Thanks to everyone who came out to the BBQ and Curriculum Night this past week! I met a lot of family members and we chatted about a lot. If you haven’t been getting any email blasts from me - please reach out and I’ll add you to our mailing list.
Here are some highlights about our #backtoschool routines in grade 1 and 2.
First thing before entering the school, I come out to meet the students all lined up and ready to come in at 8:45 am. Then before we enter the class, students check their backpacks for their Yellow Home Notes Folder (to be returned to school on a regular basis) and for water bottles to be kept in the room throughout the day.
Next week, students will start their assigned ‘SuperKid Jobs’ - table top checkers, chair stackers, green team (emptying the recycling, green bin and watering our plants), pencil sharpeners and more! Some of these jobs can be done first thing when entering the classroom, while others such as lunch bin holders & caboose happen throughout the day.
Before the morning announcements at 8:55, we always go through and discuss our schedule; it’s posted in a blue pocket chart for the students to refer to throughout the day. We listen to the announcements carefully in case there are any especially for us (e.g., Fun ‘n Run Club, Ball Hockey Court Schedule, HPAS birthdays etc.) and then we get started with our day!
Writing* a separate blog post coming soon!
We’ve been working on:
"This is me ..." booklets, writing and drawing
“V.I.P.” booklets, for a new Very Important Person each day!
“Writing Journals”; our first entry was on International Day of Peace - What does peace, look, sound, smell, taste and/or feel like to you?
Math* a separate blog post coming soon!
We’ve been working on:
“Number Books” are worked on each day, as we learn about #s 1-20
“Red Math Folders” are independent practice workbooks
"Dot Plates” are a great way to recognize numbers quickly, without having to count by 1s (called subitizing)
A read aloud that many of us were familiar with is Have You Filled Someone's Bucket Today? Throughout the past few weeks, individual students are caught filling other people's buckets (making the right choices, following the routines, going out of their way to be kind to others). For example:
- Theo was kind and unstacked an entire set of chairs all by himself in the morning without being asked
- Clara found a word list and worked on her writing independently, finding words she needed in the room
- Leah reminded me that she had been absent and that she needed to finish math work from the previous day, before she could start with her new work
- Averie helped me find something that I'd misplaced in the room and that I was looking for
- Ella was helpful with a grade 1 student and showed her words on the word list
... there are lots of ways that students can 'fill their bucket' and at times, I might see them and ask them to write their name on a paper droplet and put it into our classroom bucket. Students know that I don't always get the chance to see them making their good choices, so they won’t always get a droplet, but I hope that they’ll continue to make good choices because when they do, they not only make someone else happy (and fill their bucket) they too can feel a sense of pride and happiness for making a good choice. At the end of the week I pull a few droplets out of the bucket and those students are recognized - they might get to choose our class read aloud, a game that we'll play together, or they might even go home with a trinket like a sticker or a pencil for home.
Gems are also a positive reinforcement strategy that we use throughout the year as a whole class; we have two small bins, one full of purple gems and the other is empty. If students work together, cooperate, follow the expectations as a whole community, then a gem is moved from the full bin to the other. Ms. Tahirovic caught us in the hallway as she was passing by and paid us a compliment, because we were being respectful by lining up quietly and not disturbing the other classes during our transition. We can earn gems for positive feedback and compliments from others too! Once all the gems are earned ... we celebrate their teamwork with a gem party! (more info when we get to that point).
End of Day Routines
As soon as students hear our tidy up song (we find it much easier to tidy if there's fun music playing in the background), we stop what we’re doing and work as a team to pack up our room. Quite often they earn a gem for cooperating and working together to pack up our room so quickly!
Then, we gather on the carpet for story-time and we read from our chapter book. First, we read Junie B Jones Toothless Wonder and now, we’re reading Junie B Jones First Grader At Last! Sometimes as students listen, they can get our classroom stuffies and pillows and get comfy on the carpet. Other times, we bring our lunch bags out and eat all our leftovers (which sometimes is a lot!), because it’s important that we fuel our bodies during the busy days we’re having (and because we don’t want to be wasteful with our food). *I do remind students though that most of their food should be eaten during lunch - to take their time in the lunchroom and not to rush outside for recess!
Right now, the best thing to focus on is reading for 15 minutes a day - and there are MANY ways to read:
- parent reads a chapter book; stop to discuss what might happen next, ask "if you could be a character, which one would you be and why?
- parent reads a picture book, from start to finish, as child listens
- parent reads a picture book, child tracks the writing and points to each word as they're read aloud
- child "reads" a picture book; they can use the pictures to retell favourite parts (ignoring the words, but focusing on comprehension and story patterns)
- use a picture book and play "Eye Spy" - the word the, where do you see it on the page? Use our word list!
- recognize the letters and words on a cereal box at breakfast in the morning!
Once students have mastered Sight Words and can recognize them without having to sound out each time, reading will become more fluent. Play these Sight Word Games at home!
*While these are games that students can play independently, please sit with your son or daughter the first few times they play.
If you’d like to practice printing and proper letter formation at home, you can visit this website to use as a reference and/or to print practice pages.
Don't forget to click on all the homework links on my homepage - just scroll to the bottom for TONS of online resources you can use at home, with your son or daughter.
If you find it tricky to get your son or daughter to answer “what did you do at school today?”, ask them about:
- Washroom routines
- Lunch bins
- To finish the sentence “1, 2, 3, eyes on me …”
For additional tips check out : 25 Ways to Ask Your Kids 'So How Was School Today?' Without Asking Them 'So How Was School Today?'
Please feel free to comment below and let me know if your little ones have any feedback once they get home!
Looking forward to a great year,
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.