#FDOFG–Guided Discovery: Play-Doh

On Open House night, I had up a wish list that families could grab from and donate items to our class if they liked.  One thing on the list was play-doh.  I hadn’t ever asked for it before, but got the idea from another teacher, and thought I’d give it a try. Play-Doh is one of those things (kind of like Legos and blocks) that can be used in so many ways.  Thanks to the Ella and her family, we got a huge box of Play-Doh a couple of days before school started!  THANK YOU, KOHRINGS!!

On Thursday is was time to whip it out and discover what we could do with it!  Part of a guided discovery is for kiddos to just play and have fun, to figure out what they can and want to do with a certain item/manipulative.  So after we went over some basic guidelines (only use the color from your can, keep it on the table, be sure to clean up all the bits and pieces when you’re finished, etc.) Rm. 202 kids got the first 5 or so minutes to do whatever they wanted.  Then we spent some time using the Play-Doh to share some of our thinking.

Kiddos were asked do create something that represented the following things: 1) their FAVORITE thing to do when they aren’t at school (by the way, lots of Rm. 202 kiddos made TVs), and 2) their FAVORITE thing to do at school.

Then I had kiddos make their names.  Not a hard thing, really, but some kiddos needed encouragement with figuring out how to use the amount of Play-Doh they had to make the letters they needed or to shape the “curvy” letters so we knew what they said.  Some kiddos had time to make both their first and last names, and we even had a couple of Rm. 202 friends share tips for how to make their dough super flat (Allie used her forearm, and Peter used his fist and pushed real hard!).

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I was excited for how they were excited, as well as for the things we learned about each other during this seemingly “easy” activity.  It’s a first time I’ve done an intro survey this way, and am glad that I did.  After we had had a chance to investigate and play, then Play-Doh then became a choice during afternoon choice time. I’m excited to see the other ways we’ll use it to represent our learning as we go further into the year, too!

Students: What did you make with your Play-Doh to show what you like to do outside of school?   What did you find that was easy about this?  What was tricky for you?

Parents: What did your kiddos tell you about our Play-Doh investigation?  Were you surprised with what they made? 

Teachers:  What ways have you used Play-Doh in your classroom with your learners?

We’d love to hear from you!!

#FDOFG–First Grade Friends

It’s the first days of first grade, and like in any grade (or any place where there are new groups of people who don’t know each other well yet), there have to be lessons on how to be a good friend.  We did this with a book (or two…or three), and then we charted what we noticed.   We then spent the rest of the day purposefully doing things WITh our friends, then noticing which of those “good friend” things we were doing.

We started with the book Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend, because our friends in Rm. 203 came and shared it with us.  Yes–their WHOLE CLASS came over and shared the book with us because they thought we’d like reading it. (Which, by the way, is another message Ms. Turken and I had discussed wanting to sent to our classes: Readers share books they like with their friends!  So, ok, we had coordinated this beforehand, but then we did the same and shared our Box book with them when we were finished with it. 🙂 ).

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We also read an Elephant and Piggie book (don’t you love those??) called My New Friend is So Fun! and talked about what we know about how good friends treat each other.

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We made our chart…

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…and Jamie had a super idea that we keep going back to the list to check ourselves throughout the day.  Then Kaiden suggested that we make a note because I mentioned that I might forget.  See his post-it up there!?  What great 1st grade thinking already!!

Our next chance to practice our “good friend moves” came next when we went outside for recess.  We talked before we left about goals we had to do the things on the chart, and then we got busy having fun and being friendly!

We read a couple of more books…

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Our friend, Rachel, shared this one because she enjoyed reading it with her mom at home, and she thought we’d enjoy it, too.  We sure did!

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Kaiden thought this would be a good one and he was right!!  

…and talked about examples of “good friend moves” we found in the books.  We learned a lot from Louise, Peanut Butter and Jelly (yep, she’s in that book at the end–sorry, spoiler alert!).

After Day 2 (when this work started), we continued to come back to our work over and over.  We did things with our Room Crews (which I’ll show you in another post), and focused on things we had in common.   Each group made a web of things that everyone in their group had that was the same.  We practiced using kind words, asking good questions and working together.  Taking turns was important, and so was using quiet learning voices so everyone could concentrate.  Wow–who knew that being a friend was such hard work?!

After we shared in our small groups, we connected with the whole class and we figured out that a lot of us had things that were in common.  The next step was to do the same procedure, but with things that the whole group DIDN’T like.  They thought that was a fun twist, and they did a great job.

Obviously this is the first but not the only time we’ll talk about being friends.  I have been so impressed, though, with how kids have stepped up and are demonstrating the behaviors on our chart.  I know we’ll only continue to add to the tally marks and the “moves” as we go forward.  I can’t wait to share our progress.  Here’s to being great first grade friends!