A side of writing with my interactive reading, please!

Long time, no see. I've been having a blast in first grade, but I've been too busy to blog about it!

This year one of our campus goals is to write more, m o r e, MORE by incorporating writing in all subjects. I have a designated interactive writing & writer's workshop time, plus Daily Five has the Work on Writing component so I routinely get in writing multiple times during my reading/language arts block. On top of that, I've been getting in a little extra writing on Fridays during interactive reading time and a craftivity too :-) For example, a couple of weeks ago, during interactive reading, we focused on finding the problem and solution in all of our stories. We read The Three Little Pigs and The Big Bad Wolf is Good. On Friday, we wrote about Wolf's problem and solution and then made a Wolf craftivity to accompany our writing.

I'm pretty good at looking at an illustration and sketching out a pretty close likeness, so I draw a template and cut it out. Then, I trace it a few times and cut it out in stacks of 5-10. I think I only cut the wolf three times - my template and then two stacks of ten. Stacks of construction paper can be cut easily with heavy duty scissors. I precut all of the pieces to save time. Otherwise, we would use up an hour of our day cutting out all these pieces. No bueno!

This is what we wrote:
Problem: Wolf does not have any friends.
Solution: He decides to be kind, be useful, and do a noble deed.

In this case we used what we had already discussed and written on our anchor chart, so the kiddos just copied the sentences. But sometimes, I come up with a sentence starter and the students must complete the sentence on their own.

Next, using my document camera and a guided craftivity kinda method, I walk the class through the steps of drawing and glueing the pieces onto to the paper in the correct order. The kids looooove the craftivity, plus we get in a little extra writing too! I always make sure a student has completed the writing component before they start on the craftivity. If a student wastes time then the writing gets done, but not the craftivity. This is an incentive to stay on task.

This week we are working on text to text connections. We are reading several versions of Cinderella. You've got to see my Dinorella craftivity. Soooo cute! I'll take pics after we make them on Friday.

Have a great week,

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Peek at My Week

Hiya friends,

I've got two weeks of first grade behind me. Maybe in about thirty more weeks I'll feel like a "real" first grade teacher. Right now I still feel like a sixth grade teacher pretending to be an elementary school teacher.

If I could remember to document my days in pictures, I'd have lots of great images to share. But I get busy teaching and forget to play photographer. I did snap a pic of the David craftivity I made...probably my favorite from the first week of school.

I traced David's head from one of pages in the book to use as a stencil and just free-handed the other parts. I think it turned out super cute <3. Except that my version looks a little vampire-ish. Ha! First, we made an anchor chart called "Good Students". I drew a picture of David in the center and then added the kid's descriptions of what students do around the illustration. I have a pic, but I wrote the students name beside their comments so I'm not  sure about posting it here. After reading David Goes to School,  we compared what we discussed to David's behavior in the book. Then we decided collectively that if we could tell David something it would be, "David, Follow the rules!" So that's what the we wrote on the lined paper that we glued underneath our Davids. Here's a pic of how they turned out:

You can't read my bulletin board in this pic but it says "Mrs. Elvir's class...Mmmmmm, I'm loving it." The kids names are written on the french fries inside the medium fry containers McDonalds gave me. I saw something similar on Pinterest a while ago and wanted to replicate it for back to school.

Here's an abbreviated look at what we are doing this week:
Shared Reading - Look at picture clues to help identify words
Daily Five - We've been doing awesome at Read to Self, Read to Someone and Word Work. This week we will introduce Listen to Reading and Work on Writing. 
During word work we use Words Their Way. It involves sorting words and pictures. I need to white out the "g" on Wednesday and the smudges are where my one year old walked across my chart paper. 
Interactive Read Aloud - Identifying problems and solutions
Phonemic Awareness - First, middle, and last sounds 
Interactive Writing - Letter positions, spaghetti & meatball spaces, capitals at the beginning of sentences and correct punctuation at the end of sentences

Writer's Workshop - Why writers write, choosing a topic, what writers do when they're done, writing tools
Math - Telling time to the hour, addition & subtraction review
We are going to use the poem and many of the activities in Ashley Reed's Chloe the Clock pack (FREE).
We are going to play the Safety Sums game and Math Match-Up game from Readan Tunstall's B2S Math Centers($).

We are going to use Katie King's Subtraction Mats (FREE) and play subtraction bump. 
Science - weather
Social Studies - Texas and U.S. pledge and flags

Anyway, my husband is trying to convince me to get up extra early to do P90X so I gotta get to bed!
Have a great week,

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{Back to School Recap} A comparison of first and sixth grades.

Dear friends,

Boy! I've been busy...but you understand. There's no tired like teacher tired the first week of school. I read that quote on Facebook or Pinterest and it's T.R.U.E.

I've spent two whole weeks as a first grade teacher and I love it it! There are, however, a few things I miss about sixth grade:

  • My former co-workers
  • Long conference periods
  • Fewer duties
  • Lunch that I actually sit down to eat
In middle school my conference period was typically an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes depending on the day's schedule. Now I'm down to 45 minutes. When I taught sixth grade, I had bus duty after school for one week out of every nine week grading period. Now I have lunch or recess duty daily and car rider duty every.single.day. This is a huge adjustment for a middle school transplant. The first week of school I think I ate standing up in my room while preparing something without fail five days in a row. This NEVER happened in middle school. Oh, and I think I will miss novels. We read some really good novels in sixth grade. 

My favorite things about first grade so far are...did I mention I L-O-V-E it...
  • Firsties love me...literally, I think,...the number of hug requests I get per day is phenominal.
  • The kiddos are excited to learn and they really WANT to impress me.
  • The books...books are incorporated into everything! Shared reading, guided reading, interactive read aloud, read-alouds, Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, etc.  
  •  Brain breaks. Have you ever seen a six year old attempt to dance along with The Backyardigans while singing "I Gotta Feeling"? Too cute. Or waddle like penguins around their desk? Cute some more. 
  • All the neat-o, sorta ridiculous things I get to say everyday. For my middle school buds, let me explain a couple of my faves.
"Peanut butter jelly time!" - When we come to the carpet, my kiddos are paired. One is peanut butter and the other is jelly. When it's time to turn and talk I say, "peanut butter jelly time!" 

"Class-Yes" - This is our attention getter. Students mimic my tone and the number of times I say "class" when they respond to me by saying "yes". I think it's particularly cute when they try to mimic my deep body builder voice and flex their biceps. 

I'll close with my two favorite quotes from the first week of school and I'll be back this weekend with pictures of a few lessons/activities from the first couple of weeks. I realize a post without pics is a bit of a bummer, but I'm worn out. 

(Looking at pics of me with my family)  
Firstie, "Mrs. Elvir, is that you?"
Me, "Yes, when I had longer, blonde hair."
Firstie, "And you were skinnier too."

(same student, different day)
Firstie, "Mrs. Elvir, Are you having a bad hair day?"
Me, "What are trying to tell me about my hair?"
Firstie, "Well, your hair is wiggly today."
I wore waves instead of straightening it. Ooops. 

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