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 four 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.
Week of September 10th - We launched our first week of work in first grade! We started off with learning each others' names, setting two big goals ("reminders") for the year (listening and participating) and then dipped our toes into our first topic of focus - LOGIC! Next week, we will try our first activity around patterns!
Week of September 17th - We continued on our path with logic with an activity around pattern recognition and continuation...more logical reasoning to come next week!
Week of September 24th - Logic continued this week with an activity around relationships...how is a relationship between objects support logical thinking? For example, students were given a picture of a hammer and then three objects and had to determine which object had a relationship with the hammer (nails). Then, to apply new thinking, we used a screwdriver in the same way...great conversations!
Week of October 1st - This week and next week, classes will wrap up their final day of LOGIC with a fun detective activity. Students will use logical reasoning and their "detective hats" to figure out where objects are in their classrooms - asking questions and reasoning from one situation to the next. Our logic pull out will start the week of October 15th.
Week of October 8th - We finished up our in classes logic activities this week. Over the next three weeks, I will pull a small group of first graders to continue with our logic focus and then rotate back into classrooms with a focus on creativity.
Week of October 15th - We had our first small group pull out on LOGICAL REASONING this week! Students used logic, trial and error and pattern to solve a mystery about pets...see more here! http://www.thekidzpage.com/learninggames/logic_games/logic-game-petcenter.html
Week of October 24th - Short week this week...we will start up again next Tuesday!
Week of October 29th - Our logical reasoning small group met this week and we had a GREAT afternoon! Students learned about categorization and specificity and how they support logical reasoning. I chose an animal and students created three categories that they determined would BEST help them figure out the animal (movement, skin/fur color and habitat). Then, they asked yes or no questions, figuring out what category the fell under and focusing on specific vocabulary and word choice. In the first scenario, they were between eel and otter so we had a great discussion about which category and what vocabulary would best help them to determine the answer. They decided "movement" and asked about legs...BINGO! A fun afternoon!
Week of November 5th - We wrapped up our logical reasoning group with...Perplexors! Perplexors are puzzles that students use clues and logic to help solve the mysteries! Our mysteries this week involved various types of turtles with various colored hats and shoes! For more information on Perplexors, check out this website - mindwareonline.com.
Week of November 12th - We launched our new focus this week...creativity! Students learned that creativity is creating original unique ideas using your imagination. Each classroom participated in a "squiggle" activity - creating a squiggle and then incorporating it into different themed pictures about both winter and school. They've been so interesting and fun! Pictures to come!
Week of November 27th - Our creativity focus this week was on sound and movement! Students learned about imitation in both sound and action and then using creativity in our own sounds and actions. We had blobfish and monkeys and elephants and more!
Week of December 3rd - Our creativity focus wraps up this week with some whole group Scattergories fun! Students were given topics and a letter of focus and they used creativity through language and word choice to share their thinking! For example, with the letter "S" and the topic "feeling words", students came up with words such as scared, sick, stressed, smiley, sleepy, surprised...and psyched (which was an AWESOME opportunity for conversation both about silent letters AND word choice!).
Week of December 10th - We launched our new reading group this week! We are reading poetry and talking about it...so much fun! The kiddos read a poem called "Skating" and discovered the meanings of the words "rim" and "brittle" and had a great discussion about how why the pine trees in the poem were "brushed with black" - a great morning!
Our last round of creativity was "Lego-rific" this week! Students used creativity around building and imagination - they were given a topic and then built something with their random 5 Legos in order to represent that topic. There were TONS of wonderfully unique and creative ideas throughout all three rooms - camels, beyblades, basketball hoops, catapults and more! We will do the three weeks of creativity in a pull out small group model when we return from Winter Break. Happy Holidays!
Week of December 17th - Our little reading group this week read and talked about a great poem called "Winter Poem" by the poet Nikki Giovanni...so many great ideas and images around snow falling, movement, language (engulfed and brow!) and more!
Week of January 7th - Our reading group shifted to poetry with more humor weaved into it with a focus on specific detail and text evidence! The group read the poem "I Should Have Stayed in Bed Today" by Jack Prelutsky. What an amazing discussion of what "horrible" means in this poem....a poet writing they feel horrible ORRRRRR saying the person in the poem "squirted toothpaste in (his) ear" and "spilled a glass of chocolate milk...soaking through (his) clothes." Hysterical!
We also started the creativity small group this week...with a focus on art and music! Students listened to four different types of instrumental music (ocean nature sounds, soft piano, hip hop without lyrics and celtic guitar), visualized what they thought about the song as well as how they felt and then drew that on a large piece of paper. With the addition of each new song, instead of drawing a new picture, they added onto the current one, potentially shifting the mood or vibe based on what they were hearing and picturing in their heads. The poster is now hanging outside my classroom on the wall next to the parking lot door and a photo of the end result is below...enjoy!
