Oct 27, 2012

Good Job, Good Text, and Some Good Old Fall

Our district has been doing some professional development on formative instructional practices this year and it has got me thinking...

I saw a DIY success frame last week on Classroom DIY and loved it!  From the different training this year, I am constantly looking for more ways to help our firsties take more ownership for their learning.  And I thought this frame would give them a little push in that direction.

This Target box has been sitting in my basement since the summer because I knew it's pretty black design would come in handy.



I cut off just one side.


I just used some pretty font that I had downloaded and cut out the letters.


The piece of colorful paper will be used to write exactly what the student did. The whole thing is covered with contact paper.  And then a hole for their face, of course.



After some nonsense word fluency assessments today, I was able to use the frame for the first time.  The students were so excited to meet their goal and have their picture taken.  What a great feeling!


On another note...

With each new school year, comes new challenges.  One of our challenges this year has been a lack of subs. Previously, a classroom without a sub would just be split.  This does not work for us this year because we are departmentalized.  As a team, we just could not wrap our brains around splitting the classrooms or how to schedule out the day in that manner.  And we became even more frustrated with these "no-sub days" because we did not have plans to match the change in schedule.

So...like many great challenges, comes a great resolution!  We decided that we needed to create "No Sub Emergency Plans."  I decided to take it on! ( I know...planning nerd!)

Last weekend I created our first set of plans and wouldn't you know it we already used them!

I decided to go through my picture books and find some texts that I just don't get to use anymore but would love to use!  Then I went through the social studies and science standards (along with ELA common core, of course) to come up with day-long themes that revolved around one text.  It was a fun challenge (again...planning nerd).

The first finished plan was with "Joseph Had a Little Overcoat" and "Bit by Bit".


The whole day connected to these two texts!  I started the day with "Bit by Bit."  They were so so so engaged!  I did not have to stop to redirect or remind them of our expectations throughout the whole book (which is a really big deal)!  It made my day!  

The day continued with the students sequencing "Bit by Bit" into a timeline (social studies standard...check).
Then we watched "Joseph Had A Little Overcoat."  It has the text on the video!  They loved it and throughout the video we watched the kids making their connection symbol to the "Bit by Bit" book without even being prompted.


Joseph Had a Little Overcoat video

Our firsties completed their first Venn Diagram for the year comparing and contrasting the two books.  Wow!  They came up with some great ideas.  (Again...super impressed).





We moved into a discussion about goods and services because our characters were tailors and they created many great products.  Our firsties completed a goods and services sort (social studies standard...check).

The rest of our afternoon focused on math.  Our firsties made the Zundel's vest (character from "Bit by Bit"). They decorated his vest by making combinations of 9.  Some of their combinations are written on the front for you to see and some are on the back.  They are pretty cute! 



It was such a productive "no sub" day!  Instead of leaving feeling flustered, frustrated, and worn out, we left feeling like we got a lot accomplished and that our firsties enjoyed the day with some great books.  Actually, it kind of left me feeling excited about our next "no sub" day.  But I don't think I should admit that :)

What's next...I have a day of lessons surrounding "Cookies Bite Size Lessons."  This weekend I hope to create lessons around "Princess and the Pizza" and "Princess and the Pea."  I am also trying to brainstorm how I could use "A is for Salad."  I love the use of illustrations in that text.  Any suggestions?

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This has been a long winded blog tonight.  But just one more thing.  Our Ohio fall has been so beautiful here. My little family had so much fun playing in the leaves this week.  I had to end with some colorful fall fun!

Corn box at local farm...great idea!


just love this pic!





Happy Weekend!
Em












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