Picture of the Day–April 20, 2015

Boo.  I only have 1 picture today, and it’s not even really from today (I know, I could have not told you that and you’d never have known.  Oops.), but it works for today as well as it did for Friday.  I was going to use it in a Walker’s Club update, and also for Math Warm-Up post, but alas I CAN’T GET THE PICTURES I NEED OUT OF MY PHONE!!  I am not someone who curses or hits things, so I might spit.  Or frown alot.  Or just say, “THIS IS SO STUPID!!”  But then that wouldn’t help anything, so I’ll stop throwing a fit and just show you my picture.  The one picture that DID upload from my uncooperative phone:


I hope you can see that not only did some super great kids in our class use our numbers to make 10s again, but our total for just Thursday was 70 (our best single day so far), our weekly total was 124 (our best weekly total so far!) and our grand total is 351, which is THE LEAD FOR FIRST GRADE IN OUR COMPETITION!  Oh, and you probably can’t tell that I added 3 laps on this particular day which is my best total to date.  Wow–lots of best happening around here lately!  So technically this picture was not taken today, and the laps weren’t walked today, but there was an announcement on our school-wide news today announcing the standings so far.  Does that count?  Let’s say it does.  And I’ll do better with pictures tomorrow. 🙂

Pictures of the Day–April 17, 2015

WHAT A BEAUTIFUL DAY!! I wish I could share my amazing Spring weather with you (although obviously some of you are enjoying the same warm temps and sunshine as me….but for those of you that aren’t, here’s what I see outside my end of the school:1428698639931And then there are the other pictures I chose for today.  They all include big ‘ole smiles that show how happy a place Robinson is. Happy Friday!

This smile come from a SUPER example of how Peyton used one of Marla Frazee’s craft moves in his own writing: just like the pictures in Roller Coaster, he added a detail to his picture of Fredbird from his Cardinal story. It says, “The Cardinals won and Fredbird goes CRAZY” and his feathers are falling out because he’s so excited.  LOVE that he’s using the examples of authors we’re learning about–exactly what we’ve been talking about!

We were working on another text in interactive writing today, and I wasn’t going to include another picture of our MANY words we’ve been writing, but there was something about this cute face that changed my mind. Great work, Landen!

There’s not a lot I need to say about this picture except look at that great crown and that AMAZING first grade smile! Say cheese, Sara!

Remember how I said that Robinson is a happy place to be? Here are three more reasons why–my other two teammates Rachael and Rochelle, and the fact that people just show up and give you ice cream and say Happy Friday! What a treat on a beautiful day. 🙂 I LOVE MY JOB!!


Pictures of the Day–April 16, 2015

This is day 4 of this feature, and I LOVE IT!!  I know I will always write long posts (because that’s just how I roll, plus sometimes there’s a longer story to tell), but I love how the snapshots we’re sharing give you a quick peek into life in Rm. 202.  Hopefully you feel the same! Here today’s gems:

After yesterday's picture of Emily, the group that finished the construction paper rules chart wanted to be in on the fun.  Look at all of those words!

After yesterday’s picture of Emily, the group that finished the construction paper rules chart wanted to be in on the fun (see how she’s there again? 🙂 ). Look at all of those words!


Check it out: we finished our rules today and we were SUPER proud of all of the words that we put on there! It’s a theme that has come up many times this week: how many words we have all around our room. I should post a video of tour of all of the authentic kid-writing that graces our walls. It’s pretty amazing what these little people can do!!


Today was a Walker’s Club day, and since teachers’ laps count in our competition, I went out to do my part for Rm. 202. I was SUPER proud to be able to add 3 LAPS today! In flip-flops. And a dress. AND I ran some of it. So far I’ve only added 2 laps per week, but this week I got to put down 4 for Rm. 202’s total. YAY!! 🙂


Walker’s Club UPDATE–Using 10s to Add Laps

I’m sure you know about our Walker’s Club competition that is happening at Robinson for April.  Well, I’m SUPER excited to say that two weeks strong our class is in the LEAD!!!  We have done both amazing walking AND amazing adding as we figured out our totals.

