What We Wear in Winter
With the winter season coming up, we have been talking a lot about what happens during this time of year. The weather gets colder, in some places it starts snowing, and we wear different clothes to keep us warm. We have spent several lessons looking at and discussing what kinds of clothes we put on when it gets cold, and to finish up with this topic, we played a fun winter clothes game.
The students got to go through a box of clothes that Miss Kimberly brought in. They held up each piece and said the name of it. Then pairs of students were chosen to go to the front of the class. Another student pulled a flashcard out of a hat and said the name of a piece of winter clothing. The students at the front then had to race against each other, digging through all the clothes in the box, finding the right piece of clothing, and putting it on!
After several rounds of this, we changed the game by calling six students to the front and placed six different pieces of winter clothes in front of them. Each student had to put on their piece of clothing while racing against the teacher, who had to put on all six pieces of clothes by herself. Ah, but Miss Kimberly was too slow! The students seem to beat her almost every time! All of the students in the class were very excited and cheering for their friends as they learned about what we wear in winter!
Ornaments from the Heart
During the month of December we celebrate Christmas. Most of the students know about giving and receiving gifts, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and snowmen. One of my favorite parts of Christmas is doing nice things for others and expecting nothing in return. As a class, we talk about nice things we can do for people without telling them. We made two trees in our classroom. The students also made ornaments. Every time they do something nice for someone else they are able to put an ornament on the Christmas tree. Here you can see the progression of our tree. At the beginning of each day, the students were given the opportunity to talk about the nice things they did. Some of the student’s responses were very good, such as:
"I helped my mom wash the dishes."
"I helped my mom wash the clothes."
"I made my bed."
"I helped my teacher put the chairs away."
"I helped my teachers clean up garbage."
"I helped my auntie clean the house."
"I helped my uncle by fruit."
"I helped mom wash broccoli."
Overall the lesson went well. The student learned that Christmas isn’t only about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and presents but really about helping other people too. From our wonderful students in our grade 1 class, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Phonics Teaching in Grade 1
In order to reinforce the children’s knowledge of phonics with particular emphasis on the vowels and their sounds, we played a game that included giving students the opportunity to win points for their tables by throwing Velcro balls at a target. Before the game, we went over the vowels, A, E, I, O, and U, along with their sounds. The students were shown a PPT with slides containing a three-letter word, all of them having only one vowel. I went slide by slide and read each word aloud, though I chose particular words to intentionally read incorrectly with regards to the vowel sound.
The students were instructed to look at the word, identify the vowel, and see if the vowel sound that they heard from me matched the vowel on the PPT slide. If it did, they simply repeated the word after me, but if it did not, they had to stand up. After some practice, five students were chosen, one from each table, to play the game. The first student to stand up upon hearing the vowel in a word pronounced incorrectly got to throw a Velcro ball at a target to gain points for their table. The student was also asked a follow-up question that had them listen to me say a three-letter word and tell me what the vowel in the word is. Being the first to stand up allowed the students to throw one ball and they could throw a second ball if they answered the follow-up question correctly. The students had a great time playing the game while consolidating their knowledge of phonics!
We spent several weeks studying the ‘All About Me’ unit. In this unit we drew, counted and talked about our bodies. We counted how many body parts each student had. We also talked about different types of the same body part. So, as a fun way to finish up this topic we designed pet monsters. We then drew; talked about and counted the monsters body parts. The students really got creative. We had monsters with zero legs and some with ten. We even had monsters with more than one head.
We also had monsters with anywhere from one to ten arms. Eyes however seemed to be a favorite. Some students drew over 50 eyes! These monsters could really see everywhere. Once the monsters were drawn each student wrote a short description of their monster and told me what colors they used, as well as how many mouths, eyes, arms, legs etc… they used to create their monster. This was a fun activity and I was so proud of how well the students did. They were so creative and really enjoyed showing their monsters off to their classmates. As well as learning about body parts they also practiced their counting skills, colors, numbers and writing.
Vocabulary & Writing
Each day in our class we do many activities to teach English vocabulary and writing. In first term we are reviewing
vocabulary about our homes and home activities. We recently did a project where each child designed their own home. After they designed the home they had to draw in some furniture and then label
each room. Since this is vocabulary they are learning, I displayed the correct spelling of each room and expected them to copy the words correctly.
When we do art activities, the instructions are given in English. For example, when we designed the home, I created my own design first and took pictures of it. Then I created a PowerPoint so the children could see the steps I took to design my home. Then I explained the instructions to them in English and showed them the PowerPoint to help them understand the instructions.
We are learning to write words by listening to the word and writing the letters we hear. So in G1 the word ‘computer’ is very often written as ‘cmptr’. This skill is called “decoding”. This is a very important skill for the children to learn and is much more important than learning to memorize the correct spelling of words. In G1 we want the students to be able to hear and write the main sounds they can hear for each word they want to write.
So after the children completed the design of their home, I asked the students to write about things they would like to do in this home. The expectation was for them to write sentences with an initial capital letter, finger spaces between words, and a period at the end. Perfect spelling and grammar are not emphasized in first semester, and they use “decoding” to try and sound out words they write.
Mr. G's Class: Grade 1
Student Teacher Activity (Days of the Week)
In my class, students get to be the teacher too! We start off each day selecting students to teach the class about the days of the week, months of the year, the weather, shapes, colors and numbers. Below is a description of this "student teacher" activity.
