Sunday, November 15, 2015

Global Read Aloud

Another year of great learning success during the Global Read Aloud! This was my third year of participating in Global Read Aloud. I would like to thank Pernille Ripp for her dedication to organize this global event. My students and I absolutely loved the experiences!

My class participated in Amy Krouse Rosenthal author study. Her books are very simple, yet have powerful messages that are easy for my first graders to understand. My students could not wait to read her book each week.

I also had a blast collaborating with wonderful teachers and their students from all over the United States & Canada. Thanks to my Twitter PLN, finding collaborating teachers was not too difficult:) Some of us participated in GRA last year together, so this year all it took was... "Do you want to do it again?" It was great to see some new faces in our group as well.

Here are some of highlights from our #GRA15 learning!

Week1: Chopsticks
We had a class discussion on what we like to do with our best friends and what we can do independently.

We also learned how to use chopsticks form the seventh & eighth graders in Melvina Kurashige's class. They made incredible "how to use chopsticks" videos. They did a great job teaching us!

Week 2 : Duck! Rabbit!
This was a great book to discuss difference in perception & opinion. Many classes shared what they thought about the creature here. 

I also created a survey, and here is the result.

And this is what Amy responded...

My students were beyond excited to her back from Amy herself:) (and I was, too!)

Week 3 : It's Not Fair!
Our class enjoyed sharing their personal connections to the story. We all have said, "It's not fair!" plenty of times before. Then we played a Kahoot created by Jennifer Sloop... this was a great way to have a discussion on fairness.
We also enjoyed reading the story readers' theater style with Terry Stofer's second grade class. Thanks to Terry for writing a great script as well!

Week 4 : Exclamation Mark
My students got to really practice punctuations this week. Thanks to Karen Lirenman's wonderful idea! We played a little punctuation game with Traci Wood's first grade class. Our students wrote a sentence, read it to each other via Google Hangout and guessed which punctuation should be used. What a great way to practice both reading and writing!

Week 5 : The OK Book
This week we discussed what we were great at and OK at. It is OK to be OK at something:) Terry Stoufer had a great idea for a collaboration project. Our students interviewed each other about what they are great & ok at. They wrote about their partner and told "It is OK." We are currently completing the book, but here is one of the pages...

Week 6 : Book of our choice
Terry Stoufer, Michelle Flicek and I each read a book via Google Hangout. We also voted for our favorite book using Kahoot! 

WOW! is all I can say. What a wonderful opportunity for us to enjoy books and expand our learning beyond our classroom walls! I can't thank you enough, Pernille! I hope you will continue to host & organize this great project. I also would like to thank the author, Amy Krouse Rosenthal for not only writing inspiring stories, but also taking time to write, check, like, and respond to tweets! It meant a lot to us! 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Spirit Hour Kick Off


Yes, finally I'm blogging again about finally starting what I have always dreamed & brainstormed so long:)

I introduced "Spirit Hour" to my first graders on Thursday.  What is Spirit Hour? It is a maker space, genius hour, passion based, project oriented, student centered learning hour. It sounds like a lot, doesn't it? To me it does:) Maybe that's why it took me a while to jump in. Well, I finally told myself that I had to start somewhere. Here is how I started.

I started the introduction by talking about passion. I wanted to tap into what my students really enjoy whether or not it will lead to a project. I gave my students a heart map to fill out. 

Some students' passions were very specific (ex. Legos, dinosaurs, Mine Craft, etc.) while others were very vague (ex. spending time with family...aww<3), but it was ok. I wanted my students to feel how exciting it was to just think & chat about what they really enjoy.

My vision for Spirit Hour later in the year is to see students picking a topic, planning the purpose for the project (creating, demonstrating, informing, instructing, persuading, etc.), deciding what they will make & ho, problem solving throughout the process, and sharing their product at the end.

I know that it will take us a while to get there, so I have decided to take a more guided approach by giving them a challenge. Inspired by Karen Lirenman's Lego challenge (@KLirenman #LegoChallenge) and how she started her challenge, the first challenge for Spirit Hour was a name challenge. The task was simple. Design/build your name:) We brainstormed the tools that they could use for this challenge. I stressed the importance of visualizing/planning how their product would look like and choosing an appropriate material.  We also talked about problem solving; not to jump from one tool to another when they came to a problem. Then it was time to let them go! As soon as I said, "go create!" The students knew exactly where to start.

During the sharing time, each student told the class what they liked about their project & problem solving that was involved.
Here are a few projects.

 Keegan ran out of markers so he used erasers to finish the project.

 At first Collin used a smaller board and ran out of space. He then discovered how to change size of the board and was able to complete the task.

Alyssa could not figure out how to make the letter S. She wanted to switch to drawing but persevered through it.

The students all took a picture of their product and posted on their blog HERE

As we were cleaning up, I heard this boy loud and clear so I had to ask him to repeat for me:) 
Well, this sums all up, doesn't it?

I can't wait for next week's Spirit Hour!