thinking outside the box

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by mel-bel, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. mel-bel

    mel-bel Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2008

    This will be my 3rd year of teaching, and my 3rd year teaching 1st, but I'm going to be at a new district that has LOTS of parent involvement which is something my old district lacked. As I'm thinking about this next year, there are two things I need suggestions on: Memory Books and Take Home Projects.

    Memory Books: I want to plan a memory book for the coming year, with a page for each month that showcases an art project, a poem, etc. I've seen great ideas online but most of them are more for kindergarten and I don't want mine to come out like one my students may have made in kinder. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    Take Home Projects: I love the ideas of sending home a family project each month and display it in the classroom. I also love that the projects are seasonal. Again, I've seen lots of ideas online with a project each month (All About Me, Pumpkin, Turkey, etc.) but I don't want the project to be a repeat of kindergarten.

    I want to have a plan for both of these sketched out before school starts so I don't get overwhelmed, send something home that I could have used, etc. I'd love to hear what you think.[/SIZE][/FONT[/SIZE]]
     
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  3. Ilovefirst

    Ilovefirst Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2008

    I remember having a turkey shape the size of a standard piece of oaktag sent home with me for a family project in first grade. We used fabric, yarn, birdseed, etc. to decorate it. When they were returned to school my teacher hung them up somewhere in the room. I don't remember doing one monthly - just remember the turkey.
     
  4. TeachtheWorld

    TeachtheWorld Companion

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    Jun 27, 2008

    We have "holiday homework" which is a project for my students to do at home with their parents. For November, I have a bulleting board that says, "My name is Tom Turkey and I'm as scared as can be. I'm wearing my disguise so you can't catch me." I send home a paper turkey cutout and the students work with their parents to help turn their turkey into something other than a turkey. I have had some really cute things come back...a lamb (cotton balls), spiderman, a princess, a hunter (camo painted), even Santa Claus and a Snowman. You'd be surprised what they can come up with. In December, I send home a paper ornament shape. They decorate it and send it back to go on our bare tree on the wall. February is decorating a Valentine box. I give out awards for these...most creative, most Valentine spirit, most beautiful, etc. For the 100th day of school, usually in January, they create a poster with 100 items. I have gotten things like a cutout of a gumball machine with 100 real gumballs glued to it. The best was a huge crayon box made out of yellow and green cardboard. The mom used an Ellison cutter to cut out 100 "crayons" and glued them to the box. I love projects like this and my parents, each year, have told me how much they enjoyed it.
     
  5. Eliza

    Eliza Companion

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    Jun 30, 2008

    For my memory books for first grade, I took pictures of each of my students during special activities throughout the year. (you could probably come up with one thing each month) I ran story paper (blank on top, lines on bottom) on a different color paper for each activity. I had the kids write about that special activity on the bottom and later attached the picture of them to the top and put the papers in plastic sleeves in a folder. I liked it because the kids did most of the work and it gives them a great keepsake about all of the things that happened in first grades (special programs, field trips, parties, etc)

    I also added a special poem on the cover page with their picture, a sample of their beginning of school writing and their end of school writing, an autograph page, and a personal letter from me.
     
  6. mel-bel

    mel-bel Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2008

    Great ideas! I love your memory book, Eliza, in that the writing is what is important and the art or whatever else is secondary. And that the kids do most of the work. If I come up with a list of activities before school starts (maybe one for each month, tie it to something seasonal) I can even run off the paper and have it waiting.

    Keep 'em coming!:)
     
  7. mbboss

    mbboss Rookie

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    Jun 30, 2008

    monthly writing samples

    I have a monthly writing book that we put together. Each month has a topic and we write about that. I then put it together like a calendar and send it home at the end of the year. I know the kids enjoy looking at them and seeing how much growth they have. They tend to laugh at their mistakes and are excited that they can now spell correctly. Parents love to look at these and many have said they will keep them forever. Good luck!

    topics

    August- what did you do this summer
    September-what do you like about 1st grade so far
    October-what are your plans for halloween
    November-what are you thankful for
    December-what does your family do for the holidays
    January-what would you want to do on a snowy day
    February-who is your special valentine
    March-what would you do if you found a pot of gold
    April-what can we do to help our earth
    May-why is your family special to you
    June-what was the best things about 1st grade
     
  8. mel-bel

    mel-bel Rookie

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    Jul 1, 2008

    Thanks for all your suggestions.

    I think my memory book will have a writing sample, an art project, and a picture for each month. I'll also put in special event pages like the 1st day of school, birthdays, 100th Day, field trips, etc.

    Does anyone have any ideas for a monthly take home project?


    Mbboss, aren't you always amazed at what the kids will say about winter and snow, even though a CA winter is rarely like that of books?
     
  9. TRIteach

    TRIteach New Member

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    Jul 1, 2008

    Here are the home learning projects that most of the first grade teachers do at my school:
    September - Flat Stanley: We read the book Flat Stanley then the students make a flat version of themselves and mail it anywhere in the world and the person who receives it takes pictures with them and writes about what they did. We like to see how far our Flat Friends can go. This correlates with our maps and globes Social Studies Unit.

    October - Pumpkin Project: Students must decorate a pumpkin to look like a favorite storybook character. Make sure to remind them NOT to puncture the pumpkin, because it rots much faster.

    November - Tricky Turkey: Send home a tagboard turkey. Students must disguise the turkey so it won't get eaten at Thanksgiving dinner! They also write a story to go along with it.

    December - Holidays...no project.

    January - 100th Day Project

    February - Valentine's Day box: decorate a box for Valentine's Day and bring in Valentines to give to all students in the class.

    March - Dr. Seuss Puppet: Give students a paper bag and they must turn it into their favorite Dr. Seuss character.

    April - Trash Sculpture: Students must use recycled materials to make a sculpture. This goes along with talking about Earth Day.

    May - Book Report in a Bag: Students will read a book of their choice. They take a paper shopping bag (or gift bag) and decorate it to look like the cover of their book. Inside, they put 4-5 objects that represent important events in the story. They then share the book report with the class. This is a neat way to have students retell their books with their friends.

    Hope that helps you some!
     
  10. mbboss

    mbboss Rookie

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    Jul 1, 2008

    mel-bel we definitely have to read about it and come up with ideas. I live in the Mojave desert and it has snowed probably only 3 times in my lifetime. We are lucky enough to live a few hours away from the mountains, so some kids have felt and played in snow. It is quite funny to hear somethings they want to do.
     
  11. mel-bel

    mel-bel Rookie

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    Jul 2, 2008

    Mbboss, I live in Bakersfield! :woot: How funny is that!
     
  12. mbboss

    mbboss Rookie

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    Jul 2, 2008

    I live in Ridgecrest, it's like 2 hours away. Wow what a small world!
     

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