#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. 🙂

 

#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! 🙂

 

We are WORD COLLECTORS!

Whew!  This week was crazy!  Besides it being World Read Aloud Day on Friday, we had TWO “it’s-too-cold-to-go-outside-today” days off of school!  It was a nice refreshing mid-week break, but definitely made for a week where NO ONE knew what day it was. LOL

So…remember how last week I mentioned a super project that was sparked from another Peter H. Reynolds book we read?  Well, I finally have enough of it up and photographed that I can share it!

Last week as one of our read aloud we enjoyed hearing The Word Collector.   Basically, in the story, Jerome collects words that he hears and likes–short words, long words, funny words, nice words, you get the idea.  Eventually he ends up have a GINORMOUS bag of words on little slips of paper that he drops and they get all spread around, then being shared with the rest of the world!

We decided that as super readers and word-lovers ourselves, we could also collect words!  It really only took a quick mention of the idea for first grade readers and writers to be IN and start finding great words all over the place!  We “officially” worked on it for one reading/writing time, but I know they literally could have done it all. day. long.  I love how Sam and Jaxon, who were working together, said they collected pages and pages of words for 20 or 30 minutes but said, “I think we could do this for 20 or 30 more HOURS!”

Now, when something like this happens, I can’t ever decide if the best part is what happens in our room, or what happens when someone decides we should share the idea with other kids.  In this case, it may have been both.

I went ahead and covered the door in blue paper, which was supposed to look like the cover of the book. See?

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Then as a class (well our class and Ms. Turken’s kiddos, too), we decided what we might do to share our work with our school on our doors.  We agreed that we should have a picture of Jerome, telling our Robinson friends about our inspiration and the word collecting we began to do.

We decided rock-paper-scissors would be the best way to decide who would create Jerome, and so after many, many games, Makhi, Wyatt and Isaac became our illustrators.     They made a most-handsome version of Jerome, and also a word bubble that we added words to together.

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Beckett helped add some words to our speech bubble, using interactive writing and his best first grade letters!

One of the best things that happened as we talked about what our speech bubble should say, was when Hailey suggested we invite other Robinson friends to collect words WITH US!?  I usually have an idea of what I think the words could say, but it’s generally up to kiddos to decide what they will say. Hailey had the great idea that we should invite the rest of Robinson to collect words WITH US, which I had not even considered.

On Friday we finally had time to get our lists and lists of collected words onto our slips and finish our Jerome and words.  We still have to add the pocket that will house the slips, tape, and sharpie for other people to use, but it’s up and it’s FABULOUS!  Don’t you agree?  I LOVE LOVE LOVE that these kiddos are already learning to pay attention to how words sound and think about the power they have!

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What words would you add to our display?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments and we’ll put them up for you!  Can’t wait to hear what you say and from how far away our words will come!  So in addition to your words, please tell us where you live!

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week of January 21-25, 2019

Hi!  How are things where you are?  It’s COLD in Missouri, and we’re enjoying a day at home. 🙂 . I realized I didn’t update you on last week’s books, so here’s what the wall looked like last Friday, after another great week!  We are up to 291! 🙂

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We had a short week this week, so only added 10 titles.  They are all good ones though (Man, I say that every week don’t I?  I guess they’re ALL good titles!):

A couple of cool things happened this week with our books.  First of all, we read another SUPER book by Peter Reynolds, and it sparked ANOTHER super project (which I’ll share in the next few days! Stay tuned!), and also, Mrs. Fry brought out some really great big books!  I have been in first grade for almost a decade altogether, but somehow I forget about those!  And goodness–I should bring them out more often–what fun it was to read together and also hear a new story!  Plus everyone can see so easily!  We read a new David book this week (Thanks, David Shannon!  Those are always a hit!), and also enjoyed a new story about the Hindu holiday, Holi.  It was BEAUTIFUL and we all wanted to read it again. :).  I did not get this title on the wall until after this picture, but we also celebrated Children’s Multicultural Book Day on Friday and Mrs. Davis read Outside My Window to us, sharing the importance of seeing the world outside ourselves and reading texts that show the whole world!

What did you read this week?  What do you suggest for us? 🙂 . Stay warm and happy reading!

Rm. 111 is Going Places!!

As I mentioned in the post about I Wanna New Room, as well as in the post about directed drawing, we did lots of projects during our first days back after the holidays.  Partly its because we only had a two-day-week (can I get a woot-woot for that one??), but also because easing back into work and being with friends after being away for two weeks is always a good idea.

Another thing we did that went SO WELL and that kiddos LOVED, was when we read the book Going Places (thank you Peter and Paul Reynolds for this amazing text!) and did a design challenge. 🙂

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I’m not really sure from where this challenge came, but we’ve done it in 1st grade for a couple of years and it’s been super.  I think this time around, though, we upped the ante a bit and had kiddos share their creation in a different way.

