Welcome back! Our second year together has had an amazing start and the students and I are excited to share our learning and experiences with you. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts with us as well. Enjoy exploring!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Our first month!

We have just finished our first month of first grade, if you can even believe it, and boy have we been busy doing a lot of fun learning and activities!

The past couple of weeks math time has been filled with learning about patterns, sorting things in many different ways, creating designs and shapes, and racing numbers. Last week the students worked in pairs to sort different math materials that they have been working with such as bugs, sea creatures, buttons, and frogs. I was astonished at how many ways everyone came up with to sort...71 the first day and 82 ways the second day! We decided that this is a class of master sorters.

We have also been hard at work learning about being respectful learners. This means we are doing really good listening when others are speaking and we are respecting everyone's ability to do their own thinking. This means as well, that we are giving everyone time to think and not yelling out answers. Boy, do we have a lot of respectful learners in this class, which is great because every time we see respect happen during math we get a sticker on our poster and once we've reached our goal a surprise will follow!

Writers Workshop has been going wonderfully. We have been really working on writing stories about things that we have done so that we can add a lot of details since it is something that actually happened. I shared with them a cooking fiasco story, I will let them fill you in on what happened, so that we could start brainstorming some ideas and talk about how our illustrations match the writing. We have also introduced two types of Author's Share; one is where we share in front of the whole class and the second is a "pair share". I was amazed at how well the students did reading their pieces to the class and explaining their work, they are naturals. Also, as audience members, the kids did wonderfully listening to the speaker and making positive comments or asking interesting questions. They also did great working with a partner and listening closely to what the other person had written (some pictures of this can be found in the slide show that will be following shortly).

For Readers Workshop the students are doing well using their book bins and making smart sitting choices for reading in their own space. The students also came up with a great list of reading strategies and what to do if you get "stuck". We are just starting to learn how to find "just right" books and Guided Reading lessons began today! You will start to see books coming home with them that we have read together and for them to read to you. We have talked about how becoming expert readers takes a lot of practice, but that they are well on their way already!

Lastly, we just completed our final Senses Workshop on Friday where the students mixed with the rest of Synergy and learned about the last sense, which was the sense of sight. We played a game of coseeki (they really love this one) and used tiny dots of sand paper to write our names in braille. The challenge if they finished early was to close their eyes and see if they could feel how many dots were in each letter, I was blown away by how they could feel the different dots. It was really great to see the first and second graders help each other throughout the activity--they did so well!

Stay tuned for the accompanying slide show, working out a tiny glitch and it should be up soon!

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