Welcome to first grade! My work in first grade is much different than the other grades. There is a teaching focus every six weeks - I teach in each of the first grade classrooms once a week for three weeks and then (based on observation/work), I pull a small group consisting of kiddos from all three rooms into my GT classroom once a week for three weeks. The pull out is an extension of the work I do with the whole class.
Monday AM - Mrs. Laurent's class
Tuesday AM - Mrs. Hays' class
Friday AM - Ms. Klein's class
Week of 9/6/16
I started in Ms. Klein's classroom this week with a focus on logic and relationships! I introduced myself, how our time together will look each Friday and my expectations (listen and participate). We worked as a class on how we find relationships with different things/objects using our background knowledge. Then, students worked in partners and shared their thinking. FUN!
Week of 9/12/16
I continued in Mrs. Laurent's class as well as Mrs. Hays' class this week using the same focus. I LOVE first grade - they are so excited to learn!
Week of 9/19/16
I've been or will be in all three first grade rooms this week continuing our focus on logic and relationships! We did a bit of analogy work this week - challenging thinking but great conversation and quick connections! Next week...we are ON THE MOVE!
Week of 9/26/16
We are ending the week with some questioning techniques...I hid my CU Mug in each room and the students had to use directional language (in front of, next to, beside, etc) when asking specific questions in finding it. The kids loved it and really did a great job asking logical questions.
Week of 10/3/16
We had our first small group pullout consisting of students from all three first grade classrooms. We continued with our focus on logic with a couple of great puzzles. Students had to act like "detectives" and use clues to determine the outcomes. One of the puzzles was all about a unique pet store and how to determine which child had which pet - wouldn't you love to have a manatee or unicorn as a pet?! :)
Week of 10/10/16
We had another great small group today involving LOGICAL REASONING! Students were using clues and information to solve a few riddles about buttons! We learned vocabulary like symmetry, unequal and twice as many! Also, I introduced my classroom library and students checked out a book of their choice (they are due back next Friday).
Week of 10/17/16
We ended our logic small group with more hiding and questioning! I was so impressed with their targeted specific language (descriptive and directional). It was great fun! There are still a few books lingering out there to be returned - if your child still has one of my books at home, please send it back next week. We will be taking a break next week due to the short week and in class IStation testing and the following week for CogAT testing (GT) but will resume the week of November 7th with...CREATIVITY!
Week of November 7th
I rotated back into first grade classrooms this week with a new focus - CREATIVITY! This week, students used their imaginations in a "squiggle activity"...students were given a small piece of paper and asked to draw a squiggle (own choice)...then, I gave them the word "November" and they had to create drawings using what the word November made them visualize while using the squiggle as part of their drawings. They repeated the activity using the word "imagination"...fun fun!
Week of November 14th
We continued with our focus on creativity this week. We used descriptive language and action words to be creative with our voices and our bodies. Students pretended they were machines in a factory and the wind as a warm up and then used their bodies and voices to act out words like plop, freeze, grow and more - so much fun and CREATIVITY!
Week of November 28th
We wrapped up our creativity focus with a whole class game! We tapped into our creativity around words and language with a game of Scattergories! Students used a single letter as a focus on topics such as animals, emotions, jobs, vegetables and more. It was fun to hear and see all of the creative thinking and excitement around the game. The next three weeks will be a small group pull out (with students from all three rooms) focused around creativity!
Week of December 5th
We had our first little pull out group this morning and it was SUPER fun! With a focus on creativity, we used music as a guide for drawing. The students listened to three different types of music and they drew either what they visualized or what they felt from each piece - we had nice conversation around what they drew and why and this really fed their need for creative thinking! A great start!
Week of December 12th
This week, we were creative through movement and music! Students used a visual and music to help "create" various drawings/shapes (zig zags, spirals, etc). It was busy and energetic but fun!
Week of December 19th
We had a great Wednesday morning of creative thinking and imagination through the use of LEGOS! The kids had a great time. Today was our last creativity pull out so I will start teaching back in classrooms in January. Happy holidays!
Week of January 9th
Happy New Year! Our next rotation is focusing on DIVERGENT THINKING! This week, first grade classrooms used a tissue to think "outside the box" in different ways. We started with the "normal" uses for a tissue - blowing nose, wiping face, etc - and then shared other ways to think about a tissue. Some of the questions included...what weighs about the same weight as the tissue? What can hide under the tissue? What is the same shape as the tissue? (The last one was fun because tissues are square but they can also be crumpled up, held by the center, folded into a triangle...). A fun week!
