Monday, 5 September 2016

Changing up the Reading Corner

As summer winds down, I spent some time changing up a section of my reading corner. Before I had bins of themes (animals, bugs, Robert Munsch, Mo Willems, etc) and Leveled Books (A, B, C).
For Daily 5, students would pick some books they could read the pictures in and some books they could read the words in. After assessments and conversations, I would guide them towards a letter bin that had books that were just right for them to select, to read the words in. They would also choose a book from Home Reading from that bin.

I found that no matter what conversations we had, students were concerned with what letter they were in or another student was. While I was telling them that the letter didn’t matter, these books were just right for them to become a better reader, it didnt help. I wanted to set up the library to reflect real life. Where you are not going to find a “B” bin when you go to Chapters or the Public Library. I didn’t want parents to become obsessed with their childs lettter either. Noticing whether or not it was changing or going up.

So after reading a lot of stuff from Fountas and Pinnell, I decided to change up those bins. I still wanted to know what “Letter” per say, each bin was, but I didn’t want my kids to know. My theme bins were already by number, so I decided to switch the letter bins to carry on with that. They are not in order, just jumbled up, yet I know what each bin is.


Here are some tidbits of wisdom from F and P on Twitter that solidified why I was changing it up.

“The most important characteristic of a book is not its level, but its quality and appeal to readers.”
-Fountas and Pinnell

“Levels are a teachers tool, NOT a childs label.”
-Fountas and Pinnell

“The gradient and set of levelled books are instructional tools for teachers who understand them-nothing more.”
-Fountas and Pinnell

“You would not want parents to be concerned that a student is not reading on a precise level all of the time. That would not be desirable.”
-Fountas and Pinnell


So…here is the new set up. I just continued on with the numbers I had already for the bins. I put the old letters on the bottom for my own reference. I have a seperate list as well which says which is which. I will still teach children how to pick books that they can read the words in and have conversations to steer them to just right books. However, they can no longer compare letters as the bins are mixed up. “A” is number 45 while “H” could be 35. Hopefully, this helps to make the whole Reading Corner more uniformed and allows students to find just right books through careful selection, trial and error, interest and choice.



What are your thoughts?

-Renee

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Found Object Art


Recently, we worked on a project that combined Science and Art. We learned about the artist Louise Nevelson and used our knowledge of Objects and Materials to create an assemblage in her style.

Students were tasked with looking for any found object at home and collecting them to bring in. You were not allowed to take something you still owned. It had to be something that was found outside on the ground or was headed for the recycle bin or garbage.



Students spent time sorting their objects based on the material it was made of. They looked at Louise’s Asemblages and how she placed items to create an interesting piece.

We used white glue and a hot glue gun to place items on our cardboard.

Students picked 1 monchromatic colour to spray paint their piece with. We used the colours Louise Nevelson used in her pieces.

(I did the spray painting!)

Here are the finished Assemblages!








We are also starting an Outdoor Learning Challenge for the month of June! Come follow along on Twitter @mssaintlaurent or Instagram @reneesaintlaurent!



Saturday, 9 April 2016

Integrating art, science, and technology with ChatterPix


We recently finished up a science unit on the five senses. We used our knowledge of the five senses to help us create a talking art piece to share with our parents at tri-conferences.

We used the app ChatterPix to help create talking faces of us! ChatterPix is an app where you can take a photo of anything and make it talk. You draw a line for the mouth, record a 30 second piece and there you go!

To go along with the ending of our five senses unit, we created plasticine portraits of our faces. Students also wrote short pieces about what they had learned about the five senses.

Step 1:
Take a photo of yourself, an animal or find one on the internet.


Step 2:
Draw a line for where you want the mouth to be. Unfortunately, it only draws a straight line…so we had to just put it across the middle of the mouth.


Step 3:
Record yourself talking for 30 seconds.


Step 4:
Add extra background designs, frames, words, etc


Step 5:
Save and share! We saved ours to the camera roll and then uploaded to our Seesaw learning journals.

video

video

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Abstract Tints and Shades Art


We have been working on lots of collaborative art in Grade One. Students create class criteria and have some pre-planning to do with their partner or group to decide on certain elements in their art piece.

