In Reader’s Workshop, we have continued becoming experts on the topics we are reading about! The students have each picked a topic that interests them and then filled a bag with books that focus on that big idea. Some of the books from their topic are nonfiction and some are fiction. The first graders spend time each day reading through the books on their topic to see what they can learn and teach others about their topic.
Early in the week, we noticed that when we read our fiction stories, even though we know these stories aren’t true stories, we can find true facts within the stories. We shared some facts that we learned from our fiction stories and noticed that some we knew were true because we had read about it in another text, heard someone talk about it, or we had experienced it ourselves before. Some of the facts seemed true, but we weren’t quite sure. So, we decided that we would need to do some more research in the other books from our topic and see if we could find any other books that shared that same information. These little first grade researchers had a blast digging into their books to see what they could find.
We then spent time sharing how some of the books we were reading were alike. We made text to text connections to share our thinking.
“The book Hi, Fly Guy reminds me of the book Diary of a Fly because I learned that flies like to eat gross foods in both books.”
We have had the chance to allow our ‘local experts’ to share some of the facts that they have learned and as they share their cool facts, they are also sparking interest in their classmates. The first graders have all had a chance to pick more than one area of expertise and we will continue with this unit of reading for a few more weeks. Be sure to ask your student about the topics they have studied so far, what they have learned, and what they might want to pick for their next area of expertise!
Mrs. Stadt :)
Our first grade writers began studying a new genre of writing this week: NONFICTION. The kids were over the moon excited to start this new learning!!!
To begin, we brainstormed a list of topics that we know a lot about. We used four categories to help organize our areas of expertise: people, places, activities, and things. Under each category we listed as many topics as we could.
After our topic lists were full of great ideas for nonfiction books, we got started with our writing. We learned to think about our audience and include facts in our books that our audience would want to know.
We also learned how to plan for our books by “trying on” our topics. To make sure our topic was a “good fit”, we used our fingers to list five different facts before starting our pictures and words. If we were unable to come up with five facts, we moved on to a different topic.
In the next couple of weeks, be sure to explore any nonfictions texts that you have at home with your child. Review the different nonfiction text features (headings, table of contents, captions, charts, maps, glossary, etc.), so your child feels confident about adding these interesting elements to his or her books!!!
Mrs. Stadt :)
We had an exciting week in Reader’s Workshop this week! First, we finished up our study of spot and dot. On our last day, the kids were able to use i-pads to practice the spot and dot strategy with the tricky words from their just right books. After recording on the Show Me app, we shared our multi-syllable words with our partners. We are SOOOO excited to continue using this strategy!!!
Later in the week, we began a new unit of study. During this unit, the kids will become experts on different topics that are fascinating to them. We will be reading nonfiction books, fiction books, magazines, songs, and poems about the same topic to grow our expertise. In order to begin this cross-genre study, we had to reorganize our classroom library. This was a BIG job, but the kids were such wonderful helpers! We sorted all of our books by topics. Some of these topics included “Insects”, “Dogs”, “Dangerous Animals”, “Animals that Can Fly”, “Animals that Change”, “Weather”, “Famous People”, “Jobs”, “Sports” and many, many more!!
This coming week, we will choose new topics on which to become experts! I can’t wait to hear about the new things they will learn!
Mrs. Stadt :)
This past week in Writer’s Workshop was filled with assessments! We spent the first part of our week reviewing the parts of a great small moment story.
After our review, we had time to write our very best small moment story. We did it with no help, not even from our writing partner. I was very impressed with what these first grade writers know about good writing!
Later in the week, we were introduced to All About books. These are non-fiction books, all about a topic we know a lot about. After spending so much time reading non-fiction books, the first graders were very excited to try writing one of their own. Their first book will show me what they already know about All About books and how I can help them grow through our future lessons.
Mrs. Stadt :)
We continued our study of nonfiction books this past week. We started the week by checking to see if we are understanding what we read.
In a fiction book, we practiced using our CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING checkmark to stop every few pages and see if we could remember WHO we had just read about and WHAT had just happened. In our nonfiction books, we realized that we needed to stop after every section to check to see if we understood the big idea of what that section was teaching. We worked on summarizing the section by just answering the WHAT question from our checkmark. If we could answer it, then we kept going. If we couldn’t quite figure out the big idea from that section, then we went back to reread. We also talked about how the pictures could help them understand the big idea.
The kids have learned so much from our nonfiction books already and they just LOVE sharing what they learned with the class. We have been tracking our thinking and sharing throughout the week.
This week, we asked the kids to add their reaction to what they learned into what they shared. We talked about how when they learned something new, sometimes their first reaction was: that is so COOL! But other times it could be something else…
The kids worked on adding their reactions and it was so fun to see how their reactions brought out further understanding of their learning.
And we didn’t stop there, we talked about how when we learn something new, sometimes it opens up a new question for us. When Isaac’s shared his learning about the human body and how our left lung is smaller than our right lung – we were able to brainstorm as a class why this might be the case. Many of the kids in our class hypothesized about our heart needing extra space. And, when we shared Xavier’s learning about how crocodiles and alligators can sometimes camouflage themselves and look like logs, it made him and us wonder, “Is that how they hunt?” There were lots of kids who were throwing out their thoughts to try and answer our question, but we decided we would have to do some more reading to find out more about their hunting practices. We’ll keep working on adding these questions in while we track our thinking.
Aren’t these first grade readers amazing?! Way to go guys!
Mrs. Stadt :)
This past week in reading, we focused on the importance of warming up to read our nonfiction books.
Warming up to a nonfiction book is very similar to warming up with a fiction story. We start by reading the title and checking out the front and back covers for any clues that might give us information about the book. Then, we take a picture walk through the book and think about what each page might be about. We finish by thinking about what we might learn in this book.
We spent time looking at different nonfiction books to see what features we found and how those features could help us to understand what we were reading.
We ended the week by focusing on how once we have finished warming up to our nonfiction book, we are ready to read it. But, we noticed that we read a nonfiction book a little differently than a fiction story. We use our TEACHER voice. When we read to our partners, we got a chance to be the TEACHER and share all the things we learned from our nonfiction book.
To learn more about a teacher voice when reading nonfiction, we listened to a clip from Jeff Corwin: Unleashed. He uses a bold and confident teacher voice to teach us about hog-nosed bats, but he also changes his voice and shows his excitement when he is teaching us about something important.
The kids have had a blast checking out all our nonfiction books in the classroom and share their learning with each other! We are expecting a large delivery of new nonfiction books to add to our classroom libraries, thanks to all of you for donating to the Walk-A-Thon, earlier this year. We are all antsy to dig into these new books when they get here!
Mrs. Stadt :)