Monday, August 14, 2017

Over 20 Morning Meeting Ideas for the First Week of School

Over 20 ideas for morning meeting for kindergarten and first grade the first week of school. Greetings, morning messages, group activity ideas, freebies, sharing ideas and more! (K, 1st grade, responsive classroom, classroom management)


Well folks, it's about that time. Perhaps for some, you are already back.

The first week of school....ahhh....it's exhilarating, it's fun, it's busy....and....it's downright exhausting.  

What am I going to do without my mid-morning nap? And my mid-afternoon nap?

Hopefully, I have some ideas for you to use here to ease that transition back.

I think setting the tone with Morning Meeting is the most important part of the day.  It is the one area of the day that I have more flexibility with and it a time for students and I to connect.

In following with a Responsive Classroom approach Morning Meeting in my classroom has 4 components:

1. Greeting
2. Share
3. Activity
4. Message

Sometimes, the 4 components may become a bit intertwined based on time and the nature of the activities.

I allocate about 30-40 minutes for Morning Morning and it always incorporates a read-aloud as well. Usually, the read aloud is a picture book of some kind.

Let's break down the four components and give you some ideas for each...


  I keep greetings very low key at first, as students are still getting to know one another and the classroom rules. 

Therefore, physical contact is limited and is gradually built up, depending on what your class can handle.

Here are some ideas:

1. Name Game: Everyone sits in a circle. Start with your arms Criss-crossed arms to make an X across your shoulders and then uncross them and tap your thighs.  As students to repeat this motion.  Once mastered, start saying student names as you go around the circle "My name is Mrs. Pettersen, Mrs. Pettersen, Mrs. Pettersen. My name is Mrs. Pettersen and what's your name?"  The person to my right says his/her name and we repeat "His name is Justin, Justin, Justin. His name is Justin, Justin, Justin, etc.  This continues until everyone in the class has had a turn. The last person is the teacher "Her name is Sara, Sara, Sara. Her name is Sara and we're all here!"  The kinesthetic motion helps students to remember names.

2. Walk and Greet: Teachers says greets each student by walking up to each student (not in order) waving and smiling and making eye contact.  Ask students "What did you notice?" when you are done. You are looking for students to notice that you made eye contact, that you gave a friendly wave without touching and that you smiled. This exercise models for students how you expect them to greet one another for morning meeting. Tell them so.

3. Ball Roll: Roll a small ball to a student after you say good morning "Good morning, Sam."  Sam responds and I roll the ball to him. Then he rolls the ball to a student. It is important to review rules and expectations with the ball before beginning this activity.

4. Mirror, Mirror:  Greet a student with a motion and have them repeat that motion.  If you are silent, they are silent.  They then repeat the same motion to a classmate of their choice.

5. Mirror, Mirrored:  Play the same way as above, but this time the after the student mimics your motion, they make up their own motion for a classmate to follow. Greetings continue with each student making up their own greeting motions.

6. Hola!:  Greet one another in a different language. Instead of saying "Good morning, the teacher greets a student with a greeting in a different language such as "Hola, Lila". Lila then does the same with another classmate. Switch it up as the year goes on with different languages.

7. Round Robin: Model how to shake hands using the right hand and how to shake appropriately without hurting a classmate. Then do a "round robin" greet" where the teacher shakes hands with the person to the right of them, that person shakes hands with the person to the right of them and so on until everyone has been greeted.

8. Meet and Greet: Students pull a name from a hat and greet that student.

9. Guess Who: Using the info gained from the share activity below the teacher pulls a name from a hat (without letting students see the name). Give the students clues on whose name was pulled "This student likes to play soccer. She has 2 brothers and a dog."

10. Sing this song or chant it as a rhyme:  

"If your name starts with A turn around.
If your name with B touch the ground.
If your name  then down and touch your knee.
If your name starts with D say "that's me!"

If your name starts with E reach up high.
If your name starts with F touch the sky.
If your name starts with G that wave up here to me
If your name starts with H say "Yippee!"

If your name starts I wink your eye.
If your name starts with J pretend to fly.
If your name starts with K then move and start to sway
If your name starts with L say "Good Day!"

If your name starts with M touch your head
If your name starts with N start to bend
If your name starts with O bend down and touch your toe
If your name starts with P say "That's me!"

If your name starts Q touch your shoe.
If your name starts with R stay where you are
If your name starts with T wave up here at me
If your name starts with U say Yoo-hoo!"

