Friday, April 29, 2011

End of the Year Memory Book

I have been so inspired by other bloggers!!  I am very excited to throw my hat into the ring!  Since this is new to me, I am going to look over my files and begin "revamping" them in order to share with you.  Hopefully they will help you the way all of your blogs have been helping me!

Here is my latest.  It is the my End of the Year Memory Book:


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poetry Unit

So now we've been focusing on Poetry for the month of April.  I love this unit because the more reluctant kids seem to flourish when they write poetry.  They don't have to worry about punctuation and they can make it look as long or as short as they want.

Here is a picture of our anchor chart by the end of the unit:

One of the things we talked about were line breaks and shaping the poem so it looks the way you want it to.  I took this poem and wrote it on sentence strips.  Then I cut it so that each word was by itself.  We kept the words in the same order but changed where we wanted our lines to stop.  We kept rereading it and changing it until we liked the way it looked and sounded.  One of the students suggested putting one word on each line at the end because it made her voice slow down and it sounded like a good ending.  :)
I'm pretty sure I got this idea from the book,
 Awakening the Heart, by Georgia Heard.                                  

Another minilesson focused on personification.  I did this with fifth graders once so I was a little nervous about whether or not my firsties would understand what to do.  They did such a great job!  I was so happy.  First we wrote this poem together about a pencil:

 Then they went back to their seats to write independently.  I was so impressed with what they did.  Take a look at how one of my students wrote about a nice, fluffy cloud turning darker and darker until it rains (cries). I absolutely loved it!  (The poem to the right is the one we created together after the minilesson).    

Nice and fluffy
Cozy and soft
uh oh...
I turn 
now I am 

All the Small Poems and Fourteen More (Sunburst Book)All The Small Poems and 14 More, By Valerie Worth is a great book to use.  It is full of poems with personification, similes and metaphors.  
Finally, I can't talk about my poetry unit without mentioning my favorite resource:  Regie Routman's, Kids Poems: Teaching First Graders to Love Writing Poetry  This is my absolute favorite book to refer to during this unit.  There are a ton of poems written by other first graders that model a particular strategy.  The kids love to read other first graders poems.  
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fiction Stories

I love, love, love to teach writing to first graders!!!  Writing is probably my favorite subject to teach.  We just finished a realistic fiction writing unit of study.  They had two characters in their story (themselves and someone else) and they made up a story.  We kept it "realistic" fiction (even though some really wanted to write a story with an alien and talking dinosaurs).  :)  First we spent a lot of time creating characters in our language arts notebooks.  We drew characters and described their internal and external character traits. Some of the other minilessons had the kids focus on writing descriptive words about the setting, having a problem and solution, as well as some craft lessons (show, don't tell, dialogue, strong leads, strong endings, using other words for "said"...)

Here are some anchor charts we created together:

 I have a ton of writing workshop lessons and activities that I would love to share. I'm very new to blogging.  I just came across a few first grade blogs and I love the fact that everyone shares ideas with one another.  Next step for me is to organize all my files and start sharing away!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wild Weather!

We have been having some pretty wild weather before the break.  It was supposed to be spring, but the weather has been very cold, windy, and foggy!  What a perfect time to learn about weather!

Here are some books we read:
Thunder CakeWild Weather: Level 1 (Extreme Readers) The Wind BlewWeather Words and What They MeanI

I absolutely love Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco and the students love to count along with the characters in between the lightning and thunder!  The students also loved to make text-to-self connections while reading.  They told some very cute stories about being scared of thunder.  We also recalled story elements in an interactive writing kind of way :)

The Windy Day was also a great book to read and respond to.  We read the book then charted what the wind would blow if they were out on a windy day.  Some of the responses we too funny (The wind blew my video game system)!  Then we imagined where our items would go using sequence words and preposition words.  

For a quick inferring lesson, I had the kids pick any kind of weather and write three clues about it.  Then they partnered up, read the clues and made inferences based on the clues.  They had a lot of fun doing this activity.  Click on the link to get the worksheet: