Literary Lanterns: 2018 version

I found this project a few years ago, and have tried it with three first grade classes now. 🙂 Last fall must have been a busy time in my life because the 2017 version of this project did not make it to our blog. 😦 Oh well–here’s another iteration of this awesome project, which is a great combo of fall, pumpkins and books!

As with the last times we’ve done it, we started with the explanation, and this picture:

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We talked about the possibilities for books and characters we’d use and made one really important rule: you can’t do anything in this example. :).  As you might be able to tell, these are many of our favorite characters and EVERYONE would want to do them.  This challenges them to think “outside the book” so to speak, and not just copy someone else’s idea.

Kids had time to check out our book wall (another GREAT reason to display them low for all to see!), and shared their book choice (either from one we’ve read or one they’ve read or just love).

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After their books were chosen, and Ms. Turken and I had given them their assignment (with the idea of trying to make sure all our our lanterns were different), they were to draw their plan, including a list of materials they would need to complete their pumpkin.  Learners shared their plans with us (and each other) via Seesaw.  Here are some of them:

Once everyone had brought in their pumpkins (plus some extras via some very generous families!), we finally got busy with the decorating!

We were finally ready to share our creations after we’d gotten our displays together–including a picture of our book and a recording of who our character was and why we’d chosen them (can you say “thank you KSD for the fact that we are 1:1 with iPads?  WE are able to do SO MANY GREAT THINGS because of that!). Here’s what a few of those looked and sounded like:

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We set up our Literary Lanterns and our iPads so that as kiddos from the other classes came through to see our gallery they could listen and look at our thinking.  We also had a chance to go through and view our own class’ creations during the gallery walk.   What a great end to a great Friday morning around Robinson school!

Ok, one last little slide show. :). Here’s a closer look at our creations! (It seems now that I’ve missed a few, but I will add them as soon as I get back to school!)

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#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week of October 29, 2018

I know, I know.  It’s been a few weeks since I updated our book wall.  Halloween, conferences and report cards got in the way.  Sorry. 🙂

But here we are now, and we have LOTS of new books to share.  And you know, as I look at the wall filling up, I’m so glad we decided to flip it over those few weeks ago because it’s allowed kids to better see the books and also for them to help put them on the wall!

Here’s our wall as of yesterday:

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We’re up to 148!!  We’re a little behind where we were at this point last year, but remember how I told you we have more teachers and kiddos participating?  It makes me feel absolutely ok that the number of BOOKS is less because the number of KIDS involved is bigger and that matters so much more. 🙂

This week we added many books about pumpkins and Halloween, since we celebrated that holiday in 1st grade on Wednesday, and also because of our Literary Lantern project.   We’re also in the middle of a how-to unit, and all of those things work so nicely together! Here’s what we put on the wall over the last 5 days:

What have you been reading?  We’re reading A LOT and LOVING IT!! 🙂

Halloween Fun 2018

What a GREAT day in Rm. 111!  I mean I know Halloween is supposed to be fun, but I really think the reason it was extra great this year was because Rm. 111 kiddos were so amazingly behaved and still worked like it was a learning day, not just a throw-out-all-the-rules or just-a-party day!  They even did it in their PAJAMAS because we had earned a PJ Day reward for getting 20 Catches of the Day.  Granted I also think it helped that we kept them busy and planned some really interesting things, but regardless, they stepped it up and totally rocked it. :). Let me share our day with you. 🙂

We of course spent the day (and every day!) with some books.  On both Tuesday and Wednesday, we focused on books about pumpkins and then Halloween specifically.  Check out the titles we read together:

We enjoyed all these (because who doesn’t look a good story, especially when it’s holiday-themed?!), and strangely it was the very first time I’d ever read The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything.  Not sure how, after all these years of teaching (and of being alive!), but I loved it and will definitely include it in my repertoire next year.  AND we might decide to do the Breakout box I saw recently related to it.  I’ll definitely share that here if it happens!

