Misunderstood Principal Shark?

I love Twitter.  I love Twitter for lots of reasons, but one of them is because things like this pop up sometimes:

And then I’m in the right place at the right time and we win SHARK SWAG for our whole school!!  The WHOLE SCHOOL!?  Pretty cool, right?  And because we’ve gotten book swag from Ame Dyckman before, I knew it was going to be great. 🙂

So after a few messages where we exchanged information and numbers and such we got a super box in the mail:

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I ran right to Ms. Davis to start brainstorming how we’d get all this fabulous stuff into our Roadrunner’s hands, and to open that awesome box!  We found 600 bookmarks and stickers and the nicest note from one of the nicest authors around. 🙂

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We made a plan for something fun, and it included a shark costume, a principal and a read aloud.

In the meantime, my class got busy divvying up the bookmarks and stickers so they’d be ready for everyone on the special day.  All the while I told my first grade friends about part of the plan, but that they had to cross their hearts to NOT TELL ANYONE about the secret book swag.  I also kept the rest of the plan (the shark-principal-read aloud part) a secret and told them they’d find out later.


We had to reschedule once, but finally it worked out for today’s big event.  We sent a generic “tune into Facebook Live at 2:45–it will be worth it!” email to the school and crossed our fingers.  I corralled some of my 1st grade and kindy friends to be present for the actual read aloud and we were set. 🙂 ❤

But when we showed up for the actual read aloud, it was EVEN BETTER THAN I HAD EXPECTED!  I mean I’ve heard our fabulous principal read before, and I know she’s got some mad skills, but this was above and beyond.  I mean–the whole thing in a SHARK COSTUME!  It was just too much. 🙂 .

 

Check out how AMAZING a time it was in our library today!

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After we returned to our classroom, we did a few end-of-day things and then got busy delivering all those book goodies to our Robinson Roadrunner friends!  They were so happy get our (ok, well Ame Dyckman’s) swag and we were SO EXCITED to share it!

Thank you, so much, Ame Dyckman, for writing amazing books that we love to read and thank you, Mrs. Sisul, for being such an amazing ambassador for reading and books and fun in our school!! WE ARE SO LUCKY!!

Mrs. Sisul Brought Us a Snowman Challenge!

Remember when I wrote about Catch of the Days?  I should have updated you LONG ago, but our class is ROCKING AND ROLLING with these and already have almost 50!  Along the way, there have been rewards (for example, at 10 is an extra recess, 20 was pajama day and 30 was game board day) and we’ve enjoyed every one of them.  Once we hit 40 it was an even BIGGER deal because the prize was “admin’s choice!”

We emailed Mrs. Sisul and Dr. Wilson and asked them to come visit us.  Today was the day, and Mrs. Sisul came with two of our favorite things: a book and a design challenge!

We read lots of snow/snowflake books on Friday (which was early dismissal day for weather!), but she picked one we hadn’t read yet (and yes, that is a feat in itself–GREAT job, Mrs. Sisul!).

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She read the book to us (which we enjoyed!) and then she gave us our challenge: just like the mice the story, build the TALLEST snowman you can….with one piece of paper. 🙂

We went back and forth on how much info we’d give them about how to do this challenge, but eventually decided we would give them idea that they could make paper chains (which reminds me of the comment Kate left the other day about how creativity abounds within parameters–thanks for that reminder, friend!).  Otherwise, they may have spent all of their time just figuring out what to do and not actually building anything.

As we set off to work, I could tell kiddos were thinking about our last challenge (when we read the book Going Places last week), and they quickly began to find groups to work with, both so they could share their resources and so they could share ideas.

At the 10 minute mark, we had kiddos stop and do a gallery walk to look for ideas being done by other engineers that might help them in their own work.

Kiddos got back to work and we noticed that instead of several groups of 3, we now only had 3 groups altogether!  I decided to see what they were all up to…

Interesting, right?  This was the part that really reminded me of the work that happened with our other challenge–kiddos making decisions that they thought would help them, even though they weren’t explicitly stated in the directions.  “They didn’t say we couldn’t….” was their rationale. 🙂

We finished our work (about another 5 minutes or so, and then work time was up.  We laid our snowmen out on the rug to see who had made the tallest snowman.

