Hi!! Welcome back to our blog! It’s been a BUSY start to this new year and I have SO MUCH TO SHOW YOU!! Last year I decided to create a “home page” so to speak where I collected all the posts I wrote from the beginning days. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to find them–bookmark this page and then you can revisit it frequently to find what’s new, subscribe so you can be sure NOT TO MISS ANYTHING, or you could even use the tags on the side (these will all be found under the FIRST DAYS tag). Ok, let’s get this party started!!
Like I mentioned in our first post about our first day in first grade, we’ve been busy, as there are LOTS of new things to learn at the beginning of the year. Any year really, but especially in first grade! This post is about something every important around our classroom and our school–GRIT!
You might already know about how we have a Robinson Mindset that we have learned and use, and that we start everyday with together. One really important part of it is: I have grit! In fact, it’s so important it’s the first line!
So…knowing how important this idea is, we have to make mighty sure that kiddos know what it means and how they use it and get it. Most of them have at least some knowledge from kindergarten (and their super smart parents who may have already taught them about it!), and so we started there. We charted what we remembered:
Aside from just being able to talk about GREAT though we have to be able to use it, right? Pull it up from deep down inside even when things are super tricky and really hard. So next we did an activity that gave them the chance to do that–PUZZLES!!
First I talked about how I do a jigsaw puzzle everyday! I have an app on my iPad that lets you build puzzles, and has a new “puzzle of the day” each morning. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and helps keep my brain awake and active. I LOVE how it feels when you’re working a really hard puzzle and then you finally figure it out! I want kiddos to feel that same feeling, as well as realize that some things are even hard for grown-ups!
We picked partners, and also the puzzle we’d do–there were some that were 24 pieces, some that were 60, and some that were 100 pieces! After some quick directions about where to go and how you HAD TO KEEP WORKING, we got busy. As a side note, I was watching for what would happen with GRIT during this activity, but I was also collecting data on partnerships that worked well.
Some teams were able to finish their puzzle, and 1 team even got to start (and mostly finish) another one. We worked for about 20-30 minutes and then gathered to debrief. We talked about what we had learned about what helped us and what was tricky. Some of their smart strategies are the ones that I use as an adult to do my puzzles, too!
As with many things, we decided (well, actually they asked!) if we could do this whole puzzle thing again. Some said if they’d have had more time they could have finished, and some wanted to tackle the same puzzle after our conversation and try some of the new strategies they’d heard from their friends. We (Ms. Turken, who we work with ALOT now, and I) decided that this was a GREAT idea.
We planned a read aloud first, which highlighted the idea of trying new and different ideas, not giving up and working to complete your task even when it’s tricky. We read the book Stuck by Oliver Jeffers together as two first grade classes. This protocol is always fun and helpful as there are SO MANY FIRST GRADE BRAINS to learn from and different perspectives to consider.
After this book and some super creative thinking about how the boy in the story (Floyd) used his GRIT to get his kite (and then everything else he threw in the tree) unstuck, we checked out the posters our classes had made separately and noticed the similarities and differences. Many strategies were similar, but there were ideas that were specific to each one and it was great to be able to share these new ideas with everyone before they got to work again.
We had planned to use the SAME partners and do the SAME puzzle, but we did do one thing DIFFERENT: we traded teachers! This time Ms. Turken worked with Rm. 111 kiddos and I stayed to learn from/with Rm. 112 kiddos. It was an opportunity for us to get to know each other better, as well as for me to see her kids in action, perhaps seeing different things than Ms. Turken did. Being able to share new insights on our students is one of the things we’re already loving about working so closely together! Lots more friends finished puzzles this time than they did on our first go-round.
These are some Rm. 111 friends I worked with that day–look how engaged they are!
After our work time, we gathered one more time to discuss how it went, and shared things that had we had changed, things we had learned or things we had noticed.
Ms. Turken led the conversation as we shared our smart thinking! (And yes, I promise I will include more pictures of me–seems funny to see someone else’s face all over my blog! lol).
What a great day of learning, and one that we will keep coming back to for a VERY LONG TIME!!
OH my goodness–today was a TOTALITY amazing day. hee hee Yes I know, it’s a bit much. But really, what a once-in-a-lifetime day to enjoy and experience with our Robinson community. I am sure many other KSD teachers and families have said it, but KUDOS to Joe Bartin for all of his hard work to get us ready for the big day. There were websites just for the day, y’all, that had videos and info galore! If you haven’t seen them, check this out:
We did some preteaching on eclipses so kiddos would know what was going on and what to expect, using videos and books. On Friday, we got together with Ms. Turken’s Rm. 112 friends to do some work. First we watched a BrainPop Jr video on eclipses and learned a little from Annie and Moby.
After the video, we read a book together called Eddie’s Eclipse. It was written by two St. Louis librarians just for this special day! We enjoyed it and listened for facts/details we had also heard in the video.
