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!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Excavating Dinosaur Bones!?!?

Along with our study of rocks and reading the story "Mr. Bones, Dinosaur Hunter", we had fun "excavating" some dinosaur bones of our own.  I passed out 2 Chips Ahoy cookies and 2 toothpicks to the kiddos.  They had to gently "excavate" the bones (chips) from all the sand, rock and dirt (cookie).  They were precious to watch! I don't think they realized how hard this was going to be.  Just look at this concentration. :) 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Research and Writing Center - Rocks

Our story in our reader last week was "Mr. Bones, Dinosaur Hunter" by Jane Kurtz.  I usually to a study on rocks along with this story.  Here is a picture of our research and writing center:

I used to call this the "discovery center" but have recently changed it to the "Research and Writing Center".  We always talk about how Scientists are constantly researching and observing things and then they write down their findings and keep journals.  Last year I started adding recording sheets (sometimes cutesy and sometimes just lined paper) so they can record their observations.  My firsties seem to enjoy writing about what they see and this just adds to our writing during the day - it's a win-win! 

Later that week I asked for the students to bring a small rock to school.  I glued googly eyes on them and we wrote about their rocks.  We also "adopted" them as pet rocks.  I don't know about you, but these rocks seem to come to life when you add eyes - lol! My firsties always love this activity and they take their job as a "parent" very seriously!!!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Spider Week!

Last week was All About Spiders.  Here are some activities we worked on:

 These super cute spiders came from:

This week is BATS!!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Bats, Spiders & Ghosts - Oh My!!!!

Such a fun unit for the month of October! This unit has Math, Literacy and Writing Activities.
Check it out!!!

What's included:

Be sure and click on any pic above to check it out.  The pages shown are for spiders but there are the same pages for bats and ghosts!

Happy October!
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