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Five for Friday!

March 20, 2015 6 Comments
Happy snowy Friday from NJ everyone! And a very happy first day of Spring to us too?! Elsa has not finished with us just yet and we were sent home early because of the storm.  I was completely fine with it because this teacher is coming down with the winter blues and some sort of bug!  Since I am not feeling my best I am looking forward to a weekend of a lot of couch surfing, puppy cuddles, sleep, and finishing up some TpT projects!  Before I sign off for the weekend, let’s recap with Doodle Bugs Teaching’s Five for Friday linky!

This week was all about the introduction of Bossy R in phonics, specifically the ar sound!  R-controlled vowels as many teachers know, can be so tricky.  We introduced the sounds with some catchy tunes from The Electric Company to make the transition a little more fun. My kids love to sing and dance and this version was no different!    After brainstorming some words and doing a few activities on the SMART board we were introduced to SMART CLARK from Lyndsey over at A Year of Many Firsts.  My kids this year have VERY vivid imaginations and the idea of working with a superhero this week got them hook line and sinker!  We read his story first as a whole class and then with a buddy and circled the ar words found in the story.  

Throughout the rest of the week we did more activities from Lyndsey’s great packet!  We hunted around the room, played partner games, and my favorite; created our own super heroes!  Here are two examples that I just LOVED.  Meet SMART CHARM AND SMART LARGE SHARK!  

Smart Charm is the prettiest superhero ever.  She can do everything at one time.

Smart Large Shark is very smart.  Smart Shark eats fish for energy.  

Do yourself and your kids a favor and check out this amazing packet over at TpT here!

I am loving our work during writing workshop right now!  We are almost at the end of Bend 1 of our opinion writing unit and the kids are blowing me away!  We’ve been writing our opinions about our own collections, comparing them part by part and this week we kicked it up a notch!  

I asked them to choose their “best in show,” piece in their collection and place it at the center of the desk.  Then, my students walked around the room for a gallery walk and admired everyone’s collections.  They were asked to not only admire collections like they would at a museum (hands behind their backs, pointer fingers to chins to show they were thinking) but also to determine whether they agreed with friends’ best in show pieces or if they disagreed.  We spent a good portion of the mini-lesson discussing how to respectfully disagree with friends and to talk back to them in their own writing to make their opinions stronger.  They were phenomenal!  

I just love the fingers on chins, taking their judging so seriously!

I had a few friends who were bending down to get a full view of everyone’s collections.  They were so sweet to really take the time to form their opinions.  I was so proud and impressed.  It just goes to show that when you give students high expectations they will rise to the occasion!

Here are some examples of our opinion writing so far!  I love how with writing workshop I can showcase the writing of so many skill levels!  The first story is by one of my high ability students and I started laughing out loud!  He’s writing about Pokemon, of course.

I think the Trepco is the best because when he runs he looks like he wants to go to McDonalds.
I don’t know about you, but for a 6 year old running towards McDonalds makes you really really fast!

This little girl wrote about the best color shell in someone else’s collection!
My favorite is the seashell with black and white stripes because COMPARED to her other shells not all but most of them are white.  I like mixtures.  Have you gone to the ice cream store and there was just vanilla and vanilla blueberry and you chose vanilla blueberry, it’s like that.
I mean COME ON!  She’s comparing and using real life examples to support her reasons!  Lucy Calkins…you are my hero!

The last writing is from a student of mine who struggles and I was so impressed that he used “experts,” to back up his opinion! He’s writing about the best blue in his smurf collection.
The best blue is Clumsy because he’s blueish blackish.  Thi and Manuel disagree with me.  But Vinnie agrees with me he likes his ears, the color they are.
I am a proud teacher!

We continued our study of weather this week and all I can say is thank you to the incredibly creative teacher authors out there for making my life easier!  This chart has been used constantly for two weeks and was inspired by The Kindergarten Smorgasboard from an image he posted on instagram.  You can see our only misconception that we’ve discovered so far is that angels bowling in heaven does not cause thunder and lightning.  My kids were very concerend for the real cause!  Too cute!  We did a lot of work with Jodi Southard’s amazing All About Weather packet!  This packet has great informational text passages and follow up activities.  Find it on TpT here.

We’ve also been working through the adorable Jennifer’s science notebook/journal!  Check out her resources at A Dab of Glue Will Do, they’re wonderful!  The kids have loved acting as meteorologists and predicting the weather with this to help guide them.  They were REALLY thrown off with the snow forecast for today!  We will continue to use this amazing resource as the year goes on.  Check out Jennifer’s great science notebook/journal at her TpT store here!

The change of season is bringing with it some W-I-L-D behavior!  I desperately need to change up my classroom management just to encourage my first graders to be more respectful and caring of others.  I’m hoping these brag tags based on the six pillars of character will help motivate!  I’m going to be working my tail off to get this packet done over the weekend. Do you use brag tags in your class? If so, I’d love to know some that you wish you had for your littles!

What a week it was!  It’s time to now cuddle up with my crazy monkey who is currently acting as watchdog in his favorite place; the windowsill.  He’s very confused by the snowflakes too!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


  • JD's Firsties March 20, 2015 at 11:17 pm

    I'm beginning this opinion unit on Monday… I LOVE Lucy Calkins! After seeing the amazing work by your kiddos I'm so excited to get started! You must be so proud!

    • Jayme March 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      You and your kids are going to love the unit! My district is lucky enough to have a staff developer from TCRWP work with us to help guide us through the program. Our staff developer is the author of the opinion book so she really helps us lift the level of our kids. If you have any questions about the unit I'd love to help!

  • Steph March 21, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Love the Smart Clark! Will definitely check that out! :)

    Fishing for Education Blog

    • Jayme March 21, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Your students will love it, so much fun! Thanks for stopping by!

  • afirstforeverything March 22, 2015 at 12:39 am

    HI Jayme! I'm totally intrigued by your opinion writing with the Lucy Caulkins approach. I use her workshop model but I haven't heard of this opinion/collection idea before. Is this described in one of her books? Is the premise, that the kiddos bring in a collection of something and write about it? The Pokémon one is a hoot! I hope you're feeling better and I hope Roger's taking good care of you. :)

  • Jayme March 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Julie, thanks so much for stopping by! The lessons we're using for writing workshop right now are found in the Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, Grade 1 book. It's part of the updated units of study that are now published for each grade level. If you use the older writing workshop K-2 units then these lessons aren't in them. What it basically entails, is that kids are asked to bring in a collection from home. These collections have to fit inside a gallon sized ziploc bag. We discuss how to form opinions based on our collections by comparing them part to part. For example, the fastest, prettiest, shiniest, biggest, weirdest, etc. After doing this for a few lessons, they're able to write about friends' collections whether they agree or disagree with their "best in show pieces." The unit continues with opinion writing based on places and things, and then ends with book reviews! It's totally worth looking into if your school doesn't have the updated curriculum. I'd be happy to help with anything writing workshop, I just love it!

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    Hi! I’m Jayme! A former elementary teacher turned stay at home mom sharing toddler activities, mom tips, and educational resources to help you learn and play with your children. I believe in the power of PLAY and creating meaningful activities for you and your little ones to enjoy together.

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