Our first FLEX Friday of 2020 was packed with fun and learning. We started our day with morning meeting as a school and then it was off to the races! Excel time was filled with accelerated learning topics like: time, 2-digit addition without regrouping, measurement in standard and nonstandard units, and a little geometry. We then took an in-depth look at the First Commandment and completed a Freyer Model chart to learn how to focus our prayer time and make it meaningful. First graders then worked on Reading in Edmentum and learned how to use Word Processing Programs in Technology.
After a little break for lunch and recess we were back at it! First graders listened to the story “Snowmen at Night” and looked at magnified snowflakes to start our STEM project for the day. Students were then given a sheet of wax paper and we discussed translucent, transparent, and opaque objects. As the challenge began students were told they may use their hands or scissors as their only tools. They had to figure out how to turn the transparent wax paper into an opaque state! After many different methods were tested, students found that folding and cutting then piling the paper up were two ways to transform our medium. Students then made their very own snowflakes with the tiny cut pieces to symbolize the crystallization of water. The learning and fun continued with an opinion writing piece. Would you rather build a snowman or a snow fort? After writing about their vote students made their very own Picture Graph to extend our current topic in Math. After all of that, our first FLEX Friday is in the books!
After learning about the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the students created their very own. We learned about how traditions from other customs helped to form what is now a legendary tradition today. We had previously learned about customs, traditions, and celebrations in our Social Studies lessons. Our book exploration, research into this project, and challenge helped students relate the previous learning to their own lives in a fun and creative way.
Flex Friday is always a race so today we decided to theme the whole day around just that. We read “The Great Turkey Race” and then took on the challenge of building our own model of and obstacle course for the turkeys to run. As the students began drawing their course, I then added my surprise lesson into the mix by telling them that the course also had to be 3-D! First graders then had to re-imagine their course and how they would build it to fit these requirements. This was a great way for us to review, reinforce, and enhance our 2-D vs. 3-D learning.
One of my personal first grade favorite books also made for an awesome STEM challenge. I, almost always, read a book to the first graders that goes along with our challenge for the week. However, this week the first graders read to each other! Every student had a turn to read a page of the book which contains many of our Spelling words from this week and the previous week! Then, students were challenged to create a way to carry real apples on their head across the room and back. Even Mrs. Eads joined in on the fall fun challenge!
This week we read “Stellaluna” and even had a Scholastic News that also talked about this book. In Science we discussed the differences between bats and birds and the animal groups to which they belonged. For our STEM challenge this week I asked students to design a bat with limited materials that would be able to actually hang upside-down. Check out these bat designs and our successful test subjects!
First graders got into the Halloween spirit with a STEM challenge based on the book “Room on the Broom”. After reading the book, students were asked to balance weighted cups with pictures of the characters on them. Lots of cups tumbled and pennies hit the floor but we never gave up! All of the students were successful in the end. This challenge also helped us to begin talking about balanced equations, that we will explore in the near future during Math. It provided us with a great hands-on experience that the students can recount when we dive deeper into this topic. Hidden learning lurks around every corner!
We had a great time on this Flex Friday exploring all different types of Engineering. The students are doing some background research on these careers and what types of problems each engineer would solve. First graders will then look at what problems they see in their lives and decide on a PBL topic to investigate.
Another part of our day was spent excelling the students learning with centers that help them to begin learning topics that we would otherwise not reach until the end of the school year or are not in the first grade curriculum.
Throughout the week, students studied plant and animal adaptation in Science. So, on this FLEX day we decided to put our knowledge to work and expand our understanding . The students worked in groups to match adaptations to animals, test why adaptations are unique to certain animals, explore the purpose they serve, and create a camouflage work of art. We took our learning to the next level and camouflaged IT in fun!
What a busy FLEX day for the first grade. Students started their day by working on their STEM monsters that they were designing for the October bulletin board outside the office. We then read a very inspiring story called The Dot. This book tells the story of a young girl that is certain that she is not good at art, but when challenged by her teacher to just “make a mark” the results are very surprising! We talked a lot about how we make our mark on the world and even when we think we may not be good at something, it’s always worth a try. You may be very surprised with your results. Then each student was given one black dot and a sheet of white paper. They were challenged to keep an open mind and be creative. What could one dot become?
We finished the day with a pep rally and a group photo to show our school spirit. This day was pack with fun and learning that will surely leave a “mark” on our journey in first grade.