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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Character, Setting and Events in First Grade

In first grade this week, we learned about story elements such as characters, settings and events. 

In order to introduce characters to the students, I read Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon to introduce characters. We added Camila Cream to the character part of our chart (see below). Then, we began to discuss characters from other stories we have read over the first two weeks of school. We decided to add Chrysanthemum (she was a class favorite). Teacher tip: I photocopied a few characters in advance because I am a terrible artist. It was so much easier to tape it on. Finally, I talked with small groups of students and we looked through their book bags to figure out the settings in their books. 

The next day we reviewed character and I introduced the setting, I read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. We were able to cover several settings in this book (park, street, house, day, night, etc.). Then, we discussed the settings of Chrysanthemum and Bad Case of Stripes. Finally, I conferenced with small groups of students to discuss the settings in the books they are currently reading. 

To teach events, I read The Night I Followed The Dog by Nina Laden. This book is perfect for teaching students beginning, middle and end. The students were easily able to help me add the details to the chart, as we read along. We then talked about the other three books we read this week. The students discussed with their 1-2 Partners the beginning, middle and end of each book. We later took this to small group books. 

I needed a way to determine if my students really understood the story elements, so I created a quick assessment (download it free here). The assessment was super helpful! 

Next week, my first graders will learn key details. I am super excited to start my weekend making plans! I will share next week!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Principal Back to the Classroom

After four years of working as an elementary school principal, I have decided to step back into the classroom. This has been a difficult decision, but I am certain that I made the right one. 

I did not go back to the classroom because the principal's job is too hard, or too stressful, or because I am afraid of hard work. A teacher's job is also hard, stressful and a lot of hard work. I made this decision because I miss teaching. I miss being fulfilled. I miss being passionate. I think maybe I stepped away from the classroom too soon. I was young and eager and I wanted to change the world. What I have realized is that the best way to change the world is by teaching children. 

I am super excited to meet my new kiddos in just over two weeks!  Wish me luck!