Sunday, November 23, 2014

STEM, Technology, and Calendar Thinker

Have you heard of STEM?
Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

I have heard of STEM and always wondered what it really was.  I think incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math into lessons would make learning more fun and the students would use lots of different skills.  After looking and researching more about STEM, I knew I had to try it with my class.  I found a lesson that I wanted to try and I just jumped right in.

I decided to try the Cup Challenge with my class. 

I gave them the challenge question and explained some rules to them.  Then I said, "Go!"  

I decided not to assign different kids in each group with a job because I was curious what they would all do by themselves.

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

The students quickly and eagerly got started trying to complete the mission.  The groups of 4 or 5 were working together!  They were brainstorming.  At first they just stacked all the cups on one another.  Then, the coolest thing happened.  One table thought to stack them up differently.

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

Once the other groups saw this kind of stacking, they joined in with their group.  They students were working together and measuring.  The excitement on their faces was unbelievable.

photo of STEM Wolfelicious

photo of STEM Wolfelicious

I could tell they were really enjoying completing this activity, but they were also learning.  Coming up with more ways of how to get their stack taller and taller.

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

I did have to step in a couple times and remind them not to be so loud, but the loudness was all about how excited they were to complete this assignment.

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

After 20 minutes the students had to stop.  Then we filled out a paper about their experience documenting their learning.

Photo of STEM Wolfelicious

To some people this my seem like playing, but the learning experiences they were getting were awesome!

Cooperative learning



and more!

I am by no means a STEM expert, or even close.  This was my first STEM lesson. I thought it was a great experience!  I plan on doing more in my classroom.  The students were really engaged in their learning!!  Who doesn't want to see that?!

Have you done any STEM lessons?  I would love to hear about them.

Friday was a HAPPY day!!!  

I had a special delivery to my classroom.

20 ipads!!!  Oh my!!!

Oh happy day!!!  Oh happy day!!!

Photo of iPads Wolfelicious

I can't wait to incorporate the iPads in my teaching!  Wish me luck in setting them all up!

This week we worked on poems.  Poems are SO difficult for first graders!!    
Here is one that made me smile.  I love reading their writings!  It is so neat to see what they come up with.  We did some of the poem together.  They had to come up with the rhyming words. Here was their outline.
When I am late, I ____, ____, and _____.
I _____ and _____.
Then I ________.

The red line had to rhyme and then the green lines had to rhyme.
Photo of funny writing wolfeicious

Here is what this one says:
When I am late
I skip, walk, and I jump. I
huff and I puff.
Then I hump

I feel students should be using technology.  This is how they are going to grow up.  It is necessary for them to learn how to use it.  To help my students learn using technology I have signed my class up to use the mobile lab on Thursday's.  Or what I like to call it is Technology Thursday.  I have scheduled my class to use them until mid-December so far.  We have used Spelling City to help us with our spelling words and Connect Ed to help us with our reading.
photo of technology thursday wolfelicious
I have finally made a new product!  I am super excited about this product!  I printed it off and have it ready to go for Monday.  During calendar this year I have had the students write and do the calendar problems in their folder.  This is a great way for the students to stay engaged in their learning.  I decided to make my own version so I could put in it what my students needed work on. 

photo of calendar thinker wolfelicious

Check out my new product!!  Calendar Thinker!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Have a Wolfelicious day!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Got Fluent Readers?

Do your students struggle with fluency?

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

This seems like a big battle every year.  You have a few students who really suffer with being fluent readers.  You tell them to practice reading like they talk, but still every time they read they...  You read to them so they can hear great fluency, but still no progress.

This year I have done tons of oral writing to help my kiddos with their fluency.  

The biggest connection I have found is if a child talks slowly, they are probably going to be a slow reader.  

We use Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom, so using Teach! Ok! is perfect for helping my students with their fluency.

Another way I am helping my students with their fluency is by using Reader's Theaters.  

Have you heard of these?

They are WONDERFUL for helping with fluency.

This past week my students got their first taste of Reader's Theaters.  I explained it to them as if they were going to be actors or actresses performing in a show.  They thought that was so cool.  I explained and showed them how to highlight their parts.  This was confusing for some of them.   They wanted to say the name and what they said.  I had to clarify for them that the name was who's part is was.  In a show you watch you don't hear the actor say Bob: I am going to the store.  You just hear Bob say, "I am going to the store."  This seems to help them visualize it better.  Next I put them in their groups for their story.

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I gave the students about 10 minutes to read through the story.  
I walked around and listened and offered advice.  I found that I had to remind the students to pay attention while everyone was reading.  They needed to be ready to go when it was their turn. 

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I think this Reader's Theater needed up being a challenge because a lot of the words were difficult.  Plus, for their first one the groups were too big.

