Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New games, Writer's Workshop and Lego boys

So sorry I have not updated since the beginning of January.  I seriously can't believe how fast this month went.  We have been writing up a storm in class and soon I'll have photos of our Writer's Workshop sessions.  We started making books.  We had to take time to learn the mechanics and sentence structure first.  In past years I had the kids making books from September, and the creativity was there, but all the other components were not.  I, personally, have a hard time conferencing with my students on one skill at a time.  I was editing at all the mistakes.  So I decided this year to take the book writing slow and spend more time on directed lessons in writing for the first half of the year.  Really spend time on what writing is and how to become a skillful writer.  It has paid off.  This group is having a blast writing their own books and I am enjoying reading them instead of correcting them all the time.  The focus on skills has transitioned them into strong mechanical writers as well as creative authors. Wheew...glad that choice worked out.

I posted some new games and web sites on the reading, math and science/social studies tabs at the top of this blog.  Hopefully, the kids have time to use them at home.

Below you will see the creation the boys made last Friday during free play social time.  There were some definite leadership qualities being developed during this session.  The boys were so proud of their final product that I had to take a picture.  Still not sure what it is exactly, but it's cool all the same!

Looks like a Space Station to me.  What do you think?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Back in the swing of things

So, it was back to reality this week.  It was good to see that on Tuesday morning I wasn't the only one yawning my way through the Pledge of Allegiance.  My firsties were big sleepyheads too.  After my sweat pants and I broke up so I could run off with my "Teaching" clothes, and an extra cup of coffee in the school's new Keurig, I was right back in the swing of things.  We hit it hard with a spelling pretest and a new story in our red readers (Treasures to all my teacher folk followers).  We wrote what life would be like if we lived in snow globes (an idea I got from First Grade Blue Skies) and made a craft.  My firsties didn't know what hit them.  It was like we were never off for all those days.  In the afternoon we jumped our way along the biggest number line they ever saw.  As I unrolled it along the classroom floor all I heard were "Ooohs and Aahhhs" which I love.  It's like music to my ears.  They couldn't wait for their turn to show me how to add on that thing. Fun times. Fun times.  This busy day was my excuse for forgetting to give out Justin's birthday cupcakes before the end of the day.  YIKES!  Don't worry we ate them for breakfast Wednesday morning.  What... you never ate a cupcake for breakfast?  Come on!

The rest of the week went just as well.  Jam packed with new centers and chapter books at the Guided Reading table.  Yes, you heard it....chapter books.  More Ooohhhs and Aahhhs.  As many times as I tell the kids that there are many, many picture books with way more challenging vocabulary than some chapter books, they still walk a little straighter and taller when I give them a chapter book to read.  So, I made sure to find various levels of chapter books to use this week in GR.  More fun times!  Then I showed them the cool book club packets I bought from TPT that they had to do after reading and the Ooohhs and Aahhhhs disappeared suddenly.  Little stinkers.  However, we worked together on the packets (which was my plan anyway since it was their first time doing them) and by the end I had my smiling firsties back in sight.

All in all we had a great week.  And we ended it with Gianna's birthday cupcakes, which I did remember to give out before the day was over this time!