Woohoo, it's here, it's finally here. A new apple watch for me....no. Summer holidays....no. It's our persuasive writing unit. Yes, I really am excited about this, persuasive texts and writing is my favourite unit.

We are just getting started but let's go ahead and take a look at....


 Seriously, this book is so stinking cute and there is sooo much you can do with it. On our first read through I stopped before the last animal was revealed, when we just see the shadowy outline of the animal and see Gilbert's reaction. I had my students use the picture clues and what they knew to infer what animal would be revealed next and what would happen between Gilbert and the new pet.

So, of course many of my students thought it would be a cat, but ***SPOILER ALERT*** it is a catfish and they become friends!! My students loved the reveal of the ending of this story!

We did a retell of the story - just to reinforce the skill : )

Then we moved into the beginning stages of persuasive writing. Now it may seem silly to be using this book as part of a persuasive writing unit, since Gilbert doesn't actually do any persuading, but I have found that in Grade 1 you need to take things down to the basics and help build up their understanding of the concept. In Grade 1 you can not assume that they understand a concept or have the same background knowledge. So we start at the beginning - identifying what we want!! This is a simple concept that the students of course have lots of experience with and can make connections to....we will move on to the ways to get what we want...but not quite yet!

I had my students identify what Gilbert wanted and why, something that they want and why and a pet that they would want and why it would be a good pet for them (see - still not at actually persuading - just what we want and why!!).

You can pick up a free copy of the activities we used by clicking the picture.


We started an anchor chart that we are adding to as we learn....

In this book Jake asks his mom for a pet and she agrees immediately (which seems like a crazy thing to do...only she knows what she is about). The trick of course is that some of his ideas are not too practical which his mom calmly points out time and again. We use this book as a springboard for discussing the importance of making sure our want is specific and "do"able. We highlight examining different options and looking at characteristics that make something a good fit. 
 So we wrote about a pet that would be a good fit and one that would not be a good fit. Our focus - giving reasons why. Click here to pick up a copy.
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Yes, you guessed it....our persuasive writing unit is focussing on pets! This book (still!!) does not contain persuasive elements. What it does contain is short (like 2 words short) descriptions of the different types of dogs. We used this book to practice the skill of picking a specific type of dog and generating reasons why it would be a good dog for us. Click here to pick up a copy of the activity.

So that's it so far, the beginning steps of our persuasive writing unit. It may not seem like much yet but we are building the blocks, honestly!! I will be back with the books and activities in the next part of our unit : )

As always, I would love to know....

We started our ABC Countdown (although we are calling it a celebration to try and keep anxiety low and our own glee hidden). We are two days in - so only 24 to go!! To share a few things from our week  I am linking up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.


I finally got around to using Powtoon with my Grade 1 class. I love this program and used it with my students last year in Grade 3/4 and taught my own daughters to use it to create presentations for their assignments. This is the Powtoon I made to introduce fourths to my students.



Here is the work my students did with the cookie question.
First we talked about what we knew about half and fractions. Then I gave them the word fourths and we brainstormed what it might mean. We watched the Powtoon - I could not get the voice recording to work so I read it in my best announcer voice.
We had some good discussion about what we knew from the picture - that there were 12 cookies, if we split them in half there would be 6 and 6. Some students thought it would be a good idea to cut each cookie in 4 pieces. We talked about how messy and crumbly and not exact that could be.
But of course some of my students could not move past the idea of cutting the cookies in four equal pieces. So after sharing our thinking - the two ways of solving the problem - I took 12 paper cookies and cut them in fourths. Then we shared all the pieces on four plates. Each person got 12 cookie pieces - which could be put together to make 3 cookies!! Lightbulb moment : )

We started our ABC celebration (as I mentioned above!). On Thursday we brought in an animal stuffy. What I love about the ABC celebration is that you can do so much learning around the theme and the kids are totally engaged!! Here we are measuring and comparing our animals - mine is the dragon - I may have known the learning we would be doing and ensured I would win - but the snake was a close call : )

I found a great book for next year for launching reading workshop Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley. I have it in my class right now - as a great review of what good readers do when they are reading - make predictions, infer, ask questions, use picture clues etc.
I am not always a huge fan of wordless picture books but this one has a lot of details in the photographs so it is easy for students to tell the story and make predictions. This book makes the story clear and perfect for a read aloud.