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Now…of course when you do a design challenge, the process is as important as the final product, so Mrs. Sisul then led us in a reflection conversation.

I loved watching their faces as they thought about what had happened and worked to decide what they would take away for next time.

I also really liked their answers to the questions and also how honest they were when they thought things weren’t fair or didn’t make sense.  We just might try this same challenge again soon and see what happens differently!

And lastly, just for the record, Elena wins for cutest snowman. 🙂  She’s very proud!

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THANKS FOR COMING, MRS. SISUL!!  We love how much you love books, learning and coming to work with us!  🙂

Do you have any stories about design challenges you’d like to share?  We’d love to hear them!

#classroombookaday 2017 UPDATE: Week 11

Oh my goodness!  Week 11 already??  We’re moving and grooving and totally rocked the book-reading this week!  Seemed like they came in pairs this time around; one of our authors has written lots of books that are related to each other so we read them together!

Here’s the current display:

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We’re all the way up to 176 now!!  Yep, we read 21 books this week!  Told you we rocked it! 🙂

Here are the new ones. 🙂

See what I mean about pairs of books?  We had 4 sets of books from Sandra Boynton and Lola Schaefer (she seemed to do it so many times it HAD to be on purpose!  Ms. Schaefer, if you read this, please tell us if it is!!).  There were a couple of kid-readers this week, too, as Celia read a book SHE WROTE to us called Donut, and Natalie read us Doggies and Blue Hat, Green Hat after working on them for a while to get them ready to share with her classmates!  Also, we read Mystery Vine, by the same author as our old favorite David’s Drawings, Cathryn Falwell.  Man, I love it when we can revisit old friends. 🙂

Now, you know that RM. 111 and 112 love reading no matter what, and that we love all books and all readers, but I also know you know that there is not much better than when MRS. SISUL READS TO US!!  Again, you’re probably not surprised at all that she came back this week to read.  And that she was on ROLLER SKATES!!  Man, Robinson is a super amazing place to learn and read! 🙂

What did you read this week?  What pairs of books have you tried? Share with us!! 🙂

#classroombookaday 2017 UPDATE: Week 8

What a SUPER week for reading in first grade!  Ok, well it’s always great, but when we’re doing #classroombookaday AND the Global Read Aloud at the same time, it’s extra magical. 🙂

Our count is up to 132 and here’s what our wall looks like:

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Isn’t it beautiful?  I mean, really?! I could stand there and study it all day long–and I’m sure many Robinson kids could (and would!), too, if we’d let them. 🙂

This week we read these books:

As I have written briefly about (and even mentioned here!), we started the Global Read Aloud this week, and have loved beginning our study of Australian culture and Mem Fox’s books.  Along with the “assigned” GRA books, we have also added in a nonfiction book about koalas (to help us understand Koala Lou), as well as two other Mem Fox stories.  We ended our week on a sweet note as we read about how Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge shared memories with Ms. Nancy and helped her remember. 🙂

As is usual in my classroom, we added in some beloved authors’ books to add to the collection.  This week it was another Todd Parr book (yep–there are still some we haven’t read yet!) and another Ame Dyckman, because well, she’s awesome and why not?  I also shared King Baby by Kate Beaton this week because we had also read The Princess and the Pony earlier this year.  That one got lots of laughs. 🙂

Ok…and now let me tell you a story about some books we didn’t love.  In some ways I feel bad about writing this.  Feel like we’re supposed to just read “good” books, so to speak, and/or find something that I like in every text we read.  But then again, reading is personal and everyone likes different things, right?  It might have just been that the timing of when we read them was not ideal.  One afternoon this week I had a “we-just-need-to-sit-down-and-enjoy-a-book-together” moment, after a really rough morning.  I explained how reading with people I love, experiencing a good book together makes me feel better.  And then….we read Pig the Pug.  And Pig the Winner.  And, oh my goodness…no one felt any better!  The looks on the faces of some of my friends was priceless as we read about how greedy and mean and inappropriate Pig’s choices were.  He would NOT make a very good Roadrunner and his books were FULL of unexpected behaviors.  Ok, so at least we learned some things we should NOT do.  There–I found something positive to say. 🙂  Oh, and we didn’t add it to the wall yet (because Ms. Turken hasn’t read it), but we then had to read The Grandma Book (by Todd Parr) and How to Find a Fox (both very funny) to make up for those first two.  Then we could move on. 🙂

