First Days!–Part 3: Quiet Time

You’ve seen First Days Part 1 and Part 2, right?  If you haven’t, go ahead and check them out.  I’ll wait. 🙂

Ok, so now let’s talk about something that is so super duper important in first grade–quiet.  No–not all the time.  Actually a lot of first grade is anything but quiet.  BUT when we are doing the important work of readers, quiet is imperative.

So early on in first grade we started practicing what we call “quiet time.”  During that short time (well, at least in the beginning it’s short, but we will build up as we go further into the year), kiddos are expected to work INDEPENDENTLY on reading or writing activities.  They laughed I told them the only reason they should need me is in the case of an emergency–and an emergency meant they were BLEEDING or BARFING! (And yes, at least one kiddo asked me what “barfing” meant. 🙂 )

Everyone got a book box on the first day, and by day 2 or 3 I had filled it with 3 or 4 just-right books (I used data I got from end-of-year kindergarten assessments for this purpose) to get them started.  When it was time for quiet time, I gave everyone a 3C spot–which means somewhere  that they can be Confident, can Concentrate and are Comfortable–and we got to work.  I was really impressed (wow–I think that’s a theme around here) with how great of a job they did!

Check it out!


Peyton and Emily are hard at work. (See the start of our carpet rules chart? I’ll share that soon–once I get a final picture of it!)


Lauren and Charlie are busy in their book boxes!


Makayla and Evan both had 3C spots on the floor. They decided to do some writing about the book they were reading.


C.J. and JKB both read, read, read in their independent quiet time spots.


Some kids at tables, some on the floor: Diego, Ella Marie, Nate, and Kylie are hard at work. 🙂


Ava and Amelia both reading and writing in their spots.


Jacob read about bears in his 3C spot.


Love how we can read in all sorts of ways and places! This rug was placed in our library for just this purpose! Landen choose to read and write in his 3C spot.

After our first try at it, we sat down to have a quick reflection time (reflect is a word we’d started talking about on Day 1 and will use it all throughout this year!) about how it went.  Here were our thoughts:

IMG_3016On our most recent days of quiet time, we actually put a “school” name to what we were doing and began talking about Read-To-Self.  They were experts on this subject–“because we learned about it in kindergarten!”–and we started charted our smart ideas about what it looks like and sounds like.  In this conversation I was impressed (again!) when C.J. knew the name for being able to read for a long time was called stamina.  Way to go, C.J.!  They could also tell me that the reason that we need to practice Read-To-Self is to become better readers.  🙂  We got as far as the “student” side of our chart on Friday and will start working on the “teacher” side once I get rotations up and running next week!


Like I’ve said before, keep up the good work Rm. 202!

First Days!–Part 2: David’s Drawings

Our first days together were so great and so busy!  Busy enough, in fact, that all the fun wouldn’t fit into just one blog post (or rather it would, but you’d have been sitting for hours and probably wouldn’t have wanted to finish!).  So here’s Part 2 of the fun of the First Days of First Grade.

Mrs. Appelbaum, one of my fabulous teaching partners this year, was kind enough to share a great book that she uses during her first days to help encourage collaboration and cooperation, David’s Drawings by Cathryn Falwell.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 4.57.37 PM(photo courtesy of

We read the story together one morning and loved it! The big idea of the story is that David, the main character, is drawing a picture, which starts with just plain trees.  As times goes on, his friends come and ask to add different details to his drawings that can help tell a story.  The important part is that his friends don’t just ADD their details, they ask him first, as well as explain their thinking to him as they draw.  The end product is a picture that everyone has made together, which started from one friend’s great idea.

We had to try it!

After specials, kiddos came back to find 4 very plain white pieces of paper with just the outline of a tree in the center.  Once we got into table groups, we got to work.  They were invited to, although no one did, to draw on as many pictures as they wanted.  The important part–as with David’s Drawings–was that they talked about their additions as they drew them and made sure their partners knew what they were putting in the picture.  As with most everything else we do, I was so impressed with how beautifully they cooperated for this activity!

We were finished, each group picked one person to be the spokesperson and tell us the story of their group picture–again allowing us to work on becoming good speakers and listeners!

What a great job, Rm. 202 kiddos!  Now our creations hang where we can see (and admire!) them, with a reminder that “David’s class worked together to create a drawing, and so did we!”  What a great example of how more heads make for a more creative picture!  Goes with our theme for the year: LEARN. CREATE. COLLABORATE.  Love it. 🙂


Keep up the great work, Rm. 202!