Gettin' Nonfiction With It & More!

I began this week at the SDE Conference for Texas First Grade Teachers in San Marcos, TX.  I had sooo much fun, and every.single.session I attended was awesome. I have pages and pages of tips, tricks, and ideas to try. I've already implemented a couple of them and I plan on dedicating a post to the new stuff I've learned after I've tried them out for about a week. You might recognize these teacher-bloggers:

Cara Carroll

I attended Cara's Putting the FUN into Your Math Instruction and Calling All Creative Writers! sessions. She covered lots of ways to keep students engaged with fun, hands-on activities.

Erica Bohrer

I saw Erica at Fitting It All into First: A Look into the Year of a First Grade Teacher. As teachers we are confined inside our classroom walls, so it was nice to "get a glimpse" into someone else's classroom and hear how she gets everything done.

I took a picture with Reagan Tunstall of Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits too, but it turned out blurry. Her sessions were absolutely phenominal! My favorite session of the entire conference was Become a Guided Math Guru! I also attended Math Centers: Hands-On & TEKS Aligned, plus Rise & Shine the Interactive Morning (which really detailed ways to make your entire day interactive). I've already tried out some of Reagan's tips and I'm lovin' 'em. Like I said, more details to come next week. 

Now, let's fast forward...back to school...

This week we are learning about expository text. I used a FREEBIE from The Whole Wheat Teacher to quickly make this anchor chart:

After we learned that expository texts teach us about a topic, we worked in peanut butter and jelly partners to figure out what a particular book was trying to teach us. Then, we searched for examples of text features. (I gave each pair a book about an animal that I checked out from our school library.) 

After we poured over these books and familiarized ourselves with text features like Table of Contents, labels, photographs, etc. we were ready to learn about penguins and point out the text features in our interactive read aloud text.

In math, I still have some kiddos that struggle to skip cout by twos, so I came up with this game on the fly today and the kids LOVED it! They wanted to play again at dismissal and again tomorrow.
I wrote even numbers from 2 - 36 on some foam circles and scattered them on the floor. Then, the boys and girls split into two teams. I started skip counting by 2s out loud, then when I stopped, one boy and one girl had to race to find the number that would come next and step on it first. The fastest player got a point for their team.

This week we are finishing up a unit on measurement. Today we walked the line (well, 8 different lines that I  put on the floor using yellow painter's tape) to measure distance using our feet.

Each student worked with a partner. After walking all the lines, the partners sat down and compared the size of their feet to their partner's feet. Finally, the partners compared their mearsurements to see that the child with larger feet and the child with smaller feet had different answers. For example, it took one child 9 "feet" to measure Line C, but it took his partner 11 "feet" to measure the same line. 

Then we reflected on our learning. I'll talk more about this next week. This is one of those things I learned from Mrs. Tunstall at the conference. My kids thought the lily pad game was the awesome-sauciest and the most puzzling too. They said is was "hard, but lots of fun!!!"

We also learned a little something about rocks this week. 

The kiddos brought rocks from home to compare and study, and I found this bag of rocks at Dollar Tree. Combine that with the rocks in our science lab and we had  quite a collection. I think my students' favorite part was trying to scratch their rocks with their finger nail, a penny, and a push pin. 

And making Pet Rocks was fun too!

Next week, our pet rocks are going to inpsire some writing.

Need a little teacher-spiration for next week? Check out what these other teacher bloggers shared about this week HERE: 

Teacher of the Year Sale + Paul Bunyan

This past week we tried to cram five days of learning into four days! We didn't quite get everything I wanted to done, but between meeting our new student teacher, spring pictures, my observation, and the middle of the year assessment window closing, we gave it our best shot. 

We wrapped up our unit on traditional literature with a tall tale about Paul Bunyan. Last year I bought this unit from Rachel Lamb. It's a really awesome resource!

I had some of the graphic organizers printed poster size and laminated last year. It sure was nice to be able to pull them out of the cabinet ready to go this year. 

We started off the week reading the story of Paul Bunyan. Next we discussed what larger than life abilities means. We brainstormed what some of our abilities are and then changed them into larger than life abilities. I can't recall what we came up with, but if a student said, "I can read fast.", we changed that to "I can read a 1000 books in one day."

The next day we focused on what an exaggeration is and how stories get exaggerated. We worked in Peanut Butter & Jelly pairs to determine which of two sticky notes could really happen and which one must be an exaggeration. You can read more about PB&J pairs in this post

Fast forward to Friday and we made this Pinterest inspired Paul Bunyan craft

I linked the PIN, but I have no idea who created this awesomely cute craft to begin with. I just looked at the picture and then free handed my own tracers to make something similar. 

I really wish we had had more time to read other tall tales and make some text to text connections, but it just didn't happen. 

In other news, I was voted campus Teacher of the Year! To celebrate I'm throwing a sale in my little store. 

This week I'm attending the SDE Conference for Texas First Grade Teachers on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday is an early release day. I'm so excited, but exhausted just thinking about it!

Now head on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to see what everyone else was up to this week.

The Three Little Pigs {Activities for Teaching Folktales}

I'm linking up with Mrs. Stanford's Class for her new weekly linky party. I'm a little late to the party, but I'm partying none the less ;-)

We are smack dab in the middle of a unit on Folktales. This week we learned about fables. To accomplish this we read The Three Little Pigs and some parodies of the story.

We began the week by reading a traditional version of The Three Little Pigs.Then we used this anchor chart to help us identify the elements of a fable and find each element in the book. 

The next day we read the book again. Then I gave each student a strip of paper on which I had written an element of a fable. During turn and talk each partner discussed what he/she remembered about the element written on the paper and what part of the text represented that element. (SIDE NOTE: We call turn and talk "Peanut Butter - Jelly Time". One student is "peanut butter" and the other is "jelly". I say, "peanut butter" and the class calls back "jelly time!" and then partners turn to face each other. Peanut butter (partner 1) can add to what Jelly (partner 2) knows and vice versa.) Then, the partners decided which element (either partner 1's element OR partner 2s element) they were more of an expert on. Peanut Butter wrote their expertise on a sticky note and Jelly stuck the note on this chart: 

We reviewed the info to check our understanding. The chart allowed me and the kiddos to see what we knew and what we didn't really "get" yet. The class as a whole was having a difficult time identifying the lesson in the story. Animals act like humans is really just empty because I forgot to write that element on any of the strips. Teacher fail. 

Since our ultimate goal is to make inferences about and compare two fables, on Wednesday we read The Three Ninja Pigs. This book is sooooo cute! Again we found and discussed the elements of a fable in the book. We had a much easier time figuring out the lesson this story was trying to teach us!

Thursday we learned what a Venn Diagram is. Then we made a human Venn Diagram using two hula hoops. I gave each peanut butter and jelly team a sticky note that had a fable element or plot point written on it. Some of the things I wrote on the sticky notes were, "The Wolf ate Pig 1 and Pig 2.", "The Pigs went to ninja school.", and "The Pigs and the Wolf act like humans." The partners discussed where the information should be found on the Venn Diagram and them stood in the hoop(s) to show where the information should go. 

When we finished that activity we used two paper plates stapled together to create Venn Diagrams that we could write on.

Finally, today we read The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf

Then we completed this cut and paste venn diagram that I created last night. 

My firsties really got the concept of a venn diagram right away. 

Next week is Tall Tales week! We will be reading about Paul Bunyan.