Friday, May 24, 2013

The final stretch...

The countdown is on! It's that time of year that all teacher's look forward to. This year I have mixed emotions because at the end of school I will be packing up my first grade classroom and making a big move. Our family is moving closer to family, which we are so excited about. Everything is about to change, but I've had quite the ride at my current school and learned so much about myself as an educator. I know these past four years have served me well and I'm excited about my next teaching adventure!

So how have we been filling the last month of school? Well, our testing is over (horaay!) and we are in the review phase for most standards. Currently we are reviewing our 4th quarter SOLs in science and social studies work stations. The kids LOVE it! They are already so good at station procedures, so this was an easy thing to introduce at the end of the year. We have 6 stations and spend about 15 minutes in each. This also allows me to pull guided reading groups for a second dip of instruction or administer end of the year assessments. 

Poster Making Station: Here we were actually reviewing the social studies standard about our community. Students draw a black and white outline of different places in their community and then use water colors to create a poster. Many students also took it upon themselves to add labels : )

Reading Station # 1& 2: Our school is lucky enough to have an amazing leveled book room. This year we got leveled science and social studies texts that the students LOVE. The photographs are beautiful and very high interest. After I work on the books in reading groups, I add them to one of the science/social studies reading stations.

Teacher Table: Here we may work on a content guided reading book or another skill that students need to review from our science/social studies unit.

Sorting Station: We love to sort! Students are working on a President's Day/Columbus Day/Independence Day sort. After modeling the sort in whole group, I move the sort into this station. Students practice it and then write/draw the sort in their Science/Social Studies notebooks.

Discovery Education: Depending on what we are reviewing students watch and write about a video clip from Discovery Education. On this day we had to improvise because 3 of the 4 computers were on the "blink" so students had to cozy up to one computer. They did a great job and I actually liked it better because they would stop and have conversations with each other about what they were watching. They then record their learning in their Science/Social Studies notebook.

I also have an Observation Station, which I forgot to take a picture of. This is a station where I bring in various items to observe. I really want my first graders to understand what it means to observe and use your five senses to record what you really see, not what you think you see. It's harder to teach then you think! I put out magnifying glasses and colored pencils and let them have at it in their notebooks. Observations Station and Poster Station are the favorites! I like this time of year because there are more opportunities to allow students a creative outlet. There is so much you can do to tap into their creative sides within science and social studies. Students who struggled with certain concepts are able to explore and express their ideas in a different medium and it seems to be making a difference!

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