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Poetry Fun in First Grade!

Burning Popcorn!
 I hear the kernels popping in the microwave.
I see yellow light in the microwave.
I smell the butter on the popcorn.
I feel spit falling down my chin.
I taste burning popcorn.

This is an example of an ADORABLE sensory poem written by one of my first graders a few years ago.

All year long it's about punctuation, sentence structure, capitalization, editing, revising, etc. This is the time of year where I let it all go and let my students just flyyyyy and enjoy writing poems. Poetry writing isn't a standard of ours, so I don't critique it the way I do other writing genres. Instead, I spend a couple weeks teaching all sorts of poem types and model how to write them. Then, I give my students plenty of paper, we brainstorm ideas... and boom! They write, write, write!

I love how excited they get about writing poems and it adds such a spark to our writing block!

Throughout the weeks we learn how to write:
Sensory poems
Feelings poems
Acrostic poems
Cinquain poems
Shape poems
Color poems
Haiku poems

All of the templates and teacher examples can be found in the unit I created a few years back:

French Lick Blogger Retreat

Elizabeth here from Kickin' it in Kindergarten! Oh my word...we had the BEST weekend last weekend in French Lick. Some of us Blog Hoppin' ladies were able to see each other and Holly Ehle put on an AMAZING weekend. She is a rockstar planner and host! 

This was the theme for the weekend! 

 I just can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it was! Here is a picture of the Blog Hoppin' girls that were there! 

We got there and got to spend time talking about our craft with one another and sharing our favorite teaching tools! 

We had an epic 80's party! 

There were so many AMAZING sponsors for this event. 

Teachers walked away with so many wonderful prizes. 

Such a fun weekend and I can't wait until next year! You can read more about this fun filled weekend from other bloggers by heading over to Holly's blog and checking out everyone's posts! 

Basketball Madness

Hey everyone!  It's Ashley from The School Supply Addict!  Happy Saint Patrick's Day!  Not only am I dressed in green today, but I have my blue laid out for tonight.  Tis the season... for basketball!  I am so excited that the March Madness games start today!  My husband and I both went to Kentucky (and met there), so our household bleeds blue.  Today, I've rounded up some great basketball-themed resources that I use in the classroom.

1.  FREE Basketball Numbers (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD)
We use these as calendar numbers and for number sense centers.  Students can put them in order, use them to identify numbers, and more!  

2.  FREE Math Fact Shootout (CLICK TO PLAY)
My kids are OBSESSED with this game.  It's an ABC Ya!  basketball game where students solve a series of problems and earn shots on a goal.   Students can choose from addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.  There are three levels within each skill (easy, medium, and hard).  Although I teach kindergarten, we can still use the easy and medium addition and subtraction.  We play it as a whole group where students use mini white boards to solve the problem independently, then we answer as a class.  They also have the option to play this game during center time... and they do.  It's such a fun game to practice math facts!  

3.  $ Mini Basketball Hoop
Those cheap mini hoops are also fun to have in the room!  I think I got mine from Target a few years ago.  Not only are they perfect for indoor recess, but we use them for some active learning games and review!  There are a bazillion ways to use them, but we usually just split up into two teams, have students answer questions to earn a shot, then award points (and use that to practice our tallying, addition, and subtraction.)  I also use it as an opportunity to teach sportsmanship and cheering each other on.  You can totally adapt it to your class and needs, but that's how we use them.  They are stored in my closet and I'm so glad I have them!  Cheap investment... lots of fun.

 4.  $ Writing Stations for March by Deedee Wills (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD)
You can't go wrong with anything by Deedee.  I am obsessed with these writing resources... I have ALL of them.  Her March one has resources to make a basketball writing station/center!  Perfect!

5.  Book Tournament (CHECK IT OUT)
I have never used this before, but have plans for it next year (I'm on maternity leave right now, so I'm having my own tournament of diapers, throw up, and milk).  This photo is from The Brown Bag Teacher and uses upper-level books.  You can totally do this with any books... Dr. Seuss would be perfect for March!  It's a perfect way to integrate literacy, opinions, and a little March Madness!  Check out her blog post to see tons of photos and see how she does it.    

6.  This. Hilarious. Video. 
If you've never seen Kid Snippet videos, then you're missing out.  Basically, these parents record conversations their kids have, make a video, then use the kid voices as the script.  I LOVE them all.  This one is one of my favorites and I feel like this is what it's like in my classroom somedays.  I have no idea how you'd use it in the classroom, but it was too good not to include. 

7.  FREE Basketball Frames (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD)
This is a freebie I created a few years ago.  They're colored chevron frames with basketballs in the corner.  Use them for center pieces, name tags, labels, task cards, and more!  

I also have some fun basketball graphic sets if you're in need!  Click the images to check them out!



I hope everyone has a great weekend!  Happy March Madness!!!  


