1st Grade Sings About Their Year

Today was our last day of 1st grade GT.  I asked the students to try something different, and I was proud of how they met the challenge!  Their task was to rewrite the lyrics of a familiar song to reflect on our year.  This was an idea that I got from one of my favorite 1st grade GT teachers, Joelle Trayers.  Last week, the  students did some great reflections using our class blog as a reference, so they were able to look at those while writing their songs.

One group wrote their song to the tune of “Old McDonald Had a Farm.”  Another group used “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  And the final group used “Happy.”  They only had about 40 minutes to choose a song and write their lyrics before I asked them to perform, so it was just a quick activity to get them to think one last time about what we have done this year.

None of the groups wanted to be recorded performing their songs, so I just took still pictures.  However, one student wanted a recording of her song, so I have included her video below.  I also included the rest of the Tellagami videos from class.  (Instructions will be coming with GT folders and report cards next week for scanning your child’s Photo Mapo to view the videos.)

With the little time we had left, the students were able to choose to play one of their favorite games/activities of the year: Robot Turtles, the interactive iPad game Osmo, or logic puzzles (Perplexers).

It was a great final class, and I look forward to seeing all of the students in 2nd grade next year!

1st Grade Finishes Up Their Tellagami Videos

We had a bit of a setback on Tuesday with 1st grade as the electrical storm the night before eliminated our internet access for that morning’s class.  However, we were fortunate to have it back on Friday, and almost all of the students were able to finish their Tellagami videos. I’ve included some of the videos below, and will publish the rest in our next post.

On Tuesday, and while some finished their projects on Friday, the students worked on some tough logic puzzles and riddles.  At first, I thought I might have over-reached with the choices I made for them to start.  But, after doing a couple together, they ran away with the others.  I was really proud of how well they worked through these!

We also played a cooperative word game in class on Friday.  It is on the iPad, but interacts with sets of letters that we put on the table.  We projected the game on to our front screen.  It shows pictures, and the students have to guess the word related to the picture by spelling it with their letters.  Our classroom is beta testing this game, but it should be available for purchase soon.  I will send out information to parents as soon as I get it, if you are interested.

1st Grade Creates Landmark Postcards

The first graders have been working on creating postcards for particular landmarks in the countries they are researching.  They have been using an iPad app called Photo Mapo to do this.  Last week, they were able to finish their postcards, and this week they will be creating short videos to go along with their work.

In addition to their research, the students worked in stations – including doing some math on the interactive board and and interactive iPad tangram game. They also participated in a “Squiggle” contest, and presented their creative ideas to the class using the document camera.

1st Grade Does Some Spring Divergent Thinking

Since we have a holiday on Friday, I am doing 1st grade’s post today.

The first graders practiced using the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. strategy for creative thinking today by doing an activity with “Substitute.”  They imagined a mother bird whose eggs have hatched – only one of the eggs reveals a surprise!  I’ve included some of the ideas they had for surprises in our pictures below.

We checked in with our Twitter friends, who had sent a picture of the flag of Indonesia.  Some of the students thought it was Poland’s flag.  When we did a little research, we realized that the two countries have the same exact flag – only inverted!

The students worked on creating postcards for special sites in their countries that we are also hoping to share with our Twitter friends.  They used a fun app on the iPads called Photo Mapo.  Most of them did not get a chance to finish, so I will share their creations next week.

1st Grade Creates Origami

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As I mentioned last week, the 1st grade students have been working on developing a “growth mindset.”  To help them think more about choosing activities that will increase their skill level, as well as perseverance, we spent the last couple of classes doing origami.  After doing one project together, the students got to choose what to try next.  I have been very proud of how hard all of the students worked on their creations.  Several did not finish theirs, but we discussed that it was still beneficial for them because they were trying their best and made their brains stronger by learning from their mistakes.  If you are interested, you can read more about the experience on my other blog, Engage Their Minds.

1st Grade Works on Mindsets

1st grade had a special GT class today, as it was canceled on Tuesday due to STAAR testing, and will be canceled on Friday due to a 5th grade field trip.

