This week kicked off a brand new unit in Writing Workshop, a personal narrative unit called “Small Moments.” In it, students will learn to “zoom in” on something that happened to them, and to provide lots of rich details to create a complete story. It all started with students learning how to plan their work this week. While writing, young children frequently lose their place or their train of thought. We learned how to quickly sketch small “icons” at the top corner of each page before beginning our story, as a reminder of what is supposed to be on that page. It proved to be very helpful!
In each unit of study in math, First Graders get a day of exploration, in which they get to try out brand new math materials and manipulative before using them in lesson activities. This week, students rotated through three stations, which included pattern blocks, base-10 blocks, and geoboards. With pattern blocks, students made patterns and complex shapes and designs. With base-10 blocks, they made structures on strong foundations. With geoboards, First Graders made intersecting shapes and designs with rubber bands.
In Grades 4 and 5, a common close-of-day activity is for students to choose the name of another student from a hat and give that person a thoughtful compliment, or something that he or she appreciates about that person. It reinforces speaking and listening skills, builds community, and allows those older students to leave school with a compliment in their hearts. It was unclear whether or not First Graders could accomplish this tricky activity. This week, after our second successful Appreciation Circle, it is clear that these young children can do a fantastic job generating compliments for their peers. It was magical to watch!