Kindness Quilt MATH

I have shared about how we started building our Kindness Quilt and then an update on how it’s growing!

Here’s another SUPER idea that grew out of it, based on a conversation we had in math a week or so ago. 🙂

Kids had been asking questions about how big the quilt might be, or how many squares we have gotten so far from other classes, and also just “What will it look like?”, so I pulled up this picture for them to reference.

IMG_3661 (1)

Then I asked them to think of two things (based on the protocol you might do with a 3 Act Lesson): What do you notice?  What do you wonder?

These were their answers:

IMG_6987

Now…the whole point of the wonderings was to give them some tasks to complete, right? So we then went back through that list of questions and tried to decide which were ones we could actually use math to figure out.  We noted connections, as well as marking off ones that were just interesting, but not “answerable.”

IMG_6988

After we had discussed the ones that we could actually tackle, mathematicians were invited to choose one with which they could get started.  Everyone declared their favorite and went to get started.  There were no “rules” except that they had to find a way to record their thinking so they could show us their answer.  (As a sidenote, as we got started, we had to have a conversation about what “recording” might mean–we use Seesaw so frequently that it only meant “using your voice to tell about your work.”  Oops. Guess we should talk about that more often. )

As kids got started, it was fun to watch the different strategies that they employed, including iPads, number lines, and fingers.

And aside from the different tools they chose to use, it was great to watch how EVERYONE had a place to enter this investigation!  No one felt like they couldn’t do it, like it was too hard or like it was no fun.  This was a highly motivating topic (they had all made the quilt!), with interesting questions (that they had come up with!), and they got to choose which question they wanted to answer (based on any criteria–which was easiest, which was most interesting, which was most challenging, etc.).  EVERYONE was engaged, for the whole time!  Kiddos worked alone and in partners–again, their choice–to answer as many of our wonderings as they could.

Check out what they discovered!

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.2ca8ab90-a33a-4e2c-a1cc-51a7d61b1606&share_token=UNjOnP2IS3-rinPFfu5how&mode=embed

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.52004253-9f14-4a73-aa87-3f6eeaa62eae&share_token=fnWHPrVjQ92CJnLYxFIRFg&mode=embed

 

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.25295ab6-5a4a-4529-9c9a-b7c4f46d016e&share_token=w_TUOK4ARh-YmahAmEaGOQ&mode=embed

What questions would you ask about our quilt?  We’d love to hear them–and maybe even try to answer them! 🙂

 

Building Relationships: Lunch Bunch

Last week I posted about how our Morning Meeting Feeling Circle helps build relationships in our classroom.  That same day something else happened that I was reminded of that also does this same thing: Lunch Bunch. 🙂

Several years ago in my classroom I had a routine of inviting kiddos to eat lunch with me–either I would choose a day to come to the cafeteria or they would be invited to come to our room to eat lunch there.  For some reason (I forgot?) I haven’t done this for the last few years on a regular basis.

This year, however, I have several kiddos who regularly ask me if they can eat with me.  This occasional situation turned into something official earlier this year when I had enough different kiddos ask that it just made sense to make it a “thing.”  So, now, on most Tuesdays, anyone from our class is invited to join me in our room after recess for Lunch Bunch.

I remember the first few times we did it, only about 8 or so kiddos came.  That’s still pretty good odds, though, I’d say–about half of our class.  As time has gone one, though, EVERYONE has started to join us!  Now we even look around and figure out who’s not there with us.  Isaac is usually the one who volunteers to go to the cafeteria to get whoever is left.  🙂

I think we had several kiddos missing on this day, so it’s not everyone, but it’s most of us. 🙂  Oh, and Isaac didn’t make it into this selfie, so he wanted one of his own. 🙂

IMG_7078

And then so did a few other friends.  (And I think if we’d have had enough time for me to work my way around the room, everyone would have wanted a selfie with Mrs. Bearden. 🙂

IMG_7079.JPG

Lucy and me 

IMG_7080

Makhi and Mrs. Bearden (and a photobomb from Beckett!) 🙂

IMG_7081

Me and Avant 🙂

It’s funny how just a change of place, or a change of thing can impact how you interact with kiddos (and how kiddos interact with each other).  Ok, I guess it’s not really a surprise, though, since food is such a universal thing and breaking bread together helps people of all ages and cultures to get to know each other better–this is true even of first graders!

I love how our conversations run the gamut and how much they are willing to share about themselves, often without even having to ask them anything!  There are usually quick connections made over foods we have that are the same, or a really funny conversation started by someone asking about something I have in my lunch that no one else in the room would eat!

