#WDYDAA: Phonemic Awareness Revisited

I started a series a couple of weeks ago to help families (and any other blog readers!) know what happens in Rm. 111 all day.  We started by sharing Phonemic Awareness, for which we use Heggerty’s program.

Since my last post, we have done some really important work in regards to what our phonemic awareness time is supposed to look like and sound like.  We have watched our videos and reflected on what we are seeing that are “pluses” and “deltas.”  After we had recorded and reviewed three different sessions, I gave Rm. 111 friends a challenge to see if they could have a “perfect” session of our Heggerty lesson.

Take 1 and Take 2 of our Heggerty Reflections

As you can see, these two sessions don’t look that much different.  I have to admit that part of the problem here was my fault–we recorded with my iPad in selfie mode, so many friends were super distracted by seeing themselves on the screen and could not focus on our learning.  Oops.  One super easy way we decided to fix it for our third take was to simply turn the iPad around.  Sometimes it’s so simple it’s funny. 🙂

Before our next lesson, we reviewed what the expectations were for them as learners (we reviewed both our listening rules as well as both sides of our charts), and got ready to show how amazing we were.  Additionally, a friend suggested that we invite Mrs. Wessel to come back to see us in action since we’d worked on our learning behaviors, since she had been there for our first session.  It was a great idea, and thankfully she was free!  It was also great that she could come, because she also served as our videographer again (which was much less distracting than my iPad on the table LOL).

So…I’m writing this post to show you what our Heggerty lessons look like now–to both highlight our learning but also how smart we are and how we have such growth mindsets!  We were determined to get it right, to show what we know, to help everyone learn and to follow all of our listening rules (which are to have eyes watching, ears listening, voice quiet and a still body).

IMG_5277

Listening rules (and our Zones of Regulation chart, which I will share about later!)

I’m really proud of my Rm. 111 learners and how they’ve grown!  Celebrate this chart and this video with us, please. 🙂

fullsizeoutput_851

Our third Heggerty reflection chart.  Beckett asked to make this chart for us, and made the plus and delta that way because he knew that we’d have LOADS of good things and a small amount of deltas.  LOVE IT!

We’d love to hear what you think! Kids LOVE when they know people see their smart work and want to give them a shout out for it!  What questions do you have about our phonemic awareness lessons? I KNOW my friends would love to tell you about what we do everyday–and WHY we do it! 🙂

 

#FDOFG2018: Readers Gonna Read

We have been reading ALOT in first grade, and much of it has been reading aloud together.  But not all of it. 🙂

We have also been working very hard to learn the habits of good readers, to read both independently and with our partners and also to choose the right books for us.  I’ve been so proud with how quickly our Rm. 111 readers have gotten into a groove and begun to build their stamina.

IMG_5478

We’ve learned some BAD HABITS to drop and some GOOD HABITS to pick up.  Readers thought it was really funny when I acted out the bad habits during our lesson.  Ask your reader to show you what those bad habits look and sound like, then to show you what we should do INSTEAD. 🙂

Each week we have a learning partner, with whom we turn-and-talk on the rug, and also partner read.  We use these partners in other ways, too, through out the week as they are quick to find.  Some of our work time during Readers’ Workshop is read-to-self and some if read-to-someone, so we sit right next to our partners so we can quickly move from one job to the next.  Check out some pictures of us being our best reader selves, back-to-back in read-to-self and side-by-side doing read-to-someone. 🙂

Read-to-Self

Lots and lots of read-to-someone!  We’ve learned that we need to read ONE book at a time, and also that we can do partner reading in 3 ways: popcorn reading, choral reading or I read, you read.  We LOVE this time of day!

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week of September 17, 2018

We’re moving and grooving with books in first grade!  While our wall is not filling up as quickly as last year, it’s still so great to watch the new books appear as our first grade classes read them and they are posted. :). I love to watch the faces and comments as kids walk by (kids from 1st grade and from the rest of the school!) and they make connections with the covers.  Reminds me of the many reasons why this is such a great project!

Here’s our wall as of Friday, September 21–we’re up to 72!!

