I was a guest blogger over at Lessons from the Middle - here is a quick recap of my kick off math lesson just in case you missed it (the Coles Notes or Cliff Notes version!). If you read all the way to the bottom I've updated where we are at and where we are headed.

*first we played a classroom minute to win-it like game. Students were giving some conversation hearts (left over from our Valentine's Math!). They were given 1 minute to stack them as high as they could. Each time it fell they were to start over - but record the height of the tower before it fell.

Her stack just fell over!

Page to record data.
*wWhen the 1st minute was up I recorded their data (only at that point we were calling it scores) on our Brightlinks whiteboard.

*I recorded their numbers in an unorganized manner and asked them a few questions: Which one's were Preston's? Who made taller towers the girls or the boys? Which number is on the board the most?  The students all agreed that we could not answer some of those questions just by looking at the numbers, and when someone told me what number was up there the most and I asked are you sure they quickly said well no, I said can you prove it and they started to hesitate.
*consolidation: you need to organize information so that it is easy to read, information that we collect is called data

*we did it again but organized data into a charte

*next I gave students paper strips (all the same length). They were given 3 minutes to create the longest paper chain they could.
*once we had all the chains we talked about how they were displayed - were they easy to compare. The students decided they all needed to line up at one starting point so we could compare them.

*Next we decided that our display reminded us an awful lot of a graph.I then asked them to identify features that were missing - title and labels

*then I brought out my chain -  I made it with 11 x 17 paper instead of their 8.5 x 11. We came up with the idea that we needed to count mine to see if it was the longest - and it wasn't. We learned - a graph needs a standard size or scale so that we can read it accurately.

Before we started today we worked on creating this anchor chart (if you read yesterday's post you will know that I am not good at making anchor charts - I started this one ahead of time - that would be the neat printing, the info I added today not so neat  and doesn't all fit - yes circle graph I'm talking about you!)

Today, we made more paper chains - I had a lot of students absent the first time and wanted everyone to be involved, I also wanted to be able to use them for mode - so I needed a few with the same amount of links.

We reset-up our graphs, identified the missing parts, added the title and labels. We then talked about how they could create a pictograph using our data. We started a pictograph together on our Brightlinks. The focus was on using a key for a pictograph so we did not have to draw tons of circles. I also modeled the importance of drawing a symbol that was close to the same size each time. I gave them their learning goals for this unit and we focused on the fact that our graph needed a title, labels and a key. They started working and then we stopped and they shared their graphs with a partner - just how they were making it, what their key was and helping your partner to identify any missing elements or next steps.

I added some of the posters from my graphing unit on to our math board for the students to reference.

Tomorrow we will convert our paper chains into linking cubes so that we can model and create bar graphs (and I can put the huge paper chains some where out of the way for now!).
I am linking up with Love2Learn2Day for Math Monday Blog Hop.

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Head Over Heals for Teaching

Collaboration Cuties

This week was chock full of R Controlled Vowel activities and some fun snow-themed learning too! I am linking up to share a bit about our week with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky.


First we used these two videos as intros to our learning. My kiddos really loved this one from Electric Company.

While this one makes me happy.

We also read these two books.

I had already planned to read Giraffe and Bird because 7 of my students chose to learn about and write about giraffes for our adopt an animal project and I thought it would be a nice connection - but then I read the title and the book and there were loads of opportunities to find r controlled vowel words.

And of course this book is chocked full of opportunities to find words!! Love Brian Cleary books. Have you checked out his website, lots of fun stuff to explore.

I was really excited to teach about R controlled vowels since I already made material for this topic....only when I opened my file I found out that it was for grade 3 and I really could not use it with my grade 1's. So.....I kept the posters....

r controlled vowel activities

r controlled vowel activities
and then made all new activities. First up picture and word cards for Write the Room and Match the Card activities. I also made follow up worksheets to help reinforce our learning.

You can check out my new R Controlled Vowel pack by click on the pic below.