Lunch Bunch has become a staple of life in Rm. 111 and I don’t think I could (or would!) change that.  A couple of times our Tuesday routine has had to adjust because of a meeting or inside recess and kiddos are SO UPSET!  They are always so quick to ask if it can be moved to the next day or the next day.  And you know, if I’d let them, I think most kids would come to eat with me every day!  I know it makes them feel special and a part of something, and you know–I feel that way, too!  Getting to know my students as PEOPLE helps me in so many ways as I help them as learners!  What a super special time we have together. 🙂 . Can’t wait to see what happens this week!

 

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week of February 19-22, 2019

Hi and welcome back to the blog!  I’m so glad you keep coming back to check up on what’s going on–because we’re excited to share it with you!

The wall display is up to 360 and looks so amazing!

IMG_7123

Every day that goes by brings more and more interested onlookers to our display!  I think they might be wondering how long will we fill up the wall!  Or maybe where will it go when that happens.  We do have some ideas for where it will go (spoiler–look up!).

This week we added these new titles to the wall:

You’ll see some of our sweet stories from Kindness Week last week, and also a Mo Willems favorite we hadn’t read yet.  My favorites were the two that included diverse characters–Big Hair, Don’t Care and Whoosh! And the best part, those two were probably the kiddos’ favorites, too!

What should we read this week? 🙂

Math Play Day

After the success of Global School Play Day, my first grade team was ALL IN on how to give our kiddos more opportunities to play.  In all the subjects.  On any given day.

And it was incredibly convenient that at the end of Global School Play Day, we had team time to discuss just that topic! #luckyus #firstgradedoubleplanforthewin

After we tossed around several ideas, we landed on trying something in math first.  And we also decided that using The Periodic Table of Play as our resource for ideas would be the best place to start.  Our district has done work with Laura Seargeant Richardson, and has committed to putting play up at the top of a list of priorities for all kids and adults in our district.  We have a deck of Play Possible Schools cards in our library, and they were the perfect place to dig in. 🙂

fullsizeoutput_1244

While the conversation was long and detailed, the short story is that we decided to take one concept (fractions) and each choose a different way to “play” with that idea.  We chose an element of play and then figured out a way to apply that to fractions.

There are only five of us, and eleven elements, so we tried to have a variety of options.

We decided on:                Screenshot 2019-02-20 20.06.39

Before the chosen date of our Play Day, we planned what part of our element we could focus on, and got ready for our activity.  In order for kiddos to be able to choose their play place (which was another crucial part of our plan–kid choice!!), we put together a Google Slides presentation to invite them to come play with us!

No one knew which teacher they would end up with or really what they would be working on until they showed up–which added to the excitement and motivation!

Here’s what kiddos chose to do.  Check out how much fun they had!!

Screenshot 2019-02-20 20.03.46

This group observed a science experiment that included using different parts of an Alka-Seltzer and predicting/watching what happened.  Kiddos recorded their thinking with words and pictures.

Lucy had some words to explain her math time today:

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.9b6d6c64-c001-4532-953e-a11b6bf944a7&share_token=9c55C65AT3OXp3TnFsCb3g&mode=embed

Screenshot 2019-02-20 20.03.52

Friends in this group worked with Legos to represent different unit fractions in a variety of ways.  What a fun way to use a typical first grade classroom tool!

Screenshot 2019-02-20 20.04.01 Mathematicians in this group worked in a pizza restaurant!  They got to take turns being a chef (and making fraction pizzas), taking orders and also making a menu.  What an authentic and FUN way to apply fraction knowledge!

Check out Ali’s explanation of what she did!

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.8b4e32c1-defe-4582-9efc-db603c601d15&share_token=LI_7a7KST8-_F0ZEZU1V-g&mode=embed

Screenshot 2019-02-20 20.04.10  Friends that worked in the “feeling” group used their senses of touch and smell to explore fractions.  Listen to Riley explain what she did and why she liked it! Spoiler alert: This was the BEST DAY of math, EVER!

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.677532b7-7220-46da-878e-95e172dc80c1&share_token=ht3CnXkfSjKeLPUY5-UhsA&mode=embed

Screenshot 2019-02-20 20.04.17 This was my group. 🙂 . In this one, mathematicians were invited to plan, create and then play (well we didn’t get to this part, but will do it later!) a game about fractions.  Kiddos chose to work alone, in partnerships and also in groups of 3.

