Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fluency Poems, the Flip Flop Rule, Keyboarding, and Calm Classroom

In Writer's Workshop, students completed a four paragraph autobiography describing themselves, their family, and hobbies. We used a four-square organizer to jot down bulleted notes before we began our final drafts.


Students and I composed Weekend Updates detailing exciting highlights from our days away from school. Writers found numerous errors in mine! :)

Our focus in Writer's Workshop has been on using punctuation correctly. This humorous story tells about a group of punctuation marks who are invited to take a well-deserved vacation to Take-a-Break Lake, and students soon realize just how difficult writing can be without those valuable punctuation marks.


Each week, we are introduced to a new Poem of the Week to practice our fluency. Repeated readings of this poem each morning offers rich exposure to new vocabulary, multi-syllabic words, as well as practice with phrasing, reading with expression and intonation. Each morning students Audioboo their oral reading.

We used our math textbook's review as we revisited the concepts of place value to the thousands. We can express numbers in standard form using digits, word form, expanded form such as 4,000 + 300 + 40 + 7= 4,347, and in place value blocks. Students are encouraged to utilize their math log in to preview upcoming lessons and review vocabulary and concepts from previous lessons taught. Mathematicians enjoyed playing Base "Ten"ts identifying the standard form for several two- and three-digit numbers represented by place value blocks.

Topic 2 has introduced us to properties of addition--namely the Commutative Property - 5 + 3 = 3 + 5, the Associative Property- 3 + (4 + 2) = (3 + 4) + 2, and the Identity Property which proves 8 + 0 = 8. The foldable below was added to our interactive math notebooks to help us remember these 3 rules.


One spelling group focused on short and long a sounds. We discuss the meaning of these commonly-used words and notice common spelling patterns. We practice keyboarding as we sort, spell, and type our spelling words!

We've enjoyed starting the day with Calm Classroom which has helped us with breathing strategies, focusing, and calming techniques. Thank you Mrs. Russo!
While conducting DRAs (reading assessments to determine children's independent reading levels) students chose articles from a range of categories like Arts and Entertainment, Sports and Games, and Geography. Readers worked independently and with partners to find evidence in the text, use new vocabulary, and practice word work pertaining to prefixes, suffixes, plurals and possessives.

Our work with distinguishing between realistic and fantasy story elements continued and students created captions and short stories for each. In Dylan's fantasy example, he is in the Minecraft game when it begins to rain pig and creepers! :)

In an effort to balance our reading diet, students are exploring fiction, informational, poetry, and biographies, mysteries. Below, Katelyn explores an informational text about oysters.


We closed out the week delivering a class book of birthday wishes to our most talented secretary-- Mrs. Russo!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Fiction, Fragments, the Five Finger Test, and Finishing the Week with Buddy Readers.

Last week we continued to launch Reader's Workshop building our reading stamina and exploring fictional texts--both realistic and fantasy. Together, we began the historical fiction story Boom Town about a young girl faced with boredom after her family moves to California during the Gold Rush.

We also composed the first entry in our Reader Response Journals (RRJ) about Boom Town and predictions we have about how the story may end.

Our Grammar focus has been on identifying fragments and sentences. Sentences are complete thoughts that begin with capitalization and end with an appropriate end mark.

Friday marked our first visit to the school library. The Five Finger Test helped us select "just right" books.

Our Reading Record and Genre Reading Wheel will help us track the books we have read and ensure that we are balancing our reading diet to become healthy readers.

We concluded our week with sunshine and shade in the Outdoor Classroom with our first grade Buddy Readers. First graders read their Poetry journals, while we shared our "Wel "gum" to Third Grade" autobiographies.