Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Story's a Handful

First graders were working on finding the problem and solution involving the main character from stories they'd been reading.  We took this information and applied it to writing our own short stories.

I had them draw around their hand "as if it were a big puffy Mickey Mouse glove." Then they cut the hand out and turned it sideways.

next they directed their imaginations to the task of making up a story with a MAIN CHARACTER, a PROBLEM, and a SOLUTION. They were to share their ideas with the students at their table.

Then I showed them the pink poster with the directions:
1.  BOX the main character.
2.  UNDERLINE the problem.
3.  CIRCLE the solution.

We shared them with each other and did tiny illustrations. We put them in the hallway for a while, but not long, because the 1st grade Talent Pool students couldn't wait to take them home!

I think our stories were much more interesting than if I'd just said, "Write a short story."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Make Themed Word Searches

As a year-end review activity, I asked these first grade to students to think of BIG words that they were certain they could spell correctly.  I passed out Post-It notes and had them generate lists together at thier tables.

While they were busy with that, I taped down a big piece of grid paper (cut from a roll) at each table.  Their curiosity was stirring now!

I took them to the carpet and had them get our 3 class ipads and open  a word search ap in the "vocabulary games" app folder. We talked about word searches and how you hint for WORDS on the LIST that are hidden in the GRID....... They are started saying, "WE are making a word Search!" and "That's what the big graph paper is for!"

We talked about all the ways  that words can be hidden - vertical, horizontal, forward, backward, and "crooked" which means diagonal.

The last thing we talked about was how the words go in first; THEN the empty boxes are filled in with random letters... " but not just a bunch of Qs in a row." ( This is such an entertaining class!)

They went back to the tables and attacked the project! One of them asked what we were going to do with them when we finished. They thought we could trade them with other tables and work each others. I said that was one great idea, but we could also choose to have the second graders find their words..... I got a resounding "YES!"

The second graders enjoyed them, but immediately wanted to do their own word searches. (That's what I wanted them to say.....) I told them they could take it up a notch since they were a whole year farther along in their education.

I explained that the first graders worked in groups of 4 to make a word search of BIG words, but THEY were going to choose a non-fiction book from the Jr Greatbooks collections and make a word search with important words from their book choice. I gave them Post-it notes and half a sheet of graph paper each.

                                                       They attacked their project, too!