A student says 1-2-3 and the rest of the class says the days of the week. The student teacher then asks three students, “What day was it yesterday?”, “What day is it today?” and then “What day will it be tomorrow?” They then ask the whole class the same questions. Next, the student teacher says the days of the week by themselves. Finally, the whole class sings a song about the days of the week.
We repeat this type of activity with a different student teacher doing different topics like the months of the year, the weather, shapes, colors, numbers, and of course, the alphabet. Every student is given the opportunity to be the teacher many times throughout the school year. Each student gets more confident with each turn. I enjoy seeing them progress and become more comfortable in front of their classmates. By the end of the year, the students will be able to do everything by themselves and don’t need the additional assistance of the classroom teacher!
Ms. Jan's Class: Grade 1
Teaching Practices for Beginner Learners
Each day in my class, we do many activities to teach English vocabulary and writing. In first term we are reviewing proper letter formation. Students will write sentences about the words they are learning. For example, they recently practiced writing the letter ‘Ff’. Then they wrote sentences like “I like fish.” or “I have a fish”.
Whenever we are learning to write new words, grade one students listen to the word and then write the letter sounds that they hear. For instance, the word ‘computer’ is very often written as ‘cmptr’. This is acceptable because this is a very important skill for the children to learn before they learn how to memorize the correct spelling of words. In grade one, we want the students to be able to hear and write the main consonants of each word they write.
We go to the library to hear the English librarian tell English stories and songs. Research has shown that hearing songs and stories at their English level helps children remember vocabulary. When we do art activities, the instructions are given in English. For example, when we made leaf rubbings, it’s very important for the children to use the edge of the crayon, not the tip. So I told them how to use the edge of the crayon, and then showed them how to do it. I also suggested that they could make a leaf animal by trying to visualize an animal in their rubbing and then have them write the name of the animal or even a sentence about the animal.
Mr. Ian's Class: Grade 1
Memory Game Activity
We play a game to help the students remember all of the vocabulary words that they had learned so far in the school year. As a warm-up activity, I put flashcards for all of the vocabulary words on the white board and we go through each of them one by one. For this game on this day, I am using classroom items vocabulary (scissors, pencil, etc). I then start the game by choosing three flash cards randomly and telling the students that they need to memorize the three flash cards that I chose and recite them back to me in the proper order.
The students are grouped together with their table mates into five separate teams. If they are successful in reciting the memorized vocabulary, their table
group gets to roll a large six-sided die for points. The game continues until all of the vocabulary words are finished and there is a winning table group!
Ms. Kimberly's Class: Grade 1
Show and Tell Activity
We have added Show and Tell to our Daily Routine in our grade one classroom. Students bring something from home, show it to everyone in class, and tell us all about it. The class is encouraged to ask questions about each object. So far, students have brought in some great things, and we’ve had some really excellent questions as well!
In our morning class, Lilo brought in her stuffed rabbit and bear. She told us that they sleep and cuddle with her throughout the night. Winson asked outstanding questions including, ‘Why are they friends?’ Lilo had a good answer for that question: ‘They are friends because they live in the same garden and like to play together.’ Luciana also brought in a rabbit and a bear, but they looked very different from Lilo’s. Both the bear and the rabbit were white. Andy and Ryan asked excellent questions like if the bear and rabbit are boys or girls. Luciana said they’re both girls. Celia asked if Luciana is their mother. Luciana told us that she is their friend. Winson brought in some awesome robots! One of them was a Transformer. While he showed us how it could transform into a truck and answered questions from Angela and Abby.
In our afternoon class, Audrey showed us her Princess Sophia pencil case. It was mostly purple and had some pretty designs on it. We asked her what she can do with it. She showed us where she can store pencils and markers. And then she pushed some buttons, and out popped a secret eraser compartment! What a cool pencil case! Jerry brought in an awesome car! He told us about the colours on it, black and orange, and how it is made of small Lego parts. Shaun asked a very good question. He wanted to know if the car can race other cars. Jerry said he does race it with other cars and that this car is really fast and always wins! Layla showed us a very cool shark aeroplane. This toy can transform from a shark into an aeroplane! The class had a lot of questions for Layla. Audrey asked who got this toy for her. Layla said it was her mother. Mira asked if it was a birthday gift. Layla said that it was! Our class really enjoys our Show and Tell activity. We look forward to seeing what students will bring in next!
Ms. Jessica's Class: Grade 1
Interactive Whiteboards in the Classroom
Students have been working really hard practicing their phonics, shapes, numbers and colours over the past month. The students are learning all the letters of the alphabet and their phonetic sounds. Our classes begin each day with our morning routine and then we practice the letter sounds by singing a song. Some parents have mentioned that their children come home happily singing the songs each day!
We have found that students can better remember by using small white boards to practice what they are learning. For example, the teacher will say the sound of the letter and the students have to write on their boards which letter sound the teacher is making. This is a great way for the teacher to assess how the students are doing in the class. The students also use the white boards to review shapes, numbers and any other theme that has been taught. For example, students are asked to draw scissors, glue, erasers and pencils on their white boards. The teacher can quickly see which students have learned their classroom items vocabulary and which vocabulary needs to be reviewed again. The students really enjoy learning this way and they really enjoy practicing active participation in the class.