Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Day in First Grade Part One

Bubba is really enjoying first grade. His day begins with waking up about 8 o'clock, getting dressed and having breakfast. Then Bubba and Princess play together for about an hour. About 10 o'clock, Princess is ready for a nap and Bubba begins school. While I am getting Princess ready to go down, Bubba pulls out all of his getting started activities to start without me. Getting started activities include a newsletter, calendar, weather report, word wall, tally sheet, money jars, math journal, writing journal, pattern journal and dictionary. Phew, that sounds like a lot, but it only takes about an hour.

With so much to do, I made a check list to help keep track of what has been done.

His newsletter is pre-written by me, copied from my Guide Book. A typical newsletter will tell him what we will be doing in school that day, ask him to fill in the blanks of what today is and what yesterday was, and give some kind of encouragement for the day. This is noticeably his least favorite activity.

This is the first page of a typical newsletter.

I added to his calendar routine. The curriculum only requires going over what today is: month, day, year, and singing the days of the week or month of the year song. I took a white board with writing lines wrote in perminate marker an outline for him to fill in. It includes today's full date, what today's weather is and what his prediction of tomorrow's weather will be. 

At this point we are using phonetic spelling. He wrote that it is sunny outside.

This leads into the weather report. This year it varies from month to month as to how he tracks the weather. At first, like last year,  he filled in a chart reporting on the weather. Currently, he is filling in a graph telling what the temperature is. He loves going to the local media site to find out today's weather and current temperature.

Tracking the weather
Tracking the temperature

I was really skeptical about the word wall. We didn't do it last year but I thought I should give it an honest try this year and Bubba really enjoys it. I took a poster board and labeled it Aa-Zz. Every Monday we add new words to the poster. The words we add are the sight words he will be working on this week and the dictionary words he will be learning this week. He loves putting the words up on the wall. The rest of the week he reads all the words.

Proper names have been hidden to protect the guilty. Uh, I mean innocent.

The tally sheet is a real simple way to track what day of school we are in. It is another white board that he adds one tally mark to every day and then counts the tally marks to determine how many days he has been in school.

Bubba likes to use lots of colors!

The tally sheet leads right into the money jars. Well, cups really. I took five paper cups and labeled them pennies: 1c, nickels: 5c, dimes: 10c, quarters: 25c and dollars: $1. Every day he adds on penny to the penny cup. When he gets five pennies he trades them in for one nickel, two nickels for one dime, etc. Then he counts how much money he has. This is also how many days he has been in school.

Looks like tomorrow we get to do a lot of trading!

Bubba's favorite activities are his journals. In his math journal he has one word problem to solve everyday. The problems range from addition and subtraction to patterns and number words.

In the begining I drew the basic picture for Bubba to add to. Now he does the whole picture himself.

In his writing journal I have started a sentence for him to finish and then he draws a picture to illustrate the sentence. These are usually silly things like "My favorite kind of pizza is..." or "When I grow up I want to be..." This is a hit or miss for him. Sometimes he gets really into it and sometimes he doesn't like the question and doesn't want to do it. I am finding I love his answers and this is going to be a great keepsake!

This is Ruffman. The superhero he created.

The pattern journal consists of a pattern I have started for him that he needs to continue everyday. He spends a week on each pattern, adding one or two more things to the pattern.

The dictionary is a notebook that we add new vocabulary words to every Monday. I write the word and the definition and he illustrates it. The words added to the dictionary are concepts we will be learning about that week in school. Although he doesn't always understand the concepts yet on Monday so I am thinking of changing this activity to Friday after he has spent a week on them. Words we have added to our dictionary include: citizen, community, work, matter, mass, motive and force.

Well that is our first hour of school. I will talk about what he does for the rest of school in my next post.

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