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,

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play a board game,

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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.

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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!

Kindness Week 2019: Ms. Dale’s Kindness Sale

As I mentioned in my post about the Kindness Quilt 2.0, Robinson has begun doing a variety of fabulous and kind things throughout a whole WEEK instead of just focusing on Valentine’s Day.

One of the REALLY fabulous things that happened during Kindness Week was a Kindness Garage Sale held by Ms. Dale’s First Graders.  They have been working on a service-learning project related to poverty, food scarcity and helping our neighbors.  We have a Little Food Pantry on our school campus (and it’s shaped like George, our Roadrunner mascot!), but they had noticed that it is often in need of filling; many people in our community benefit from what is available inside.

Ms. Dale’s class put together a garage sale to raise money to take a shopping trip to Aldi to shop for food to fill up our pantry and invited all of our school to come shopping!  Everything was 50 cents, so everyone was able to get a little something.

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We were amazed that everyone in our class seemed to find a trinket that was seemingly made just for them.  Zach found dinosaurs, Brock found a Transformer, Ariya chose a little porcelain egg with a kitten on it, Avant found bouncy balls, Riley found a dog, Hailey found a book she LOVES from our classroom and now she has her very own copy!–even I got something and found a 1000 piece puzzle! Several kiddos discovered sunglasses and were THRILLED when two days later it was finally sunny. 🙂 . Beckett and Isaac both made a point to choose something for themselves, and also for their moms. ❤ . And I’m sorry–I didn’t get a picture of everyone.  They were too quick for me!

Besides the treasures that we were able to find for ourselves, the big benefit of the sale was the almost $400 that the class raised!  They were able to take their shopping field trip on Thursday of Kindness Week and stock up the pantry!  What an incredible way to spread kindness and love to our community!  Can’t wait to see what happens as they continue to support the neighbors who live around us.  We’re also hoping that maybe the rest of Robinson can join in and do some learning with them. 🙂 Stay tuned for more chapters to this story!

There’s Math in That Book!–Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo

I remember when we were reading Going Places and Beckett found some pretty amazing math in a picture that was in the book.  We tweeted to Peter H. Reynolds to ask him if he knew about it, and/or if he did it on purpose.

We were tickled when he replied–because when authors talk to you it’s a BIG DEAL!!

Well, we were reading another book the other day–Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo–and something similar happened.

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As we finished the book (which is a super sweet story about a girl who is trying to go to sleep and not surprisingly does lots of yawning), I asked why the author would have named the book Twenty Yawns.  I thought someone would say “because there are 20 yawns in the story,” but surprisingly that was not what they suggested.  Somehow we got into a little tat about how there were 21 yawns in the book.  What??  I’m still not entirely sure if the friends who were so convinced about the 21 yawns were for real, or if they wanted to cause a ruckus, but regardless, Ali saved the day by saying we should count them and figure it out.

So…we went back through the story and paid attention to how many yawns were on each page, creating an equation that looked like this:

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Next we talked about the different ways kiddos could PROVE that there were or were not 21 (or 20!) yawns in the book.  Our list looked like this:Screenshot 2019-02-18 13.26.11

It was actually really lucky, too, how the problem worked out because we have been working on combinations of 10 and I was hoping that kiddos would find the 10s in there first, and then quickly come to the answer of 20.  Not all did, which is fine–we’ll keep working–but many did. 🙂 .

Check out some of our thinking (which we are still working on, by the way!).

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I LOVE it when we can take a story and turn it into a math problem!  What an authentic context and motivating activity. 🙂 . And while anytime we stretch our math brains it’s a good thing, I especially love it when the numbers in the book match the numbers we’re working on.  Way to go, Smiley and Castillo!  Did you do that on purpose for us? 🙂

What books have you read that have math in them?  Tell us about it so we can try it, too! 🙂

 

#GSPD2019–Play ALL Day!

I have told the story of how I first found Global School Play Day, and so I was looking forward to it as February got closer. :).

I remember when I told my friends that it was coming and how I already knew before they said it what their response would be: “All day?”  Yes, friends, you get to play ALL DAY LONG!  And you’re in charge!

Kids were invited to bring something from home to enhance their day (as long as they followed the no electronics rule), and they came in with some pretty great things to share with their friends in Rm. 111.  We usually start our day with choice time anyway, so in many ways this Wednesday was the same as every other Wednesday.  The easel question for the morning asked them to make a plan, get their things and PLAY!

Once we had lunch count, attendance, morning announcements and the Pledge taken care of, I pulled them together for a quick meeting.  We had to set the ground rules for the day.

Together we talked through these guidelines:

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Really I think many kids didn’t believe me about this whole “play day” thing, but after our meeting I sent them back on their way to get to work play.

Even from the beginning it was fun to watch how varied their choices were in activities.  We had blocks, Legos, cars, toys from home, stuffed animals, trains, board games and even arts and crafts.

Now I’ve worked with kids for many years (and have two of my own), so I’ve seen kids play before.  But, as with every new group of kiddos, there are some unexpected surprises that show up even when you think you’ve seen it all.  Let me share some that happened with this group.