If your name starts with V say "Who me?"
If your name starts X say "Oh yes?"
If your name starts with Y please don't cry.
If your name starts with Z say "End with me."





Over 20 ideas for morning meeting for kindergarten and first grade the first week of school. Greetings, morning messages, group activity ideas, freebies, sharing ideas and more! (K, 1st grade, responsive classroom, classroom management)



O.k....I'm just going to put this out there....I don't like Sharing. There. I said it. Not sharing as in....I don't like to give my things to others. No, not that kind.

I don't like having a Share time in the classroom. I just feel like it terms into "This is what I have and you don't so I'm going to stand up here and tell you all about it and make you feel bad so you can go home and tell your parents and beg them to buy it for you too" time.

Therefore, Share time in the classroom for me has to have a bit more direction and purpose.

In the beginning of school, Share time consists of us getting to know everyone so everyone takes home a brown paper bag with this little poem attached.

We’d like to get to know
a little about you
So fill this bag with photos,
a small toy, a momento or two.

Bring your bag to school on _______
Know what you want to share and say.
We can’t wait to see what’s in your bag
On your sharing day!

Each student gets assigned a day (actually I assign 2-3 students per day) to share their bag and tell us about themselves.

This All About Me Paper Bag Activity is a FREEBIE in my store. You can grab it here.

All About Me Paper Bag Activity FREEBIE  is a great get to know you activity for back to school. Students fill the bag with various mementos, photos and trinkets to tell about themselves and share with the class. Use the included poem as a bag topper.


During the remainder of the year, share time is a time when students can share something that they made or earned (such as an aware, trophy, etc) or an addition to their family (such as a new family member or pet).

If someone returns from a vacation, they can share their travel journal with us during Share time too.


Back to School Trading Cards are a great way for kindergarteners, first graders, and second graders to get to know school staff and collect trading cards while touring their school!


1. Four Corners:  Designate 4 separate corners of your classroom. Choose one student volunteer to close his/her eyes. The remainder of the class will walk quietly to a corner.  The student with his/her closed chooses a corner number and any students in that corner are out and must come sit down.

2. Four Corners 2: Play the same as Four Corners except students go together to a corner based on your directions "Go to corner number 1 if you have a dog.  Go to corner number 2 if you have a cat. Go to corner number 3 if you have both a dog and a cat. Go to corner number 4 if you don't have a dog or a cat."

3. Sticky Numbers: One student is given a sticky note with a number written on it. He/She must ask her classmates questions about the number in order to guess it. Questions may be "Is it greater than 10? Is an even number?,etc?




4. Warm Winds:  Students sit in a circle. One students is the volunteer and asks a common attribute such as "A warm wind blows for anyone who likes pizza." Anyone who likes pizza must then get up and switch places with someone else. Last person standing is the next volunteer.

5. 7 Up: Played just like the traditional game. 7 people choose 7 people who are seated at a table with their heads down. Those7 people who are chosen try to guess who chose them. If guessed correctly, they can then be "it."

6. Back to School: Get to know staff in your school with these Back to School Trading Cards.  Give to staff ahead of time or place them in the mailbox. Take students on a tour and collect the cards as your tour. Kids just love collecting cards! They can learn who the staff members are, their names, and their job responsibilities at the same time!



7. Would you Rather: Kids LOVE "Would you rather?" games. You can do a few and then ask a student volunteer to do some.

8. Circle: Students sit in a circle. Send one student out of the room. Choose one student volunteer to be "it". This student makes a pattern of repeated motions. the remainder of the class copies the motions. Call the student who was sent out to come back in. This student now has to guess who is it.



Over 20 ideas for morning meeting for kindergarten and first grade the first week of school. Greetings, morning messages, group activity ideas, freebies, sharing ideas and more! (K, 1st grade, responsive classroom, classroom management)

I am so bad about writing morning messages.  As I'm making photocopies, catching up on who watched "The Bachelor" last night, setting out morning work, making sure I have work set for the parent volunteer I kept saying to myself "I need to write the morning message."

Well...9 times of of 10 the students were walking in and I was either


A. Writing the message right there and then OR
B. Still hadn't written in

Morning messages have always been my nemesis but I do they think they are so important for my early readers.

Soooo... I spent a lot of time going through the curriculum and creating a YEAR's worth of morning messages that I can always have on my computer so I could just pop it on and BAM!  There they are ....every day.