We got caught up with our Twitter friends, and talked again about the difference between Celsius and Fahrenheit since our Canadian friends tell us their temperature in Celsius.  They easily solved our first haiku riddle, so we sent them another one to see if we could make it a bit more challenging!

I asked the students to think of things that are easy, medium, and hard for them to do.  They wrote examples, and then drew a symbol to represent each one.  We are going to be referring back to those symbols for the rest of the year.  We talked about a quote from Einstein, ” It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”  We also discussed how the things that are easy for us now were not always easy, and the things that are hard may one day be easier with more practice.

Because one of the countries we are researching is Japan, we then did an origami project.  The students made origami bunnies, and then rated themselves on the level of difficulty for them.  Many did not find it easy, and were willing to admit that – which is great progress!

We will continue this next week, and talk more about how good challenges are for their brains.

1st Grade Finishes Up Haiku Riddles

This week, the first graders worked on finishing up their Haiku Riddles about the countries they are researching.  The students who had already finished their haikus did problem solving centers including one group who played Robot Turtles.  I loved watching the Robot Turtles group synergize to play the game without my help, and it was fun to see how challenging they made the board!

1st Grade Works on Haikus

This week, the first graders worked on creating haiku poetry about their countries.  They started by learning what a haiku is.  Then they brainstormed words they could use for their haikus by looking through their research books and listing words that describe their countries in columns based on the number of syllables.  On Friday, they used some of those words to compose their haikus on paper.  Those who finished were able to get started on creating digital versions of their haikus using an app called “Haiku Deck” on the iPads.  I’ve included some of the completed ones below, and we should have more after this coming Tuesday.  See if you can guess what country each one is describing!  We are hoping to send some of them to our Twitter friends to see if they can guess, too.

The students also worked on problem solving centers.  The toughest challenge seems to be the one called, “Noodlers.”  On that one, they have to use a certain number of sticks to divide a group of icons into regions that only include one icon in each region.  I loved seeing how none of the students gave up on these puzzles!

1st Grade Compares Countries

The first graders did a fabulous job today doing some comparison research using our library resources.  First, I asked them to predict how they thought the countries they are researching compare to the United States in the following areas: Population, Area, # of Internet Users (per 100), and # of Languages. Then, they used the laptops and a great site from World Book Encyclopedia to check their answers.

Some of them were very surprised by some of the results!  For example, the group who was researching China had predicted that its area was bigger, and they were correct. However, they were surprised to see how close the United States actually is to China’s size.  They were also surprised to see that there are four main languages in China.

After they finished comparing the countries they are researching to the U.S., they asked if they could do some other comparisons.  They really enjoyed seeing the differences between the countries.   They were very disappointed when we finally ran out of time!

We also shared a tweet about the weather with some new friends in British Columbia.  The students were gone when our friends responded, but I have included the response below.  Anyone who comes back to GT after Spring Break with the correct conversion in Fahrenheit for the temperature our friends tweeted will get a Class Dojo point! (Remember, you can click on each picture to see a larger version.)

1st Grade Continues to Work on Geography with Twitter

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This week, the 1st graders continued to learn more about different places around the world through Twitter.  We added two more classrooms to our Twitter friends.  One is in British Columbia, Canada.  The other one, to their surprise, turned out to be in Illinois like our first one!

They are really learning how to read maps, and understanding the difference between continents and countries.  This has been a great learning experience for them.  Through our chats, we learned that our own state has two official state animals – the Longhorn and the Armadillo, and that Illinois is one of three states that has the White-Tailed Deer as its state animal.

In addition, on Tuesday, the 1st graders did learning stations.  There were a couple of new ones.  There was a logic one on the interactive white board, and there was one called, “Noodlers” at one of our tables.  The “Noodlers” station has pages of icons, and the students have to use thin sticks to separate the icons so that there is only one in each region.  Each page requires a different number of sticks.  It’s definitely a great spatial workout for the brain!