Week of January 14th - We continued our creativity based small group with a focus on creative LANGUAGE.....hello, Mad Libs! We reviewed word types (nouns, verbs, adjectives etc) and then talked through how we can be creative by choosing different words for different situations...and banned the use of COOL and AWESOME in the process. :)
Our Mad Lib was entitled "Safety Precautions for Campers" and students used language like bird aviary, Kentucky, sour sweet , government and more! Hilarious!
Our reading group read a poem titled "The Wumpaloons, Which Never Were" - this poem focused on creative detail through color words (the description of what these Wumpaloons looked like using flaxen instead of brown, crimson instead of red, pistachio instead of green etc). We identified these color words and then used corresponding crayons to then create these Wumpaloons in picture form! This was hilarious and so unique - each kiddo's monster looked different from the next but each used the description of the parts and colors to support their pictures...SO MUCH FUN!
Week of January 22nd - This week, our creativity group played MY version of the game Pictionary! Students were divided into groups of three and took turns using their creativity in order to help their teammates guess their word. They had SO much fun and the level of detail...WOW! Their words included park, pirate, lawnmower, garden and more!
Our reading group started a mini study on ALLITERATION! We used the text Animalia by Graeme Base as a jumping off point, identifying how he used alliteration in his poetry (alphabetical order, illustrations as continuation of alliteration etc). Then, each kiddo chose a letter, an animal and started the word brainstorming process! We have otters and monkeys and alligators and more!
Week of January 29th - This week was the last week of our creativity group and we wrapped up with an activity using our imaginations and descriptive language. Students visualized different situations and shared what they were seeing...picturing their houses, finding a spot to hide something, what does it look like? feel like? sound like?
Our reading group continued with our alliteration poems - so much creative fun! They negotiated with me...only one made up word allowed. HA!
Week of February 4th - We launched our next focus....DIVERGENT THINKING! Divergent thinkers think "outside the box" or away from the norm...problem solvers and inventors use divergent thinking to come up with new and different ideas! This week, first grade "transformed" normal household objects into all sorts of different things - kiddos thought about toothbrushes as back scratchers, fossil cleaners, dish washers, hair brushers and more!
Week of February 20th - We continued our divergent thinking this week moving from transformation to change! Students were given TWO objects and they had to combine and change them into something completely new! Students were given objects like roller skates and watches and disassembling them pieces, morphing them into entirely new things! What fun!
Week of February 27th - As a wrap up to our month, our reading group focused on wordplay and vocabulary with a modified version of Scattergories! Students used categories and specific letters to focus their thinking and ideas!
Week of March 5th - Our reading group launched a new unit on fables! Our focus will be two fold - vocabulary knowledge/building as well as finding evidence in the text to prove the moral of the story. This week, we read an Aesop's fable called "The Dog and His Reflection." The group learned the meaning of words such as unfortunate, greedy and narrow and were able to pull out those pieces of evidence to support the moral of the story. Great work!
The in class work focused around how sequencing and order can be used in divergent thinking...in a game called DISorder!
Week of March 11th - Our reading group did not meet this week. The divergent thinking small group brainstormed ways to transform two objects into something new...what would you do with a bridge and a motorcycle?
Week of March 18th - This week, our reading group read a fable called "The Lion and the Mouse" and learned some fabulous new words like haste and timid! The group also worked on pulling evidence from the text to prove their thinking!
The divergent thinking small group wrapped up this week with a great problem solving activity - each partnership was given a problem and they had to come up with multiple solutions to their problems...an example was "My dad made broccoli for dinner and I don't think I like it."
This partnership came up with all sorts of AMAZING solutions like eat it with something else you like, close your eyes, try it, take small bites, give it to your dog.....SO great!
*Morning group work on hold during first two weeks in April due to CMAS testing*
Week of April 8th - Our final whole class rotation launched this week with a focus on visual spatial thinking! Students learned how we use pictures and space both in front of us as well as in our minds (visualization) in order to think and process information. We tried using a series of dots like a geo board in order to recreate patterns from one side of the paper to the others. Kiddos recreated parts and pieces of rocket ships, flowers and more while we talked through and shared our processes - where to start and finish, how we saw and thought through the shapes etc.
Week of April 15th - We re-launched our first grade reading group this week with a new group and using a great new reading resource for gifted students...Junior Great Books! We read the first two stanzas of the poem "Teddy Bear" and had great discussion around the theme of the poem as well as great vocabulary like "stout"...so much fun!
The in class work this week focused around visual spatial thinking within tangrams - how can we use smaller shapes in order to construct larger ones?
Week of April 22nd - Our reading group continued with the next three stanzas of the poem called Teddy Bear. Great connections and vocabulary building ("What does envious mean?")...so much fun!
Our in class focus in on visual spatial thinking this week - students are listening to me read a book and then visualizing characters, events, setting etc based on the language and pictures within their heads. They are working on seeing the movie play in their minds without the support of the illustrations from the book...just their own!