 An entire school year's worth of morning messages (11 months: August-June) have already been prepared for you with adorable graphics, a morning greeting, and a review of academic skills. This editable, projectable year long bundle also enables you to type in your own morning messages to suit your needs too! Great for kindergarten and first grade (k, 1st grade, back to school)


I never have to write a morning message again! 

Literally all I do is turn on my SmartBoard and my morning message for each day is right there! When I have a sub, I just leave her my login directions for my computer and it's a piece of cake.

I love how it's review for my students.  They are editable too so you can adapt them however you want.


 An entire school year's worth of morning messages (11 months: August-June) have already been prepared for you with adorable graphics, a morning greeting, and a review of academic skills. This editable, projectable year long bundle also enables you to type in your own morning messages to suit your needs too! Great for kindergarten and first grade (k, 1st grade, back to school)

 To pin for later:
Over 20 ideas for morning meeting for kindergarten and first grade the first week of school. Greetings, morning messages, group activity ideas, freebies, sharing ideas and more! (K, 1st grade, responsive classroom, classroom management)





Tuesday, April 4, 2017

What is Close Reading? Should I Be Doing it?

1st-3rd grade blog post on close reading. What is it and should I be doing it? Steps for implementing. Ideas for differentiation & guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers. {first, second, third graders, balanced literacy, ELA}

I hear it all the time when they come to the guided reading table to read with me and see the book we read together the last time: "but we already read this," they can't wait to proclaim!

"I know. We get to read it again," I answer back.  Every time.  This drives them nuts.  In their young minds, we read it. It's done. It's over.

Oh but my friends....."When you are done, you have only just begun."

Close reading is the reading and re-reading of text. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers.

How often have you conducted a DRA or a running record on a student and their reading fluency is fantastic? They pause at commas, have inflection in their voice, their pacing is perfection and yet....they cannot recall what happened in the story. 

Perhaps their story retell is vague at best, or when you ask them to identify the character traits of the main character you get "She's nice. She's funny." And then...they look at you blankly.

Close reading is a main component of the Common Core Standards. As students progress through their schooling years they will continue to read text and they will need to read for meaning to pull important information and details from the text. They will do this as they answer questions, take assessments, write reports, prepare presentations, and more. If students learn how to read for understanding and meaning, and interpret and analyze text at a young age while their early literacy skills are being set, then they will, in turn, be learning good reading comprehension skills and strategies. As they mature, they will continue building upon these skills, adding even more tools to their skillset.


You need your students to become more independent readers but the time constraints of your time make it increasingly difficult to plan differentiation in your curriculum.

And let's face it.....who has time to PLAN for differentiating?  Logistically, it just happens, but it's not something we have much time to plan out beforehand.

Here are some ways you can begin incorporating close reading in your classroom:


Use Smaller Reading Passages
Students can become fixated on their reading level. It can often cause them to lose sight of the overall picture. It is not the length of the text. It is the content of the text. The words and the vocabulary and the reader's ability to understand the content is what is most important. That is easily seen and modeled with close reading passages. Also, close reading involves a lot of thinking and "brain power".  The text doesn't need to be long to accomplish the task. 

Leveled & differentiated close reading passages for first, second & third graders & homeschool students. Perfect for guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers.{1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, ELA, balanced literacy}

Aim for Independence
Most of the time, I use close reading during guided reading. I do this so that I can use text more tailored for the readers I am meeting with.  I begin our reading by asking the students to read the text quietly to themselves first.  Next, I read the text aloud and they follow along. Then, each student reads a paragraph. 

1st-3rd grade blog post on close reading. What is it and should I be doing it? Steps for implementing. Ideas for differentiation & guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers. {first, second, third graders, balanced literacy, ELA}

I add vocabulary words from the text to the pocket chart and we find the word within the text. We read the sentence, highlight the word in the sentence and try to determine the meaning of the word based on the sentence. 

Leveled & differentiated close reading passages for first, second & third graders & homeschool students. Perfect for guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers.{1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, ELA, balanced literacy}

We complete this process with all the vocabulary, matching vocabulary words, pictures, and their matching definitions.

Leveled & differentiated close reading passages for first, second & third graders & homeschool students. Perfect for guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers.{1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, ELA, balanced literacy}

Reflect

After we read, we talk about the text. What was the main idea?  What details support the main idea?  "Where in the text does it say or tell us the......."