We read Jabari Jumps this week and enjoyed finding parts that we could relate to, as well as encouraging him on as he tried something that he was scared to do.  I was so happy as my friends were telling him, “No, don’t stop now!” and how we could discuss positive self-talk that we can use when we’re nervous about something new.

Only One You and Animalogies were both used as prompts for learning activities–one with Mrs. Berger and another for an art project that we’re doing for a school celebration in a couple of weeks.  We read Even Superheros Have Bad Days.  We were a little worried–after those yucky books the day before–and because the title seemed to signal bad news.  BUT, we read this one and LOVED it!  It was a perfect connection to another book we have read,  We Can Get Along.  It had some SUPER examples about how superheroes COULD do some pretty terrible things when they’re upset, but then INSTEAD they could also choose to respond in more appropriate, expected ways.  This book ended up being EXACTLY what Roadrunners do–use breathing strategies and Peace Places and other things to help them get back to center.   Whew!

And then there’s One Day in the Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree…  I read this one last year, and I know it’s great, but this year it was perhaps an even greater read, because Mrs. Sisul came to share it with us as her principal read aloud.  She was very excited about it, and her love of both the book and reading to kids showed.  And this made us love it even more!

I didn’t get a recording of the whole thing, but I had to get at least a little so you could hear what it sounded like. 🙂

See?  Told you it was good. 🙂  Oh, I forgot to tell you, but first graders made some predictions about what kind of book she’d bring with her to share with us, and we predicted something by Todd Parr or Mem Fox because that’s who we’re studying.  Good guesses, first grade. 🙂

 

#FDOFG2017–Principal Read Aloud and #classroombookaday Begins!!

Wow–that’s quite a title!  It’s a lot of words to tell about somethings that are the backbone of what we do in 1st grade., so I guess they’re worth it!  Let me tell you about it. 🙂

First of all, we were able to enjoy our first read aloud with Mrs. Sisul this past week, as she came and shared We are All Wonders with us.  Besides the fact that Mrs. Sisul loves books and all things reading, she came to share this one because it goes along with many of the “expected behaviors” we’ve been teaching during these first days of school.  This one connected so well to I am kind and caring. And as a lover of the “big kid” book Wonder, this one (also by R.J. Palacio) was at the top of my list.   Rm. 111 and 112 kids loved it, too!

 

Last year in first grade, my class embarked on a new and fabulous journey with a challenge started on Twitter that was called #classroombookaday.  It’s really a simple idea: you read at least one book to your class, and keep track of them throughout the year.  Simple right?  Yes, but so rewarding and beneficial to students and teachers alike!

As we began this year, Ms. Turken and I hatched a plan to do our books together, which made sense in our new co-teaching adventure (which I am sure to tell you more about here soon!).  We made a rule that if a book were to hang on our #classroombookaday display it had to have been read by both of us, or to both of our classes (like during a combined read aloud or during library time, for example).  It’s been really fun to think through our “best” read alouds together, as well as to see books that are new since we embarked on this journey last fall.  I’m so excited to finally have our books on display, and to watch how the wall is slowly filling up each day.  AND even better than last year, our new classrooms are now in a hallway where EVERYONE in the school walks and so EVERYONE will see all the books being devoured by Robinson first graders!  I’ve had many of last year’s kiddos walk by and comment on how fast the wall is filling up or noticing some of the same books we read together.  What’s more exciting than sharing your reading journey with THE WHOLE SCHOOL??

