#classroombookaday UPDATE: Do You See What I See?

So before I even say anything, let me show you a picture. 🙂

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Do you see the BIG GIANT thing that happened this week in our #classroombookaday challenge??  WE HIT OUR 100TH BOOK!!  WOOHOO!!

I went back to look and it seems like we hit that mark about week 5 last year (not that it matters, but somehow I’m competitive even with myself!), so we’re a week or so off (this was our 6th week of school).  Regardless of when it happens, though, it seems like such a GREAT accomplishment to have been able to share so many amazing books with these first grade kiddos (and SO MANY words and SO MANY great conversations, too!).  Let me show you what we added this week. 🙂

Wow, right?  15 books is pretty good, I’d say, but didn’t have time for all the ones Ms. Turken and I really want to read (and actually we read more than this but the rule is that we can only hang it up if BOTH of our classes get to hear it).  We had several things happen this week that impacted these choices:

  1. Our class focus was on the Robinson Expected Behavior of being kind and caring.  We also talked about being considerate and responsible for our choices.  I love the line in that book We Can Get Along that says “I can choose to walk away, my choices BELONG TO ME.”  It’s so important that kiddos know and understand that they need to OWN their behavior, that THEY are in control of their choices and also that their choices have consequences (both good and bad ones!).  Do Unto Otters was so great, too, as there are so many practical examples of what it looks like when we think of others before ourselves.  And not to leave the other one out, What Does it Mean to Be Kind? was a great one for littles because it’s just so simple: this is kindness and this is not.  Nerdy Birdy was shared with us by Ms. Cohen (our counselor) when she came to talk to us this week.
  2. We are also SUPER EXCITED for a visit that Todd Parr is making to a local bookstore near us next week and we are getting ready by reading as many books of his as we can!  We have enjoyed them and even had Mrs. Sisul share one of them with us for her Principal Read Aloud this week.  LOVE that she’s involved in this journey of ours!! IMG_1368
  3.  Many first graders have gotten into the read-aloud game and sharing books with us!  This week three of Ms. Turken’s friends and our own Maddie read to us and it was so great!  What amazing readers they already are, with such expressive voices (oh and sorry, Sutton, somehow I didn’t get a picture of you 😦 )!

    4. We started new investigation in counting and organizing and so we read the funny story of the disorganized Masloppy family to set the context for our math work.

Whew!  What a busy reading week!  We’re having so much fun and enjoying so many new stories and authors.  Can’t wait to see what’s on tap for next week!  What have you been reading?  Please leave us a comment and share a great story you have enjoyed lately, or one you recommend that we read! 🙂

 

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? 🙂

#FDOFG2017–Readers Gonna Read (Part 2)

Before you read more about what’s going on with books in first grade right now, be sure you’ve read the first part, where we got started in our classroom library, began our #classroombookaday challenge, spent some quiet time during our day and visited the Robinson library. 🙂

As I mentioned in the last part of my last post, figuring out what kids like and who they are can happen in many ways–books are one of those ways.  Aside from just paying attention and taking note, we wanted to be able to share our favorites with friends, and so Ms. Turken and coordinated a Favorite Book Museum.  Each kiddo brought in (or checked out at school) their favorite book.  The reason it was their favorite could be for anything–someone special read it to them, it was a favorite from when they were little(r), they could read it themselves, it was funny–whatever.  I was able to take a picture of each kiddo smiling brightly with their favorite, and these fabulous pictures will grace many parts of our room (book boxes and our outside bulletin work-sharing board to name a couple).  I took them in front of our giant map, because reading takes you places!  Before I even go any further, I know you’ll want to see those so here they are.  And yes, they are precious. 🙂

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Aside from just being able to enjoy our books ourselves, we wanted to share them with our classmates–both from Rm. 111 and Rm. 112.  We did this in a format called a Favorite Book Museum.  In the past I’ve done this with bigger kids and called it a Reading Museum (which had a little bit of a different feel and protocol).  This time around, kiddos put together an “exhibit” with their book, a picture of their favorite part and a card with their name (just like exhibits have in a real museum!).   Children were given a chance to walk around to view other kiddos’ exhibits, looking for connections as well as for books they might like to read in the future.  We started in our own classroom and then traded rooms so we could see everyone’s favorites.

Before we could visit the museum, however, we needed to make sure that we knew how we were supposed to act and what we were supposed to do.  I think in the past I have taken for granted that all of my kiddos have been to a museum and understand what I’m talking about when I mention using a quiet voice, not touching things, only using eyes to look and not fingers, as well as just connecting the whole museum idea anyway.  This time I decided it would be a good idea to find a video that might help anyone who needed some support in this area.  We watched this short little video with our Rm. 112 friends first:

After we were sure we were all on the same page, we go busy with our visit!

This was another great, positive literary-focused community experience that we will build on throughout the year.  We will probably even hold Favorite Book Museums again throughout the year, watching how our tastes change and grow.

Have you ever been to a book museum?  If so, we’d love to hear about your experience!

#FDOFG2017–Readers Gonna Read (Part 1)

Oh goodness.  Reading.  It’s one of the most important (and one of my favorite!) things that happens in first grade. Ok, well, in any grade, but the beginning of the life long journey often starts in first grade, and I want to make sure it starts out in a positive way. 🙂

We do that in a number of ways, and one of those is by starting the #classroombookaday challenge.  Listening to, talking about and enjoying LOADS OF BOOKS is such an important piece of the literacy puzzle.  Reading (and lots of choice inside that reading) is another one.  And so we begin to read, read, read early in the year, and provide many positive experiences around books.

Almost on the first day of school, we have a conversation about how our classroom library is organized, and what they notice about how it looks, as well as how we will use it.  We talk about the kinds of things we like to read, and begin to fill our book boxes early on.  I always enjoy putting the library together when I’m setting up the room…

…but there’s nothing better than when there are actually READERS in it!

Besides being able to read during choice time and actual reader’s workshop, we’ve also begun our year with some necessary “quiet time” after lunch and recess.  During this time, kiddos can make a choice to read/write/draw or rest quietly.  Really it’s a chance for kids to be alone (which is hard but also necessary for many–me included!), as well as wind down a little after a busy morning.  It’s a time of day that many kiddos have a chance to finish up work or a project (usually of their choice) that they started earlier in the day.  Eventually this time will fade away, as we get more into our “real” schedule, but for now it’s a nice brain break before we get into hard thinking again with math.

One more exciting place first grade readers got to visit was the ROBINSON LIBRARY!!  We have library in our specials rotation now, so it took until we got to an “E” day before it was our turn.  Kiddos only go for 25 minutes and normally wouldn’t have been able to check out until the 2nd visit, but GOODNESS that would not have been fair so we stayed a little later so we get our hands on some new books!!  Kiddos got to meet our new Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Davis, and also hear a good story.  Before we went, I also read a library themed book. 🙂

It was SUPER fun to watch the kiddos work their way through the library and see what treasures they would find.  Finding out what kids like to read is just one more way of building community and getting to know them as readers and as little people. 🙂

Looking forward to TONS more fun and learning happening in the library this year!

#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?