Since they LOVE using highlighters so much I try to give them a chance to use them by asking them to dig deep into the text to find something and highlight it. For example, "Highlight the part of the text that tells what parts of the world frogs can be found."

Leveled & differentiated close reading passages for first, second & third graders & homeschool students. Perfect for guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers.{1st, 2nd, 3rd grade, ELA, balanced literacy}

By the time we are done, our text is heavily marked with highlighted lines, circles, boxes, and more. It has definitely been closely read!

So...are you ready to give it a try? 

Or....are you already doing it?  I'd love to hear how it's going for you and what you think of it.

I have a Close Reading Mega Bundle that is over a year's worth of close reading that I use all year long in my classroom. It is more than half off right now for a limited time.


Pin for later:
1st-3rd grade blog post on close reading. What is it and should I be doing it? Steps for implementing. Ideas for differentiation & guided reading. Close reading is a key component of the Common Core Standards. This reading and re-reading and analyzing of text leads to higher level thinking skills and a deeper level of reading comprehension. These are crucial concepts for growing readers. {first, second, third graders, balanced literacy, ELA}


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Use Word Banks During Writer's Workshop


How to use word banks during writer's workshop is a blog post explains how you can effectively use word banks collaboratively with your kindergartners, first & second graders. Great for ELL students & struggling writers. Students and teacher generate word ideas to write in the bank and record the words on anchor charts or display on SMARTboard or interactive whiteboard. Can be used with all genres of writing (such as opinion, narrative & informative) {K, 1st, 2nd grade, homeschool}



    Have you ever taught that great writer's workshop mini-lesson where you can hear a pin drop in the classroom as you are modeling what to write on the easel? You turn around and this is what you see:



The look of confusion on a quarter on those young faces...

I hang up the anchor charts and walk them through the steps of writing an opinion piece...

How to write an opinion piece for first & second graders. This sentene starter anchor chart is a perfet way to get your young writers going during writer's workshop as they learn the words associated with writing about their opinions. {K, 1st, 2md grade, homeschool.}

Then, we talk about possible ways we can start our writing:

How to write an opinion piece for first & second graders. This sentene starter anchor chart is a perfet way to get your young writers going during writer's workshop as they learn the words associated with writing about their opinions. {K, 1st, 2md grade, homeschool.}

Since at least now they have a starting point and a definitive path going forward, some of the confused faces seem to dissipate.

But by far, the most often asked question I get during Writer's Workshop is...

"Mrs. Pettersen, how do you spell....?"

For those that are reluctant to take risks, or for those struggling students/writers, word banks are a helpful tool.

As a class, we generate a "word bank" of words we think we will use in our writing that day during Writer's Workshop.  These are words that are not on our word wall and cannot be sounded out easily.  I also add my own suggestions to the list. I try to keep the list small, at only 8-10 words. Students should be sounding out the majority of the words.

For ELL students, struggling writers and the like, words banks have proven to be a helpful tool in our classroom. 

Sometimes we write them on chart paper:

How to use word banks during writer's workshop is a blog post explains how you can effectively use word banks collaboratively with your kindergartners, first & second graders. Great for ELL students & struggling writers. Students and teacher generate word ideas to write in the bank and record the words on anchor charts or display on SMARTboard or interactive whiteboard. Can be used with all genres of writing (such as opinion, narrative & informative) {K, 1st, 2nd grade, homeschool}

Sometimes I type them out as the students dictate them in a Word Doc and display them on our SMARTboard. This seems to be the easiest way, since the SMARTboard is located front and center in our class so students can reference it easily (and frankly....it looks neater).

How to use word banks during writer's workshop is a blog post explains how you can effectively use word banks collaboratively with your kindergartners, first & second graders. Great for ELL students & struggling writers. Students and teacher generate word ideas to write in the bank and record the words on anchor charts or display on SMARTboard or interactive whiteboard. Can be used with all genres of writing (such as opinion, narrative & informative) {K, 1st, 2nd grade, homeschool}

What tricks do you use to help your young writer's during Writer's Workshop?



Pin for Later
How to use word banks during writer's workshop is a blog post explains how you can effectively use word banks collaboratively with your kindergartners, first & second graders. Great for ELL students & struggling writers. Students and teacher generate word ideas to write in the bank and record the words on anchor charts or display on SMARTboard or interactive whiteboard. Can be used with all genres of writing (such as opinion, narrative & informative) {K, 1st, 2nd grade, homeschool}