Today we continued our learning around Tints and Shades. Students had to choose a colour with their group and then decide who would be mixing and painting each colour. (Tint, Shade, and Normal Colour)


They then took turns drawing and connecting lines with a black marker. Students mixed their paint to create tints and shades of their colour and then worked to paint in some of the squares and rectangles they created.


Love the abstract look of it!









Sunday, 24 January 2016

Writing, Digital Portfolios, Art, Math

Hello folks,

Here are some photos of what we have been up to lately (and a while ago)!

Math

Hundreds Chart Puzzles
A few in the wrong places!




Writing
Using the Optimal Learning Model and Regie Routman’s ideas to help strengthen our writing!

Teacher Demonstration of writing a fiction story





Shared Demonstration of a fiction story.
Writing a story together using ideas from all students. This is the beginning.




We took this story to publishing and students worked to illustrate pages in the story.


Art

Warm, Cool, Neutral Partner Art




Digital Portfolios

Students added another few items into their learning journals with Seesaw!
Materials were set out for students to sort and count by 10s and 1’s. They then took a picture and used Seesaw to draw and record their thinking and counting directly on the photos!

Students moved through different stations with different materials and different amounts!










Have a great week!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) Sequence of Instruction in Math

Phew. Long title.
This sequence of teaching is so simple, yet so important! You have probably seen it before or heard it by a different name, but I am really trying to make sure my kids get tons of practice in each level.

Concrete
Students are using actual objects and manipulatives when working on math.
example: When adding, the students use bear counters to sort into groups, count and add.
Representational
Students use pictures, and representations when working on math.
example: When adding, students use ten frames to add 2 numbers together.
Abstract
Students now use symbols and numbers when working on math.
example: When adding, students roll 2 cubes with numbers on them and add together.

Also, its important not to always do the sequences separate of each other. Students need to see how they connect to each other.
Often when students lack a deep understanding in math, it is because they moved too quickly to the Abstract and didn’t spend enough time in the Concrete and Representational parts. If students are struggling with solving number sentences, you need to take them back to using concrete materials and pictures!

Here are some activities my kids have been working on to help us move through the CRA sequence.

Students during my guided math group, were working on subtracting and connecting it with one less. We use counters on our ten frames to show us taking away 1, and then wrote a number sentence to match. (Concrete and Abstract)

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During Math by Myself, students rolled a die, added bears to a ten frame tray, drew a picture on a ten frame to match and wrote a number sentence. (Concrete-Representational-Abstract)

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Students picked a card, drew the number on the ten frame, added one more and then wrote a number sentence. (Representational-Abstract)

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Think of the math activities your kids are working on. How many of those allow the students to have multiple opportunities in the concrete and representational phase before you move them to abstract?
Head on over to the Math Coaches Corner for more amazing ideas around CRA. She is where I get a TON of ideas from!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Organization with class numbers

I`ve started organizing many things in my class for the students based on numbers. Each kid has a class number that helps them locate their materials. It has cut down on having to re-label things every year with a new group of kids. It also helped in getting new kids in the middle of the year! I recently had a student move and I am getting a new one on Monday! Easy peasy! They just took over that kids number and I already have his math bag, book bin and daily 5 board labelled and ready to go because of it!

There are still some things I keep names on for the students . (coat hooks, hometime folders, etc) But this helped a ton with getting ready in September! I could label everything early! I also didn`t even have to re-print new numbers for some things!

Here is what I label with numbers:

Book Bins

I labelled these last year and my kids took such great care of them we re-used almost all this year!
Kids find their number when going out to daily 5. The duotangs in the book bins also have their number on them.
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Math Bags

Kids find their bag and take it with them to Math daily 5.

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I also labelled as many things in the bag as I could with their number. If something gets left on the ground….you know which bag it belongs too!

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Question of the Day Magnets

Kids answer the question of the day in the morning by putting up their magnet on the ten frame.

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Daily 5 Choice Board

I used to have names here last year and every time a new kid came I had to re-print on coloured paper, laminate, and move everyone’s names in alphabetical order.

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How do you organize and label things?


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