This week (well really the week ends tomorrow), we used a strategy that I stole learned from my neighbor Ms. Turken to add our laps.  Instead of using the strings to make combinations of 10 (like we had many times previously), we each wrote our lap total on an index card and used these cards to create combos.  It was a great way to be able to manipulate the numbers in an easier way, and actually SEE the 10s–they made piles, after all.

Thomas and C.J. worked hard this morning to add up our mid-week total for Week 3 of the competition.  Their work looked like this (they did the card work, and I put it on the chart):

Way to go Rm. 202 kids–for walking and adding in an amazing way!! 🙂

Pictures of the Day–April 15, 2015

I am creating a hashtag now for this feature, so share it if you like as an easy way for people (including you!) to peek into what’s going on in Rm. 202.  I think I’ll use #RM202POD1415.  Ok, maybe it’s a little long….got any ideas?  Please feel free to share!

Ok, so here’s the cuteness from first grade on this BEAUTIFUL St. Louis Wednesday:

It’s a little heard to tell from this picture, but there are MORE LOST TEETH from Rm. 202 mouths!! The best part of this picture is that Amelia and Charlie lost the SAME tooth last night! Picture-of-the-day-worthy for sure!

After we got done with interactive writing today, Emily said, “WOW–look at all of the words I wrote today!!” OF COURSE I had to take a picture! Way to go, Em!

Remember how Cardinal Day and Hat Day were on Monday? Well in order to do Hat Day, I had to abstain from wearing Cardinal gear (it just didn’t match…). So when I saw Ms. Lewis also wearing her navy Cardinal shirt, we had to pose for a pic. Say cheese!

Nate came over to me at Choice Time and said, “I made a B from the Jenga blocks. Wanna see it?” First of all, I was thinking he meant a BEE not a B, so I was impressed anyway, but then he showed me the detail that he added of the green parts (“I made them from paper and colored them green!”) it was even better. I wonder if he made it that way on purpose because it’s my favorite color….:)

And the Winner Is…

When we came back from Spring Break, we were in the middle of our opinion letter writing unit (I know, I still have not finished the story, but here’s the beginning again if you missed it!).  One of our first writing assignments was an opportunity to both tell me about their Spring Break AND test out their newly learned skills.  Double win, right? 🙂

Here are the directions I gave them:

Kiddos then spent several days planning and writing a letter that showed me their mad letter writing and convincing skills, and that included the most fun parts of their time away.  Unfortunately it took me a little while to get around to choosing a winner, but yesterday we finally sat down to crown the winner.  And the winner is….

It was SUPER hard to decide on the winner (there were two that it came down to and they were SO close!), but in the end, Millie’s letter had all the things we had be learning about: greeting, a stated opinion, 3 or more reasons, transitional words (like one reason is, another reason is, finally, closing, correct spelling and punctuation).  When I read it out loud, it was great to see (and hear) the reaction of the class–they could tell just by listening that it had all those parts.

And since it was a writing challenge, the prize was something to help make her writing even more spectacular–mini gel pens!

IMG_4412  I don’t use competition all the time, but sometimes it works to raise the level of excitement, engagement or even production.  And in this case it just made sense.  Way to go Millie, and other friends of Rm. 202 who wrote some great Spring Break letters!

Pictures of the Day–April 14, 2015

Somehow I think I’ve started a new feature: Picture of the Day.  It’s actually something I was thinking about trying my hand at for next school year (because I need something else to do, right?), but in true form, I decided to try it now, too! (And I should get over to my family blog and pick it back up, too, shouldn’t I?  That’s actually where I first got the idea….oh well, one project blog at a time I guess….) Anyhow, it’s funny how you look at things differently when you know you want to post something every day.  It’s kind of like how I teach my kiddos that writers look at the world differently than “regular” people–they EXPECT to see interesting things that they can capture in words, and sometimes in pictures!  So today when someone said, “Hey, look, they all have on the same shoes!” I HAD to take a picture of it.  That’s our first picture of the day–cute first grade feet in Converse tennis shoes, all in different colors and sizes!


