*This post was co-written and edited by all the grade 1 and grade 2 students in Room 108. They offered ideas, I wrote them on the Smart Board, and we edited as we went along. *
We use some special non-verbal signs so that we don’t disturb Kelly and other kids in our class when they are working.
When we have to go to the washroom, first we find a partner. Then we go up to Kelly and we make eye contact before we show the sign that we need to go to the washroom. We hold up two fingers that look like a V and it means, “My buddy and I (our two fingers!) want to go to the washroom.” Kelly signs yes with a thumbs up, or she signs no with a thumbs down. Sometimes she puts her thumb sideways and it means we have to wait until another group comes back. Before we leave the room, we put a pylon on our nameplates so that Kelly knows who is in the hallways (just in case there’s a fire drill!). We take a hall pass from a hook that is near the door and we hang it up when we get back.
When we are thirsty, first we check to see if our water bottles are full and then we have a drink. If it is not full then we walk to Kelly, make eye contact and then show the 3 finger sign (it looks like a “W” and stands for “water”!). Kelly signs yes with a thumbs up, or she signs no with a thumbs down. Sometimes she puts her thumb sideways and it means we have to wait. After that, we go and take a drink from the fountain or we fill our water bottles from the fountain. In the end, we put our lids on tight when we're done and we come to the carpet if it is time for a lesson or we keep working at our tables.
When I want to use the loud sharpener, I make eye contact with Kelly, then make the capital L sign and show it to her. She will give me a thumbs up for yes, or a thumbs down for no. If it’s really quiet and we want to keep it that way, like if she’s reading with someone and doesn’t want it to be loud, she will give a thumbs down. Then, I’ll get put the broken pencil in the Pencil Sharpener’s Bin and get another pencil from a table or I’ll get a quiet sharpener.
When we are having a class discussion and we hear something that makes us think about something else (a connection to ourselves, a text, or the world), we make the Connection sign. First you take your thumb and pointer finger together with your thumb and pointer finger on your other hand, and you connect them like a chain. After that, we wiggle them back and forth. Kelly will notice and say “Hey! Someone’s making a connection to what we’re talking about.”
I Have an Idea
When we are sitting at the carpet and we want to share, we put our thumbs up in front of our tummies and wait. We don’t wave our hands high in the air, because it can be unsafe and distracting to other kids that are trying to learn, listen and think.
When we want to agree with something someone has said during a class discussion, we make the I Agree sign. First, we make our thumb and pointer finger like an “o”, then we put our other three fingers up in the air (it looks like the “OK” sign). After that, we wiggle it back and forth. We don’t have to shout out “Me too!”, or “I have the same idea!” we can show everyone quietly, by making the I Agree sign. Sometimes, Kelly will notice and she’ll tell the class that we share the same ideas!
Each week, two students (a grade 1 and a grade 2) are chosen to be our VIPs. Throughout the week, they help me with any special classroom tasks, they lead our line as we walk through the halls and when we're on the carpet, they get to sit, in the comfy, red, super kid - chair! It gives each student a chance to be a leader, to feel special and to build their self-confidence.
The VIP - Super Kid Activity also integrates three strands of the Language Curriculum:
Oral Communication, Writing and Reading
(*see below for more details)
Throughout the week, we interview the Super Kids, asking them questions to learn more about them. Students can use the co-created anchor chart that hangs on the blackboard or they can come up with interesting questions of their own. They wait patiently for their turn to ask a question, speak loudly and clearly so that everyone can hear. The VIP then answers the question clearly, and I take jot notes on the Smartboard. It's important that we listen to the answers too, so that we don't ask the same questions over again!
We review all that we've learned about our VIPs and then on Friday we celebrate them with their own VIP books! Each students chooses one (grade 1s) or three (grade 2s) jot notes that they'd like to stretch into full sentences.
Toturn the jot notes into full sentences, students must use words the 100 Most Frequently Used Words list: she / he / her / his or the student's name.
We talk about the three lines in on the paper (solid, dash, solid) and how they separate our writing into the upstairs, main floor and basement levels.
For example, Maggie's name (see above) has letters in all three levels! Her capital M is upstairs and on the main floor, the a is on the main, the two gs start on the main and go into the basement, while her i and e are on the main.