The next day we started our next Reader's Theater.  This story only had three parts. 
Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

We started out again highlighting our parts and then I placed them in groups.  The students really seemed to get this part better so we were off to a great start.

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

Once the groups were made and placed around the room I gave them some time to practice.  This time watching the kiddos, I could tell that they were understanding what to do and having a much better time with it.
Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

Once time was up for practicing, I had each group perform their story.  Wow!!!  What a difference a day made.  I could tell how beneficial using Reader's Theaters in my class were going to be.  

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

The students seemed to really enjoy reading the story the second day.  They were reading with expression and most of them sounded great!

Photo fo Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I would like to use more Reader's Theaters in my classroom.  I am going to make a goal of every other week if not every single week. I think it would make a great Friday activity that will help the students and motivate to become flueut readers.

Photo of Reader's Theater Wolfelicious

I plan on taping my groups the next time we do one of these kinds of stories.  I think I will tape them throughout the year because it will be a great way to show parents how their child's fluency has improved throughout the year. 

Photo of Veteran's Day Wolfelicious

We also learned about Veteran's Day this week.  We wanted to THANK all the Veterans!

I hope you have a great week!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Have a Wolfelicious day!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Recess, Thank You, Halloween, Addition, Soil, and More!

One of the many things I love about my school is that we still have recess!  

Here are my kiddos enjoying their recess time.
Photo of recess wolfelcious
My students get recess everyday for about 10 to 15 minutes.  I really feel my students need this because they are busy working ALL day long.  They need this break to run and get their energy out.

Veteran's Day is tomorrow and I wanted to do something to thank the Veteran's.  We are going to learn about Veterans the rest of the week and then complete a writing about Veterans.  I thought a heart painted as a flag and then a child holding a thank you sign would be perfect to add to our Veteran letters. 
Photo of Thank You Wolfelicious
Photo of Thank You Wolfelicious
Aren't they adorable??

At my school we always have a big Halloween parade and a costume contest amongst the teachers.  This year my team decided to dress up as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I loved this idea since my own child loves the TMNT and he is the same age as our students.  I figured the kiddos would just love seeing this.  Here is how our costumes turned out.
Photo of Halloween Wolfelicious
During the parade we would stop randomly and do a little dance and cheer.  Go ninja, Go ninja, Go! (Vanilla Ice sang this song.  We used the chorus of it)  We had a blast!

Last week my kiddos worked on addition.  We had to make 10 to add.  I thought the easiest way to get the students to understand it was to print off ten-frames for the students to use and use manipulatives.  I also came up with a little tune to help my students get the concept.  They would put one number at the top ten-frames and then the other number on the bottom ten-frames. 

 Then we would sing...We're moving on up...moving on up... to the top tens-frame.  We have to move up to make teeeeeennn.  We're, we're moving on up!  

The kids LOVED the song and I really think it helped them understand this concept.  Here are some pics of my kiddos in action learning how to make 10 to add. 

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

Photo of Make 10 to add Wolfelicious

My school uses the Wonders series.  I found this great supplemental work to help my students.  

Phonics Interactive Notebook -Wonders Supplemental from Tammy Wathen-The Resourceful Apple

If you use the Wonders series you need to check it out.

Also, I have been use this...

McGraw-Hill Wonders Writing: 1st grade Language Arts- Writing and Grammar Unit 2  from Having Fun in First

This product is very helpful for writing and grammar.  It gives the students brainstorming maps and papers to complete the students writings on.  Here are some pics of my students using some of the maps.

Photo of Writing Wolfelicious

My students are sharing their work with their partners. 

Photo of Writing Wolfelicious

This year I am uses the Daily 5 frame work.  Here are some of my students doing Read to Someone.  I can't believe how much my students love to read. 
Photo of Read to Someone Wolfelicious

Photo of Read to Someone Wolfelicious

Photo of Read to Someone Wolfelicious

Do your students have to learn about the Earth's surface?  Mine do!
Recognize that water, rocks, soil, and living organisms are found on Earth's surface
We spent a couple weeks covering the Earth's surface.  We 
used magnify glasses to look at our soil.
Investigate how magnifiers make things appear bigger and help people see things they could not see without them.
  The students were 
so excited to do this.  Here are some pics of them checking 
out the soil. 
Photo of Looking at soil

photo of Looking at soil

Photo of Looking at soil

Photo of Looking at soil

After we looked at the soil we separated its contents.  They were amazed by what all is in soil.

Photo of Looking at soil

Then we did some experiments showing how changes can occur to the Earth's surface.
Recognize that some things in the world around us happen fast and some happen slowly.

Our next experiment had a cup of moist soil and the other cup was dry soil.  We added water to each cup to see what would happen.

My kiddos have been learning SO much!  I am so proud of them. 

I hope you had a great week!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Have a Wolfelicious day!