September 17, 2014

Beginning Steps of Writer's Workshop

Because of last year's success and growth of my firsties in writing, Writer's Workshop has become the favorite part of my day.

We have WW first thing to kick start our day. 
It's a calming way to get our brains started thinking.

Here is the WW schedule we typically follow:
1) Mini-Lesson
2) Lights off, music on, silent writing time
3) Turn in time
4) Share time

Here's some examples of introductory mini-lessons we have had.

Completing a heart map:
We use this to house all of our ideas.
Each time students are stuck on what to write about, I have them pull this out for reference.



Click on the picture above for your FREE heart map!

Choosing a Topic and Starting:
Using my heart map, I model how to choose a topic.
We follow Lucy Caulkins writing curriculum so the steps I teach for writing follow her advice.
1) Draw your pictures
2) Write your words
3) Go back and add details to pictures and words
4) Color


The posters are a reminder of what steps to take when completing a writing piece.
Starting next week, I am introducing how to have a "writer's eye" and will refer to these posters also. 

Our first week of WW was very successful.
I had every student engaged in their writing and each turned in at least one piece or more.

Here's a look at where some of my students are at in their writing.
The top picture is one of my low babies and the bottom one of my high babies.
Looks like some of us (and this teacher) have a lot of work to do!

September 15, 2014

Fun with Number Bonds

Hands-on learning is so much more fun than workbook practice.
Can I get an amen?
Our new math curriculum has plenty way too many of those.
So, to break up the monotony we made our own number bonds this week. 


All you need to do is prep 2 blue parts, 1 red whole and 2 black linking strips.
Glue together and ta-da!

We practiced using them for several days.
At first I would call out 2 numbers for them to put in the parts, slide to the whole and count the total.

Then we moved to "ways to make" numbers as I called out a number to put in the whole and they would figure out different ways to make that number.

The last day we practiced writing number sentences with them.

The good thing is I collected them and can break them out again for subtraction!

September 7, 2014

Sharing a Milestone Giveaway

Not only do I love sharing my ideas, crafts, freebies, and classroom stories with you, blogging has also helped me meet some amazing people!

One of my blogging besties,Ashley, is having an AmAzInG giveaway at her blog Flying High in First Grade.

Check out the giveaway in all of its awesomeness below!

Click each picture to be taken to the page where the item is sold.










this prize is open to U.S. only

this prize is open to U.S. only

DISCLAIMER: has to be somwhere that is where I live or can be purchased online! :) Be creative! (TpT, Lakeshore, Target, Starbucks, you choose!!)

Are you just DYING to enter the giveaway now? I bet you are! So head on over to my blogging buddy's blog 

The giveaway is only open for a week, so get to moving!

September 5, 2014

Five for {B2S} Friday!

I've officially been back to school for 2 weeks now.
Procedures are in place, routines being established...we are ready to rock!
Here's a peek at how busy we have been.



After learning about the school and classroom rules, we take the ones that mean the most to us and turn them into a classroom promise. Each child signs their name at the bottom signifying they "promise" to do all the things listed in the promise.

 During the first week we spend time talking about our names. It just so happens we were reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (and watching the video numerous times) so we found the letters of our names in magazines and made our own rip art chicka tree!


I introduced writers workshop the second week of school. We always start off brainstorming and recording some of our favorite things and memories in a heart map. They will keep this all year long to refer to when they need help thinking of an idea to write about. 


In science we began talking about matter and how to classify it based on different properties.
Students completed an activity where they had to classify a bag of objects by using the properties we discussed and recorded on our class anchor chart. 


One of the first steps of Daily 5 is to teach the 3 ways to read a book. 
We practiced the 3rd way, retelling, using bag puppets we made to go along with Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
#itwasatotalhit

This year is off to a great start! 
Can't wait to see their little minds grow as the months pass by.

August 22, 2014

What Friday: B2S with Blog Hoppin'


There are SO many fun things you can do with 6 and 7 year olds. That's why I LOVE teaching 1st grade! 
Here are two of my favorite things to teach throughout the year.

Sitting down during writing conferences I always notice an influx of "and" being used in my students writing once they become familiar with expanding their sentences.
AND it drives me crazy 
AND when I finally decide to address it, it goes like this.
Last year I asked one student if she would allow me to model a lesson using her paper. 
She agreed so I read it aloud to the class putting major emphasis on the word AND when I read it in her story.
When I read it they laughed {and laughed and laughed and laughed}! 
They thought I was crazy for using the word AND so many times
Their response "That's a lot of and's Mrs. Griffith".

I modeled to them what can be done with the word AND.
We crossed out the word AND then added a period in its place.
 They are always surprised when I tell them that --they-- were actually the ones who were consumed by this disease! I have them go back and edit their papers for the "and disease", capitalization and punctuation.
We came up with a solution: When we reread our stories and find that we have the "and disease", we will erase the word and add a period in its place.

Here is a template I created for my kiddos to use to check their writing before turning it in. 
I teach them how to use each box at the bottom to check for errors. 


Click on the picture to download. 

Part of the fun in teaching 1st grade is getting to be crafty.
Who doesn't love taking a lesson and adding a little pizzazz to it!?
That's exactly what we do for our digraph unit. 

Day 1: CH
We took our words from "Our ch words" anchor chart and made a CHocolate CHip cookie! 

Day 2: SH
We took our words from "Our sh words" anchor chart and made a fiSH bowl!

Day 3: TH
We took our words from "Our th words" anchor chart and made a paTHway of words!

Day 4: WH
We took our words from "Our wh words" anchor chart and made a WHale!






August 21, 2014

When Thursday: B2S with Blog Hoppin'


If you teach first grade you know 2 things:
1. They can't sit for more than 10-15 minutes without losing their attention
2. Teaching reading takes up the majority of your day

That's why I absolutely love, adore, admire our schedule.
It worked wonders last year and I'm hoping the same goes for this year.


Live through a day in first grade with a deeper look into our schedule:
When our day starts, the first thing we jump into is writer's workshop. Here's a breakdown:
1. Mini-lesson
2. Silent Writing Time
3. Conferences

I find writing first thing is the perfect way to wake up their brains and get the juices flowing for the day.
It leads to a calm environment and sets the tone for our day.
After their little brains have a chance to wake up, we enter into our Phonics lesson.
1. Mini-Lesson (whole group)
2. Practice (whole group)
3. Independent Practice
This is our biggest and most needed chunk of time throughout the day. It houses whole group instruction, small group instruction, independent practice and centers.

1. Whole group mini-lesson (or activity) on comprehension strategy using a read aloud
2. Small group instruction 
3. Center rotations with independent practice and reading

Our team meets once a week to sit down and plan for the upcoming week together while our kiddos are at specials. If we aren't planning as a team, we are prepping charts, gathering activities, or compiling plans. 

My room may look like this during planning: 

But it always finds a way to look like this by the end of the week:

After coming back from specials (a much needed break for a first grader) we have our math block.
This encompasses calendar, whole group instruction, small group instruction and math tubs.
1. Calendar
2. Whole group lesson
3. Practice time 
4. Math Tubs (teacher meets with small groups) 
Leaving science and social studies until the end of the day can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on our day. On good days, we make it through everything and actually have time to complete our activity but as you know there are times when everything just doesn't get squeezed in and we neglect to make it to our lesson. This means integrate, integrate, integrate which I try to do as much as possible!