IMG_6885

This week we added these books:

We had another great week of books–Dr. Seuss (because we’re working on rhyming!), Peter H. Reynolds (because he’s awesome and also because Dot Day was last week!), and many that are just plain fun!

What suggestions do you have for us to read this week? 🙂

 

#classroombookaday 2018 begins!

This year we began the 3rd iteration of the #classroombookaday challenge in 1st grade at Robinson!  I am ready for this to be the BEST year ever of the challenge!  Originally I would have said that it was because we’d read even more books than last year (our final number was 560!), but now I’d say there’s another reason.  The first year I participated, my neighbor and friend Ms. Turken did it with me, but hung her own display and read different books than we did in our room.  Last year, as we began our official co-teaching journey together, we combined our challenge and our display and read 560 of the same books together (some chosen by her, some chosen by me, some chosen by 1st graders). And since I was a lazy blogger last year and didn’t tell you all about that journey, let me post the pictures of our final wall now. :). It’s pretty great!

As a side note, we got to the end of the school year and were a little uncertain about what we should do with our display.  I mean, come on, it was as much an art piece as it was a record of the great books we’d read! My very smart friend, Marcie, suggested that I take it all down and save the pictures to use again this year (which I admit is a VERY smart and practical thing to do but one I had never considered LOL).  We didn’t have time to do this before we left for the summer so we did the next best thing: covered it up and crossed our fingers that it would be in tact and ready for us to take apart when we came back in August.

Thankfully it survived the unpredictability of summer cleaning and moving, and we were able to keep most of the books we had hung last year. I guess we even started the year ahead of the game!

So, now we get to this year.  This year Ms. Turken and I are again collaborating to choose books for the wall, but we’ve also rallied the rest of our team to join in!! The more the merrier–more teachers and more first grade readers hearing so many great books!  It has meant that our pace is a little slower than year’s past (since we have to have more classes read the book before it can be posted), but I’m convinced it’s totally worth it because we are including so many more kiddos in the joy of reading and watching the wall fill up!

As we finished day 17 of school (which is roughly 3 1/2 weeks), we have read and posted 42 books!  Many of them are repeats from last year (because some books are TOO GOOD not to read again!), but since we’re including new teachers, we’ve read just as many new ones, too.  Win, win, right??

IMG_5345

I have to be honest that it feels a little bare, but I have hope because I know what it will quickly become!

And since you can’t see all those little books up there so far away, here’s what we’ve read:

I’m excited to share this journey with you this year.  Be sure to stay tuned for what comes next!!

What Do You Do All Day Anyway? : Phonemic Awareness

At the beginning of every year, I have the unrealistic lofty goal of documenting everything that happens inside the walls of Rm. 111 ( and often Rm. 112), and then fail miserably, realizing that there is just not time to do that. There’s just TOO much that happens at the beginning of the school year that I want to tell you about! It’s all new and so it all seems important. :).

This time I am resigning my self to the fact that telling you something, even if it’s not everything is better than nothing! So, I’m going to be ok with not telling you about everything that has gone on in the last 16 days, and will roll on, focusing on what is happening now, and maybe finding time to add in some fun from our first days. 🙂

As we’ve been learning through these first few weeks, I’ve been thinking about how many things we seem to pack into one school day! It’s made me want to write a blog series ( that I’m starting with this post!) to highlight what we really do all day. I mean I can share the schedule, or your kiddo could tell you they had Reading Workshop, but unless you’re there, it’s really hard to fully understand what that looks like for a first grader.

That being said, I’m starting by showing something we do every day (usually right after lunch, at 11:45, just to be precise 🙂 ), where we work on listening to sounds and hearing parts of words and using those parts to make new words. Officially we use a program called Phonemic Awareness: The Skills That They Need to Help Them Succeed! By Michael Heggerty. On our schedule, it’s simply called Heggerty, or more often we refer to this time as “the yellow book,” because I usually hold the ginormous yellow book on my lap while we go through the lesson. :). Regardless of what we call it, at least everyone knows what to expect!