Cutest ever, right?? 🙂

And since it’s not fair to just show shoes, here are the cutie-pie faces that go with those awesome kicks:


Say cheese! Diego, Makayla and Peyton 🙂

And since kids can’t get all of the focus here (after all, there is 1 KOOKY TEACHER in Rm. 202, too!), my friend Landen took a picture of something else cool we noticed today: Mrs. Appelbaum (she’s kind of like a celebrity around here lately!) and I were twinsies with the color and patterns in our outfits!  And I must mention that Landen both offered to take the picture AND AirDrop it to me so I would have a copy. 🙂  Gotta love those growing tech skills, huh? IMG_4399

Pictures of the Day–April 13, 2015

Today was a special day at our school, and an even specialer (yeah, I know that’s not a word but it sounds cool right?) day in our town.  We celebrated Hats On Day to collect money for kids with cancer, but it was also Cardinals Opening Day–which is really worth a day off in my book–but alas we together at school.  Here are a couple of pictures from both of these special activities:

If only I could crop myself out of this one...the other two are so cute, right? :)

If only I could crop myself out of this one…the other two are so cute, right? 🙂

Those are some pretty awesome Cardinals' fans, aren't they?  Look, C.J.'s backpack even has Cardinal red on it!  Looking good, kiddos!

Those are some pretty awesome Cardinals’ fans, aren’t they? Look, C.J.’s backpack even has Cardinal red on it! Looking good, kiddos!

Another fun day in Rm. 202 at Robinson and a great start to a super week! 🙂

SPECIAL EDITION–First Grade Math Warm-Ups: Data Collection Focus

So I missed posting last week’s math warm-ups because my phone has decided not to talk to my computer (which, I believe is a ruse to make me finally give in and get an iPhone–everything else I use is Apple anyway, so I guess it only makes sense…) so I can’t show you the pictures I took.

Well, it seems that wasn’t so big of a deal anyway, because there have been lots of math activities (not just warm-ups) that have been related to data collection, and this way I can connect them all.  Bonus. 🙂

We began several weeks ago, as I knew we’d be launching into a unit on data collection and analysis, to try our hand at some easy surveys in our math warm-ups.  We talked with the very first one about the idea that we’ll be collecting, organizing and analyzing data (and what all of those things mean).   Then we spent many days answering survey questions, and doing just those things:

After we’d had some practice with the actual answering the question and orally analyzing the information, we started working on how to represent that information.  Thanks to my friend Mrs. Appelbaum (remember her, with the AWESOME name and the great idea for webs in writing/science?), I had a really good visual to show my kids the expectations for what they should be able to do with both describing and representing data by the end of this unit:


I think the best part about this checklist is that a kiddo in her class asked her to make it so he’d remember what to do.

This checklist was the next step for us and with it we began to look at how to SHOW what the answers were, especially to people who weren’t there in our class when we took the survey (this meant that they would have to be clear and concise).

We had a go at the idea with that question about cereal and pancakes, trying it ourselves and then coming back together and trying many different ways that were on Mrs. Appelbaum’s sheet.  WOW–look at all of those ways to say the same thing:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 7.57.08 PMToday’s work was really cool as 3 friends decided to start organizing it AS we were collecting it.  Jacob, Lauren and Amelia made the paper into a t-chart and even put labels so kiddos would know where to put their answer:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.17.44 PMWe showed the total with both tallies and numbers, and then also tried a pictograph:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.19.53 PMWe also talked about the part of the checklist where we make sure to show how many people took the survey, which we did by adding the totals of both columns.

