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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Groundhog Day 2017

Hey, hey! What's this? A second blog post? Two in two weeks? Don't get too excited, haha!

This week was all about groundhog fun. As I'm sure you know, Groundhog Day was on Thursday. (Georgia's groundhog, Gen. Lee, did NOT see his shadow...and we always go with what he said over Punxsutawney Phil...so early spring it is. Although I would love to see some snow, I don't want any snow days to interfere with our February break...so bring on the warmer temps!) This year we decided as a grade level team to spend a week researching groundhogs, storing up facts on the little animals, and then write an informational report. I am so pleased with how everything turned out!

We started the week by frontloading our brains with facts about groundhogs. I made a set of informational posters that I projected on our interactive panel for us to look at as a digital text.



I also printed the posters for kids to look at, but we did more with the digital texts than anything. Side note: I LOVE our new interactive panels. We got them at the beginning of the year and they are so awesome! I can put a PDF file up with no hassle. I can also put the items into the panel's note-taking software and then use annotation tools like highlighters. This panel has changed my teaching life for the better!

Here are the posters all printed out...as you can see, we had a lot of information to look at!

The writing part of this was really interesting. My kids have such diverse needs as writers, and I don't feel like I always address all of their needs like I should during writing time! This week, though, I really felt like they accomplished some excellent writing no matter what their level of writing proficiency might be.  We started with a graphic organizer...


Don't you love looking at first grade writing? Look at how this little friend spelled 'holes!' Love it.

After we did some work with the graphic organizer, we moved to the drafting stage. Now, I'm not going to lie...for some reason this week making the jump from the GO to the "sloppy copy" was a bit...difficult. I had kiddos who wanted to straight up copy everything they put on the GO onto their sloppy copy without converting them to sentences. There was conferencing...a LOT of conferencing...going on in our class this week. Of course, I had some writers who just needed to be let loose and they had amazing, informative pieces by the end of Day 1. For those kiddos, I pulled out some extra pages for their reports. They wrote about what groundhogs eat in detail and completed diagrams. If we'd had time, I might have also encouraged them to do a glossary because I think that would have been a neat component!

Here's how they turned out! They came out so cute that we hung them in the hallway. Funny story: I completely forgot that their groundhogs were supposed to have whiskers. I cut out all of the other pieces but forgot to give them strips of construction paper to make the whiskers. Ooops! Teacher fail! I still think they are really cute, though, and I am so happy with how they progressed from Day 1 of writing to the finished project.



(And yeah, we still have our 100th Day Rock Star guitars hanging up. I couldn't quite bear to take those down yet!)

I made all of the printables and resources for this unit. It's in my TPT shop! If you bought it, I would love to hear how your projects turned out in your classroom. This is definitely something I will do again next year and I will be creating more informational units like this one!

One more picture that has nothing to do with groundhogs...


This is one of the things that is making me happy this week! (Does anyone else listen to the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast? If not, you should because it's a great way to stay in touch with what's going on in pop culture when you're a teacher and have NO LIFE! Or maybe that's just me? LOL!) At the end of the podcast each week, the hosts share something that is making them happy that week. Well, this week my Read to Self time and reading conferences are making me so happy! I have some little friends who are taking off in reading and it makes my teacher's heart so full! We've been conferencing about picking books that are on our level but that are also INTERESTING to read. This sweetie right here picked up a Jon Klassen book last week (I Want My Hat Back-I love his books because they are funny but easy enough for beginning readers to read) and I told her she could definitely start reading Dr. Seuss on her own. She was so into reading Green Eggs and Ham that she didn't even notice me snapping a picture. This is the magic that is first grade...kids getting so wrapped up in awesome books that they can finally read themselves!

Have a great week, everyone! If you live in the Southeast, hopefully our groundhog's prediction will be accurate and spring will be here to stay soon. :)

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