Happy day, friends! I hope this post finds you well and loving (or about to love) your new group of friends. This year, it has taken me a few days to fall in love. My group last year was incredible and left SO high, that I am having to remember where they started. Tomorrow will be Day 5, so I wanted to take a few moments to share what Day 1 looked like in Room 134. Preparing for THE Day My plans are very flexible for the first few days and honestly, I always plan too much.
The first weeks are all about community building and procedures. The learning will come smoothly (and eventually) if these two are in place. You can grab a copy of my first day plans here, but please know I made it to only half of it (ha!) and the times are pretty much all wrong (My OCD-ness wouldn’t allow me to just put them in a list). Since I won’t launch Work on Writing for several weeks, I do lay out all of my materials for the few first weeks until our schedule normalizes.
I love being able to grab whatever I need and easily trade something out if it’s not working or we need something else (i.e. brain breaks). Starting Our Day With school-start times being pushed back this year, we had a 45 minute window when students would be arriving with families. 45 minutes?!?! It’s a huge chunk of time and we definitely couldn’t color/write/read/anything for that long. So, I pulled out Crayon and Whimsy’s Ocean Animal Pattern Block mats and they were perfect! My friends loved creating ocean animals, and my new friends would trade mats when they finished.
I had a few friends who weren’t interested in ocean animals, so they played with the blocks on their table. It was a *simple* and perfect way to start our day. Plus, everyone could feel successful at the activity! After our families left (note – I had 0 criers this year!!!!!!), we learned how to clean up/push in our chairs/come to the carpet. This took one million minutes and dozens of tries.
Then, I introduced our day’s “Game Plan” and taught our friends the Good-Morning song. Our 1st Read-Aloud Now that we were all on the carpet, we read How Will I Get to School this Year? It is a very silly book and a great way to level the playing ground. At this point in the morning, I don’t want to talk about going home because it will stress everyone out (myself included). But this simple, short book is a great way to talk about the ways we are the same.
We then graphed how our friends get to school! Practicing Common Area Procedures Now, it’s already 9:30 and time for a bathroom break, which requires learning how to line-up, split into boys/girls, and practice bathroom procedures. Then, as an entire 1st grade, we have dinning room procedures practice with our Assistant Principals and staff that help in the dining room (Yes, I do have duty-free lunch and it’s amazing.
) Do you see our imaginary trays? Building our Reading Stamina Coming back from the Dinning Room, it was time to launch Read to Self and practice our reading stamina. I introduced stamina as being able to do something tough for a long time without giving up. I talked about training for a marathon and needing to practice. Just like athletes, runners need to practice, too. We made our ‘Read to Self’ t-chart and decided reading was awesome because it is (1) fun and (2) makes us better readers and writers.
We also briefly introduced 2 ways to read (1) with pictures and (2) with words. At this point, I read Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, so we could practice reading the pictures! Our Back to School shelf is also in action and my friends love having access to ‘free pick’ and read-aloud books. Before stamina-building friends are aloud to pick one of these books but cannot return it until the end of stamina.
Otherwise, I would have 23 friends up, standing, and moving during reading stamina! (If you search #1stgradebookshelf on Instagram you can see lots of our weekly bookshelves.) After creating our i-Chart, I show students their book bins. They grab their bins, place their bin on their desk, and come back to the carpet. Then, when everyone has their bin I call a few students at a time to pick their reading spot… (That’s right, I don’t choose spots unless I need to.
It cuts down on time, and for the past two years, it hasn’t been a problem.) I turn on our class timer and say, “Go!” This year we made it 1 minute and 58 seconds before stamina broke… a solid start! This graph is actually after the second day of school, but it works! You can download your own stamina graph here. (To learn more about how reading stamina works in our classroom, you can read this blog post.
) Brain Break – Math Style! At this point, we were definitely ready for a brain break. We picked spots in the classroom where we had room to move and counted to 100 with Jack Hartman! 1st Day Pictures Are you tired yet? At this point in the day, it was time for lunch and recess. During recess, I snagged pictures of my friends with this sign (I picked up the chalkboard at Hobby Lobby and wrote on it with paint pen…low maintenance is the way to go).
The photos will go in the hallway where students hang their awesome work! After recess, 85% percent of our time was spent preparing for dismissal and practicing dismissal. I’m really not kidding. We reviewed how all our friends were getting home, practiced lining up, and practiced walking to our dismissal spots around the school. Then, after doing this, we did a whole-school dismissal practice.