This week we had some "Snowball Fight Addition" fun. While I have used "snowball fights" to practice skills for a number of years this was the first time I have used it with Grade Ones. Well.....they loved it.....but it took some time and support to explain how to have a snowball fight in math class. First we used G.O.O.S.e paper (Good On One Side) and made number cards (which involved folding and writing numbers big enough and neatly enough that we could read the number). Then we had to cut the paper. Then scrunch the paper into snowballs. This is the point that they became very intrigued. Next we had to stand and throw our snowballs. We all aimed for our carpet learning area. Excitement level was getting a little out of control by now. This next part is when the lovely teacher (me!) had to step in and set some guidelines....the collecting of two snowflakes to take to our desk , record as an addition sentence and solve. The first time we tried it was like the pieces of paper were gold nuggets. After that students waited for their class number to be called to pick up snowballs.

snowball math

But big fun and big practice was had by all (well maybe not my teaching partner - who got to listen to the loud voices with none of the fun learning).

I also made this pack to work on our addition skills. Click on the pic to check it out.


Lastly we watched the new video on Class Dojo all about growth mindset. It is the first in a series of five videos. I shared this on my FB page earlier this week but I don't think anyone saw it (really people it is good, check it out!!!!) so I am sharing it again (cause I really think you should check it out!!)

Did you watch it??? Really, or are you just saying that?

Okay I will stop harassing you know - have a great weekend!!

See we did make snowflakes!! It took awhile and there were lots of frustrated kiddos but we persevered and the look on their faces when they opened up their snowflake....priceless. It was also a great opportunity to reinforce the importance of looking and listening during oral instructions. AND it really showed how some of my sweet kiddos really do have poor fine motor skills. Folding and creasing....stressful. Cutting through folded layers of paper...near impossible. But once they got it they were bitten by the snowflake bug and wanted to make one for every person they had ever met.
In addition to our art and writing we have been using snowflakes in our math.
We are trying to consolidate our understanding of addition and addition strategies. My class has a wide range of understanding and application of addition strategies. I really needed to target certain students and certain skills. So I made catching snowflakes addition task cards.
I made a variety of task cards that address certain skills.
I use the cards for Scoot activities and as a math rotation activity, but I mostly use them for small group and individual instruction. Having different cards that address different skills lets me target my instruction and talk to my students about how they are finding their answers.
differentiating with task cards
When working with my students I give them a card and ask them to solve it. Then I ask them to explain how they solved the problem. Some of my students have great personal strategies and I just mention another one that they may want to try too. Some of my students need to see some modelling of a strategy and I do that with wipe-off marker right on the spot. Some other students need help with the counting on strategy - like my friend in the middle pic who did not start with the big number and then count on put whichever one was on top.
I made follow-up activity sheets for each strategy for extra practice. I use an accordion file to hold all the materials by strategy. This lets me quickly pull what I need to put out for a scoot activity, in a center or for my small group.
These are my favorite/least favorite cards. I love them because I know my kiddos need a solid understanding of how to make 10. I don't love them because when I pull them out I find some students who are still working on this skill. But keep working on it we will!
I often use them as a Ticket out the Door or as a time filler if we have a few minutes between activities.

I made a few tools to go with the cards like these ten frames with snowflake counters.

We have also been working on applying our addition skills to problems. We have just started open problems and.....so far so good.

You can pick up the ten frames and 2 sample problems by saving the pics below and inserting them into your own document.

addition word problem freebie

And you can check out all the resources by clicking the picture below. They are on sale for a limited time for only $1.00!!!

Yes, Sunday night planning panic has set in. Yes I am going to watch Downton Abbey in about 40 minutes. Yes I have a bazillion things to be doing but that seems to be the only time that I think it makes sense to sit down and blog!!

In our classroom we are deep into all things snow! So of course we had to make the adorable craftivity of kids catching snowflakes.