Today we took a fun and important step and began to do surveys on our own!  We reviewed the steps and then worked with a partner to plan the question we’d be asking, using these ideas for stems:

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 8.22.46 PMTomorrow we ask the question of our friends and start collecting data!  Stay tuned for the fun! 🙂

Chapter Book Previews: First Try in First Grade

The first year I taught 5th grade, I came upon a great idea for previewing chapter books with readers–the idea being that you teach them how to do it together with a whole class read aloud and then they’d hopefully begin to transfer the process to independent reading.  Well, I can’t say that that ever happened, and I don’t even teach 5th anymore to try again, but what I do know is that the process worked well enough that I decided to revive it for a try in first grade.

I believe that our newest chapter book is the 21st we’ve shared together this year.  Yes, I said 21st!  That’s amazing, no?  We agree. 🙂  Well, if you’ve been following our read aloud timeline progress and updates, then you know we enjoy short books with funny characters, interesting pictures and exciting adventures, and that we’ve become fans of Kate DiCamillo (we’ve read 7 of her books!).  Once along the way, we tried something a little longer and more complex, and started reading The Lemonade War (I have read the series and also heard once of a whole school doing this as a RA and thought I’d try it with my crew), but quickly abandoned it when it seemed like we weren’t ready for something with such little support for readers (well, listeners in this case).

Well, recently it was my turn to choose the title (since they’d had control of the previous 15!) and I introduced them to the amazing world of The One and Only Ivan.  They did great with that one, even without pictures and even though it was super long.

Well…it was my turn again, and with the help of my friend Millicent (to whom I should really give the credit for choosing the book with her mom), and the choice was the classic The Wizard of Oz.   I was willing to try it with this crew both because I think we’re more ready that earlier in the year, and because I wanted to try it with my own first grader last year (when it was suggested on a list by NPR for their Backseat Book Club).

As we were getting started, though, I wondered if there was something I should do this time around to help support my kiddos, since the story is much more complicated that others we’ve read.  That’s when I thought of how I’ve brought so many other things from my 5th grade days to 1st grade and they’ve gone really well.  I knew I had just the thing to try, and it was our Read Aloud Preview Packets.

With 5th graders, each kid actually had their own paper copy of the packet, on which they’d write questions, inferences, noticings and whatever else they needed to help them digest the story.  I figured that this time, since it was our first time, we’d try it together and then maybe I’d give them a go at it on their own.

Tuesday, then, we sat down together and I opened our class copy in Word on the ActivBoard.  Here’s how our conversation went:

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 2.59.55 PMStarting with the front cover, we studied and analyzed, pulling up all the schema we had as well as recording wonderings we had based on the picture.  This one was different than the actual cover of our book (which is a beautifully bound green leather copy), so I grabbed one that I thought would create a good conversation.

Then we were on to the back cover.  Again, our actual cover was just green, so I found one that we could talk about:

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.00.05 PMNext was the Verso and Dedication.  Well, this one didn’t have a dedication, but we talked about what that word meant, and what it might say if there was one.  This next part was really also just an explanation of what a verso is and what you can learn from studying it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.00.15 PMMoving on, we looked at a special feature of this book: a map!  We had read another book with a map (Who Is Stealing the 12 Days of Christmas?) and so connected to that knowledge as we thought of how this one would help us as we go through the story.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.00.20 PMThe next (and last) part in the preview is usually just the first page, but this book also had an introduction, so we did that one, too.  The goal of this step was to  help kiddos get their minds set to dig into the story.  Baum wrote his introduction to explain his purpose and intentions with the story, and so it was a great conversation about how he wanted his Wizard to be different than previous fairy tales known to readers.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 3.00.39 PMWe didn’t actually read the first page, because kids were done (and I knew that we’d be reading it the first day anyway), but finished our conversation with mention of how many of them were coming into this book with experience seeing TWOO movie (two different versions, actually).  We talked briefly about how different books and movies usually are because they’re made by different people, and how we could keep track of these similarities and differences as we read.

Whew!  I’m so glad we did that!  I wasn’t quite sure how it would go, but Rm. 202 kids seemed really into it, and they had lots to say during our discussion.  We’re only about 6 pages in, but it seems like they’re already mesmerized by a great classic story and I am, too–I’ve never read it, either!  Here’s to another GREAT read aloud!!