DOT DAY 2017–Another Day of Making our Mark!

We had a SUPER Dot Day this year, and a lot like last year, there was too much fun for just one day! Oh, and I realized that I forgot to mention that in addition to The Dot, we shared many other Peter Reynolds titles, and sang another Emily Arrow song, too!

OK, moving on…If you read the post from Dot Day 2016, you’ll notice a fabulous Skype opportunity we had with Ms. Hachen’s class from Kansas.  This year we were not quite ready to chat with a “stranger” class yet, so Ms. Turken and I figured out a way to have our first graders learn what to do–with each other!

We had a plan to share our dot creations with each other, as well as prep kiddos for our Skype journey for this year.  We started our Friday with a quick flip chart to introduce kiddos to what Skype actually is and how it works.  We practiced how we would have a greeter (we decided the helper for the week could easily do this); how they would come to the computer and what they would say; as well as what everyone else should do while it’s not their turn (spoiler: they should sit quietly and watch and listen!).  I even gave them a few seconds to do that crazy thing that kiddos always do when they first see themselves on the screen; allowing them to make faces and be goofy for a minute helped quell that desire for once we actually got started.

After we had practiced the procedure and were ready to receive our call, the Skype call rang.  But when we answered there was only a black screen on the other end.  Ms. Turken and I troubleshooted for probably close to 10 minutes, and Rm. 111 friends were AMAZING while they waited for us to figure out what to do.  Jeremiah even had some super ideas about how we could fix the problem (great job, kiddo!), but somehow nothing could get our friends’ faces on our screen. 😦  Eventually, since they were just in the classroom next door, we decided to do this Skype in person.  Yep, it was a first for us, too. 🙂

We headed over with our dots in hand and got all set up.

And..perhaps the best part of the whole deal was when Ms. Turken had the brilliant idea of building a computer out of blocks so kiddos would know where to do and what to do.  It was GENIUS and kiddos did a super job!  Check it out (in pictures first and then a rather long, but super cute video!):

I was so impressed with how well they did, how the mostly were quiet and listening, and how I am sure they’ll know what to do when it’s “for real.”  YAY!!

And speaking of Dot Day creations, here they are.  Can’t wait ’til they are up and displayed for us to see!  Of course, I’ll share again once that happens, but they were too good to keep to myself!

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Aren’t those amazing?  And you know, they so inspired me that I had to join in.  I didn’t do it on actual Dot Day (hope that’s ok), but I did indeed make my mark and make a dot creation with my daughter today (who is also a first grader!).

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I’m excited to see them all hanging up soon, inspiring us EVERY DAY to make our marks! 🙂

So tell, how did you celebrate Dot Day?? 🙂

 

 

DOT DAY 2017!!

Oh my goodness–one of my FAVORITE DAYS of the whole school year (maybe even the whole year) happened last week: International Dot Day 2017!

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We choose to celebrate in first grade on September 14th (Thursday) because of a crazy schedule on Friday that would cut into our time to play and create.  Every year it seems the day gets bigger and bigger (I believe this is my 3rd Dot Day), and this year was no exception.  Check out what we did! (And a little warning that this post might be a wee bit long and meaty!)

We started our day with a reading of the book by Peter H. Reynolds that sparked the whole thing in the first place, The Dot.  And who better to read it to us than Peter himself??  My favorite part of the video we watched was when he read the cover and said, “The Dot. By me. ”  HA!  Bet that’s SO COOL to read a book you wrote.  He also shared the story about how he got the idea for the book (ask your kiddo about that one–I’ll bet they remember it!) Anyhow, moving along…

After we talked about the story, and how the character Vashti used grit and encouragement with her friend, as well as what it means to make your mark, we added in another video—this time a song–that helped us further the idea.  Have you ever met Emily Arrow?  She created a genre of music called “kidtlit tunes” and first grade kiddos met her on Dot Day as they learned her song that she wrote about the book we had just read.  We’ll probably get through ALL of her books and songs by the end of the year because they are just that good.  Check her out on YouTube if you haven’t yet!  Here’s the one we sang together:

After we had sung (and danced!) a couple of times to that catchy tune, we were ready to do our first (of a series) of dot-related activities, and we made our mark with some art.  I shared a flip chart to get the creative juices flowing, if they weren’t already:

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Kids got to “shop” from the table filled with LOADS of art materials and then get busy with their creation.

Even before they were finished they made me so happy just laying out to dry:

Later, after lunch, we HAD to do math with dots. 🙂  And you know what is shaped like dots? SKITTLES!  We had been working on sorting and graphing anyway, so it just made sense.  And then–there was a Dot Day snack!

Whew!  By that point we had already had LOADS of Dot Day fun, but it wasn’t over yet!  After we came back from specials, we returned to the fun with Dot Day Games!  We had collected Connect 4, checkers and Twister from families and other classes.  Kiddos got to choose which they wanted to do on a chart:

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Then they got busy with more Dot Day–even I got in on the fun and played a few rounds of Connect 4 with Celia. 🙂

I have add a couple more pictures–the dots that kiddos WORE for Dot Day!!  I didn’t remember to take it until the very end and so you can’t really see many of them, but trust, me–these kiddos were decked out and READY to celebrate.   Check out Campbell’s shirt–he made it especially for the day, and Sarah who had dots on her dress AND her socks!  Wow!!