We had been working on a lantern project in reading, and because Mrs. Heisner blessed us with some extra pumpkins we had enough leftover to carve–even exactly the right amount for each crew to do one.  Kids had a chance to plan their idea of a great jack-o-lantern as morning work, and then we planned to do a little flip-flop with Rm. 112 kiddos and Ms. Turken for the morning.  She had a super Room-on-a-Broom-themed craft to do (which of course I have no pictures of since I wasn’t in there 😦 ), and so two crews when there while two crews were with me and then we traded (this is, by the way, an oft-used structure used in our co-teaching classroom).  As each crew came to my table, we voted on the pumpkin plan we liked best in each group and then we began to turn our pumpkins into fabulous jack-o-lanterns.  We would, by the way, use this experience as the basis for our how-to in writing today, which was another reason why I wanted to do this together. 🙂

And what fun this whole thing was, from pulling the guts out, to drawing on the faces and then seeing Ms. Pachan’s amazing pumpking-carving skills and then getting to see our finished products all on display! I was also super impressed with how well everyone worked independently and quietly while I was with groups.  SUPER JOB, RM. 111 and 112 kiddos!

Check out the pumpkin work we did! 🙂

The jack-o-lanterns we ended up with were SUPER!  Check out our amazing products!

Later on in the day we were able to participate in our annual Robinson Halloween Parade with the rest of our Roadrunner friends.   Our costumes were GREAT and we had a great walk.  It was a little chilly, but that just added to the late-fall fun!

Robinson teachers even got in on the fun!

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We decided to do a team costume to go with our current science unit–Patterns in the Sky!  Ms. Turken is the moon, I am the sun, Mrs. Kier is the earth, Ms. Dale is covered in constellations and Ms. Fry is a cloud. Such fun!

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Ms. Pachan, our first grade teaching assistant was also part of a group of crayons, put posed for a picture with me before our parade. 🙂

Once we got back, we settled in for a snack and a movie.  The day before I had asked this question as our morning work problem to get a little data:

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While this was a great question for practice with tally marks and addition, I also used it to know what to shop for for our Halloween treat!  Win/win!

It looked so pretty on the table, too, with all that natural color, don’t you agree?

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Ok, so I know Oreos and Starbursts are NOT natural….look at the front of the picture instead. LOL

We watched Room on the Broom (which we had already enjoyed as a book and a craft!) and kiddos were so quiet and calm–even on Halloween and even after a parade
AND in their costumes.  Joyous. :). Some friends who didn’t want to watch the video with us quietly made other choices like reading with a friend or writing.  Yes, even on Halloween. :).

Here’s to the beginning of a great holiday season!  Bring on November and December! 🙂

I’m Out But I’m Still Teaching

Today was one of those days that I unexpectedly had to be out with a sick kiddo.  😦 It’s always tricky trying to figure out what leave for a guest teacher to do with your class; many lessons just need you to be there to do the teaching.

It being the last week of the quarter, I had a harder time not doing the lessons I already had planned, so I figured I’d do the next best thing to being there: record myself teaching the lesson and leave the video for the guest teacher to play.  I know, it’s not rocket science, but sometimes I forget (or don’t have time to make it happen before my absence).  And honestly, I ambitiously recorded a WHOLE DAY’S worth of learning one year (which literally took me the length of a whole school day at home to make!) only to have not a single second of it watched by the class. Wah, wah….

Fast forward six years (I know, I guess it affected me and took a long time for me to recover LOL) and I tried it again.  Like I mentioned before, some things are just not possible to leave with a guest teacher, often because of craft or style that I add to the lesson, or just because of background knowledge that isn’t there.  Writing is especially tricky, so that’s the lesson I decided to record and leave for my class and the sub (plus, it was a fun lesson I didn’t want to miss teaching!).

The best part?  I heard from my teammate that they WATCHED the video, that it went well and that my writers did a SUPER job with the writing work time that followed. Whew!  That’s so great to hear. :). Also, it featured my own second grade learner, which made the whole thing extra fun. 🙂

And since I know you’re dying to see what it looks like in our room during writing (or at least in our classroom after school when I’m getting ready for a guest teacher!), here’s the video I left for Rm. 111 and 112 writers today. :). Would love to hear what you think!

 

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week of October 1, 2018

Remember when I shared the smart story about Jonah’s thinking and how we flip-flopped the display wall?  It’s been great to see how kids have differently interacted with it throughout this past week since the change.  I even had a kiddo put up book covers! Something else exciting happened this week, too. Can you see what it is?

