Tuesday, May 30, 2017

First Grade Writer's Showcase and a New Unit!

Our 5th Annual - First Grade Writer's Showcase was yet another HUGE success!

Let's face it - that last month of school is torture for everyone - right!?!?!? I mean, not only are the kiddos done, but the teachers are smooth worn-out! For the last 5 years we have tried to battle the "last month of school blues" with a research and writing project.  

We have 7 first grade classrooms (we added a 7th this year) and each class takes on a different group of animals.  
Click on these images to get a closer look on TpT)

I wrote 5 out of the 6 original animal groups.  One of my team members wrote the Farm Animal set that we use so that is not pictured.  Since we added a 7th teacher this year I had to write a whole new set so I went with Backyard Bugs:

Isn't that adorable? My classroom has always done the Woodland Animals but I must say, it was really hard not to switch to these backyard bugs.  

We take about a full month to spend on our research.  We check out as many books as possible from our school library and many of us hit up our public library too.  We group the books together for each animal.

I place the books that have information over multiple animals on a separate table that they can look through to find their animal.  This gives way to a lot of rich discussions about non-fiction text features - mainly "table of contents" and "index". 

I give my students a couple of days to browse through the animal books so they can narrow down which animal they'd like to research.  I give them a 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice of animals but I don't always guarantee that they get their choices.  I make sure that every animal is being researched by at least one or two children so that all animals are accounted for and the groups that are working together are small.

There are vocabulary cards included in each unit that we study and discuss:

Here are some examples of the pages included in each unit:

(example from the Polar Unit)

(example from the Rainforest unit)

 Here are some pictures of my classroom and how we transformed our room into a forest.  We also get our parents involved with an "at home" art project to go along with their research.  We specifically don't give them much information because we love all the different ideas that they come up with.  The are all very unique! 

Here's our bulletin board in the hallway:

Inside our classroom - Their research books are displayed along with their "at home" projects.

We even play "sounds of the forest" on our board while parents are touring our rooms so they get the full effect!

We have our parents and families come and tour each classroom during the evening.  It is so fun to watch the children showing off their research books to their parents.  They are always so proud of how hard they worked and are so eager to share it with others!

If you are interested in any of my Shared Research and Writing Units just click on the unit covers above and check them out on TpT.  Thanks for stopping by!


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