While Ms. Turken read and kiddos listened, I kept record of the important facts that students thought we should remember. We made a chart of what was essential:
Also on this day, we put the finishing touches on the glow-in-the-dark bracelets Ms. Maldonado helped us make for the big event,
and tried on the new eclipse glasses that were gifted to us by the Kirkwood School District Foundation:
Today, on the actual day of the eclipse, we did some more reading and shared another book, called Eclipse: Darkness in the Daytime together with our Rm. 112 friends again.
For the rest of our amazing day, we watched another video, practiced with our glasses, spent the TOTALITY of the eclipse outside with our amazing Robinson friends and family, and commemorated the day with some artwork and an eclipse snack (Capri SUN, SUN chips, STARbursts and MILKY WAYs). It was pretty intense and fabulous and I can’t really put it into words. So I’ll just use pictures. 🙂 Enjoy!
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Robinson’s Facebook page, be sure to see it–there are loads of other fun pics to see and even a LIVE video from when we were in TOTALITY. Cool, right?
Ok, one more thing…if you’re reading this and you were in the path of totality, please comment and let us know what you experienced today! We’d LOVE to hear from others about how they celebrated the day and what they thought of the experience. I know for me it’ll be something I will NEVER forget!
Wow! After waiting the whole summer–moving my classroom, moving my HOUSE, going on a fabulous vacation with my family and then figuring out how to set up a new classroom, it was FINALLY time to get started again.
Before I share the first day of first grade in Rm. 111, indulge me with a couple of first day pictures of my own kiddos, won’t you?
Somehow I am now the parent of a 5TH GRADER (Riley) and a 1ST GRADER (Allie)–how did this happen?? Oh yeah, kids grow up. 🙂 Anyhow, both were super excited to get their day started (as was I!) and we snapped an on-the-way-to-school selfie (don’t worry–I wasn’t driving yet!).
So it’s funny as I go back through my photos to see what to post here and what stories to tell. I can tell it was a really busy day because I didn’t have time to take that many pictures! I CAN tell you that we were able to read lots of stories together (which you will hear LOTS about this year!), work on learning names and beginning to build our community, work on something fun with our 1st grade neighbors in Ms. Turken’s class, had some quiet time and of course learned a little about how things work in first grade at Robinson and in Rm. 111. We had some fun, made some memories and shared some laughs. Hopefully they came home with lots of stories to tell and were exhausted from the day! Ok, well at least my first grader was. 🙂
We also took some pics of each kiddo, which are super cute and will be great to look back at throughout the year and compare our “last day” selves to! Check them out!
We ended the day together with our next-door-neighbors and created first day crowns with pictures to help kiddos tell families about their amazing day at school. Hopefully if you’re a Rm. 111 family your kiddo shared it with you! If not, be sure to ask them about it now! You will notice kiddos from both classes in our pictures, and even Ms. Turken makes an appearance!
I know this post is short, and doesn’t include many specifics and I PROMISE that there are more goodies to come! We had two more FULL days after this one to share, as well as an EXCITING ECLIPSE DAY tomorrow to tell you about! If you haven’t subscribed yet, be sure to do that while you’re here so you don’t miss out on the fun! See you soon!! 🙂
I was at school again yesterday. But…things looked a little different than last time:
And since no one sent any suggestions to help me (what’s up internet?), I wrangled in my 5th grader who had some thoughts and then went ahead with some new things. I’ve got some furniture in place, and have unpacked many boxes, and today I’m working on the library. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when I leave today!
Be sure to check in for updates!
At the beginning of the year (ok, really at the end of summer), I walk into school with high hopes and lots of great ideas for putting my room back together. Usually, this is a pretty quick(ish) job, because I start wherever I left off with my room plan from the previous year. This past year that meant reusing the room zones that my first graders had worked out with the help of our 4th grade friends in Rm. 215 (see the room tour here).
But…this year is not just a “regular” starting over. This time I’m starting over in a new room! This is an exciting idea, but does come with some problems, or at least it means I will have to do some problem-solving as I figure out how to use the brand new (huge!) space in the way that makes the most sense for myself and my kiddos. What? You want to help me? SURE!! I love to hear ideas from others about spaces and would love to know how YOU would fill/arrange this space. Lucky for you I took a video of it when I was there today. Here’s what it looks like:
And yes, I realize it is SUPER annoying that this video is taken vertically. Sorry. I forgot. 😦
As you give suggestions, here are some non-negiotiables:
- space to read
- space to meet together (big rug space)
- space to build (we have big blocks, lots of Legos and recyclables)
- space to be quiet (alone or with others, but no talking)
- space to be messy (usually I put this by the sink, but I guess that could change)
- space for 20 kids to work, but not necessarily at a table (flexible seating is great)
- spaces to work with a group
- spaces to work with just a partner
- space for our Tower Garden, an aquarium and hopefully a sand/water table
Teachers: What would you do with this space? Where would you put the necessary areas/zones within the space? What do you have in your classroom that I didn’t mention or that you think is great for kids’ learning? What did I forget on my list?
Parents and Students: What would you like to see in our learning space? What spaces would you like to add that I didn’t mention? What would make you feel comfortable, creative and confident in your learning space?
Ok. Here we go–it’s your turn! Start your suggestions now. Can’t wait to see what you have to say!! 🙂