And check out what Hailey had to say about what she did and why she liked math today. 🙂

https://app.seesaw.me/pages/shared_item?item_id=item.6cc7fa93-aa8c-4fad-9171-f180110c9b3c&share_token=l295g8fSTNqyV3KhA4hg1Q&mode=embed

So…can you tell that this first ever First Grade Math Play Day was a roaring success??  Everyone involved had fun and we even noticed that there were not any behavior issues during our play time, either. 🙂 . I mean not surprising, though, right–when everyone is having so much fun learning??

After reflecting on the day, we noticed that a large number of our kiddos chose the groups that played with Legos and made games.  And many of the ones who didn’t get to do that today said that they would choose it if they had a chance again.

And now we’re left with some questions to chew on.  When will we do this again?  Will we try math again?  Same topic or another one?  Should we try another subject?  How can we use what we learned about how our kids like to CREATE and MANIPULATE to better meet their needs at mathematicians (even on regular math days)?  We’re excited to think through the answers (and possibilities) and get another play day on the calendar!

Will you join us?  We’d love to hear your thoughts about our try at math play, and also at how you do this in your own classroom!  Leave a comment with your ideas! 🙂

Building Relationships: Morning Meeting

I have started my school day in a variety of ways over the years, but have been happiest (as, I think, have my students) since I’ve begun the say with choice time.  Sometimes it’s a choice of reading or writing, often it includes an “easel question” where kiddos start with a warm-up to get them thinking, but always they have about a half-hour or so to ease into their day.  Adults don’t start work the second the enter the office, and so neither should kids!

Aside from kids being allowed to ease into the day and spend time with their friends, I am also able to spend time with them in an informal way.  We can chat about the night before, what has happened before school, what they had for breakfast, whatever.

But aside from choice time, the best thing we’ve started doing in our class every morning as the first “official” thing of our day is how we run our morning meeting circle (and yes, I know there is an “official” way to do morning meeting, and this is not exactly that.  It’s just a meeting we have in the morning. 🙂 )

Before I go any further, I need to make sure I tell you about Zones of Regulation.  There are different zones–of different colors to delineate different feelings–and kids learn what each one means and also what to do to move from one zone to another.  Everyone (even adults) moves naturally between zones, which is in itself no big deal, but really being in the GREEN ZONE is the goal.  At the start of our year, we put together this chart after much work with books and conversation and role play to help us really understand what it was all about.  This hangs in our room, and we use it every day!!

IMG_7091

So now to how this connects to our morning meeting circle.  After choice time clean up, we meet in a circle on our rainbow rug.  We pull over our talking piece (our phonics buddy, Rasheed), and get started.  Beginning with our “person in charge”, kiddos go around the circle and tell their classmates what zone they are currently in.  At this point that’s all we share–no reasons yet.  On the second time around the circle, students have the choice of either telling more about their own zone color, or asking someone else in the circle about their color.

The very first time we did this, it took until we got halfway around the circle for someone to ask another friend about their color (rather than tell their own story).  As we’ve gone on, it’s been great to watch how many more (and which different kiddos) have started asking their friends about how they’re doing.  Often a kiddo will ask me, and always by the end of the circle we know how everyone is feeling as we start our day.

I’ve noticed how much more fully we can support each other when we know exactly what kind of morning they’ve had before they got to school.  Things come out in our circle that help us understand how to relate to our friends, things that they probably wouldn’t have shared otherwise.  Often we hear about a rushed morning that put someone in the yellow zone, or about how a friend is sad and in the blue zone because their parent is traveling and they miss them.  With this information, it’s the job of the rest of us to help those friends find a way back to the green zone.

Another thing I’ve noticed is how kids are becoming more aware of their actual feelings and being honest about how they are truly feeling.  We’ve had kiddos on both ends of the spectrum–those who always say they’re green (even if they aren’t) and some who always claim to be yellow–or even red–but really aren’t.  It surprised me how uncomfortable some friends were with being ok; being in the green zone seemed like a place they were not used to being and so had to be convinced that it was a good thing.  Being able to talk about our feelings and start the day together in this way also just helps us share our lives; often the reason we’re “green” is because of happy things that have happened or things we’re looking forward to.  We’re a part of each others’ lives from the very beginning. 🙂

How do you start your morning? What does Morning Meeting look like in your classroom?  If you’re a parent, what has your first grader told you about our opening circle?  What is their favorite part? Please leave us a comment with your thoughts!

