Poetry Picnic, Word Surgery & More!

Dear week,
I am so glad you are over!
Thank you,
Mrs. Elvir

I'm so glad this past week is behind me. Me and my littles spent two days in the PE portable without desks or chairs or specials during state testing. The kiddos didn't seem to mind as much as I did ;-) We made it work, but I was happy to be back at the guided reading table on Thursday! Six weeks to go...

This week we worked on contractions, more poetry, more place value, and life cycles. We threw in some SHARK! activities and some Earth Day fun too. 

To celebrate the end of our poetry unit, we had a poetry picnic...errr...that's poetry writing stations disguised as a picnic just for fun. I covered each group of desks with some ancient gingham fabric that resembled picnic blankets. I made table center pieces out of plastic plates, plate stands, and large fruit cut-outs from Dollar Tree. I also created table cards that contained a short description and an example of the five types of poems we had learned about: rhymes, shape poems, tongue twisters, free verse, haiku, and acrostic poems. I put one card at each "picnic table." You can get them for FREE here.

"Robyn likes robot raccoons running from robot robins. Hunter likes hunting hyenas who have hundreds of pups."

The kids rotated to each picnic table and wrote a short poem in each style. Then, after all the rotations were complete, each child chose his/her favorite poem of the day to share with the class.  Actually, we ran out of time and will need to share on Monday.

I don't know about you guys, but I've been trying to get a little more creative with my classroom management techniques this week. I've got a few kiddos with summer-itis for sure! So, I busted out the 3D movie glasses. You know the ones that usually get recycled? I always keep them. I've collected a class set of glasses (between the 3D glasses and birthday party goodie bag glasses). Anyway, my student teacher passed out the "serious worker" glasses to kiddos who were working calmly and quietly and "seriously" on Thursday morning when we got stuck in 5th gear with our engines revved up.  Worked liked a charm :-) 

We read up on sharks and made a shark acrostic poem from Amy Lemons. I haven't met a first grader yet that isn't intrigued by sharks. And the kids did a great job working cooperatively. 

We made doctor lab coats out of white chart paper and them performed surgery on some words. I checked my charts and read my findings to the class. Some of the letters were sick and needed to be amputated. So the kids performed surgery to remove the sick letter/letters and then bandaged the word up with a band-aid. Good as new - minus a letter or two. 

Today was Fat Friday. About once per month a grade level(s) get together to decorate the teacher's lounge and host a lunch for the staff. This one gets the "most creative" Fat Friday of the Year Award for sure! It was prom themed and teachers brought their old prom pics and dresses for our viewing pleasure :-)

This one was my fave! I believe the owner said it was from 1985.

Every teacher got a "yearbook photo" and a superlative like "Most likely..." or "Best..." Do high schools still do that? My picture said "Most Energetic!" 

I guess all grade levels are going to need to step up their game next year for Fat Fridays. I can't wait to see who tops this!

Just reading about some of the stuff we accomplished this week makes me tired again! Thanks goodness it's Friday.

Don't forget to link up. I'd love to "see" what you were up to this week.

Surviving Until Summer!!!

Happy Friday! This week I'm combining the Surviving until Summer and Five Three for Friday linky parties. I'm short on my Five for Friday because of my horrible picture taking skills.

It's THAT time of year. The time of year when a teacher has to work extra, extra hard to keep students engaged (i.e. to keep them from going craaaazy). We've got a case of  the Talking-More-Focusing-Less-Not-Following-Directions-As-Quickly-Volume-Of-A-Rock-Concert-Blues in first grade. Here are a few things I'm tried out this week to get us through to summer!

This week I flipped our schedule to create some novelty. For the first 140+ days of school we followed this basic schedule:

Science/Social Studies

So this week, we did it all in reverse to add a little novelty:

Science/Social Studies
Reading Part 1
Reading Part 2

The kids think math in the morning is great and so do I. But I figured out that I like any subject in the morning better, because I do NOT prefer reading in the afternoon. I think school should be 8-12. Ha!

This is my second year in first grade, so my math class as been ever evolving. I'm still trying to find a "style" I like. My district got a new math curriculum this year. It is comprised of three main parts:

Short Interactive Video for Whole Group Time
Workbook for Guided Practice, Independent Practice, and Problem Solving
Math Games for extension

Anyway, I've been saying over and over, "I just think this would work so much better IF I interwined this curriculum with guided math and math tub rotations. I think I'll do that next year." On Wednesday I decided not to wait. After all, I've got twenty little scientists/mathemeticians ready and willing to try something new. They were very happy to be part of an "experiment" to see if they liked math this new way:

Short Interactive Video for Whole Group
Five rotations: teacher table, math journal, and three tubs with related games/activities

For now we are working on the workbook at the teacher table instead of as a large group. I like it more. The kids like it more. It's a win-win!

I busted out some "old" math tub games. These have Christmas lights on them, but it saved me some prep time (and sanity). These come from Reagan Tunstall's Big Bundle of Math Centers.

And, I found these old overhead projector place value tens and ones. Recently we've worked with Base Ten blocks A LOT, so this was a change. And the kids thought these flat, neon manipulatives were cool colors. Remember overhead projectors??? 

That's how I survived this week at school. Seven more weeks to go!

Poetry Smoetry

We are smack in the middle of a three week poetry unit. Poetry is sooo much fun in first grade! Here's a peek of a few of the things we've been up to recently.

My student teacher planned a fun lesson on alliteration. She started with an anchor chart that included the defintion of alliteration and some examples. Then, the boys and girls brainstormed words to go with their names on a chart of examples of alliteration. Next, the kiddos tried to expand on their line from the chart to create a silly tongue twister craft.

When we worked on haiku, the class voted on the subject. I have a student who absolutely ADORES his pet hamster and his admiration for the animal has spread to the entire class. Hamster won the vote! We brainstormed describing words and sorted them by number of syllables to help us stick to the 5-7-5 pattern of a haiku. Then we used heart tracers to create a hamster craft to go with our poems. 

When it was time to learn about using our five senses to create imagery in our poems, my student teacher planned a lesson around the Robert Frost poem Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening. Where we live in Texas it NEVER, I mean NEV.ER snows. So the kids could have a sensory experience, my student teacher ordered Inst-Snow Powder from Amazon. This stuff is amazing!!! It would also be great for a winter weather unit, Antarctica unit, and more. 

The next day we tried to use my daughters' toy food to inspire writing with our five senses. Each student chose a food to write about. One of my most reluctant writers compared his mushroom with an umbrella. That's progress, people! 

You can find these ideas and more on my poetry Pinterest board

Another Humpday Highlight in the books. 'til next time ;-)