Happy Fall, Y’All!
Isn’t that exciting to say?! I love the fall. I think that fall is my absolute favorite season!!
Sidebar: Do you all capitalize the seasons? I was always taught that you did, but recently learned that seasons are not proper nouns, and therefore, should not be capitalized. I’m not sure if I agree with this grammar rule. LOL Believe me, it is taking a great deal of restraint to not capitalize Fall. I mean… fall.
My classroom has been buzzing with activity. What haven’t we been busy with? Here is our week in 5.
Take a Peak at My Week in 5
We are learning a variety of strategies for adding and subtracting within 20. This includes learning how to solve word problems. In First Grade, we do read the word problems aloud, as whole. I do have a few students that are able to read the problems independently. That is always a wonderful surprise. I love when students learn how to read independently! It opens up a world filled with so many opportunities for them.
This week our focus strategies were adding and subtracting on a number line and using a Tens Frame to solve problems. Adding seems to be fairly innate for most students. Subtracting can be a very abstract concept for many First Graders. Developing and deepening an understanding that when you subtract, you start with ALL of the amount that you will ever have and that the amount gets smaller isn’t always easy to fully understand. I have a colleague that always says, “Practice makes permanent”. We are working really hard to make these skills- understanding these skills- permanent.
We had the pleasure of reading the book, The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neil . The story is featured as the anchor text for this unit in the reading series that my school just adopted. What a fun story! The main character is Mean Jean, who is the boss of all things; particularly recess. That is, until… You will have to read the book for yourself to find out the what happens to Mean Jean. The story actually tied in beautifully with our school-wide focus on anti-bullying for the month of October. My students loved it, and I believe that your students will, too.
This week was S.T.E.A.M week for us. If you are not familiar with STEAM, it consists of an academic focus that incorporates science, technology, engineering, art, and math all rolled into one. I do like that Art was incorporated into this process. Projects and products should be aesthetically pleasing. I love STEAM! Finding ways to incorporate it into my classroom on a more consistent basis is one of my goals. I have come to realize that the best way to do this is to create “scenarios” based on a subject that we are already studying. Click here to read my seven tips for making STEAM seamless in your classroom.
For this session, we took the approach of incorporating STEAM via Johnny Appleseed. Students were challenged to create a boat or raft that Johnny Appleseed could use to cross the Ohio River. He needed to share his love for, and knowledge of, apple trees with the people on the other side of the river. We had the most amazing time! You cannot imagine all of the ideas and designs that they came up with. We had so much fun!
4. Teacher Tackles
I tackled my first round of parent conferences. The school where I teach does not have days or half days for parent conferences. So, all of our conferences are held after school. I decided to offer conferences during my Planning time this year. A few parents did sign up for this time frame, so I hope that we find it to be convenient for both parties. Being able to formulate a cohesive sentence after teaching all day is always one of my biggest worries. Ha ha. Honestly, it’s usually a wonderful opportunity to build relationships with my students’ parents. Really, the best part of the conference is often when it is over and you have a few moments to talk adult to adult. You are able to learn so much about your students’ families, and it actually gives them a chance to see you in a different light, too.
5. School Happenings
We had our second Community Circle this week. This is a time where the entire school comes together in the gym to celebrate community and share in school pride. This is only our second Community Circle. It is student-led, full of lots of funky music- that we are actually allowed to dance to-, and gives opportunities to be shouted out by their teachers. I love this part the most. Every student gives a Shout Out to one of the students in their class. The compliment is a read aloud during the Community Circle and the students are not made aware of it in advance. To see their faces when their name is called and they are asked to stand is priceless. The entire gym cheers for them! For some of these students, this is the most positive attention that they have ever received from their peers. It truly is priceless!
There you have it! This was my week in 5. How was your week? I hope that it was absolutely wonderful!