We used the template from A Year of Many Firsts and just as she recommended we used scrapbook paper for the scarves. The picture above is before they caught snowflakes....well before we added the snowflake to the tongue.

Here are two close-ups with snowflakes. I was going to use my Cricut to make snowflakes but was tidying up and came across snowflake bulletin border that I no longer wanted (I no longer switch out my borders seasonally - ain't no one got time for that). So I cut the border up and used it for the snowflakes on the tongues. (Never fear, I DID teach my students how to make paper snowflakes....it took two painstaking periods, but we did it!!)

Now, this craftivity is super adorable but I also needed some writing to go with it - I had taken down all of our work before Christmas and our room was in need of some kid work....so we wrote a quick procedural text on how to catch a snowflake.

First we talked about how we could catch a snowflake, which body parts we would use to catch a snowflake, when the best time is to catch a snowflake etc. Then we acted out catching a snowflake (unfortunately, it was not snowing so we could not go outside and try it....but that would be awesome). Next we reviewed what we knew about procedural writing, what words we would need for our writing, what to put in the boxes to help our readers etc. Finally we wrote our texts. See what I did there....I wrote out our procedure!!

Here is the page we used...

I let them write their directions however they wanted. We all started with the general ideas of getting ready and heading outside while it was snowing. Some chose to write about using their tongue others their hands. We did the craftivity after our writing. Next time I think I would do the craft first and base our writing on the actions being shown in the person we made....go outside, tilt head back, open mouth, stick out tongue...catch a snowflake. Oh well, live and learn.

I have a very busy week ahead....so I am sure I will be back loads of times to share ideas with you : )

Happy New Year!! The holidays have flown by and my brain is making the transition from thinking of reading, snacking and napping to planning, creating and printing. When we return on Monday I will have two new students so I have some prepping to do to get their supplies and books ready. New students provide a great opportunity to review routines, expectations and build community. One of the resources I need to get ready for my new students is their home reading folder and materials.

Moving to Grade 1 last year was a great chance to think about what I wanted my home reading to look like. This year I was able to add some fun components to our reading program to motivate my students and engage parents in the process too. I kept the "Super Hero Reading Theme" I used in Grade 3 and 4 (read about that here) and created resources that would target skills that my students needed to develop.

Here are some pictures of the components I added to my home reading program this year.

1. A super hero reading folder - it is two pocket poly-duotang. The duotang part is used for notes to parents. The pocket in the back is for their book and the pocket in the front holds any extra tools sent home to use when reading.

2. When we first started our home reading program each student was given an "invitation" to give to a parent or family member to read with them (two pages printed back to back).

3. They also received a door hanger to let other people know that they were reading (hopefully with a family member) and they should not be disturbed.

super reader freebie

4. Once we had been moving and grooving with our home reading for a bit I listened to each on of my students read their home reading book and wrote a note telling them what I noticed about their reading and why I thought they were a super reader.

5. Next students brought home a note page for their parents to fill out letting their child know what they noticed about their reading and why they thought their child was a super reader. There were two areas to write - one for their child and one they sent back to school so I could hear about their home reading.

6. I also gave students a page for them to do a little self-reflection and record how they were super readers and what strategies they are using.

7. Lastly I created bookmarks that could be sent home as needed that would help parents reinforce skills that we were using in class. I copy them on different colors of paper but here is a pic of the b&w version.

My students take home books on Monday and Wednesday....and they were getting a sticker each time they brought their book back because we were tracking home reading as a school for a reward program a local business....only the program has stopped, so tracking is stopping BUT my kiddos were promised a reward at the beginning of the year and I have a few sweeties that would never forget that. I will be having a Super Hero Reading party for all my kiddos at the end of  the month including food, capes and books!! You can read more about my reading parties here.

Starting the new year is a great time to try new things or add a little something to what you already do. If you are interested in adding a little super hero theme to your home reading you can pick up a copy of the resources I use here.

Now take some time to read some other fabulous ideas that will help get you ready for the year ahead.

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