Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hesed House Holiday Donation

Well, Room 222 really showed some holiday spirit and kind hearts this month. As the weeks went on, our Hesed House pile grew and grew. Today at last count, we reached over 250 items! We combine our efforts with Miss G's class and the results were overwhelming!

Our class was so proud of what they were able to give to people who are in need.

Miss G. and I filled our cars and drove to the Hesed House this afternoon, to donate our items.

Here is a picture of the combined donations from Room 100 and Room 222. Wow!

Again, I am overwhelmed by your donations. This was our "awesome" today!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tech Time

We have been busy little techies this week. We are working hard on integrating our iPads into our day seamlessly. To do this, we need to practice, practice, practice. 

Our goal is to use these devices in creative and innovative ways. Most of the apps we use are creatively based presentation apps that allow us to use them in all subject areas.  

Here are some ways we used our devices this week:

Learning to comment on an academic post on Kid Blog and learning to reply to comments appropriately.

We started by identifying comments that were productive and appropriate and crossing out the comments that were inappropriate or hurtful.

Then we practice commenting with our collaborative buddies on an academic post that was posted on our kid blog page. See that post (here).

Finally, we practiced logging back in and replying to these comments. 

Wondering about science using Today's Meet as our Backchannel.

What is a Backchannel? A backchannel is a secondary conversation that is happening while the main conversation is going on. It allows us to have real time conversation that give everyone a voice and time to find that voice.

We use as our backchannel tool. 
The kiddos us a QR code to help us get to the site quickly.  You can see the students using their iPads to scan the QR code. 

I love this picture!
Once the students were at our site, they broke out into cozy spaces to begin their science research. We identified areas of wonder in our shared science text and their mission was to find possible answers or explanations to our wonders. As the students are working and typing, they can also immediately read what their classmates have shared. They can see it on their iPad and on our big screen.

View our Today's Meet page (here). Please do NOT comment on this. Today's Meet is for our classroom use only.

Both KidBlog and Today's Meet are sites that allow us to work in any subject area at any time. This is important to my iPad philosophy because I don't want these devices to be seen as a game device or a way to practice sight words. This is a learning tool that will allow us to accomplish things that we haven't been able to do in the past. I am excited to share more with you. Just wait until you see what these kiddos are capable of. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week in Review

December is here and it is time to get serious. We spent a lot of time this week discussing the quality of our work. We discussed that it is more powerful to have one amazing writing piece a week rather than 5 unfinished ones.  To help us with this, we cleaned out our folders. Each student kept two pieces to work on, gave two pieces to me to save and took the rest home. 

It felt good to have a clean start.

To help us with the quality of our writing, we are practicing Writing Snapshots. This allows the students time to practice one writing technique from an author and not having to write a whole piece. 
This week the kids worked on See Saw patterns and creative text font to show meaning.

In our writing pieces this week, we focused on making our characters come alive through movement and voice. 

This is a great example of using your illustrations to get a point across to the reader.

Room 222 also had an AMAZING showing at the Kaneland Writing and STEM Night. Thank you to everyone who joined us for an amazing night of learning. 9 students from our classroom went. That might be a record!

We learned all about Liquid Nitrogen in the STEM session. 

In one of the writing sessions, the kids got to meet an author, hear her talk about the writing process, hear her read her story and help her act it out!!!  This amazing experience happened right in our own Kaneland backyard!

Last but not least, we took time thinking about our trick words. We are working through a list of words that do not follow easy spelling patterns. Instead of writing them over and over again in hopes that this kids memorize them, we took time to talk about them and really understand them. Watch and listen to the amazing conversations happening in Room 222. Keep an ear open for the background comments too! I always hear something new that makes me smile.

I Notice from LBright on Vimeo.

Featured Bloggers of the Week:
Check out these amazing kid bloggers. Feel free to leave them comments on their Kid Blog pages.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week in Review and Looking Ahead

November was a fabulous month of learning. 
Here is what we were up to last week:

We had a special guest reader who read a book about sharing. She read smoothly and lead our discussion on the book. Great job R.M.!

We are starting to experiment with Book Review Videos.
Check out E.T.'s amazing video on our Digital Projects page.
Through this process, we are learning how to talk about our books and identifying the audience. We are also learning a new iPad app, iMovie.

Through this process, we also rely heavily on our collaborative buddies. Not only for crucial feedback but also tech support.

During our reading time, many students are choosing the ways in which they choose to share information with me. These two gentlemen are extending their thinking on their book by making and sharing a ScreenChomp presentation.

C.D. shared a great example. He just finished reading a book about items that come in 2's. Here is his list of things that come in 2's:

In our group time, we are also experimenting with different types of text and using them in different ways. This group is finding interesting words in a short story. 

With December already upon us, it is time to kick things into high gear. Here is list of what we will be diving into:
Reading: We will continue experiment with text and text features. We will also start talking about more complex comprehension strategies like visualizing and inferring.