1.) Kiddos incorporated a variety of mediums into one “game.” Wyatt and his friends played with Legos, wooden blocks, cars, recyclables, a stuffed elephant  and army men all together.  At one point they even had a book out as they followed along to build something “official” together with Legos.

Lucy, Riley and Ariya did the same with blocks, a pillow, Legos, LOL Surprise dolls and a wooden dog marionette. 🙂

2.) Kids could sustain long amounts of attention at the same activity.  The “game” that Lucy, Riley and Ariya were playing went on from about 9:00 until 12:30 or 1:00 (except for the time we were away for lunch and recess).  They changed the story, added in details (and new toys) and even had other friends move in and out throughout the whole thing.  They negotiated, took turns, shared ideas, laughed together, pretended–did all those things kids do when they have time and choice to play nicely without the interference of adults.  There was no arguing, fussing, misbehaving….and they probably could have gone on like that for much more of the day if they’d been able to.  They just seemed like they were having so. much. fun. :).

3.) There were many things that were in our play day that were from our “regular” day.  I don’t know if I should take credit for this, or if it’s just the activity itself is fun, but I’d like to say that maybe the way we do things has added enjoyment in Rm. 111?  Anyhow, there were many times I looked and students were choosing to do things they regularly do at school.  🙂

I think my favorite example of this came when I looked over at the easel by the rug and saw this:

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For those of you who are readers or this blog, or fans of phonemic awareness, or maybe teach a primary grade, you recognize that big spiral bound book as the Heggerty teacher’s manual.  Yep, on a play day where he was his choice of activity Brock. is. doing. Heggerty. I CANNOT tell you how big this made me smile and also how really it didn’t surprise me as much as I let on.  Kids love the motions and the pace of our phonemic awareness work and I think they appreciate how much it helps then in so many aspects of their literacy lives. 🙂

He added in some friends and “students.”

The best was when he got out the “choppers.” 🙂

Additionally, someone found a small pad of Catch of the Day tickets and kiddos started passing them out to each other for positive things they saw their friends doing. :). Again, this made my teacher and mama heart happy.  And if you are for some reason NOT familiar with Heggerty and the work it addresses in phonemic awareness, check out where I wrote about it here.

So…we had a SUPER GREAT Global School Play day and yes, we played ALL DAY.  I have one more video to share, and I want to see if you notice the same thing I did when I recorded it.

Listen.  Do you hear it?  I know, right?  There’s that buzz of kids who are engaged, busy, cooperating–LEARNING!  Again, I’m not sure I was surprised (ok, maybe I was), but the whole day went off without behavior problems.  Kiddos didn’t argue, fight, bother each other, mess around..they negotiated, solved problems, made choices and enjoyed their time at school with each other.  Man…that’s what we strive for every day, right?

So that being said, I had to reflect on what I would take away from another Global School Play Day.  First of all, it’s a nice reminder that kids. need. to. play.  I feel like we do a pretty good job of this in Rm. 111, but I can always step up my play game.  Letting kids have more ownership of their play, leaving them alone to do what they choose is one way I could improve.

Additionally, I was reminded of how long it takes to settle into a groove.  You, know, to achieve “flow?”  Where you are so busy doing and enjoying what you’re doing that you don’t even notice time passing?  That happens so little in a classroom where our day is broken into small, segmented subjects and we transition from one thing to another so frequently.  Granted, we do this for a reason, but it’s probably good to ask whether its best for teachers and their schedules or kids and what they need.  Just watching the girls and the length of time they were “into” the world they were building made me wonder how (or if) we could accomplish the same thing in an academic situation by allowing kids more freedom, choice and TIME to settle into what they are doing?

I love that I work with a team of teachers who also think this way and who are willing to chew on this idea with me.  We have taken on the idea together and are really working diligently to figure it out.  For ourselves but mainly for our kids.  Because they deserve it. 🙂

 

#classroombookaday UPDATE: See What Happened There??

Did you see it?  Let me post the latest picture and see if you see what I see. 🙂

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We made it to 300 books!!

I finally got around to adding the numbers to the side the other day (yeah..200 was there for a bit and I’ll fix it soon…long story), and kids of all ages are interacting with the wall  in a new way.  Seems like first graders (who have read all these books) weren’t really able to fathom that there were that many–the wall is just filling up and they know they’ve read a lot, but didn’t know just how many.  “Big” kids were suddenly amazed that “little” kids had read so many books!  Funny how just having something to relate to make you see things in a new way.

And, as you can see, we’ve actually read MORE than 300 books!  We added 36 from World Read Aloud Day, and then finished the row with some from last week (plus a few that I haven’t had a chance to get up there yet).  It’s been fun to make plans for what we will do when we fill up the wall (right now the plan is to go up and over the ceiling!). 🙂

Since I just posted all the additions from WRAD, the list from this week is small, but they were good ones nonetheless:

The books we added this week are all so different, but all so great!  I remember first reading Yard Sale during the Global Read Aloud in 2016 when Lauren Castillo was the featured illustrator and LOVING it, and this class did, too.  Such a simple story with such deep ideas.  The Rescue of Winks in one in a series of books that are written about real animals from the Second Chance Ranch (and we even Skyped with the author the other day and got to meet lots of her animals friends!).

