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!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wow! Hard to believe we are already coming up on the half-way mark in November. Boy, does the time fly when you're having fun in first grade!

The kids have been busy in math making a sea star quilt and crab chart to help in counting by 5's and 10's. Their math artwork is both beautiful AND useful! When discussing the final product the students made really remarkable connections to patterning and counting. By knowing that there are 10 legs on one crab and 21 crabs on the chart, the kids worked together to discover that there are 210 legs in all--we called this a "ground breaking observation".
Also in math they have been learning how to "Justify Why" and back up their thinking with because. They get so excited when they hear someone explain why and we get to add a star to the Justify poster, it is really great to see. The poster that is up for respecting others' thinking time and math connections is also getting quite filled up with stickers, which means I have a class of respectful mathematicians!

We are wrapping up our first writing unit on Personal Narratives. They have been working very hard on having clear beginnings, middles, and ends, with capitals and punctuation. We have a "punctuation station" in the classroom where there are three commonly used marks; a period for the end of a telling sentence, an exclamation point for the end of an exciting sentence, and a question mark to ask a question. We have also been on the look-out for these while we are reading and boy are they quick to find them! Last week we also began to discuss how to "jazz up" our writing pieces with verbs and adjectives. The kids came up with quite the list of verbs, there were suggestions from luge to jogging.

During Readers Workshop we have been working on reading to a partner, helping each other with your favorite reading strategy. It was amazing to see the students spread out around the room so actively listening to their partners read (there are pictures in the slide show below). We are also currently working on how to "stop and jot" something that you notice about the pictures or the words on a sticky note while you are reading. Today we discussed that readers notice how they react and feel when reading a story. We read Peter Reynolds' book, Ish (one of my favorites), and we stopped to discuss how we were feeling at different parts of the story. At one point an older sibling is picking on a younger sibling and someone said that they felt helpless. I was blown away with the list of feeling words they came up with.

Today was our kick off "Friday Workshops" where all of Synergy gets a chance to mix and mingle to do different activities throughout the team. Computers, clay-play, a trip outside, Kiva Explore...the options were all exciting and the kids did a great job making their choice in the morning and being flexible thinkers if their first choice filled up. We met as a team in the Kiva where the kids got to share compliments about a classmate that they noticed was representing one of the three school rules of being Safe, Kind, or Responsible. It was wonderful to hear the positivity and see all the hands that went up.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Friday, November 5, 2010