#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 6

Wow–I feel like every week I say “I can’t believe it’s been this long already!” but again, I say I can’t believe it’s been SIX WEEKS of the bookaday challenge.  But even more, I can’t believe we’re already at 124 books!!  I love that some said today, “I wonder if we’ll get to 1000 soon!” Ok, so maybe it means I need to do some more place value work, but I also think it speaks to the love of reading and books that is growing in Rm. 202.  And I love it!

Beyond just sharing the “door picture” like I’ve been doing every week, I want to highlight a little about what has happened with some of the books we read this week, as well as some wonderings that have come up this week as we’ve been reading.

First our latest picture:

img_4361I feel like I say this every week now, too, but looking at this just makes me happy!

We started the week reading a book recommended by Mrs. Sisul when she was in our room last time–Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers.  We’re already fans of Stuck and Lost and Found, and had wanted to try some others (I have a couple of others in the TBR basket right now actually!).   We were supposed to take a vote after we read it and let Mrs. Sisul know if she should share that one with the rest of Robinson, too, and we voted YES!

A quick favorite this week was Are We There, Yeti? by Ashton Anstee, which we actually learned about because of our love of all things Emily Arrow.  Oh, come on, you know her–the Dot Day song lady.  Well…since we’re subscribed to her YouTube Channel, we know there are loads of other great book/song combinations she’s created, and this was one of them.  I’m posting the song below, but beware, it’s very catchy!!  I’m planning on using the lyrics to this song as our shared reading text next week, which I think will be really cool.

We added two more Elephant and Piggie books this week (how you can not LOVE those?): I Will Fly Today and Can I Play Too?  Both were great, but we laughed especially loud at the joke in CIPT: the friend who wants to play is a snake, and Elephant and Piggie are trying to play ball.  Lots of craziness ensues, but the end is a happy one where the snake thanks them for playing “with” their friend.  Yep–they throw him!  We definitely LOL’d when we saw that one. 🙂  And speaking of Elephant and Piggie (thanks Mo Willems for writing these amazing little gems!), we ended the week with a box from Amazon that had two new books in it!!  Thanks Raebers!  We’re excited to read I Love New Toy on Monday. 🙂

Kaiden brought in a big pile of books from home this week (I love that kids are starting to do that regularly and share their favorite titles with the rest of us!), and we shared two of them so far: Zoo Looking by Mem Fox and Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony.

We have a Mem Fox author box in our library, so Kaiden thought this would be a good one to read to introduce our class to her writing.  He brought Please, Mr. Panda because we’ve been working so hard on using kind words and being respectful.  That one hdd a great lesson about how it feels when people are rude to you as opposed to how it feels when others use manners.  We liked them both and learned form them, too!

I found a great one–The Best Book to Read–at the library on my last visit and was excited to finally share it with my kiddos on Thursday.  We had a great conversation about what the “best” book to read would be, and how that means something different to everyone. Mara suggested that every book is the best book to read.  She ended up being right!  This book also started some great conversations about libraries, and what special places they are, as well as an important discussion about library cards and what amazing treasures those can be!  It started a plan for a walking field trip soon!  We are so excited!

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Lastly, Mrs. Sisul came back again (isn’t it amazing that our principal reads to us!?) to read Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev.

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It was on her list during the first rotation of Principal Read Alouds, but I had her save it for a later time.  Her visit today was purposely tied to our conversations lately about including everyone, being kind to others, and the fact that I had found an Emily Arrow song about it!  Perfect, right??  I know, eventually I might stop gushing about her amazingness, but for now I’ll just share another song. 🙂

Happy in Our Skin!

For the last few years, I’ve started the year with creating beautiful things to hang in our room.  It’s so great to watch as our bare walls fill up with amazing creativity that spills out of our first grade minds!

This project is both fun and meaningful as it’s based on helping kiddos see that while we are all different that’s an amazing thing, and that within those differences we can celebrate ways we are also the same.

As with many things, we started our conversation with books.  We read Shades of Black by Sandra Pinkney and Happy in Our Skin by Fran Manushkin together.

We talked about how each of us looks different, has different talents to share and brings many different things to our classroom community.  Also, we have many things that are the same because we’re all kids.  We all want to be loved, to belong, to contribute, to learn.

We wanted to create beautiful images of our unique and different selves to hang on the wall, and we did so with lots of different creative things in our room.  We also borrowed a mirror from our friends in Ms. Turken’s room so we could see some of the close-up details of our faces.

Now they hang along the top of our wall and we can see them smiling on us every day!  We are definitely learning to celebrate the beautiful skin we live in, and appreciate how different we all are!

Bike Rodeo 2016

I am pretty sure we have the best school ever, with teachers and community members who plan THE BEST things for our kiddos to do.  Case in point–last week we participated in a Bike Rodeo during our PE classes, where everybody brought their bikes to school (or shared if they didn’t have one!) and got to ride around the blacktop!  There was an obstacle course, and I heard that kids had a GREAT time going down the big hill on the driveway.  There were LOADS of kids who learned to ride without their training wheels, too!  Officer Stemmler (our School Resource Officer), Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Moffitt were such troopers as they braved the sun and heat and helped our Roadrunner ride and ride and ride!  Thanks to all the parents to helped make it happen, too!

