This week in math the students listened to a math story about different combinations for ice cream sundaes. They then were given a challenge problem involving decorating sugar cookies for a party. They have never worked through this kind of problem before. They were apprehensive but smiled and tried anyways. We talked in great detail about the struggles they would encounter, and how if they were OPTIMISTIC, PERSISTENT, and FLEXIBLE they could work through this. These are words we have being using to grow our minds this year in first grade. They help us to remember that we have a brain that can keep growing and isn't fixed. The students worked on this problem at two separate points this week. We had a few conversations about their work and what was hard. We came up with suggestions on what the work could look like, but not once did I teach them how to do it, rather gave them tools that might aid them in their exploration of how to solve it. In the end, many of the students had found some of the ways. I was so proud of them. Together we solved it and came up with all the ways, using a very systematic way that none of the students had thought about. We talked about their strategies, what worked, what did not work, and what new strategies they might try in the future. They were proud of themselves for sticking with it, even when it seemed hard.
For the past two weeks, the authors in room 17 have been reviewing and writing new How To...books. This was a unit the students loved weeks ago. They had the chance to practice their crafts again on new pieces. The students started this by each writing a How To Build a Snowman book. They then read it to a partner and the partner acted it out. The students quickly figured out that they almost all forgot a very important step. They all rolled three different sized snowballs, but forget to give the direction to stack them. This lead to a big conversation about how important the sequencing of steps is when giving directions on how to make something. The students then had a chance to revise their pieces to include that very important pieces. Next the students worked on How To Brush Your Teeth. Through this piece students were targeting using very specific action words instead if just saying "put" or "get". Instead they used words like, grab the toothbrush, hold it under the water, and squeeze the toothpaste. They really fine tuned those crafts. The students then to got to pick their own topics to teach. During this time, students worked on adding in appropriate tips, warning and reminders, and using catchy introductions and conclusions that wrapped the piece up. I am so very proud of the students' hard work over the last two weeks in writing. Next week, we will be revisiting the Information writing unit. That was another favorite. The students will be so excited.