One More Time: Analogies with Mrs. Berger

We had one more Kingore lesson this past week with Mrs. Berger.  This time it was analogies.  Man, these can be hard for first graders, but like with most every time, we had some great examples before we got started.  We tried some together (with pictures to help us out!) and then she read to book Animalogies to us, which was written by some other kids and involved analogies that were all about animals!

And…just like last time, we smelled brownies!  What great opportunities we’ve had with Mrs. Berger to think in a new way, stretch our brains a bit and show how creative we are! We will definitely continue to put these skills to work in the classroom as we go forward in first grade! 🙂

Another Kingore Lesson: Pentominoes

We have visited Mrs. Berger many times recently to stretch our brains and show our ability and creativity.  Recently we went to work on pentominoes puzzles.  Basically, a pentomino is a plastic piece (labeled with a letter name because of its shape), made of 5 small squares.  They can all fit together to make a rectangle, but can also be used to create other shapes and designs.  That was our job on this day. 🙂

After the explanation and some “try-its” together, we got to work, using our grit and perseverance to figure out the puzzles on the sheets Mrs. Berger gave us.  Some of them were really hard, and you had to turn the piece around and around and over to make it fit.  We were all able to do it, though, and the smiles on faces when they got it were priceless.  I heard so many “yes!”‘s and it made me smile, too. 🙂

Perhaps the best part was when we figured out what our class grit smells like (which you can smell in the room when we’re all working hard and using it!): chocolate chip brownies right out of the oven. 🙂

Another Kingore Lesson: Patterns!

We went back to Mrs. Berger for another lesson–this time it was patterns.  We started on the circle rug by the big screen first and tried out some growing and repeating patterns together.

After we did some SUPER thinking together, we showed what we could do on our own papers.  Some of the patterns were tricky, but we were dedicated to working hard, using our grit and pushing through to the end.  We did a GREAT job!

Two more to go!  Stay tuned to see more of our super first grade thinking!

#FDOFG2017: Drawing Starts

At Robinson we are blessed with loads of gifted and talented teachers, including one who works with all kinds of gifted and talented Robinson kids, Mrs. Berger.  During the beginning weeks of first grade, every first grader goes through a series of lessons (I think there are 5) that helps us identify and highlight creativity and critical thinking of each individual kiddo.  The lessons are a variety of things that help students think and share in different ways.

The first time we visited Mrs. Berger she shared a great book with us called The Line.

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In the story, you watch as the little girl follows a line, which becomes all kinds of things, like a monster, a bear, a wave.  It reminded me of the kind of thinking that we did during our box challenge, where an ordinary item became countless other things just based on kiddos’ imaginations.

In our first invitation, kiddos were given a set of lines–drawing starts–where they had to take the squiggle or shape and create something completely new.

Before kiddos get started, however, Mrs. Berger always invites ME to do this activity.  I have to be honest that even after years of being asked to do that, it doesn’t really get easier!  I am always a little anxious, especially when I feel pressure to do it “right,” –with an audience! Each time, though, I step back and remember how much modeling the difficulty and working through it helps the learners who are watching.  They know that if I can do it, then can, too.  In many ways, because I was willing to do the same thing they were being asked to do, they were able to trust me when I told them they could do it.  They knew that I understood what it felt like to look at that squiggle or swish and not have an idea right away.  🙂 Together we use our grit and persistence to get through, and Rm. 111 learners did a great job!  Check out some of their creations!

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My favorite thing about when kiddos do drawing starts is how many of them are certain that they CAN’T do it, but then, when pushed a little (because NOT doing it is not an option) they settle in and come up with some amazing ideas.  Each child’s thinking is different, and each idea is “right.”  It’s a foundation for much of what we do later on in the year, as we focus on sticking it out, pushing through, using our positive self talk and believing in our abilities.  Way to go, Rm. 111 kiddos!  Oh, and I know you’re dying to see my drawing start, too.

(Hopefully you see a girl jump roping in that picture! LOL)

Can’t wait for our next visit!  There’s sure to be another interesting invitation to be creative and gritty!

Pentominoes!

This week we went to visit Mrs. Berger on Thursday instead of Friday. And this week our Kingore lesson was on pentominoes!!

In case you’ve never heard of them, pentominoes look like this:

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Mrs. Berger explained about the pentominoes, and then about our job: use the pieces that are shown and fit them into the outline on each page.  This was a tricky deal, and they got harder on each page.  We had to use our grit (which smells like cookies, remember??) and try, try again if it didn’t work the first time.  We had to turn and rotate our pentominoes so they fit, and often it wasn’t the way we first thought they’d go.  We had to use our positive self-talk to remind ourselves that we could do it, and I thnk at one point I even heard someone growl.  Ok, well, she said “grrr!” which is maybe what her grit sounds like! LOL

After we finished (which was after about 15 minutes), kiddos got to do whatever they wanted with their pentominoes for a little while.  Man, where they creative!  Many noticed that two pieces seemed to stick together and they looked like a microphone.  This was a big hit.

Then I saw lots of animals, people and just creative shapes emerge.

What fun and challenge we had with Mrs. Berger today!  We never cease to stretch our brains when we work with her!

Grit Smells Like Chocolate Chip Cookies!

What? You didn’t know that?  Well it does when you’re talking about Rm. 2o2 kiddos!!  And we know so because we’ve been using TONS of it while we work with Mrs. Berger on Fridays.

This week’s visit was about patterns.  We met together on the circle rug to try some out together first.  We learned about repeating patterns and growing patterns.

Then we got our spots, our personal office and got BUSY!  This was definitely something that was UP OUR ALLEYS and you could tell by the sound (it was silent!) and the smell (it smelled like cookies!–remember, that’s our grit!?).

 

Ten Black Dots Makes a…

…really great book to challenge first graders with their creativity!  Last week I shared how Mrs. Berger is doing some lessons with first grade and this week was #2.  First she shared the book Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews, which was a great connection to our current math work as well as a great stretch for our creative brains.

Then she asked me to do something that I guess I knew was coming but had forgotten about since last time we did this (2014): use 10 black dots to create something.  I usually appreciate doing things that my students are asked to do, as I know that understanding the struggles that may come up helps me support students through them, but I had forgotten how hard that task is!  I came up with something, but let me just want you it was a little less than stellar. 🙂 Ok, sorry, I know that is a very fixed-mindset thing to say…I take it back.  I just believe if I worked at it I could create a much more imaginative picture with my dots.  (Thanks to Chase for being the photographer while I was working on this!)

After my demonstration, kiddos were given an office and a paper, chose 10 red dots and got busy on their creation.  They worked for about 10 minutes on their 10 red dots, including writing at the bottom to tell about what they made.

And just like with the drawing starts, kiddos did a great job of seeing those dots as so much more than they were!

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Another great example of stretching your brains, Rm. 202 friends!