 

Kindness Week 2019: Valentine’s Day

Yes, I know I mentioned that we’re NOT doing Valentine’s Day and instead choosing to celebrate a whole Kindness Week.  Well, the last day of Kindness Week was Valentine’s Day, and so we did indeed focus a little more on kindness and a did a couple of extra special things.

First of all, through out the whole week we worked to write compliment cards for each kiddo in our class.  Rather than have kiddos spend time and money on Valentine’s cards from the store, we hand make them for our friends.  Starting on Monday wrote and wrote and wrote, using a checklist to spell names right and to make sure we included everyone.  Also, before we started writing, we brainstormed some words we might want to say.

Once we got to the afternoon, kiddos had some Valentine’s Choices.  Many were even things we would normally do, just with a Valentine’s Twist.

Kids could choose to decorate a bag for their compliment cards,

play a math game,

color,

IMG_7008

play a board game,

IMG_7018

and/or  build with Rig-a-ma-jigs (which I could probably write another whole blog post about!).

Even without a big ‘ole party full of candy and sugar and glitter, we had a SUPER time!

But wait–we weren’t done!  We ended the day with a sweet treat of KINDNESS CAKE!!

What is Kindness Cake you ask?  Well basically it’s chocolate cake (that kiddos voted for) with red vanilla icing (which kiddos also voted for) but also has root beer (because we have to make it egg free) and had some pretty amazing decorations–which I’ll show you in a minute.

After we had red icing (really red icing!), each kiddo added a cake topper we had made earlier in the day on which we had written a way we can show kindness at home.

IMG_7017

After we served the cake, kiddos were given the challenge of doing whatever act of kindness they got in their piece of cake!

We ended the day with that snack of Kindness Cake, popcorn, Capri Sun and Arthur on the big screen.  What a fun day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope yours was as sweet as ours! ❤

The 112th Day of School?

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that I have done some reflection on the appropriateness of celebrating the 100th Day of School (at least outside of kindergarten).  Last year we decided to commemorate the 111th day of school in a small way instead because that was our room number. Not the most creative reasoning, but Rm. 111 kids really stepped up and we did some awesome things around the number 111!

This year we talked about doing the same thing again (new class, same plan) after I explained to them about how we didn’t need to do the same thing they did in kindergarten–this is first grade, after all!

Well, because of two “too-cold” days off, our 111th day of school fell right after World Read Aloud Day, right after Global School Play Day, after a visit to the Black History Museum and some brownie baking and smack in the middle of Kindness Week!  Whew!  We were (and would be!) so busy–and no one had asked about it in a while–that I figured I’d let the day come and go and no one would notice.  I know–not fair, but hey, it’s what I did. 🙂

And it did come and go….at least for one day. LOL . On Wednesday, the 112th day of school, Ali noticed on our ten-frame number on the board that we had in fact missed our special day!  Oops. 🙂 . She asked me and I was honest with my answer.  She seemed fine with that explanation, but pretty much insisted that we fix it by doing something that day.  Ok, Al, you’re right. 🙂

During our Morning Meeting that day we talked about our new plan for the day (and yes, I admitted my mistake).  They had ideas similar to what some of my previous classes have done, and thankfully most of their suggestions were totally appropriate and “doable” without much planning.  Together we decided that we would read 112 books, have 12 extra minutes of math (which sounds weird but was the concession I could give them when they first asked for 112 extra minutes!), and that we’d do some reading/writing/drawing about Black History Month later on in the day.  Pretty great ideas, I’d say!

Before we got busy with our reading goal, we talked about how we would make 112 books happen.  Sam had a great idea of thinking about it like a math problem, and he helped construct a ratio table to figure out how many books each would need to read.  We ended up with 7 or 8 each, and quickly discussed how we’d keep track.  Chart paper and post-its for the win!

Remember how in the post about Twenty Yawns I talked about how great it is when the numbers work out for you?  Well, it happened again as the chart we used could fit 9 sticky notes across.  You can use multiples of 10 – 1 to figure out how many you have pretty quickly.  LOVE IT!

Anyhow, we worked pretty much all morning on this, but ended up getting to our goal (and a bit past it!) just as it was time for lunch.  PERFECT!

Oh, and I’ll share what happened in that extra 12 minutes of math in another post soon!  The afternoon when they worked on Black History Month was also great, but I didn’t get any pictures of it. 😦 . I LOVE how excited these kiddos are about learning, and how much of that includes books!