When the children come in September, I like to introduce an All About Me Unit. This unit compliments nicely the ideas found in Month by Month Phonics for 1st grade, by Pat Cunningham. Further, it builds sight vocabulary and develops a sense of community in your classroom.
On a chart, list names of children as they are introduced, following the activities in Month by Month Phonics. Children can draw self-portraits next to their names.
Read aloud Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, a story about a little mouse with an unusual name.
Give each child a blank index card. Tell them to print their first name and count how many letters are in their name and write the number on the back of the card. I cut around their names to show the configuration.
On large chart graphing paper I write the heading - Our Name Graph.
Across the bottom label with numbers going from 0 to the largest number in your class. Then have the children come up as you call the numbers and glue their name going up the side. They then color in the number of boxes to match the number of letters in their name.
Make language experience chart with children to summarize what they have done and interpret graph results.
Class Data Chart:
Give each child a 4x4 square of white drawing paper. Tell them to print their name and draw a self portrait.
Label a piece of butcher paper - Meet Class 1- . As children finish, they glue their self portrait onto the butcher paper, leaving a large space in the middle. When finished glueing, using language experience approach write -
We are Class 1- .
We have _____ boys in our class.
We have _____ girls in our class.
We have _____ children in our class.
For homework I give out an All About Me sheet I made on my computer. The children have to write about themselves, filling in the blanks (this was done the 1st week of 1st grade).
We mounted these on the left side of long white construction paper. I glued a photograph I had taken of them on the top right side, leaving the space underneath their photograph for their illustrations.
These were then bound into a class book called - Meet Class 1-105. This has been placed out during P/T Conferences and is a favorite read during free time. Don't forget to put a page in for yourself.
LEARNING ABOUT MYSELF:
Teach the following finger play through demonstration:
Two little eyes that open and close.
Two littleears and one little nose.
Two little cheeks and one little chin.
Two little lips with teeth locked in.
Read aloud the book Faces by Jillian Cutting, or In The Mirror by Joy Cowley. Through repeated readings, model sentence and word reading. Build immediate recognition of sentences and words by matching sentence strips and word cards to sentences in the book.
Develop sight reading of see, my and parts of the body. Model reading strategies -
-Demonstrate how picture clues are used to read words.
-Demonstrate how letters and sounds are used to read words.
-Demonstrate how context clues are used to read words.
Use sentence strips to rebuild the story in a pocket chart.
Have children buddy read/read alone small books.
Center activity - rebuild big book using sentence strips.
Send the book home for reading.
Create original big book using story pattern and children's ideas and language.
After Reading -
Have children study their heads and faces in mylar mirrors, which are easy to make. Go to a party store and buy mylar. Cut cardboard, or oak tag into 6x6 inch squares. Cut the mylar into 7x7 inch squares and lay on top of the cardboard. Using colored electrical tape secure the mylar to the cardboard. Place this tape around the mirror to look like a frame.
On a chart, draw the outline of a head and label it as children name the parts - hair, eyes, ears, etc.
Print a patterned language chart from the children's dictation. Focus attention on their faces and heads.
See my eyes.
See my ears.
See my nose. etc
To build sentence and word reading, recopy the chart as sentence strips, and as word cards. Play a matching game. This activity can then go into a center.
I typed the chart in large font on my computer. I then cut it up and placed the words from 3 sentences a night in an envelope. The children brought home the envelope and a copy of the chart. The homework was to resequence the sentences by matching, or reading the words. They then glued it in the right order in their books.
Using my overhead projector, I traced the profile of each child onto black construction paper. I then cut this out and mounted it on lighter colored paper. I wrote the child's name under their shadow. These have remained in my room all year. During the first P/T conference I covered the name and asked if the parent could identify their child.
With children, count and draw a hair color graph.
With children, count and draw an eye color graph.
Body Tracings -
Build word recognition of body parts. Have children lay on brown butcher paper and trace the outlines of each other's bodies. Have each child draw and color his/her own body tracing. Display the body tracings around the room. Play a game and match word cards of body parts to body tracings.
Focus on Hands:
Recite any of the following fingerplays -
Where is Thumbkin?
Where is Thumbkin?
Here I am. Here I am.
How are you today sir?
Very well I thank you.
Run away. Run away.
Up to the ceiling; down to the floor.
Left to the window; right to the door.
This is my right hand-raise it high.
This is my left hand- make them clap.
Right hand, left hand-fold them in your lap.
Open, shut them; open, shut them.
Give a little clap.
Open, shut them; open, shut them.
Place them in your lap.
Creep them, creep them, creep them, creep them,
Right up to your chin.
Open wide your little mouth
But do not let them in.
On my head my hands I place,
On my shoulders, on my face,
On my hips and at my side,
Then behind me they will hide.
I will hold them up so high;
Quickly make my fingers fly;
Hold them out in front of me;
Swiftly clap them--one, two, three.
I also use the Hokey Pokey to teach body parts, as well as right/left orientation.
Read aloud the book, HANDS by Marcia Vaughan.
Teach a writing lesson with the pattern -
My hands can ________________.
Have children trace their hands and write about something they do with their hands.
I traced my children's hands onto felt squares with puff paint. I wrote their names under the hand print. A wallet sized photograph was then glued into the palm of the hand. I used pink squares for the girls and green squares for the boys. These were then sewn together into a quilt. In one blank square, I glued a class photo. In another, I wrote - Class 1-105, 1998-99.
Focus on Feet:
The following song was used as a motivation -
If your happy and you know it, clap your hands..
If you happy and you know it, tap your feet..
If you happy and you know it, nod your head...
If you happy and you know it do all three..
Read aloud the book, The Big Toe, by June Mesler. Read the book with appropriate voice dynamics. Use the text to introduce punctuation conventions - quotation marks, question marks.
Develop comprehension by mapping the story sequence on a wall chart. Have the children illustrate this chart.
Read aloud The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss. Do a rhyme round up of the words found in the story.
Trace children's feet - I left their shoes on o:)
Use the pattern - My feet can ______ to develop a language experience chart.
Children can use this pattern to write about what their feet can do.
Math Connection -
Have children trace their foot and cut it out. They can use these cutouts to measure things in the classroom. Have them estimate how many of their feet a table will be. Read - How Big is a Foot, by Rolf Myller.
Birthdays are important events in children's lives. These special days can be used to teach months of the year, as well as seasons. The following books are a nice introduction to a discussion of birthdays. Click on the title to see more information about each book. Then use your browser's back button to return to this page. The item willl remain in your shopping cart until you are ready to check out.
A Letter to Amy, by Ezra Jack Keats
Ask Mr. Bear, by Marjorie Flack
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Birthday Present, by Charlotte Zolotow
Birthday Presents, by Cynthia Rylant
The Secret Birthday Message, by Eric Carle
(This is my favorite. Great for teaching sequence, prediction and even mapping skills.)
Happy Birthday Sam, by Pat Hutchins
Activities to Integrate Curriculum -
Read Chicken Soup with Rice, by Maurice Sendak to review the months and seasons of the year. I had my children stand up when their birthday month was read. We then learned about the seasons as we branched off into a mini unit.
Birthday Cake Graphs -
Cut out 12 birthday cakes, one for each month of the year.
Cut out candles, one for each child in the class. The children write their name and birthdate on their candle. Glue the candles on the appropriate birthday cake. Hang on the wall to form a graph. Make a language experience chart with the children to interpret the graph.
Example - 3 children have a birthday in January.
Make birthday pudding. Talk about the changes that occur as the pudding changes from powder to liquid form - changes in matter.
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