Week of January 17th
We continued with our theme of divergent thinking with a great brainstorming/idea generation activity. I showed the students a picture of two common objects (toothbrush and watch, for example). We talked about what the objects were and how they are commonly used...then, I asked them to think about how these two common objects could be combined to create (invent) something new. This was SO much fun...lots of ideas around robotic arms, talking clocks and accountability...ha ha. Super fun!
Week of January 24th
We wrapped up our focus on divergent thinking with an activity involving word association. We talked about last week and how we made combinations and connections using pictures as a guide. In each first grade classroom this week, I gave them various groups of words and they had to come up with what they had in common. One example - zebra, tiger and deer. I was impressed with their ideas right off the bat...all types of animals came up but not right away (in all three rooms!). Students came up with four legged, habitat similarities, all have patterns on their fur, different length tails, etc. Another example - pear, peach and apple. Again, fruit is simplest connect yet students mentioned connections like all have stems, all have seeds, all are juicy....so amazing! Next week starts our three week round of small group pull out in divergent thinking.
Week of January 30th
Since our pull outs occur on Fridays, we will launch our divergent thinking group next Friday (2/10).
Week of February 6th
We launched our small group this week and it was AMAZING! We played a game called Disruptus - students were given pictures of various objects and they had to think in divergent ways about them (looking at two and creating a new object, improving upon a given object, etc). Students were coming up with ideas like "sitting bridges" (bridges only for sitting and relaxing), cars with toilets in the back seat (with homing signals for disposal - ha!), trash cans with diamond ring hinges (?!?!) and more! Super fun!
Week of February 13th
We continued with our small group work in divergent thinking with a great game called "The Name Game"...students used words (more abstract in nature) as clues to help them discover the mystery object. For example, one at a time (with discussion in between) I gave them food, hot, circle and Italian...with each reveal, they used divergent thinking to help them make reasonable guesses on what the object might have been (PIZZA!). Not only did they guess but we talked about WHY AND HOW they came up with their ideas, which is the key to true learning within divergent thinking. A great morning!
Week of February 21st
We wrapped up our small group focus on divergent thinking by forming opinions and supporting game them with our own unique reasons. We used the card game "Would You Rather" and had a GREAT time making choices between two scenarios while sharing the why's behind those choices. For example, the small group was given "Would you rather be friends with a witch or a giant?" and "Would you rather eat one can of wet dog food or five cups of dry dog food?" It was great to see students forming immediate opinions based on their own preferences, sensitivities, etc...."I would rather eat the dry dog food because the label on the can doesn't tell us what is in the wet food and I don't want to eat it unless I know the ingredients'"....."I would rather be friends with a witch because besides the negative spells, witches have positive spells, too, that can help me."
Week of March 6th
No in class groups this week due to testing within the building. I will be back next week - our focus will be on READING!
Week of March 13th
Whole group lessons in classrooms this week focused around reading! I read a picture book to them (The Night Gardener) and used various types of questioning techniques to engage and push their thinking. They LOVED the book!
Week of March 20th
We read and discussed another book this week - Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg - and the kids LOVED it. It was all about life from the perspective of an ant and students really had to tap into their inferential skills as well as visualization abilities to follow the journey of these "two bad ants" - after Spring Break, the schedule will be adjusted due to PARCC testing in the building but I will start a four week Socratic Circle reading discussion small group when available.
First grade groups are on hold through PARCC testing...we will finish the year with a pull out Socratic Circle reading discussion group based on building reading data. More to come!
Week of April 24th
We launched our first grade introduction to Socratic Circles reading discussion this week! We plan to meet twice a week for the remainder of the school year - so excited! On Tuesday, our "small" group of 16 first graders participated in a listening activity (remember telephone?) - the kiddos loved it and our focus was on the WHY...WHY is it so important to listen to each other when talking about books? What can we learn from listening a variety of ideas from each other? On Thursday, we learned about asking questions - types of questions, open versus closed questions and how questions help us DISCUSS instead of stopping in our tracks. The kids are loving the challenge and enjoying being together! Next week...poetry and discussion!
Week of May 1st
We continued our reading group with an introduction to reading discussion - how do we read something and talk about what we read using more open-ended questions and sentence stems like "I agree..." and "I disagree..." to continue engagement and interaction. We read two different poems this week - one about a crocodile and the other about a kitten. It was interesting to listen to the types of questions they asked and how they added to the conversation. Many of their questions involved either figurative language or inference - both being vital to advanced readers.
Week of May 8th
Our group did not meet this week due to spelling bee activities. Our schedule will be back to normal next week.
Week of May 15th
We met twice this week and had great reading discussions around animal poetry! Students are learning how to ask and respond to questions, build on each other's ideas and really listen and reflect - so much fun!