Saturday, March 08, 2014

First Grade Round Up

Here's how we've been spending the past week in Year 1. 

Smartie Spellers Spelling Strategies
1.Smartie Spellers
I've been a little tired of my firsties asking me to spell every. single. word for them. We made up this chart last week to give them some strategies to use instead of asking me. I'd prefer them to try and work out the word as best as they can and move on so that they don't lose their flow of ideas. So far it's working!

2. Author's Purpose
We've been learning about author's purpose the last couple of weeks - just to entertain and inform for the moment, since we are only in our 6th week of the school year. We've compared and sorted books, identified non-fiction text features and story elements and graphed our preferences. I was very surprised that with 14 out of 24 kids being boys that only 6 preferred information books! 
Author's Purpose Entertain Inform ChartAuthor's Purpose Book Sort

3. Representing Numbers 

We've been rockin with our number unit! The chart below was incomplete - we added number sentences, 20-bead strings and a number line as we learned how to use them to represent numbers. You can pick up the sheet below here in google drive.
Representing Numbers Chart
4. Digraphs
We've been learning about digraphs the past 4 weeks. Each week we've made a new phonics crown. They are a huge hit! I bought them from The Primary Techie. I also love her Freeze Dance videos (kids LOVE the Gangnam style ones!), Move It and More Flash, Less Cards packs! They make great brain breaks and warm ups. 

5. Spending too much money :(

This week I received a number of packages. Lots of goodies from Really Good Stuff and Lakeshore plus more books to contact from Scholastic!

I'm headed for the couch to watch chick flicks and contact some books. Hopefully your evening is a tad more exciting than mine!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

One of my favourite authors - Nick Bland

5 weeks of the school year are done and dusted and I'm already exhausted! My kids are starting to settle in and learn the routines which is great, but I can't wait until they are a little more independent!

Last week I introduced my kids to one of my absolute favourite aussie authors and illustrators - Nick Bland. Oh. My. Word. They are just as in love with him as I am! Here are some of the books we love:

The books featuring that adorable brown bear are firm favourites and are quickly tucked into book boxes as soon as I've read them and placed them on the shelves. This week we are going to use Donald Loves Drumming to work on retelling and making personal responses and connections to texts. 

The last book I will read by Nick Bland is The Magnificent Tree because it is illustrated by another one of my favourite aussie authors and illustrators - Stephen Michael King who I will introduce next. I love using his books to demonstrate 'voice' because his illustrations are so uniquely his and end up tying this in with our writing lessons.

We don't have time to do full-on author studies, but I do like to collect up books by authors and introduce them throughout the year. I then try to use them as mentor texts during reading and writing lessons. Throughout the year as new books are published by these authors the kids get super excited! They also love to borrow the books we've read from the school library. Yes, it can get a bit annoying when the 15th kid comes up and shows me a book by one of the authors EVERY library lesson, but hey, as least they are reading books by quality authors! 

Besides Nick and Stephen, I've also introduced David Shannon. I'm also looking at doing Jeannie Baker, Eric Carle, Mem Fox, Jackie French, Julia Donaldson, Margaret Wild, Colin Thompson, Kevin Henkes and Dr Seuss. 

Who else would you suggest??