Writing: We will be finishing up our published pieces and preparing for a Publisher's Showcase in which other classes can come and hear our stories. We are also going to really start observing what other authors do in their books. How do they begin their stories? How do they end their stories? How do they convey certain messages to their audience?

Also, look for the blogging to pick up now that we have the basics under control.

Math: In math, we will delve into the world of Fact Families. Please stay tuned for more information via the math blog. McDole Math

Technology: The students will be continuing to experiment with the apps on our iPads. They are in the process of not only becoming experts, but also becoming teachers. The students in Room 222 will be sharing their knowledge of these apps with teachers and other students. 
Here is the classroom app philosophy: Each app must be able to span subject areas and be creatively based.  ScreenChomp, for example, can be used in any subject area as it is a tool used to convey thoughts and ideas.  On the other hand, a math flashcards app would not benefit us necessarily because it only deals in one subject area and is just a substitution for our paper flashcards. We don't gain anything in this instance. 

Science: This month, we will be splitting our time between the study of Rocks (Pebbles, Sand and Silt) and spending time with our wonders. I am excited to start the process of student driven wondering also called Genius Hour. I hope to lay the groundwork in December so that we will be able to fully impliment Genius Hour after Winter Break. Wondering what Genius Hour is? Check out this short video:

We won't be rushing though anything. Slow and steady with win the race this month. We will focus on quality learning and understanding. 

Happy December!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Writing Process in 1st Grade - Room 222

We have taken our first piece of writing through the entire writing process. Our outcome is 23 truly amazing published pieces of writing.

Here is a glimpse at what the writing process looks like in 1st grade:

Prewriting - Gathering our ideas and talking them through with a buddy. We also call this "turn and talk".

Drafting - This stage is our favorite. We simply start writing our ideas down in our little books.

Revising - When Revising, the students were looking for ways to improve the content of the story for their readers. This was, by far, the most impressive part of the writing process for this group of kiddos. They worked in groups of 4 and took turns sharing suggestions with each other. I was blown away by the level of maturity during this hour.  Check out the videos. You will see what I mean. 

My Movie 13 from LBright on Vimeo.

Editing: With the content of our stories finished, the editing stage was a quick check for capitals, punctuation marks, finger spaces and correctly spelled word wall words.

Publishing: Wait and see how they decided to publish their books! 

More to come after Thanksgiving Break.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week in Review and The Writing Process

I do not have a lot of pictures from this week. However, this photograph says a thousand words.

What you see...
In this photograph, you see an excited group of kiddos eager to share their thoughts about learning.

What you don't see...
A proud author sharing his brand new story on the big screen. 
This excited group of kiddos is eager to share their thoughts and compliments on his writing.

This picture warms my heart because the story being read was truly worthy of this kind of excitement.

This amazing little book, written by an amazing 1st grade author was inspired by an entertaining new picture book...

Check out this book preview!

Due to the quality of student writing from this week and their level of commitment to their current projects, we will take this week to start the official writing process.

The writing process consists of 6 parts.
1. Prewriting - Thinking and gathering thoughts.
2. Drafting - It's writing time!
3. Revising  - Independently or with a buddy. 
4. Editing  - With a buddy and teacher.
5. Publishing - Fancy it up! Make it ready for the world.
6. Teacher Conferencing will go on throughout the entire process

Keep an eye on our Twitter page this week. We will keep you updated on our progress. We might not finish before Thanksgiving Break but that's ok... great writing takes time.

Once each student has a published book, we will have a celebration! I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


We have been blogging again!

Please visit our KidBlog site and see what we have been up to. 

Feel free to comment on your child's blog. You may also comment on a few more. 
Please keep our commenting guidelines in mind.

Here are some rules for our blog
1. Right now, blogging only happens at school.
2. All comments must be positive and productive.
3. Refer to the blogger by initials not full names.
4. All comments go through Mrs. Bright before they are published. Any comments that do not follow these rules will not be published.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Week in Review - Oct 28th- Nov 1st

Check out our accomplishments from this week:

We concluded our Jane Goodall Studies this week. We have enjoyed reading about her in our new favorite books.

The students illustrated their facts and thoughts about Dr. Goodall.

We even wrote letters to her! It would be really great if we heard back from her or her organization. 

Here is great video we watched about Jane:

We also heard a lovely story by our first Reader's Theater group.

We are working hard on our KidBlogs. Thank you so much for all of the comments that you left on their KidBlog pages. We will be reading them tomorrow!

Call us sneaky... we have something up our sleeve this week and we planned and practiced all last week. Check out these pictures and see if you can guess what we are up to.  :)

To add to all of the fun... all of the 1st grade classes participated in a Pumpkin Inquiry Lesson. (Check out Miss G's Blog for a sample of what the kiddos did.)

We counted the seeds in our class pumpkin and grouped them by 10's. Then each class helped collect data on our pumpkins in 4 different areas. Look for these charts at conferences.

And let's not forget the party!

Add another great week to our list!