Ok, so I’ve teased you long enough.  Without any further ado, check out our display:

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The best and worst part of this is how much it keeps changing!  Even since this picture, we’ve added another half of a row!  My plan from now on is to update our progress at the end of each week, with some highlights of what we’ve read.  So far I will tell you we’ve had lots of fun with back-to-school and community building read alouds, as well as many that highlight grit and growth mindset.  Some of them will be mentioned in later blog posts, as we did projects around their themes after we read them.

It’s a little easier to see this way, and I can share ALL of them up to today.  We’re up to 53 BOOKS already and we’ve had 13 days of school.  Ms. Turken and I keep joking about how we perhaps need to make up a new hashtag since we’re doing WAY more than a #bookaday.  How about #loadsofbooksaday or #3to4adayhooray or #firstgradereadsandreadsandreads?

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After last year’s success and the impact all of these books had on the readers in Rm. 202, I’m pretty sure I’m sold on #classroombookaday forever.  Can’t wait to see what happens this year–we ended up at 542 last year.  Think we can break the record??  Stay tuned and follow along with our journey, will you?

 

Hour of Code: Our Favorite Part of the Week!

Remember when I showed this picture from my last post?

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Remember that kiddos wanted to code?  Well if we had asked them that a week before, many of them would not have had any idea of what that even meant.  But thanks to friends in our school like Ms. Turken (our Rm. 203 neighbor) and Mrs. Sisul (our AMAZING principal), we are now ROCKSTAR coders and LOVE to spend any minute we have creating with code.org and our Scratch Jr. app on our iPads.

In response to that question I asked in our teacher group, Mrs. Sisul suggested that she come spend some Hour of Code time with my class. OF COURSE I said yes!

She started by explaining to Rm. 202 kids how they are all smarter than computers.  Some of them weren’t so sure about this, but then she explained that everything a computer does has to be entered by a human, who writes in a special language telling the machine what it should do.

Then we watched in intro movie about people who code and how and why they do that.  Next she explained about how there are two languages that computers understand, BLOCK and JAVA SCRIPT.  We were going to start with the block kind of coding, using a really popular movie as our topic–STAR WARS!!

We got started and indeed were able to spend an HOUR OF CODE before we went home that day.  In fact, we probably could have spent DAYS and DAYS of CODE if we were able to.  Rm. 202 coders are so excited by what happens when they put the right blocks in the right places and the game works the way they want it to!  Many of them got all the way to level 8 and were able to CREAT THEIR OWN GAME by using blocks.  Amazing, right?  Many kiddos have been using Scratch Jr. to do some pretty great things, too!  I’m excited by their excitement and by how well this fits into the creativity, curiosity and wonder that is a foundation of our classroom culture.  Thanks for teaching us this new language, Mrs. Sisul–we’re excited to become fluent in using it!  Hope to be able to share more soon! 🙂

#classroombookaday UPDATE: Week 9

This was a short week at school (we only had Weds-Fri), so our list is a little smaller than other weeks.  But believe me it is no less amazing! (Oh, and by the way, I realized that picture looks like we’re a little closer to filling up our door than we actually are….still a couple more weeks away. 🙂 ).

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Here’s the close up of the week (which I realized I don’t usually share):

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This week we started with another Mo Willems title we hadn’t read, as well as a Kate Klise book that kiddos read last year before she came to visit.  On Thursday we were lucky to have Mrs. Sisul swing by with her brand-spanking new copy of Hotel Bruce, which she had promised to read to us when she came with Mother Bruce earlier this year.  She had a great story about how she had gotten her copy from her favorite local bookstore and had also celebrated Bruce’s book birthday last Tuesday.  We read two Pigeon books for our punctuation study, and The Reader for the Global Read Aloud this week.   Two of our books were recommendations from our friend Rachel, and then lastly we were lucky to have a familiar 4th grade friend come and read to us on Friday.  Remember when Allie came to read Naked to us?  Well, during that visit they had asked if Riley could come, too, and Friday he finally came!  His grade was having a whole day reading celebration and so he spent some of his time reading Mustache Baby Meets His Match to us.   We LOVED it!

Another successful reading week!  Our count is up to 161 so far, which is SO AMAZING!  Can’t wait to see what this coming week holds! 🙂