I wish I had pictures of the actual bike riding to share, but these will have to do.  Just imagine kids zooming around really fast (see, there’d be blurry pictures anyway) with giant smiles on their faces!

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Working on Working Together

This week we had a class meeting and identified some tricky parts our class was having.  I HATE to admit that the list was really long.  Like 4 post-it notes long.  Big post-it notes. 😦

Well, because we have growth mindsets at our school (and in our room!), and because our tricky parts are things we can TOTALLY fix, we started spending some specific time on Friday working on figuring out what to do.

First we took all of our trouble spots and put them into categories.  We quickly realized we had many things that were similar and fit into four categories.  Then we saw that in some way these were all related to not following directions. (And I feel like I must say, when I first saw our list I had a bit of trouble with it because it felt a little like our classroom was always in chaos.  I promise these things happen in bits and pieces, not all at once, all the time.  And honestly, some of them are just what happens when you put lots of 6YOs together in a classroom.  But they are indeed things we need to work on, and for which we can find a solution!)

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As we continued through the day (and we will continue on Monday–well and probably beyond that, too!) with the focus on both following directions as well as thinking of others.  This second focus came because we had had a heart-to-heart about how so many of us of just thinking of ourselves, and so that’s why we’re not following directions in the first place.  For example, we are interrupting because we think our ideas are more important than our friends’, we’re leaving messes because we don’t care about our room and our friends, we are making noises during learning times because we are thinking more about ourselves (and what we want to do) than about our friends and their learning environment.  You get the idea.

We added that last bubble after we had had a chance to check out a couple of Class Dojo videos to get our minds thinking about how we might fix up our troubles.  We even tagged the day “Fix-it-Up Friday.”  Here’s one about making mistakes:

And another about having a growth mindset:

Another important part of our day was when Mrs. Cohen came back to our room to teach a lesson.  Because she and I had already chatted, we agreed that her lesson about following directions fit in PERFECTLY with what we were already working on.

First she talked with us a little bit about the work we had already done, and we explained our mistakes web to her.   She talked a little bit about why following directions is so important, and kiddos shared really smart ideas like how doing so keeps us safe and helps us learn.  Next, she gave us a challenge.  Everyone got a piece of paper and a crayon and set to listen to her directions.  They had to both HEAR and SEE in order to make this happen.  I only got part of the activity on video, but you’ll get the idea.  And what it showed us when we were finished was that we can, indeed, follow directions!  Pay attention to how well friends are listening, looking and quietly working!

Pretty great, right?  Look at al those cat pictures!

Well since they proved they could do that amazingness, she gave them another challenge.  Only this one wasn’t individual–we would all have to follow directions together to make it work!

They did it!  It wasn’t silent, and it wasn’t perfect, but they did a pretty good job, right?  We will definitely build on this learning (and progress) as we come back together on Monday.  We have work to do, but we know we can do it!

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 5

I feel like I should be sure to say thanks to Jillian Heise for the fabulousness that is #classroombookaday on Twitter.   And I am so truly sorry if I ever seemed like I created it–I think I just started using it in my title so I didn’t have to retype it when I tweeted out my posts.  Anyhow, what a great thing this has done (and is doing) in my classroom (and so many others!) to promote literacy, introduce readers to new books and to create so many great memories between me and my students.

Ok…this marks Week 5 since we started tracking our reading, and something very special happened–we hit 100 books!!  I haven’t done it yet, but I feel like I should mark that book with a star or something (it was the Light and Sound book just for the record!), and also begin more seriously planning what in the world we’ll do when we fill up our door.  The way the math is working, that will happen in about 6 weeks!  That’s not even the halfway point of the year yet!

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Picture Day Perfect!

I wish I would have taken a picture of everyone together (yep, it was in my plan but the day got away from me 😦 ) because we were all so beautiful and handsome in our Picture Day best.  Alas, I did not, but I was able to capture some cute pictures of some sets of twins and triplets we found in Rm. 202 today:

img_4146img_4147img_4149img_4150How do you not smile with all that cuteness?  Hope your Friday was great–our was Picture Day perfect!!

Ten Black Dots Makes a…

…really great book to challenge first graders with their creativity!  Last week I shared how Mrs. Berger is doing some lessons with first grade and this week was #2.  First she shared the book Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews, which was a great connection to our current math work as well as a great stretch for our creative brains.

Then she asked me to do something that I guess I knew was coming but had forgotten about since last time we did this (2014): use 10 black dots to create something.  I usually appreciate doing things that my students are asked to do, as I know that understanding the struggles that may come up helps me support students through them, but I had forgotten how hard that task is!  I came up with something, but let me just want you it was a little less than stellar. 🙂 Ok, sorry, I know that is a very fixed-mindset thing to say…I take it back.  I just believe if I worked at it I could create a much more imaginative picture with my dots.  (Thanks to Chase for being the photographer while I was working on this!)

After my demonstration, kiddos were given an office and a paper, chose 10 red dots and got busy on their creation.  They worked for about 10 minutes on their 10 red dots, including writing at the bottom to tell about what they made.

And just like with the drawing starts, kiddos did a great job of seeing those dots as so much more than they were!

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Another great example of stretching your brains, Rm. 202 friends!