Sunday, March 27, 2022

Pasta Insects

We finished our unit on insects and I asked the students to take what they learned-the "Rules" about insects and apply that to inventing their own insect. They build a model of their new species using different kinds of pasta.

Friday, March 18, 2022


Our students have been through so much the past few years. Many have lost family members due to Covid. They have not had a "normal" school year (although this year has been pretty close). But the goalposts for the standards they are supposed to maintain remain the same. They have had to work so hard to catch up from the lost learning.

March 11th was International SEL Day. Our district decided to celebrate this day and I decided to devote the whole day to SEL skills. It was the day before Spring Break, we just finished district testing--it seemed like a great time.

We read the stories:

A great story about a little girl living with her father in a refugee camp. Her best friend is a pebble.

What can we do to make a friend feel better? Some animals suggested getting mad or getting revenge but the Rabbit listens.

I discovered this amazing site-authors reading their own books:

We did the toothpaste experiment-you can't put toothpaste back into the tube. Same with our words. Once we say something mean we can't take it back.

We also did the Wrinkled Heart activity where we pass a paper heart around the circle and each student says something mean to it and hurts it. Then we tape it back to together and say nice things to it. We extended it to allow the students to create their own hearts and write nice words on it.

Overall, I think it was a really effective day. The students learned a lot and we worked toward invigorating our classroom community.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Chapter Books and Empathy

I got into a debate with someone recently who told me that I shouldn't be reading chapter books to my 1st Graders because it's above their own reading level. I completely disagree. I think there are a lot of benefits to reading to students above their grade level. The vocabulary, the way you can apply comprehension stories and of course the way they develop a relationship with the characters in the story. It has been proven that these read-alouds help students develop empathy. They can put themselves in someone else's shoes more easily.

Right now we are reading:

I asked my students to think about the adjectives they would use to describe Melody the main character. If you haven't read the book, Melody suffers from cerebral palsy. She is incredibly smart but no one knows this because she can't communicate, until her parents figure out a way.

The students really like the story and they are able to picture what Melody's life may be like. Here are the bubble maps they made to describe her:

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Very Hungry 1st Grader

Going along with our Eric Carle author study and changing the Details to see what else changes...we read the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

In this story, the caterpillar eats certain foods on Monday, then Tuesday all they way to Saturday where he becomes....a butterfly.

We discussed how we can "devour" knowledge and books the same way we can devour food. I asked them to write about what Very Hungry 1st Graders have "devoured" this year. What new words did you learn? New concepts? And then what will they metamorphosize into?

I LOVED to see some of the words and concepts like Empathy and Recycling they have absorbed this year:

Friday, March 11, 2022

Eric Carle Books-Changing the Details

We read a bunch of Eric Carle books with titles that include: "Very  (adjective) (insect). We talked about what these books had in common, what was always true about Eric Carle books? 

Then I asked students to change the title and indicate what other details of the story would change. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Backward Writing Prompts

We are often giving students sentence stems and the beginning of what we want them to write. I like to change things up and give them the ending of their story and have them build the beginning and middle leading up to that conclusion.

Some of my favorites to use:

"Then Miss Trayers went home."

"Then the cookies were gone".

"Then we had a pet".

"Then there was a knock at the door".

Here is what they came up with using the cookies ending: