Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pirates! ARRRRR

We have been reading Adventure According to Humphrey by Betty Birney. We love all these books because we love little furry creatures. We have a classroom pet guinea pig named Pee Wee. Sometimes he talks to us just like Humphrey does in these books.
peewee copyIn this book Humphrey is longing for some adventure. The kids are building ships and reading a story about Pirates, called Jolly Roger's Guide to Life by I.C. Waters. We are following @piratejokes on twitter too. This has been a fun way to learn the "ar" chunk for spelling.

We also love this Pirate video.... ARRRRR

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Expanding Vocabulary

Expanding Vocabulary has been a place I have been the most stumped while implementing The Daily Five and CAFE. This year my Teachers as Learners Group, called TALK, decided to study Comprehension From the Ground Up by Sharon Taberski. This book was great for expanding my knowledge on helping kids improve their comprehension skills with strategies. My favorite thing I learned from this book was a way to work on vocabulary. I have been keeping a big chart and adding words to it but it just wasn't becoming part of our day and I did not notice kids using the words in their conversations. Sharon's idea is to put Teir 2 words on a sentence strip and then go on a word hunt.

This has worked like a charm. During our Daily Five rounds students are challenged to find words in their personal reading bags. During our transitions they bring the book back to the rug and read the sentence that contains the word to the class. Then we add a tally mark. If a student uses the word in conversation we also add a tally mark. When we have found or used the word 15-20 times we retire the word to our word wall. We keep noticing them but we don't tally them anymore.

How do you increase vocabulary in your rooms?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Google Docs and iPad

Google Docs is quickly becoming one of my favorite ways to keep data and pages. It is quick, easy and always accessible. My first grade team ( and really my whole school) is moving toward using The Two Sisters philosophy of The Daily Five. With this approach students select tasks that they want to complete from the five that we do daily. This teaches the kids to work independently and frees teachers up to meet in small groups and with individuals. My reading specialist and I both have iPads. I created a doc for each kid and can share it with her. Now we use our iPads to take anecdotal notes on the kids reading. I can see what she has done and visa versa. It has made us very consistent. Sometimes the kids are baffled at how I can know what she has said to them moments before when I meet with them. When I do new reading assessments I always put each kids goal and strategy at the top so we are always able to remind them, and ourselves, what to focus on. The Two Sisters call their notebooks a Pensieve from the Harry Potter movie and a connection that one of their students made.

An iPad Pensieve!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Smart Boards and iPods

We are working on a unit about measurement in math this week. We are trying to estimate non standard items. In the past I have had students orally voice their predictions before we measure. Today we used our iPods. We have an app called Glow Doodle.
"How many footballs wide is this football field? Write it on you iPods and show me your prediction."Kids were actively engaged the whole time! We stopped about half way through our counting to decide if we wanted to revise our predictions.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Have Been Inspired

I have been keeping a blog with my students for a while now but I have not kept one as a teacher. This weekend as I was reading through my Google reader and twitter I ran across a First Grade Blog called The Inspired Apple and I found it, well, inspiring. Abby had a link up party for teachers to tell what makes their grade level special. There were tons of first grade teachers out there creating posts to share ideas from their classrooms. I had NO idea. I have loved looking at all the blogs and still have more I want to sort through. I am very familiar with edublogs but have not tried out blogger much. I am excited to start connecting with other First Grade Teachers.