No Worksheet Wednesday

What a crazy week it has already been! Between my 24 hours of traveling back from Florida to New Jersey and a professional development day yesterday, today was my first official day back with my first graders!  I'm trying to live in the land of denial and believe that we will NOT have a snow day tomorrow so I can continue to teach my littles and get some things accomplished!  If you've read my last few posts, you will see serious mention of Marcia Tate's Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites book study. 

 I've been so inspired by this book and continue to read it every day to learn more.  So, when I saw that Miss Decarbo and the bloggers over at The Primary Chalkboard were trying out "No Worksheet Wednesdays" for the whole month of March, I knew I had to try and participate!  I do know that worksheets have a place in our classrooms especially for review and assessment, but I already appreciate the opportunity to expand my horizons and find new activities for kids to participate in together!  Here's what a (mostly) worksheet free Wednesday looked like today...

We kicked off our morning by review vowel teams oa and ow with the fabulous Electric Company.  My kids love to dance and sing to these phonics songs and I even catch them humming them throughout the day!  Definite teacher win!  After doing a few activities on our SMART board and corresponding white boards, we broke up into literacy centers.  I gave the kids plenty of choices from Erica Boher's fantastic Long Vowel O literacy center packet.  Here some of my girls were unscrambling long o sentences and some of my other friends are magnifying and reading long o words. They had a blast, check out Erica's packet on TpT here!

Our reading strategy this week is drawing conclusions.  This is a difficult skill for any first grader.  They often understand it's about looking at clues but that doesn't always translate into understanding how to take those clues and formulate conclusions about a character or a situation.  So, we completed this hilarious activity that I found from Pinterest.  We took the contents of my purse and dumped them on the floor, the kids thought I was crazy!  We talked about the items in my bag and what kind of conclusions they could draw from these items.  I was not able to make a pretty anchor chart like the ones I've seen circling Pinterest or on Babbling Abby's amazing site here, but it did the trick!

We had a great class discussion about it!  Tomorrow we'll take drawing conclusions a step further as real detectives and draw conclusions with my Detective Dan and Inspector Spot.  I can't wait!

 No worksheet Wednesday was a perfect day to start using our This or That? Snack Mats!  I'm using this activity to help spark discussion about opinions and the importance of defending your opinions with reasons.  I passed out a snack mat to each student and told them that they needed to look at the two choices on their mats independently and decide which would they rather be.  

As I walked around with snack, I had them point to which job they would rather have.  Once all of our snack was passed out and the kids were happily eating, we discussed their opinions.  They did a great job!  They talked about how they would rather be a baker because they love sweets and could do it every day and even eat all the leftovers!  Or my kids who chose farmer stated that they would love to be around the farm animals, take care of them, and cook with all the fresh food.

We will be doing these mats with different choices every day leading up to our opinion writing launch along with other immersion activities.  I really want my kids to have a solid understanding of stating an opinion and giving reasons to defend their choice before we start writing.  

Thank you Primary Chalkboard for this great idea and inspiration to step outside the box this month and for many more to come!  Head on over to the Primary Chalkboard to check out more great ideas!

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