TGIF – Why I Look Forward to Friday – #NoOfficeDay – 1st Grade

TGIF has taken on new meaning for me this year! Friday’s have become my go to day for scheduled #NoOfficeDays. This past Friday I enjoyed a #NoOfficeDay with our 1st grade students and teachers, but it also capped off a week of Engineering activities within classrooms across Sigler Elementary. It was a perfect opportunity for me to not only enjoy a #NoOfficeDay, but I also was able to engage in some hands on STEM learning with our 1st graders!

Interested in seeing all of the #EngineersWeek excitement? Follow the link:

Engineer’s Week at Sigler 

With Engineer’s Week coming to a close my #NoOfficeDay started with reading “Rosie Revere, Engineer” to the boys and girls at Sigler Elementary, live on morning announcements. It was a perfect start to my #NoOfficeDay and reminded students to never give up, it’s acceptable to fail as long as we learn from failure and each of them have the opportunity to create inventions that may one day change the world.

After announcements concluded, I was on a tight schedule the rest of the day, as the 1st grade team had planned every minute of my day starting at 8:00AM. I always tend to run a little bit behind schedule, but the staff and students are always so understanding when I show up a little late. After all, if I am running late, it is only because of the engagement with students in a previous activity.

My first stop of the day led me to Mrs. Alire’s classroom for math! Mrs. Alire understands that literacy can be taught through all subjects and had picked up a book for me to read to get the students engaged in today’s lesson about money. After an enjoyable read aloud, students were divided into groups and I was able to work with students as they showcased their understanding of money. Students were able to identify coins from a penny up through a half dollar and let me know the value of each coin.

Follow Mrs. Alire on Twitter & help build her PLN – @RAlire2014

Students were given a tray full of coins and I would give them item cards with a specific amount of money on each card. Students need to pay me for the item shown. Some students started paying in pennies, but I let them know my pockets were not big enough for so many pennies and asked if they could find another way to pay for the item. Students met the challenge and were able to find multiple ways to pay for the item they were given and were also able to determine if they needed more or less money as I would show them additional items once they had established a certain amount of money. While I did my best to focus on the students I was working with, I could not help but notice the excitement students had at one of the rotations.

Mrs. Alire had set up a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) station for students to reinforce their understanding of the value of money. Normally, Mr. Arend is the exciting rotation, but I am not sure I can compete with the excitement generated by using devices. BYOD is an initiative we want our parents to be supportive of.

Check out the video we sent home encouraging parents to support this initiative!
(Be sure to use the CC button for Spanish subtitles)

With my pockets lined with money, it was time for some recess. I need to take a moment and recognize our first grade students and staff for the flexibility they have demonstrated this year with having an early recess time. Scheduling recess earlier in the students’ day provided extended learning opportunities for their students as well as others throughout the building with out interruptions. 
The Texas weather the past two weeks has been problematic in regards to enjoying outdoor recess, so we did the very best to enjoy some indoor recess time. I still think the students enjoyed it! What do you think? 
With all of the indoor recess activities coming to a close and making sure we got everything picked up, I transitioned to Ms. Salazar’s classroom for Reading.  There is a special group of students in this bilingual classroom that get to focus on poetry on Friday’s with the support of Mrs. Pursley. I was able to accompany these students and enjoy Poetry Friday. Reading “Sky Wish” we discussed flying kites and the various experiences students had with flying kites. Ideally, we would have stepped outside and flew a kite, but with snow falling, we focused our efforts on creating our own kites, making sure we wrote our wish on our kite. During our poem we focused our efforts on visualization and putting ourselves in the poem. We envisioned writing our wish on the kite, holding onto the string, running through the wind and the being overcome with joy when our kite flew! Sharing this experience with you in words, just does not do it justice. You need to see the students in action! 
Check out the students here – Sky Wish
After witnessing an Oscar worthy performance I said good bye to Ms. Salazar’s classroom and headed down the hall to greet the students in Mrs. Mogollon’s classroom.  Students in Mrs. Mogollon’s room were ready and waiting and had just finished up one of their guided reading rotations.