In short, phonemic awareness is the understanding that spoken word is made up of individual sounds, called phonemes. During our lessons–which are done totally through the auditory mode (no words, text or visuals), we practice isolating sounds, manipulating sounds, blending and segmenting them, as well as deleting sounds to figure out what is left. We talk about letters, analyze rhymes and identify how many words are in a sentence. It’s focused, intentional and quick, and they’ve picked up on the routines of these lessons pretty quickly. There are movements that go along with most parts of our lesson, and kids especially love when we use our “choppers” to break apart words into syllables.

With the help of my instructional coach, Amy, we recorded a lesson to help you see what happens. We went back and forth about which angle to use to help you best see what’s going on (as you can hear the whole lesson either way), but eventually thought it would be best for you to see what the KIDS are doing during a lesson, rather than just what I am doing from my teacher chair. Who wants to see the teacher for 10 minutes when you can see the kids doing super smart work with words? 🙂

So, in answer to that question about what we do all day, one thing is we work on Phonemic Awareness, which will help us as both readers and writers. Here’s a peek into this word work time in our classroom!

In case you missed it, in just those 10 short minutes we increased language awareness, worked on rhyming, identified onsets (beginning sounds), blended syllables, identified final phonemes (ending sounds), segmented words, substituted phonemes, added phonemes, deleted phonemes and worked on letter names and sounds.  Whew!  Action packed for sure!

After we finished, Sam said, “Let’s watch our video!” Without knowing so, he was reading my mind, and that was my plan for our next steps anyway! I asked him why he thought we should, and he just said he wanted to know how it went (and what kid doesn’t like to see themselves on the big screen?!), but I also wanted to have a discussion about what went well and how we could improve for next time. I prepped them to choose to just focus on themselves, to focus on the whole class, or to even choose to watch what I did and think about what went well (which we call pluses), and what we might change for our next try (which we mark as deltas).

As we talked, we recorded our noticings, being sure to share names when we were highlighting pluses and making sure to just say “I saw someone…” when we were mentioning things we could change. When we were finished, our chart looked like this:

IMG_5346

This reflective protocol is something that we do often, and it is very helpful in kids’ recognizing their role in making our classroom a safe, kind place to learn, and to make sure they are putting their best foot forward. I’m excited to see what happens when we review our chart before Heggerty on Monday and focus on changing some of those things we listed on the right side of the chart.  Using this reflective protocol over the next weeks and months, in various situations is also an idea that is brewing with my teammates as a way to help grow kiddos’ capacity to reflect on their engagement and ultimately take responsibility for their learning.  I’m so excited (and will be sure to share more as it comes!!)!

As you think about phonemic awareness in the first grade classroom, what do you wonder? What do you notice? If you’re a parent, ask your kiddo what they like most about doing Heggerty in our classroom. Ask them to tell you about how this helps them in other parts of our day. Ask them to tell you what they would change about learning about letters and sounds. If you’re a teacher, how to you address phonemic awareness in your classroom? How do you see it affecting your students are readers and writers? What is your go-to resource or what other things do you use to support kiddos in this learning?

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’d love to hear from you! The conversation makes this whole thing even better! 🙂

What’s a Catch of the Day?

At Robinson, respect is a big deal, and so is being safe, kind and showing that you are a learner.  And one way that we can highlight and encourage friends who do this repeatedly is with a Catch of the Day.  They can be earned by a whole class (our class has 2 so far!) or by an individual kid.  Any adult in our building can give them, and you can earn many in a single day.

I love the way a kid’s face lights up when you tell them you noticed them doing something super and how happy they are to show off their golden ticket!  We have all gotten one so far, and many of us have earned more than that already–and we’ve only been in school for 8 days!  Here’s to continued expected behaviors and more and more Catches of the Day for Rm. 111 friends!  Celebrate with these friends! 🙂

 

1st Day of 1st Grade 2018!

The room is mostly put together.  The pencils are sharpened (well because they came that way!).  We’ve met each other and seen our new space.  We are all finally here.  It’s the 1st day of 1st grade and we’re ready for a great year!!