Ok…well, our Dot Day was not really over, but there was TOO MUCH FUN for one day, so I’ll share part two in another post.  Whew!  Thanks for lasting all the way to the end! 🙂

 

You Can Read EVERYWHERE!

Last week we read a great book called You Can Read by Helaine Becker (as we practiced Read-To-Self and talked about the 3 ways to read) and it was quickly a first grade favorite.  The kids in the story are reading in all sorts of (funny) places, including the bathroom, the backyard, the bus, the car and maybe even in a tree.

If you’ve been around 20somethingkids for a while, you know that reading and books and literacy is a BIG deal for me and my students.  So what better way to spend our first 1/2 day of the year than enforcing that YOU CAN READ EVERYWHERE idea by making take-home t-shirt book bags??

We had been collecting t-shirts for a couple of weeks and finally we were ready to do something with them!  Because we are on this co-teaching journey together, Ms. Turken and I had planned that both rooms would be doing this today, and that we’d use both of our rooms for the work.  Kiddos spread out and got busy knot tying!  Besides being fun, the job of creating this bag for themselves enabled them to practice some important fine-motor skills and also helped get them SUPER EXCITED about filling up their new bag with books to read at home!

The smiles when they were done, as well as the SILENCE in the room as they worked (alone and by helping friends!) was inspiring! 🙂

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First Grade ABCs

Not surprisingly, the alphabet is an IMPORTANT part of the first days of first grade.  Some kiddos are still learning the letters, some are still connecting the sounds, as well as learning how to correctly form the letters so that we can become efficient and fluent writers (more on that later).

We’re read lots of ABC books:

Every year I like to do some sort of class-made alphabet.  Last time around we drew the pictures, and then I used our creations to make the letter charts for our tables (that kiddos can utilize while they write and read).

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This year, instead of just drawing, we decided to use torn paper.  Our focus has been on fine motor work at the same time as letters, sounds and names and so it just made sense.  Kiddos made their image on an index card and then we attached it to the letter.

And even before they were finished they looked AMAZING.  Doesn’t this picture make you happy?

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Ok, well then here they are hanging up.  Decided to put them over our cubbies because they are easily seen, as well as because kiddos can reach them if need be.

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I love that every year the same activity can be new and different and this year it was because of the vowels.  In the past, there has only been one picture for each one.  This was always confusing when we were actually using the chart or wall letters because somehow the kids always needed the other sound.  So this time we made two. 🙂  Or…in the case of A, we actually made 3 (including the way that a can sound like a u at the beginning–or end–of some words).  I’m super excited about how much more useful (and used!) these letters will be.

Also, because we’re working so hard on forming our letters correctly, we added the directions for how to make them (the red numbers and arrows).  Again, hopefully this will make them ever more helpful!

Here are the rest:

I’m not sure I’ve been so excited about the alphabet before!  GREAT job, Rm. 111 friends!

#classroombookaday UPDATE: First of the year!

Somehow we’ve gotten to the 22nd day of school and I have only posted ONE TIME about our book-a-day challenge.  Because that’s the reality, I will NOT tell you about every book we’ve read (we’re up to 85 as of today!!), but I will give some words about this week’s additions.  Hope you enjoy, and maybe even find a book you might want to read!

First, here’s what our wall looks like right now (the pic on the left):

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(At this point last year we were at 89.  Funny–I thought for sure we were reading faster this year!)

This display is so different than how I displayed it last year, and in some ways I think it’s hard to see how quickly it’s growing…

…but FOR SURE it’s an improvement because of all of the kids and teachers who get to look at it now!  I LOVE to see last year’s kiddos walk past and marvel, as well as other kids point out the books on our list that they’ve read, and the way so many people say “Man–they read ALOT of books!”  I’ve even heard from teachers who have now begun to keep their own book lists as they read with their classes.  LOVE the inspiration that can come from such a project just because it’s shared in a different way!

Ok…here’s what we read this week:

You can probably tell by the titles that our focus this week was on our community (getting to know each other and celebrate how each of one us is special and unique) as well as the celebration of Dot Day–we ended up reading 6 of Peter Reynold’s books!!  The Hooray for Kids book was really cool and led us to a scavenger hunt where we found out what kind of kids we are:

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As we shared out after we were finished we made lots of connections to who is like us and who we might want to know better.  I’m excited to build on the things we learned!

What did you read this week? 🙂

What’s in Those Boxes?

Last week there was this pile on the risers in our room:

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I wish I would have taken a picture of it BEFORE I opened them all up (just because it looked a little nicer), but let me tell you that this last week was like Christmas over and over and over.  I posted our Amazon Wish List recently and then boxes of goodies just started showing up with our name on them!  What amazingly supportive families we have (THANK YOU!!) and they gifted us with many new learning tools and toys (including MORE LEGOS, a Sequence game, a new book and some paintbrushes that are not in these pictures).  At this point we just had to stop and play!!

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Thank you, families for all the fabulous treats!  We feel very loved and supported by you. 🙂