Tuesday, December 11, 2012

All About Princesses? the holidays, skip counting, and money...man we're busy!

Well the holidays are in full force in our room.  We have talked about wants, needs, good, and servives.  We have started learning to identify money (which we need to get our wants and needs), even though this is not a common core standard for first graders I believe even first graders can learn the names and value of coins.  This will help them so much once they get to second grade, not to mention it is a LIFE skill.  We started our trip around the world today.  We made suitcases.  We received our passports and scrapbooks.  We filled out our boarding passes and we were off...plane noises and all! The kids loved it.  We went to Liberia today with an awesome powerpoint presentation and then had a mini craft.  I got the powerpoints from Ms. Bainbridge at http://www.bainbridgeclass.com/.  Her website is awesome and I LOVE these powerpoints.  I have been using them for 3 years.  My kids were psyched to find out where we go tomorrow.
As I mentioned, we are working on skip counting and money identification for the next two weeks.  One of the things we created the first day we started talking about this is a word problem Bag book.  My kids LOVED this.  It was simply some word problems and each word problem got bigger by 5.  Here is an example below.  They would read the word problem, use stickers to solve it, and their work would become a little pull-out answer for each  problem.  I'll post more later about how I made these...just know they are a HIT!
I know most people are counting down the days until the holiday break, but we get out so late this year I haven't thought twice about it.  We have been working so hard on Informational Text writing and let me be honest here, I had absolutely NO expectations for how my kids would do with this.  We spent the first week writing a class book "All About the Moon".  I walked them through each step and each child made their own version of our class book.  We all had the same title, table of contents, and pages, but each child's version of facts on the page was different. I really enjoyed this experience.  Even though I complained to colleagues I felt like this was wasting time I could really be focusing on the craft of writing, I failed to see how valuable this was.  We started our informational writing unit by "throwing our emotions and personal feelings out of the window".  We have HUGE windows in our room and threw the emotional opinions out of the window.  They loved doing this and it cracked them up.  Then we talked just about facts. The second week I let them choose their own topics to write an "All About" book about.  Again, no expectations that this would work...they did AMAZING!!! I had one child ask me, "Can I write about Princesses?" I hesitated but said, "Well, sweetheart, what would your table of contents say?" She said, " clothes, houses, colors".  I thought about it and said, "Well, those can definitely be factual things so go for it!" and boy did she "knock my socks off"! (That is my new saying around the classroom and the kids crack up every time I say it.)  I have pictures of my little girl's All About Princesses book below as well as other All About Books the students created.  Every single one of my kids did an "All About" book and everyone did a fantastic job...they literally knocked my socks off! I was bragging to our literacy facilitator because I was so stunned!!

Below are some more pictures of the centers and activities going on around our room.  We are having a blast.  Be sure to visit my teachers pay teachers and teachers notebook stores to get some awesome literacy centers for Penguins and Winter.  I am working on a center for the New Years theme. Hope to have it posted soon.  Happy Holidays!!

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