I want to take a few minutes in this first post to welcome you to my blog (if you’re new) and welcome you back (if you’ve been here before).  I want to start our year (or maybe longer!) off with a little bit of rationale for how I hope this conversation will go, as well as for the purpose of this blog.  I hope that it will help you as you navigate through our 1st grade journey to better understand why I write what I write here. 🙂 .

I could tell the long story about how I started and how this blog has changed over the last 7 years (and you know, that story is probably already posted here somewhere!), but instead I’ll just jump into the here-and-now and tell you that most of all I am here because I love teaching.  I love kids and spending time with them everyday, hearing their thinking, getting to know their hearts, watching them discover new things.  I am also here because I love to write.  I have found that writing is a very powerful and important way for me to process and reflect upon what happens in our classroom, and helps me to improve my technique and then do better for the next time.

So, as you read posts here, you will notice a couple of things about what I write.  First of all, I tend to go deep.  Rather than tell you about a whole week’s worth of learning or activities in one post, I’ll dig down and just focus on ONE THING at a time.  I like to tell the WHOLE story, usually with a backstory, and often with ideas for where I’ll go next.  I like to include pictures and videos so you can see what happened and/or highlight some super smart thing a kid did or said.  I will almost always tell you why we did what we did and explain my rationale behind it or my thinking about the purpose.  Oh, and I will probably tell you about what DIDN’T work.

Aside from my own process and reflection, I want this blog to be an open-door peek into what happens in Rm. 111 every day, especially for those of you who send your babies to me each morning and wonder what happens all day.  I want you to be able to imagine what it would be like to be a first grader at Robinson, and also to get a bigger picture of how and what your kiddos are learning.  I hope to give you enough detail that you can ask your learner questions and get a conversation going around your dinner table–so that you hear more than just “it was good” when you ask about school. 🙂  Additionally, I hope that others who read this blog (who don’t have kiddos in Rm. 111) will get a picture of what is happening in our school, in our district, in our state, and maybe using that to inform what happens in your own classroom or learning space.  I hope to be an inspiration to other educators, like so many have been to me over the years.  How lucky we are that technology is such that we can reach into places so far away and connect with them so easily!

Lastly, I want to emphasize that I want this blog to be a place of CONVERSATION!  If you have a question, please ask it!  If you have a comment, please write it!  If you see a cute picture of your kiddo and you want to say hi to them, wave away!  If you have a suggestion for how we could do something better, please leave it!  I know that the best years on 20somethingkids have been when parents, teachers, students and even strangers have been connected in conversations about learning–we all got smarter and were so much better for it! Ok, and of course, then, if I’m inviting you to connect with us, I’m also asking that you do it kindly.  🙂

So…that hopefully has gotten us off on a good foot and we are ready for a fabulous first grade year together.  But wait–I haven’t shown you anything about this year’s bunch of super smart, super funny, super creative learners in Rm. 111 yet.  So, here they are, ready to jump into this new journey.  Look how proud they are. 🙂

IMG_4978

Hi, Rm. 111 friends! (We are missing one friend in this picture–Will–and will post another version of this soon with ALL of our friends.  SORRY!!)

Ok, and then another thing I’ve started doing every year is making sure to get a first day and last day pic to show how amazingly kiddos have grown in just one short year.  They always come as babies and leave as such big kids!!  Here’s our first day pics from August 15, 2018. 🙂 (And…just as I’m collecting them all I realize there was a different friend who was not here!  I’ll add him when I can get back to my book wall tomorrow! My apologies–first graders don’t stay put for very long!! lol)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Whew! Man…sometimes the first post is the hardest!  We’re off and running and here we go into a busy, busy year!  I already have like 17 blog posts I want to write–hopefully most of them will show up here. 🙂

And to get our conversation started: please leave your name and tell us from where you are reading our blog.  We’ve had readers from as far away as Australia and China in the past and it’s a BLAST to see how far our words and pictures stretch.  If you’re a family member of a Rm. 111 friend, leave a note and give them some advice for a great learning year.  And no matter who you are, thanks for being here and taking time to peek into our first grade world! 🙂