First of all, the book.  We are BIG fans of Peter Reynolds, so when I showed them this one, they were already “in.”  When I told them that they’d be doing a challenge based on it, they were even more excited.  I heard them say “We love challenges!” <3. And then, later on, I heard “We LOVE this story!”

After the story, I gave them the directions.  They were to build something that would help them “go places,” using a kit that everyone would get (like in the story).   We didn’t talk a lot about what to do or how to do it (because they were so excited and wanted to get busy right away!), but they automatically started looking for partners (again, like they did in the story).  And EVERYONE ended up with someone else with which to share both their supplies and their ideas!

As we got started, I recorded this video, and I love what you hear in it–that “buzz” that happens when everyone is engaged and busy! Check it out. 🙂

Did you notice in the video how they asked if they could use the bag in their creations?  LOVE how they think outside the box (er, bag!) for these projects. 🙂

And once our 18 minutes for the challenge were up, kiddos had amazing creations that they wanted to share with their classmates (and you!).

Before we presented them, though, we had a conversation about what information our viewers would want (or need) to know related to our work.  I reminded them that our audience was NOT there for the experience in our classroom, and we’d need to fill them in on the details so they understood what we were doing.  These smart kiddos came up with a very thorough list of what to include in their videos:

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They worked with their partner, and another partnership to plan and then record a video of themselves telling you all about what they made.  They were supposed to watch and critique, then revise if necessary, to make sure it was their best work with all the parts.  Many did this, but we’re still in the beginning stages of the “revision” part, so some  might still have some places to improve (i.e. please ignore the places where others friends come in a put up bunny ears while they are recording, or the off-camera comments/voices you may hear).

I will share these videos now, but first I have mention how AMAZING this project was in our room.  We had mentioned in our class that since we’ve come back from the holidays that kiddos have really stepped up their game; they are much more mature, focused and on task than ever! We ended up working on this project for close to 3 hours of our day–and most of us were engaged, busy and hard-working during that time. :). We had a debrief after it was all said and done (which I will write about in another post), and we talked about how much more we will be able to do as learners when I can count on them to be busy and working–monitoring their own thinking, time and planning–for long periods of time.  We’re excited for where we will be able to go and what we’ll be able to accomplish. :).

Ok, and so back to what they actually made.  It’s pretty great, so hope you enjoy!

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Thanks for checking out our work, and sharing this journey with us.  We’d LOVE to hear what you thought–leave us a comment! 🙂

 

I Wanna New Room!

I mentioned in a #classroombookaday update recently that we’d read a couple of persuasive texts that we loved.

We will later use the iguana book as a mentor text in our persuasive writing unit, and we found a great back-to-school-after-the-holidays activity to do with the other one. 🙂

My teammate found a version of this activity that involved actually “building” a house with tongue depressors, clothespins and notecards, and while it seemed great, I decided to do a less complicated version of the project.

After we read I Wanna New Room, we went back to the blueprint page of the story where Alex planned what he could include in the space if his dad gave him his very own room.  We talked about what WE could included in our very own special space and then kiddos were give notecards to “make” the rooms in their house/treehouse/clubhouse/lair. They were to draw each part and label it, then describe it to us. :).

It was so fun to watch kiddos as they worked SUPER hard and for quite a long, focused amount of time creating their special spaces.  I was also tickled with how each kiddo’s place was perfectly them–they included spaces that spoke to their personality, their hobbies, their loves.

Check out what we would have in our very own rooms (and how some of us would have LOTS of rooms instead of just one!). 🙂

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If YOU were going to design YOUR very own space, what would you put in it?  Leave us a comment and tell us about it! 🙂

 

 

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week of January 14, 2019

Another SUPER week in our first grade reading world!  We’re up to 281 (woohoo!–more than halfway to the top!) and read some good ones this week.  First check out the updated display:

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Here’s what we added this week:

You will notice some more fraction titles, and a couple of Cinderella books I somehow forgot to post until now.  What?  I am so obsessed over this wall display I usually get the pics up the MINUTE we are done with them. LOL. Better late than never, I guess. :). We added a ShowMe nominee book–Seven and a Half Tons of Steel–during our library visit on Tuesday, and it was a great one.  I had NO idea there was a ship made out of the Twin Towers!  Art & Max delighted us with great illustrations (as David Wiesner books often do!), and since it was snowy recently, we read some great winter snow books, too.  One of our favorites was Rodzilla (which I think kids love EVERY year!) and also a reread of The Invisible Boy.  We’re excited to add more books about problem solvers to the wall for next week, so stay tuned for some great books about great people! 🙂

It’s not on the wall yet, but I hope to share the book Kate suggested in the comments from a few weeks ago, too–My Hair is a Garden.  It was beautiful! Have a great reading week, friends, and don’t forget to leave us some suggestions for what we should add in our upcoming choices!