Trombone Shorty was a toe-tapping addition during our library visit on Tuesday,  and I Don’t Want to Be a Frog is a fun read-aloud with lots of voices and funny lines. :). I have a few more, but they’ll be included for next week since they’re not on the wall yet.

What did you read this week?  Leave us a comment and share your favorites! 🙂

 

#WRAD2019: We are READERS in Rm. 111!

What an AMAZING time we had this year on World Read Aloud Day!  As I mentioned in the beginning of my post about Word Collector, it was at the end of a really weird week at school. We were out on Wednesday and Thursday, but thankfully Friday was a fresh (and much warmer!) day back and we were ready for a great day of reading!

First of all, it was a SCHOOL-WIDE PAJAMA DAY!!  Coming to school without getting dressed?  Super day for sure, am I right??

We got there and started with our regular choice time, but also with a question to Rm. 111 friends about a title they might like to read for WRAD.  We got lots of good suggestions, and so then started our official day with one they had asked for, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the Zoo!

It was a fun one, like the rest in the series.  It was a great one for kiddos to join in to read with me!

After this start to our day, I shared the WRAD Bingo Card we’d be working to fill up during the day.

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We got right to it and were able to cross LOTS of things off very quickly!  PErhaps our favorites were READ WITH A SIBLING, READ UNDER A BLANKET and READ WITH A FLASHLIGHT!  You don’t ever get to do those things at school!

Next we went to the library to attend an author Skype that had been set up by Mrs. Davis and Skype Classroom.  Her name was Ellen Fischer and we found out she used to live in St. Louis!  She shared her thoughts about writing, and then read us a book she had written, If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant.

We liked the story, which was about animals and what they eat.  I especially liked when she told us that the idea for the story came when she was in a restaurant with her grandson and was waiting FORVER for their food.  She got out the menu out and started talking to him about what different animals might order dinner.  Genius, right?  I LOVE it when “real” authors tell stories that kiddos can relate to, and she definitely emphasized the idea that ideas for writing can be found EVERYWHERE!

After the book, she let us ask her questions, which is always the best part of a Skype.  We learned that she didn’t like to read when she was a kid, but when she was in college she came to Washington University and got an opportunity to work with kids and was hooked!  She told us about other books she’s written and Makhi got to make a request that she write her next book about football. 🙂

After lunch, we were blessed with our first guest reader!  Zach’s mom came to join us and brought along two books we had never read!  One of them, The Seven Silly Eaters, was by both an author I know, and an illustrator I love.  I’m so glad to be introduced to good stories!

After she finished this one, we realized we only had one square left before BINGO, so we asked her for a favor.  Because Mrs. Vanderbunt is a good sport, she let us take her outside to read the next one.  This one was The Underpants Zoo, which was also new, and was just plain silly!

So you know what that meant?

We headed to the library to visit Mrs. Davis and she let us choose a new book for our class.  We didn’t get to read it yet (Friday was a little busy! hee hee), but Hailey and Makhi chose a Toy Story book for us to read together. 🙂

Ok…next we had an opportunity for all of first grade to listen to a story from a mystery reader!  Kiddos were given a choice of 9 different titles (without knowing who would read it!), and they got to go to whichever one sounded interesting.  In addition to our first grade team, our first grade assistant Ms. Pachan, our REACH teacher Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Sisul (our principal), and Isaac and Jonah’s mom–Mrs. Rappaport–had a story to share!  Check out the choices:

This was a great time for students to spend time with another caring adult, who may not be their own teacher.  It was important for kiddos to see that all the adults in our school (and in their lives!) are READERS!!  Oh, and not surprisingly, most kiddos chose Elephant and Piggie. 😉

Even though we’d been busy reading all day already, we were NOT FINISHED YET!  After specials, our very own Lucy read us a book she’d written about how to get ready for school, and we got another bingo on our card!

THEN we went to the library again for ANOTHER author Skype, this time with Julie Fortenberry (who was new to all of us!).  She read us TWO BOOKS!

We ended our day with some quiet time (because man, we were TIRED!) with a birthday treat for our friend Will.  We’d missed his birthday on one of our days off and he brought Oreos!

That sweet smile!  The second one is a little blurry, but it’s from when we were singing to him (and no, I didn’t get a video–boo!), and he LOVED it!  Happy Birthday, buddy!

Ok, one more collage.  I just shared the books that we read in our class.  Check out all the reading from ALL of first grade.  WOOHOO for BOOKS!!

Alright.  That’s it.  HA!  I mean, goodness–we were BUSY and had a FULL day of READING and FUN!

Did you celebrate World Read Aloud Day?  What did you read?  What did you do? Leave us a comment and tell us about it! 🙂