. We copied 6 non-fiction books and taped each one into a long scroll. We then went to the gym to lay it out and start our scavenger hunt. We "mapped" or circled/highlighted each text feature in a different color. The first day we only worked on one book. The next day we headed back to the gym and got into teams of 4. Each team had their own book to map. I called out a color and a text feature and they worked as a team to find all of them. It was neat to hear all of those "big kid" words being used. "No, that picture looks real, it's a photograph. We need to find illustrations."
I took one of our books and cut it in half to display it in the hall.
I created a color coded chart to display with it so that our fellow students and teachers knew what we were working on.
Yes, I know these books are not "first grade friendly". However, our focus for this activity was on the text features, not on comprehending what we were reading. Comprehension of non-fiction books occurs during small groups and the previous 20 days of this unit. ;-)
I can't wait to use them! It feels like a huge weight has been lifted off of our shoulders. We got new S.S. standards last year and we have been trying to scramble to figure them out. Now, everything will be short and sweet! These work just like a Scholastic News. No more big text books that weigh almost as much as my kiddos. Each week is aligned to our state standards and includes online resources, graphic organizers, activities, etc. It's super kid friendly and eye appealing!
It is a sad, sad time, in our building right now...no more colored ink for the printers. What kiddo wants to play with black and white centers these days? I'm not about to sit there and color each game piece. Thanks to an idea from Pinterest and a little Easter gift from my teammate, we are trying out a new idea. Foam centers! Yes, it means I have to write out the cards, but no laminating and no cutting! (I am trying really hard not to obsess about my ugly handwriting!)
Check out the new math and literacy centers I just posted!
Apparently, I'm on spring break. Who knew? I have been working like crazy on a variety of fun stuff for TPT!
I have been contemplating posting my reading and writing units for some time now and finally decided to dive right in. Here is the first writing unit! I am so excited and feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders!
It is 10:30 at night and I rode 4 horses today. Even the dog is begging me to go to bed. Good night!