Lastly we finished our letters to our favorite local community restaurants - I can't wait to get them in the mall in the hopes that they decide to send us some free food or coupons or something!!

Be sure to check back in this weekend to find out how we are using the book Gilbert Goldfish Wants a Pet to kick off our persuasive writing unit.

I have been using so many books I have wanted to blog about but this book, this book I had to highlight and share right away.

This is my favorite new book on my bookshelf.

Click on the picture to check it out on Amazon

Okay, when I saw this book I had to pick it up. When my kiddos saw this book they were hooked. I had it on the table near our carpet area and anyone who spied it had to ask about it and when we would be reading it.

The pictures may not do it justice - but the heart on the cover is a cut-out with all those smaller heart cut-outs. It just grabs you and makes you want to read it and touch it (as my students did) and look at it again (as my students did, "Can you go back to...Can you show us....Can I hold it and look at it").

Many pictures to try and show you how beautiful this book cover is!!

Engaging illustrations and text inside the book!

“My heart is full of feelings. Big feelings and small feelings. Loud feelings and quiet feelings. Quick feelings and slow feelings. My heart is like a house, with all these feelings living inside.”

I love that this book talks about a calm heart, a happy heart, a silly heart, a brave heart, a broken heart and more. So many opportunities for your students to make connections to their own feelings. The book also gives great examples of what the feeling is like:

Sometimes my heart feels like a big yellow star, shiny and bright.
I smile from ear to ear and twirl around so fast,
I feel as if I could take off into the sky.
This is when my heart is happy.

After reading this book we created an anchor chart of feelings from the book and added anymore that we knew. The book is a great way to open discussion about how our what our body is doing, what actions we take, what words we say...when we are feeling a certain way.

Next we wrote about how our heart was feeling and why.

Here are some writing pages you could use (general and with specific feelings). Click here to pick up a copy.

You could also use this book as a springboard for discussing how characters are feeling in a book, what actions and words let us know how they are feeling and how we connect to them.

Here are some making connection pages I have used to make connections to the way characters are feelings in books. Click here to pick up a copy.

Well I hope I have convinced you to check out this beautiful book!!

As always, I would love to know...

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel my friends. It has been a long, long, long tunnel but the glimmer of summer at the end is in sight. I am linking up for Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching.


This week we continued working on symmetry. We did this class activity - it is based on a picture from Pinterest that comes from First Grade Wow

I placed two metre sticks in the middle of our carpet. I cut construction paper into squares then triangles. We passed out the triangles. I got us started by placing my triangle. Students took turns adding a triangle or adding their triangle to make sure our design was symmetrical.

Then half of the class went to their desk with a pipe cleaner and some pattern blocks. They created one half of a design. Then the other half of the students found a partner and tried to create the other half of the design. Some were very tricky.

We made this class anchor chart inspired by the one I found on Pinterest from Northwestern Kiddies

We also watched this booktalk (since I could not get a hold of a copy of the book in time!!)

We watched the video one time through, then we re-watched it and stopped the video to add lines of symmetry to the various objects. It would be great with a document camera too!

If you are looking for a fun symmetry idea check out my math game (read about it here)


We also worked on words with "ou" and "ow". I used some of the resources from the pack The Out of Towners from Cara Carroll.

First I introduced the sound with the Band-Aid Family. We talked about what we say when we get hurt and need a Band-Aid. Then we used some of the picture sorts from the pack to make our anchor chart.

We used some of the craftivity resources from the Cara Carroll pack to brainstorm what we would take on a trip out of town, where we would go and what we would see.

We read this book

to see what postcards looked like and what their purpose was.

Then students used a large index card to create a postcard scene. They added the Band-aid family and wrote a few sentences about something that they saw. We tried, we really tried to add adjectives - some success, some....not so much.

Well that is a little sample from our week. I am keeping my eye on that light my friends!!!

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