Below is a post about our first official “Katie Day” of the year. I will be sending out blog updates two or three times a month to update you on my time with the class.

We started the day with a read-aloud of The Day the Crayons Quit, one of my favorite new picture books. It was the perfect introduction to our art program and how to take care of our art materials. Then the learners used their crayons to draw on posterboard, the first step in making our art portfolios that we’ll use throughout the school year.

After an all-school assembly, our first Spanish lesson with Elena and recess, we read Chrysanthemum, a story about a mouse with an unusual name. We then talked about our names, counted the number of letters in our names and made a graph according to the number of letters. Each learner was given a “puzzle” of their name. They then spelled out their names and when they had mastered that, tried their tablemates’ names.

At the end of the day we reviewed all the rules we had learned so far at school….a lot to remember! Then we read No David! and David Goes to School about little David who has a hard time following directions and rules. Learners then made their own illustrations about our class. For example: no, you can’t pick the flowers in the garden, but yes, you can smell and enjoy the flowers. Or no, you can’t grab toys from someone during free choice but yes, you can ask if you can take a turn with it.

During first grade time the learners continued with their pattern block exploration and we also had some whiteboard math time. During this activity the learners are given a problem on the whiteboard (in this case, a challenging multi-step addition word problem). The focus is on all the different strategies one can use to solve the problem, not so much on the exact answer. Yesterday’s strategies included starting with the bigger number, making tally marks, counting on your fingers, drawing a picture and making dots for each item. I was very impressed with our first grade mathematicians!

Lastly, I’d like to thank Colleen and the PRT reps for the surprise birthday celebration. Many thanks to the class for the wonderful coffee and chocolate, my two favorite things. I’m looking forward to a great year with you all!

Here are some pictures from our day. (Click on the first photo to see a click-through gallery with larger images.)