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You do?  YES!!  We made it to 100 books this week!  Well, officially we’ve read 105, but it was a great feeling to watch those 5 rows get put up and know that we’re well on our way to filling it up and sharing SO MANY GREAT BOOKS with this year’s group of amazing first graders!

Here’s what we read this week:

So many good ones–about so many topics! Can you tell what we’re learning about right now?  What titles do you suggest we read this next week? 🙂

What a Great-ISH Day We Had!

We are big fans of Peter H. Reynolds. 🙂  We celebrated Dot Day a couple of weeks ago including singing the Dot Song by Emily Arrow, and we loved every minute of it!  Today we had another great-ISH day as we read Ish and were then inspired to great some ISH art of our own!

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This story is about a kid named Ramon, who LOVES to draw!  He draws anything, everything, all the time and everywhere–including the bathroom.  Until…his brother laughs at something he draws and Ramon decides he. Is. Done.  Done painting.  Done with trying and done with taking risks with his art.  But then, Ramon’s sister, Marisol, shows him her wall in her room…covered by all of his paintings!  They are wrinkly and crumbled but she thinks they are BEAUTIFUL! She convinces Ramon that he should keep trying and that making something that looks kind of like the thing you want (so fish-ish, vase-ish, house-ish, etc.) is perfect!  He tries again and decides that he will indeed try again, take some risks and paint his feelings. :).

What a great message, right?  I mean, who wants to feel pressure to be perfect, never making a mistake, ensuring that your work and your performance is always just right??  I sure don’t!  And this book works so well into conversations we are always having about how making mistakes is a GOOD thing and how it’s OK if things aren’t perfect–you can always try again, making it better next time, Or the next time. 🙂

We decided it would be a great thing to create our own ISH paintings, and so kiddos chose something (anything!) and then followed these directions:

1.) Think and plan

2.) Draw with pencil first

3.) Color with watercolors, colored pencils or crayons

4.) Write on a notecard what your creation is, adding ‘ish’ to the end

Rm. 111 created such beautiful paintings! Most decided to paint (watercolors are a much-loved medium in our class!), but a few chose crayons, and a couple even used more than one of them. :). Everyone had to follow the directions that they were not finished until the WHOLE PAPER was filled up, and they traced their pencil lines with Sharpie to make their picture crisp.

This was the first project that I’ve gotten hung out in the hall (but it’s definitely not the first–I’ve got a huge pile I need to get to–and blog about, too!), and it has definitely made our hallway look so much more beautiful-ISH!! Enjoy!

I feel like I should explain that this started as our back-to-school bulletin board and is only half changed.  It used to say Welcome to Our Family! Not sure what that word is now. 🙂

Thanks for reading!! 🙂

 

Principal Read Alouds: 2018-2019

We have a SUPER principal who LOVES reading and has a passion for getting kids into books.  Several years ago she started offering opportunities for classes to sign-up to hear her read, and we jumped at the chance.  We’re still going strong and ready to enjoy year #3!!

Our first PRA of the year was a great one, and I noticed that Mrs. Sisul must have a new focus this year.  After seeing all of her book choices and reading experiences so far, see if you can figure out what it is. 🙂

PRA #1

I’ve Got the Rhythm by Connie Schofield-Morrison

PRA #2

If You’re a Monster and You Know It by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

As we prepared for the next PRA, I had a sneaky request for my teammates: what if we had ALL OF FIRST GRADE in the room when Mrs. Sisul came in??  We were all game and so when she walked in, she was greeted by almost 100 smiling faces who were SUPER EXCITED to hear a fun story!  What a sweet surprise and a great way to start the day together!

PRA #3

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman

PRA #4

The Truth About My Unbelievable School by Davide Cali

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Somehow I have NO pictures and no video for this one.  What was I thinking?  I really think I was so involved in the story that I was too distracted to record anything. :). This one is a new author to us, and is part of a series.  We’re excited to hear more that are like this one.  The pictures played a big part in telling the story, and if you didn’t pay close attention to them you missed a lot!

Can’t wait for the next one!  Stay tuned to hear more about it! 🙂