Friends, dismissing is NO JOKE! Thankfully, all of the practice must have worked because ALL of my friends made it home safely (#sweetvictory). First Day Self Portraits We did slip in a first-day self portrait that will be the front page of our Writing Portfolios this year. I love the idea of having a year-long writing progress to show parents and Cara Carroll offered a simple way to manage them, so I’m game this year! (You may grab this page free here.
) Reflecting About Our Day After a whole-school dismissal practice, we brainstormed what happened on our first day of 1st grade. (Note – I take a picture of this board and sent it via Remind Text to my families, so they have some talking points when their students arrive!) Students wrote about their favorite part of the 1st day. I know it is a stretch to write sentences on the first day, but friends – I was AMAZED! All 22 of my students could write a sentence without crying.
Our Kinder teachers must have rocked-it last year. Most of my friends didn’t know how to use ‘because’ (i.e. – the word ‘because’ is randomly stuck in this sentence…hehe, but everyone had a basic sentence. 🙂 Before having students put these into their home folders, I had a Speech Pathologist (who hasn’t started pulling kids yet) make a copy for me. This will be a great writing reassessment for me and a great addition to our writing portfolios.
(You may grab this page here.) Friends, the first day is definitely a whirlwind with two main goals – (1) have the children leave smiling and (2) getting the children home safely. If you think I’m kidding, I’m really not. Those two jobs alone are hard enough – ha! 🙂 With 4 days under our belts, my friends are starting to become ‘mine’ and this is a great feeling. The first few days, I always worry if I will love this group enough or as much as the last one.
Every day, with every new moment, the feeling dissipates and my excitement for a new year grows. So, tell me – how did your first day of school go? Join me for weekly classroom updates and free resources that are just-right for your guided math classroom! Related PostsSee Also: Watch Sofia The First Once Upon A Princess
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Hey my peeps! I hope your summer has been fantastic!! I have two more weeks, then it’s back to the grind for me. Hop on over to Blog Hoppin’ to grab a cool math freebie!!!!! I will be back when school starts to share the haps in my classroom. Have a great week! It’s on to day two of Blog Hoppin’s Christmas in July Sale. For the next three days (July 16-18th, Days 2, 3, and 4 ) you can grab up any math related products in my store for 20% off.
Click on the picture below to grab your math goodies! Happy July!!!! Are you counting down the days till the end of summer? Not me, I’m soaking up every last minute of my summer vacation. I can't lie I am taking a minute here and there to get ready for the up coming year. Have you heard about Blog Hoppin’s Christmas in July Sale???Twelve days to be exact! If you’re anything like me you’re already planning for the new school year.
For each of the 12 days you’ll have the chance to grab up some lovely products. I know my shopping cart is filled! For today only all of my spelling and phonics activities are on sale for 20% off. Click on the picture below and it will take you to the goodies! I’ll be back tomorrow with some more fun stuff! Happy shopping!!!!!!! Happy Tuesday!For the last two weeks or so we’ve been hard at work on Fractions! My students are really getting into it.
I had one student to tell me today that our classroom lights were fractions. We have three rows of lights and two of the rows were out at the end of the day while we had snack time. He replied “Ms. Arnold one-third of the lights are on.” Don’t you just love moments like this!On Monday we completed Fraction Kites! They turned out great. I got the idea from Pinterest of course via Step Into Second Grade, who got the idea from Mrs.
Bainbridge’s Class. Source 1 Source 2 If you’d like a copy click here or here to download. Changing up my Math Morning Meeting has been one of the best things I’ve done all year! If you’d like to read about that you can click here. I’ve recently added a Math Chat slide.
I first read about this idea on Mrs. Jump’s blog. I really get to see my student’s thinking. Here’s a snapshot from today. The answer was twenty three and here are some of the problems. This first student started with 600 and worked her way from there. Here’s where she ended up. 600-200-200-100-50-20-10+3=23 I tell them they can use any combination of addition and subtraction as long as they can explain their strategy.
The next student offered 20+3 =23, and that was perfectly fine too. I didn’t take pictures of the rest. But one student offered: 50-10-10-3-4=23. I’ve uploaded April’s Math Hunts to my TpT store. This set covers two digit subtraction, counting back by tens, counting back by ones and place value. Also, everything in my store is 20% off today and tomorrow! Happy Tax Day!!! Thanks to Mrs.
Mullins over at The Inspired Apple for the lovely sign! Tomorrow is Hump Day! Now I’m off to watch my DVR’d episode of The Originals! Who loves this show!? I miss Rebekah sooooo much! Maybe she’ll show up on The Vampire Diaries again???????