Writing on whiteboards and talking about accents

This past week we continued to work on adding details to our sentences. As it's June of grade 1, I am trying to get my little ones in the habit of ALWAYS adding details to their sentences. No more "je vois ____" sentences, as that's too simple and they are all capable of saying more than that. 

As they finished up recording their spring books on the ipad minis, they wrote sentences on the mini whiteboards. They like to sit on the carpet in front of the word wall, and draw little pictures to go with their sentences. Here are some sentences my grade 1s came up with on Friday:

I also started to introduce our summer words last week - so we now have two separate word walls on the whiteboard (spring and summer). As I introduced the summer words, we looked for sounds and similarities between words. 

We talked about how accents change a word (see above), and how we can find different words within words - e.g. "eau" is in "melon d'eau". We also talked about how we can use words we know to figure out what other words mean (we went clue hunting!) - e.g. if we know what "sable" means, we can figure out what "chateau de sable" means. 

My kids were so excited to hunt for clues! They tried to find similarities between both word walls all week! 


Quiet critters

Today I pulled out my "quiet critters" to try to help my students calm down and focus on their work. I told them it feels like I've taken a remote... and both turned up their volume and put them on fast forward! They are full of energy, and moving/talking quickly and loudly. They thought this comment was hilarious! 

My sister made these for me a few years ago using foam balls and foam sheets from the dollar store. She pained them and then added in little details. **If I was making them again, I would make them all IDENTICAL though, as grade 1s get their heart set on their favourite "critter" and this causes new challenges! 

I don't use them often, as I don't want the novelty to wear off, but this is how I use them:

Every student gets a critter on their desk, and they have to stay quiet to keep their critter. If they are loud and off task, then I take their critter back from them. Anyone who has their critter still at the end of their time with me gets 10 minutes of free choice - a good motivator!! It made a huge difference, and all of my students were able to finish their work up this afternoon :) 


Finishing up with spring

This week we are finishing up with our spring vocabulary! 

My class will be writing and presenting a book about spring. I change my room around quite a bit, and I think my favourite change from last year was having a "magnetic" word wall. I used to staple my word wall up on a bulletin board, but this year I laminated flashcards and put magnetic strips on the back of them. We use them constantly! My students grab a card when they need it to help them with their writing. I also use them as prompts (e.g. discussions at the carpet) and we practice reading them together. It also means that my students who sit with their backs to the board (my table groups are hexagons) can bring the word to their desk, instead of having to turn around constantly. 

You can see I'm running out of ink in my printer... thankfully it's June! 

We have also been practicing the spring words with our usual centres - bang, bug in a rug, and matching (picture to word). 

Today I chose a card from the word wall, and my students used it in a sentence with a partner. They then wrote their sentence on a mini whiteboard. We talked about using connecting words and prepositions to make more complex sentences - and to get away from just using "et" to make their sentence longer ("Je vois une mouche et un oiseau et un nid et..." etc)

Hope you're all enjoying your last few weeks of school! 

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