When the grade 1s write their sentence for the grade 2 VIP's book, and the grade 2s write their sentences for the grade 1 VIP's book, it's expected that they copy words off the anchor chart of jot notes and practice neat and legible printing - so that our VIP can enjoy their book when they get home! If they have extra time, they flip their page and write a chant on the backside ... Jacob! Jacob! Jacob! (being sure to use the upstairs, main and basement floors)
Some of the Language Curriculum Expectations:
1.2 understand appropriate listening behaviour; use active listening
1.3 identify listening comprehension strategies
2.2 understand appropriate speaking behaviour; use in dif. Situations
2.3 communicate clearly and coherently
3.1 identify helpful strategies before, during, and after listening and speaking (e.g., look at the speaker)
3.1 automatically read and understand high-frequency words, (Gr. 2 use common spelling patterns)
1.1 identify topic, purpose audience and form
1.4 sort ideas/info (pictures, labels, key words)
2.4 Gr1: write simple but complete sentences
Gr2: use a variety of sentence types (questions, statements, exclamations)
3.3 confirm spelling and word choice using resources (anchor charts on the Smartboard)
Our Number Book is almost complete! Friday was day nineteen and here are some of the ways that we've been representing #s:
- tally marks
- ten frames
- dice (subitizing)
- images (in neat, organized, stacks - rows and columns - so that it's easy to "see" the groups of numbers and not have to count them by 1s)
- number sentences (addition and / or subtraction)
** when writing number sentences, students use snap cube trains and then 'decompose the number', breaking the train into smaller parts.
A Curriculum Expectations is to use the "Commutative Property of Addition" - in class, we call this a "Flip, Flop Fact"
3 + 4 = 7
4 + 3 = 7
But we can go even further with a "Flippity, Floppity Fact" too:
7 = 3 + 4
7 = 4 + 3
Math-Aids Mental Math worksheets goes hand in hand with subitizing; recognizing addition sentences up to 20 and instantly knowing the sum will help students improve their math fluency, and their overall confidence.
This week, the grade 1s were given Single Digit Addition Worksheets and grade 2s were given Zero to Twenty Worksheets, both sets of 20 addition questions with only 5 minutes to answer. They were asked to "Answer the ones you know, and skip the ones you don't to come back to and figure out later."
Our Curriculum Expectations are that,
Grade 1 students will: solve problems involving the addition and subtraction of single-digit whole numbers, using a variety of mental strategies.
Grade 2 students will: solve problems involving the addition and subtraction of whole numbers to 18, using a variety of mental strategies.
This term we'll practice the strategies:
- one more than,
- one less than,
- counting on,
- counting back,
- near doubles - for example: “To add 6 + 8, I could double 6 and get 12 and then add 2 more to get 14.”
We'll continue to use the Math-Aids worksheets to see which strategies we've mastered and which we need to continue practicing.
Race to the Top is a great game to practice the strategy of Counting On. Students played 2 versions of the game this week.
With 1 Die, roll and 'see' the # of dots on the die, rather than count each dot by one (subitizing)
With 2 dice, roll and add then together. First, "see" the larger of the two numbers, then add on the other.
For example when rolling a 5 and a 2, the students recognize the 5 and Count On by ones "5 - 6, 7"
If they roll a 5 and a 4, students may use the:
Count On strategy: "5- 6, 7, 8, 9"
One Less strategy: I know 5+5 is 10, but 4 is one less, so I'll take one away and it's 9
One More strategy: I know 4+4 is 8, but 5 is one more, so I'll add one on and it's 9
We sent home the games that students played in class as well as a blank template for you as a family to play at home. Please practice - and enjoy!
After asking the students to go into our classroom Book Nook and choose any book they'd like to read, they realized that they have some pretty great strategies for choosing good books:
- favourite series - favourite characters - familiar story, read before
- topic / theme - a suggestion - funny, scary, silly
Then we took those books into cozy spots in the room and read. Afterwards, we discussed what it looked like, sounded like and felt like while we were reading:
We also realized that there are many ways to "read" a book:
- read all the words
- look at the pictures and tell the story in our own words
- use a familiar book to re-tell the story, using some words and the pictures
- play "I Spy" and read some of the words by looking for ones that I know from the word list
At times though, we do want to be able to read most of the words in the book, so we talked about the Goldilocks Rule of Reading. Students got their own bookmarks to decorate and to remind them of the 5-finger test. When students come to read with me individually and in small groups during our morning literacy block, we always use the 5-finger test to see if the books we're reading are at level and Just Right.
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.