Guided Reading – Sequencing Events
Top Secret
By Friday, the students had spent most of the week reading and discussing their individual books, so it was fun for me to hear all they had learned. Students were eager to share and read their books with me. In addition to reading their books with me, they also got to work on a top secret assignment. Having students rotate through stations during my time in classrooms, allows me to spend time with each of the students in the classroom. Listening to their answers and seeing how much they love sharing warms my heart and reaffirms all the great things we are doing at Sigler Elementary! Students in 1st grade love to read! They also love to work on top secret assignments. Can you guess what they may be working on?

Sticking to my schedule, best I can, the next stop for the day includes spending time with our PE coaches and following the students to specials. While I do not get to spend time with each of the rotations, I do think dedicating each #NoOfficeDay to a specific specials rotation allows me to spend more time with each of our specials teachers, who are very, very talented and loved by our students!

With snow falling outside and having already missed two days of school this week due to winter weather, it seemed appropriate the students were learning how to play hockey! Who better than to teach them the ins and outs of hockey, than Alaskan, Coach Solow! Under the supervision of Coach Solow, students were able to shoot and score their hockey puck into their group’s net with success! Just like any thing we do in life, practice makes perfect!

(Follow him on Twitter & help build his PLN – @SolowBob)

Check out our first grade students practicing using the video links below.

Indoor Hockey Practice Video #1

Indoor Hockey Practice Video #2

Hockey practice is hard work and the first graders built up an appetite. Thankfully, lunch was next! I always feel bad when I am in the cafeteria. The noise level is always several decibels louder due to my presence. Try as I might, I just cannot keep quiet in the cafeteria. I am eager to discuss life with the students and the students are eager to share their lives with me. Even if it means sharing what they are eating for lunch. It’s normally a guarantee that when I enter the cafeteria, I leave with little Doritos, Cheetos and Takis fingerprints on me somewhere. Check out my the fun in the cafeteria with the video below.

Lunch Video

After lunch I had one hour of time left in first grade for the day and I had two stops left, Mrs. Simental’s and Ms. Skinner’s classrooms. Lucky for me, first grade had used this time all week for Engineer’s Week. I was able to spend the last hour of my day assisting both Mrs. Simental and Ms. Skinner in the facilitation of STEM activities.

Follow Mrs. Simental on Twitter & help build her PLN – @SimentalLeola

Follow Ms. Skinner on Twitter & help build her PLN – @KaitlinSkinner7

Yes, even our first grade students know what STEM stands for.

STEM stands for…Click Here

In Mrs. Simental’s class, we started by reading The Three Little Pigs. Everyone loves this story, but today the students had the task of creating their own house out of the materials given to them. Students had materials including sugar cubes, paper plates, popsicle sticks, tape and glue. It was great to see them collaborate together, think critically and understand their idea may not always be the best. Sometimes their friend had a better idea and that was OK! Regardless of who the idea belonged to our students are beginning to think like Engineers and it is simply amazing! 

Building a House Out of Popsicle Sticks

As I jumped across the hall to Ms. Skinner’s class, the activity they had just started was working with

electric snap circuits to use Morse Code as a means to communicate. Hansel and Gretel provided the background knowledge to get students thinking about why Morse Code is necessary. After all, you never know when the birds are going to eat all of your bread crumbs. Students had no problem coming up with different ways to complete the circuit getting their light bulb to shine bright. After some time to explore, I was able to provide the students with a secret code for them to solve. I wonder if they figured it out???

I ended my #NoOfficeDay with a Self Manager Celebration with our students who had reached the Ambassador Level. As much as I would love to share what we did, you are going to have to wait and see. All I can tell you is that we are planning a little something for Teacher Appreciation Week, which is coming up in May. It is never too early to appreciate our teachers. 
If this is your first time reading one of my #NoOfficeDay summaries, I hope you enjoyed it and I hope you will share it with your principal. If you are a principal and you are reading it for the first time, I hope you consider scheduling a #NoOfficeDay. Yes, the emails, phone calls and “principal stuff” piles up, but we need to remember the reason we do what we do! #NoOfficeDays serve as a humble reminder of just how hard our teachers work, how rewarding the job of an educator is, and how amazing it is to surround yourselves with students who want to learn!