Earlier, I blogged about our money, monsters, and robots theme this week. Today we made robots to go with our reading story "My Robot". We also made our own monsters today and brainstormed adjectives and verbs to go with our monsters. Tomorrow we will use these words to write cinquain poems. We will also make a Double Bubble Map comparing and contrasting robots and monsters. The kids are obsessed with this all! I also got really good stories from them yesterday about where the monster went when the kid in the story told him to go away (Go Away, Big Green Monster!).
I know this looks like complete chaos, but the kids think it's the greatest thing ever. They LOVE their robots and monsters.
(I love the arms on that left robot... such personality, just like the student!)
Here are my bags of 'Monster Munch' that the kids will buy with fake money on Friday. I posted the labels in a previous post.
This year I discovered the amazing word family poster set from Carson Dellosa. I laminated all of the posters and used a dry erase marker to write the words (this way I can just erase and reuse next year). The key to these posters being useful is actually writing the words on them WITH the kids. They came up with the words so they know they are there and use them when writing. Definitely among the best $20 I've spent on my classroom.
I've been very motivated this weekend to work on my team's upcoming animal habitats and classification unit. Mrs. Jump's recent Zoo Unit on TPT is a definite inspiration. I'm not overly thrilled with my station creation below, but I'm going to mat it on some fun scrapbooking paper.
This week my team will be teaching about money.... and what goes better with money than monsters and robots!?! It's kind of random, but I'm really excited about the week. For reading everyday, we will read and do activities with "My Robot" from our Harcourt reading books. Our writing will be all about monsters. (We will be doing a Double Bubble Map to compare and contrast robots and monsters.) During math, we will be exploring money. And our Social Studies block will focus on goods and services. Since we plan as a team, some of the items were created by other teachers... keep an eye on Ms. Fleming's blog to see if she posts some of her creations.
Again, this is a half page (double-sided) in an effort to save paper. This is an independent practice activity after a whole group lesson. I will also be adding contraction stations into my literacy rotations.
My school uses Thinking Maps. They are a really great way for kids to organize their work.... and they are used beginning in K so kids become very familiar with them! This week for Working with Words, I am doing a lesson on adding endings to words. This is a Tree Map for my students to record the original word and how it is changed by the endings. (There are 2 on one page in an effort to save paper.)
Having desk plates or name tags is a pretty important resource for 1st graders. When I switched over to tables from desks, I couldn't find a name tag that worked. I not only wanted their name on it, but also the alphabet, a number line, shapes, and right and left. The only ones available at the stores were ginormous and consumed all of the work space on my tables so I created my own. I just change the student name and print them on colored paper (to match the chair pockets). I use 2 pieces of rolled scotch tape to secure them to the table and then use a big square of clear contact paper to protect them. I usually change seats every nine weeks. They come off very nicely and are easy to replace. (The key to the contact paper is not having any bumps or the kids will pick at it.)
During my first year of teaching I had the joy of 23 little student desks in my classroom... rows always moving and getting crooked, little hands constantly inside of their desks touching things, random papers exploding from the inside of the desk. Ugh! At the beginning of my second year, I had the opportunity to trade in my desks for tables. (Of course, there was some bartering involved with this transaction. Desireable furniture doesn't come easy around here.) Tables have turned out to be one of my best decisions. Last year, however, I had no organization for the student's materials. This year, my co-worker (from Teach it with Class) and I were set on coming up with an organization solution. We put together a supply caddy for the middle of the table and taught ourselves to use a sewing machine to make chair pockets.
These caddies did not come easy! We searched high and low for the perfect caddy and containers. We actually found the yellow basket at Walmart in the automotive department. Then, we found some cute ribbon to weave and hot glue around the top. The small rectangular containers were also very hard to find. I ended up finding them at Target (Up & Up brand). These hold each student's crayons. The lids have an address label with their name on it. The green cups are hot glued into the basket and hold their pencils. I suppose you could also put other materials in there like scissors, glue sticks, or highlighters.
These chair pockets were so simple to make! I've never used a sewing machine before and was able to make a whole class set. The hardest part was finding fabric that was affordable. You need about a yard for each chair pocket, I think. Each table has a different color chair pocket so I call them by colors to line up or move around the room. The chair pockets hold their work folder and reading book. They are very easy to wash... just be sure there are no hidden treasures inside!
This week I taught a lesson about blends. I decided to make a large blender on posterboard as a visual for my kids. I printed out various blends, laminated them, and put them on the blender with velcro dots. I really wish I would've made this at the beginning of the year and added individual blends as they came up, but now I'll have it for next year. First, I reviewed what a blend is. (We use a program called Secret Stories. It is AMAZING! If you've never heard of the program you should really check it out. It's kind of pricey, but you could write a grant to get it. Check it out: Secret Stories.) Then, we went over the sounds of each blend and added it to the blender. To practice identifying blends, students were then given a recording sheet and their reading book and went to a quiet place in the room to write down any words they found that began with blends. I've done a few of these "book searches" lately for different skills and I've never had such a quiet classroom-- they're so involved and intent on finding as many words as they can. *Some of my kids were calling the blends 'blenders' today... they make me smile!
To make the blender I just found a clip art online and made it big in a Word document. Then I taped my posterboard up to the Promethean Board and traced the lines being projected. (I guess that's a little tricky if you don't have a board like that!)
One struggle that my students have is punctuation. Many of them just put a period and call it good. Today I did a lesson focusing on just the question mark. First, we found all of the words on our word wall that we knew were question words. Next, I recorded all of the question words we could think of on a big poster that I had cut out in the shape of a question mark while the students recorded their words on a question mark on their paper. (I wrote the words on the poster with the first letter capitalized to stress the fact that if a sentence begins with that word it will end with a question mark.) During this whole time, I had the kids spell the question words they were giving me and use it in a sentence. As a follow up, students independently completed a practice sheet (that is attached below). The majority of students seemed to grasp the concept very well... now we'll see how they apply it in their writing!
Okay, I think this might be my last post today... I just can't stop!!! I use this activity at stations. Even my highest students often struggle with proper sentence structure so I figure any extra work they can get with it will be helpful. I have glued the cover sheet on the front of an envelope and will store the sentence strips and full sheets in the envelope. The students will choose 1 strip (there are multiple to choose from so they aren't copying their neighbor) and one full size sheet to glue their sentence onto. I'm hoping the repeated exposure to proper sentences will encourage them to start using "2nd grade sentences" in their own writing. (I try to push their efforts by talking about moving up to 2nd grade next year!) Enjoy!
I've been very busy searching and creating this weekend! A co-worker of mine spotted this amazing idea on a blog called Second Grade is Splendid!. You should really check it out... just scroll down on the page to see the details on how to make this magnetic money pig. I already had the paint and acrylic spray so I just had to pay for the magnets ($6 @ Walmart) and pan ($1 @ The Dollar Tree)... and of course the money that is used on the project! Thanks, Ms. Durning for the great idea. My kids will really love using this during our daily calendar routine!
Here's another great literacy statioin for spring... practicing with Long A word families. (Here is a sample of the station. Just click on the link below to download the entire file.) I printed the cover page and glued it on a large mailing envelope. The pieces and recording sheets will be kept inside.
I've been inspired by all of the amazing teacher blogs I've found recently so I wanted to try it for myself. This is a fun literacy station for springtime. All you need to do is buy some plastic eggs and write onsets and rimes on them with a Sharpie. (I also decided they needed a cute basket for storing!)