Handwriting in March

Hello there!  This is Deedee from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.  Wanna talk about handwriting?

So I am going to start this post by saying... I am not an expert and I am so far from perfect that I'm not even sure where they line the cars up for the race.
Here is what I do...I research it, try it, revise it, and then try it again.  I am a practitioner.

Handwriting... ugh!  It is not my favorite thing.  The Perfect Son has imperfect handwriting.  It was not my passion when he was 5 years old, it is not my passion now.  However, the purpose of writing is to make our meaning known, so we work a little on handwriting.  When I say a little... I mean a very little.

What we do actually do is write... ALL. DAY. LONG.

We start every morning with a version of these.  The kids love them, they make me smile and in this super simple warm up everyday, we can address so many skills in a creative way... Letter formation, spacing, capital letters, ending punctuation, illustrating, reading simple text... the list is long.  We do these as our "morning work."  I can quickly instruct them if there is a letter out of whack. 
Click on the picture to find these activities.

Click on the picture to find these activities.

Click on the picture to find these activities.
You can find the GROWING BUNDLE HERE.

Someone asked me if I address handwriting during writers workshop.  The answer is VERY RARELY.  Writers workshop (my belief) is about composing.  It is about getting our thoughts out and conveying meaning.  If their writing is confusing because their letters are not clear, then I might say something like.   "Wow!  I love the story you just told me". (Then offer a few more genuine compliments)  "I wondering if we could make this story a little easier for your reader to read?"  Then I would try to support them in that process.  No red pen!  

So... when else do I work on supporting handwriting?

During our Minute to Win it (literally 5 minutes worth of handwriting work in this activity!
I quick adjustment and he was on his way!
and during stations.

Our high-tech overhead station involves writing...
Our pocket chart (predictable sentences) station has LOTS of writing!

And when I set out to make my monthly Math and Literacy Stations unit I had a few goals in mind:
1.  Meaningful work
2. The task must take more than 3.2 seconds to complete... hello!  I have groups to meet with!
3. It needed to support my classroom goals (increase writing and illustrating).
4.  It HAD to be easy to prep... we are all busy!

Does the clown look abnormally scary... or is it just me?

My final thoughts on handwriting.  Some students are not ready for it.  That's okay.  I just take it where they are and nudge and guide them towards improvement.  I sing their praises and celebrate every step in the right direction.  I am not sure if that is right or wrong, but it is how I roll.

Savor the Flavor! Becoming closer readers

Hi y'all! It's Rachel here today dropping in to tell you about a delicious reading lesson!

Do your kiddos love the speed read? Mine sure do! Many 2nd graders have been told they need to read faster, faster, faster! We have focused on those fluency scores meeting grade level expectations and we forget that sometimes we need to stop. to slow down. to be sure we are comprehending!

My teammie and I did the best (and dare I mention delicious) reading lesson on December to help our kids remember to slow down when we are reading to learn. Of course she found the idea on Pinterest, so if it's your idea BRAVO! Let me know!
So here goes!

What you'll need:
>Scholastic magazine or other article
>package of OREO cookies or some other kind if you prefer, but OREOs are perfect for "savoring"

Pass out your article or magazine and immediately ask them to open it up and follow along. Read the article aloud or even round robin it! I read it aloud.

After reading, tell them we are going to take a quick quiz on what we learned. I had mine put the magazine inside their desk for the time being. Have them number to 3 or 5, nothing too long, on a white board or paper! Ask them questions that could be found right in the text. Ask them things that really were big ideas that they should have heard!

insert groans. hurting bellies. panic.

Now, set their minds at ease. Pull out some OREOs! Woo! Cookies make it all better. I brought my kids to the rug and handed each one an OREO and told them they could eat it. They scarfed them down like they'd not eaten in a week! Then I asked them to tell me about the OREO. I got basic things like it's brown. It's good. It's really good. So we discussed why they couldn't really describe the taste, the feel, the look of the cookie. It was because we shoved them in and swallowed them right up! We didn't think about the cookie! We wanted a snack!

I explained this was just like hearing that article and having a quiz. They couldn't answer the questions because they didn't truly pay attention to it. They didn't have it to refer back to. They were probably playing in their desk!

So everyone got another cookie. We closed our eyes and savored the cookie. Boy was it good. In fact, some had snowmen or Santa on them, They were creamy inside, but hard on the outside. The OREO was really two cookies put together. It was scrumdiddlyumptious (we were reading The BFG!) It was sweet. They felt rough on our tongues. Now we were able to talk about these cookies. We took the time to think about them rather than just gulping them down as fast as we could.

We then applied newfound skill this to the Scholastic article. I had them read one section at a time, marking important info, underlining unknown words to come back to our ask about, talk about it; all the things we ask them to do when we do "close reads"-which we do not begin until January with our kids.

Amazing the difference noticing a cookie can make!

And here's a little lesson overview for you!

Happy Monday Blog Hoppers!